An amazing, sticky-sweet, crispy Korean Fried Chicken Recipe (KFC) that will blow your mind. It’s Chicken Tempura with a crispy coating and spicy sauce that has a perfect balance of flavors!

Korean fried chicken wings on a serving platter.

We Love Korean Fried Chicken AKA Spicy Chicken Tempura

If you love fried chicken, and you love Asian flavors, this Korean Fried Chicken Recipe has to go at the top of your to-do list. Pronto.

I generally don’t opt to deep fry things, since it can be a bit of a process. Yet there are a few exceptions I make… Deep-fried dishes that are just too good the way they are, to make a mediocre oven-baked version. Homemade ice cream bowls are one of them. Puffy tortillas for tacos are another.

And then there’s this crispy Korean Fried Chicken Recipe. Also known as Yangnyeom Chicken in Korea. (or Spicy Chicken Tempura) Yangnyeom chicken is known for its red, spicy sauce that we will be making today!

I’m going to share a few tricks to making this Korean fried chicken, so that the flavor and texture are sheer perfection. With a crunchy crust, tender inside, and Korean fried chicken sauce that is to die for!

My Korean dunking sauce offers absurd amounts of flavor to each crunchy little piece of chicken. It’s a blend of Korean gochujang sauce, garlic, ginger, soy, and brown sugar, turning each wing and drumstick into a sticky savory-sweet hand-held addiction.

This Korean Chicken Recipe wouldn’t be the same without it.

Crispy Korean fried chicken on a plate with more on a serving platter behind it.

Korean Chicken Recipe Ingredients

For the Fried Chicken:

  • Wings & Drumsticks – about 12 pieces, you can also use chicken thighs but they will take much longer to fry
  • Salt & Warm Water – to brine the chicken
  • Cornstarch, Baking Powder, and All-Purpose Flour – for a crispy outer layer
  • Light Beer or Club Soda – mix with dry ingredients to create a batter
  • Peanut, Canola or Grape Seed Oil – a high smoke point oil is needed to fry up the wings

For the Korean Dunking Sauce:

  • Gochujang Sauce – a red chili paste with loads of flavor
  • Soy Sauce – low sodium if possible
  • Rice Vinegar – for a hint of tang
  • Brown Sugar – to balance the spice, you can also use honey
  • Sesame Oil – for slight nuttiness
  • Garlic & Ginger – fresh works best
  • Sriracha – for a spicy kick
Spicy Chicken Tempura - Piece of Korean fried chicken on a plate with a one piece taken out of it.

How to Make Korean Fried Chicken Wings

First off, brining. Place the salt and warm wanter in a large bowl and swirl to dissolve the salt. Then add the chicken pieces to the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours (or up to 12 hours). Take the chicken out of the brine and dry with paper towels. Set out to allow the skin to continue drying.

Brining Chicken in a mixing bowl.

Pour the oil into a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot and set over medium heat. Attach a deep fry thermometer if you have one. Mix 3/4 cup of cornstarch and 2 teaspoons of baking powder into a bowl. Move the chicken to the bowl and toss to coat well.

Next up, we’re creating an ultra crispy, yet light and airy, tempura style batter for the chicken. Tempura batter coats the chicken evenly, and provides great crunch while offering the optimal “canvas” for a saucy flavor dunk. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and 3/4 cup of flour in a separate bowl. Whisk in the beer to create the batter.

Korean Chicken Instructions Continued…

Turn the oven on warm (175-200 degrees F) and set out an oven-safe plate lined with paper towels. Check the temperature of the vegetable oil. It should be 350 degrees F. Drop a little batter into the oil to check. If the batter turns brown right away, the oil is too hot. Turn off the heat and wait for it to cool, before continuing.

Once piece at a time, tap the excess cornstarch off of the chicken and dunk it into the tempura batter. Dunk a couple times to make sure there are no air pockets. Shake the chicken a little to allow excess batter to drip back into the bowl then slowly swirl the chicken as you place it in the oil.

Continue frying 4-6 pieces at a time, until golden and crispy. Flip the chicken with tongs as needed and cover with a splatter screen if you have one. The wings should be golden and cooked through in around 10 minutes, and the drumsticks will take between 12-15 minutes.

Check the interior temperature with a meat thermometer, it should be 165 degrees F. Using the tongs, move the chicken to the pate and place in the oven while you repeat with the remaining chicken. This will take 2-3 batches, depending on the width of your pot.

Making korean sauce

Last but not least, prepare a tangy Korean-inspired sauce to coat the chicken pieces. While the chicken is frying, place the first seven ingredients in a medium sauce pot. Set over medium heat, stir, and bring to a boil. Once the sauce reaches a boil, turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 2 minutes.

KFC - Chicken Tempura - Korean Fried Chicken on plate

Remove from the heat and taste for spice. If you want it to be extra spicy, stir in sriracha to taste.

Then dunk the chicken only when you are ready to eat. Even after dunking, the chicken will stay crispy for some time, but that amazing crunch can’t last forever.

Dunk and serve immediately.

