For most people, the letters KFC bring to mind red-and-white striped buckets of fast-food chicken. Well, move over Colonel Sanders, there’s another finger-licking-good treat in town: Korean Fried Chicken.

Like its American cousin, the Buffalo wing, Korean fried chicken is the perfect blend of crispy skin on the outside and tender-juicy meat on the inside. With its sticky-sweet sauce, either spicy or mild (or both! Koreans call this ban-ban or half-half), this Korean Fried Chicken recipe is a great game day appetizer or can be served with other Korean-inspired dishes for a savory family meal.

Korean Fried Chicken Recipe

This recipe makes about 28-30 wings.


4-1/2pounds whole chicken wings, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3/4 cup corn starch
5 to 6 cups oil for frying

For mild sauce (full recipe; halve if also making spicy sauce):

4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar

For spicy sauce (full recipe; halve if also making mild sauce):

4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sesame oil

For garnish (optional):

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 green onion, finely sliced on the diagonal


Step 1: Prep the chicken wings

Using a sharp chef’s knife, separate the wing into drumettes, flats and tips, setting aside the tips (you can use these later for a homemade chicken stock). Place the drumettes and flats in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt, black pepper and minced ginger. Mix well. Measure the corn starch into a medium bowl and roll the wings one by one until thoroughly coated. Set the wings on a cookie sheet or tray (don’t let them touch) to keep them as dry as possible before frying.

Editor’s Tip: Korean cooks often mix their meats and marinades by hand and wear disposable plastic gloves to make the job less messy.

Step 2: Heat the oil

Set a wire rack over a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. You’ll need this for draining the wings later. Pour the oil into an electric fryer or large pot. The oil should be about 3-inches deep to completely submerge the wings.

Heat the oil to 350°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, heat until the oil has a slight shimmer. You can test the oil by dropping in one wing and seeing if it sizzles. If it just drops to the bottom, remove the wing and wait a bit longer.

Editor’s Tip: I like to use a cast-iron Dutch oven, which retains heat and provides deep sides to minimize splatters—one of the keys to overcoming your fear of frying.

Step 3: Fry the chicken wings

Drop the wings in the oil one by one, being careful not to splatter or crowd. Depending on the size of your pot, you can usually fry about six wings per batch. (I like to cook the drumettes and flats in separate batches, as the drumettes take longer to cook.)

Fry until lightly golden, about six to eight minutes. Remove the wings from the oil with a slotted spoon or wire skimmer and drain on the wire rack. Let the oil heat back up to 350° before starting the next batch.

Repeat until you have cooked all the wings, then turn off the fryer or burner while you make the sauces.

Step 4: Make the sauces

Combine the ingredients for the sauce of your choice in a small saucepan and stir well. Cook over medium heat until the sauce boils; turn down to a rapid simmer and continue cooking until the sauce thickens, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Alternatively, you can combine the sauce ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl or large measuring cup, stir well, and place in the microwave. Cook on high for 30 seconds, remove to stir, and keep adding time in 10-15 second intervals until the sauce is bubbly and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. While this is quicker than the stovetop method, you need to keep a close eye on the sauce to make sure it doesn’t boil over.

Step 5: Begin the double fry!

Turn the fryer or burner back on, and heat the oil to 375°. The second fry should be hotter than the first one to ensure the extra-crispy skin that Korean fried chicken is famous for. Drop the wings in the oil one at a time. For this batch, you don’t need to be as careful about crowding. Depending on the size of your pot, you can usually fry about eight wings per batch.

Fry until medium-brown and crispy, about three to four minutes. Remove the wings from the oil with a slotted spoon or wire skimmer and drain on the wire rack. Let the oil heat back up to 375° before starting the next batch.

Repeat until all the wings have been double-fried, then turn off the fryer or burner.

Step 6: Sauce and garnish

Keeping the wings on the wire rack, brush sauce generously on one side of the wings, then flip to brush sauce on the other side. Arrange the wings on a serving platter. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions, if desired.

Tips for Making Korean Fried Chicken

Can you use other cuts of chicken to make Korean fried chicken?

Yes, absolutely! You can use a whole cut-up chicken, drumsticks or, my personal favorite, boneless chicken breasts cut into bite-size chunks. (You’ll need to adjust the cooking times to accommodate the larger pieces.) Korean fried chicken is really about the extra-crispy skin and the sticky-sweet sauce, not about the particular cut of meat.

What type of oil should you use to make Korean fried chicken?

I usually use canola oil, which has a neutral flavor and high smoke point and is generally affordable. Other oils you could use for deep frying include avocado, safflower, peanut, soybean, sunflower and cottonseed, depending on your taste and budget.

Can you make Korean fried chicken without deep frying?

You can cook chicken wings in the oven, air fryer or grill and brush the mild or spicy Korean fried chicken sauce on the outside. You won’t get the same extra-crispy texture as you would with the double-fry method, but you’ll still enjoy the sticky-sweet flavors of Korean fried chicken.

What side dishes should you serve with Korean fried chicken?

Korean fried chicken is often served with pickled vegetables but would also go nicely with macaroni salad, potato salad or coleslaw. This chicken pairs really well with an icy-cold beer too. In Korea, they have a special name for this combo: chimaek, a blend of “chi” (for chicken) and “maek” (for maekju, which means beer).

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