Dunking chicken tempura in spicy korean sauce

Tips for Deep Frying

  • The most common mistake of deep frying is to over-heat the oil. If the oil is too hot, the batter or breading will turn dark before the chicken is cooked through. Disaster.
  • Check your oil temperature. A cooking thermometer is always a good idea. You want your oil to stay right at 350 degrees F while frying. I usually set my burner to medium heat and once I’ve prepped the ingredients it’s close to ready.
  • If you abhor the idea of using cooking thermometers (some people do) you can check the oil by dropping a spoonful of tempera batter into the hot oil. If it’s too cool it won’t bubble immediately. If it’s too hot, the batter will turn dark within a few minutes. In this case, turn off the heat for a few minutes then check again. Turn the heat back on, lower, before frying.
  • Another frying tip is to slowly swirl each chicken piece as you lower it into the hot oil. You don’t want the chicken batter to stick to the bottom of the pot or to the other pieces of chicken. Swirling the chicken, creates a quick barrier on the batter.
  • Use a splatter screen. If you don’t have one of these inexpensive screens, you should invest in one right away. They’re great for frying bacon, and of course deep frying. Cover your pot with the screen anytime you’re dealing with hot oil.
  • Turn on a warm oven to keep your chicken hot and crisp. If you have a warming drawer, great! If not, a low oven temperature of 175 – 200 degrees F, will keep your Korean chicken wings crunchy until ready to dunk. Use an oven-safe plate or a baking sheet lined with a wire rack.
  • Use an oil with a high smoke point! This means an oil that can withstand high temperature without burning. Peanut oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, or grapeseed oil are all great options.
Korean Chicken drumsticks and wings - chicken tempura in spicy sauce

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to brine the chicken wings?

I know that the idea of waiting around to indulge in these Korean fried chicken wings is off-putting, but any restaurant making remarkable fried chicken takes the time to brine the chicken before frying. For the best results, I highly recommend it. Soaking the chicken pieces in salt water does several things: It seasons the chicken all the way through the meat, creates extra juicy meat, and makes the skin flavorful and crunchy when fried!

How should I serve Korean chicken?

You can eat this fried chicken on its own as a snack or appetizer, or you can make a meal out of it! Serve it with Fried Rice with Kimchi, Ram Don Korean Noodles, or a simple Basmati Rice and Korean Pancakes! I also recommend sprinkling some sesame seeds on top of these wings as garnish!

How should I store leftover Korean fried chicken?

You can store leftover Korean fried chicken wings in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Keep in mind if the chicken is already covered in sauce, it won’t be as crispy once you warm it up. It is best to store the leftover chicken and wing sauce separately. Then, you can reheat the chicken in the oven, toaster oven, or air-fryer to get them nice and crispy. Dunk the chicken in warm sauce before serving!

Korean Chicken drumstick with a bite taken out of it.

Looking for More Asian-Inspired Recipes? Be Sure to Try:

Korean fried chicken wings on a serving platter.
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Korean Fried Chicken Recipe + Video

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 40 minutes
The BEST Sticky-Sweet Crispy Korean Fried Chicken Wings Recipe! Korean Chicken Tempura for home cooks + Korean dunking sauce with outrageous flavor, coats each crunchy piece.
Servings: 12

Ingredients

For the Fried Chicken Recipe

  • 4 pounds whole chicken, wings, and drumsticks about 12 pieces
  • 1/2 cup salt + 1 quart warm water
  • 1 1/4 cup corn starch divided
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder divided
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 12 ounce light beer or club soda
  • 2 quarts fry oil peanut, canola, grape seed

For the Korean Dunking Sauce

Instructions

  • Place the salt and warm water in a large bowl and swirl to dissolve the salt. Then add the chicken pieces to the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours (or up to 12 hours.) Take the chicken out of the brine and dry with paper towels. Set out to allow the skin to continue drying.
  • Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed stock pot and set over medium heat. Attach a cooking thermometer to the side of the pot, with the point down in the oil.
  • Mix 3/4 cup of cornstarch and 2 teaspoons of baking powder in a bowl. Move the chicken to the bowl and toss to coat well. Then place the remaining 1/2 cup of cornstarch, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 3/4 cup of flour in a separate bowl. Whisk in the beer to create the tempera batter.
  • Turn the oven on warm (175-200 degrees F) and set out an oven-safe plate lined with paper towels. Check the temperature of the fry oil. It should be at 350 degrees F. Drop a little batter into the oil to check. If the batter turns brown right away the oil is too hot. Turn off the heat and wait for it to cool, before continuing. One piece at a time, tap the excess cornstarch off the chicken and dunk it in the tempura batter. Dunk a couple times to make sure there are no air pockets. Shake the chicken a little to allow the excess batter to drip back into the bowl then slowly swirl the chicken as you place it in the oil. Continue… frying 4-6 pieces at a time, until golden brown and crispy. Flip the chicken with tongs as needed and cover with a splatter screen if you have one.  The wings should be golden and cooked through around 10 minutes, and the drumsticks will take between 12-15 minutes. Check the interior temperature with a meat thermometer – it should read 165 degrees F. Using the tongs, move the chicken to the plate and place in the oven while you repeat with the remaining chicken. This will take 2-3 batches, depending on the width of your pot.
  • While the chicken is frying, place the first seven ingredients for the Korean dunking sauce in a medium sauce pot. Set over medium heat, stir, and bring to a boil. Once the sauce reaches a boil, turn the heat on low and let it simmer for 2 minutes. Then remove from heat. Taste for spice. If you want your chicken to be extra spicy stir in sriracha to taste.
  • Once all the chicken is fried, and you are ready to eat, dunk each piece of chicken in the sauce, one at a time to full coat each piece. Serve immediately.

Video

Notes

You can store leftover Korean fried chicken wings in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Keep in mind if the chicken is already covered in sauce, it would be as crispy once you warm it up. It is best to store the leftover chicken and wing sauce separately. Then, you can reheat the chicken in the oven, toaster oven, or air-fryer to get them nice and crispy. And dunk the chicken in warm sauce before serving!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g, Calories: 315kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 54mg, Sodium: 5163mg, Potassium: 279mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 100IU, Vitamin C: 2.4mg, Calcium: 63mg, Iron: 1.4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Korean
Author: Sommer Collier
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