The Real KFC: Korean Fried Chicken

A hand holding a piece of Korean fried chicken in front of a space backdrop

I love Korean food and flavors, I will literally slap gochujang on everything. So when I made sweet potato buns a few weeks ago, I thought that was as good a time as any to make Korean fried chicken and stick it on a bun.

Lessons from Nombelina and Koreatown: A cookbook

For this recipe I took inspiration from Nombelina’s fried chicken adventures. And combined them with the recipe for Koreatown fried chicken from Koreatown: A Cookbook, by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard. I get tingly all over even just thinking about it.

The cover of Koreatown: A cookbook by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard

What do I eat with Korean fried chicken?

Korean fried chicken works just as well on its own as on a burger bun with some lettuce and spring onion. But is also great with fries and mayo or with rice and a simple cucumber pickle.

A hand holding a piece of Korean fried chicken in front of a space backdrop

Korean fried chicken recipe

Dorothy Porker
This recipe for Korean Fried Chicken, the one and only true KFC, will make you feel tingly in all the right places.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Marinade time (optional) 8 minutes
Course Dinner, Main course
Cuisine American, Korean
Servings 2


  • Shallow container with a lid, optional
  • Paper towels
  • Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Deep fat fryer
  • Tongs or a fork


For the overnight marinade, optional

  • 2 c - 500 ml buttermilk
  • pinch pepper
  • pinch salt

For the chicken

  • 4 pieces chicken de-boned, skin off - I prefer thighs
  • oil for deep frying
  • 1/2 c - 60 gr cornstarch
  • 1/2 c - 60 gr all purpose flour
  • 1/2 t - 2.5 gr baking powder
  • 1 t - 5 gr salt
  • 1/2 c - 125 ml soju vodka also works if you can't find this
  • 1/2 c - 125 ml cold tap water as cold as your tap will run

For the sauce

  • 1/2 c - 60 gr gochujang
  • 5 t - 25 gr Frank's red hot if you like it hot, OR
  • 5 t - 25 gr mirin if you like it a little milder


The night before, optional

  • Tenderizing your chicken in a bath of buttermilk really helps, but if you don't have the time you can skip this step.
  • Mix some salt and pepper into 2 c - 500 ml of butter milk and place in a shallow container with 4 pieces of de-boned skin off chicken. You want your chicken to be completely submerged in the milk so that the acidity from the milk can work its magic on tenderizing your chicken. Set in a fridge overnight.

The day off

  • When you're ready to eat, preheat your deep fryer to 180° C/ 360° F.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the 1/2 c - 60 gr of cornstarch and flour, 1/2 t - 2.5 gr of baking powder, 1 t - 5 gr of salt, 1/2 c - 125 ml soju and cold water until just smooth.
  • Remove the chicken from the milk and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
  • Now set up your fry station: chicken, batter, kitchen towel lined plate or tray.
  • Check to see if your oil is up to temperature by dumping a tiny bit of batter into the oil. When the batter sizzles and floats to the top you're good to go.
  • Dip the chicken into the batter, shake off any excess and gently lower it into the fat. Don't use a wire bask or skimmer at this point as the batter will immediately crisp up and get stuck. You'll want to carefully lower it into the fat with tongs or a fork so you can let go before the last corner hits the fat. Depending on the size of your fryer you can fry about 2-3 pieces at a time. Avoid overcrowding the pan.
  • Fry until the batter is golden and crisp and the chicken is cooked through. This will take 7-10 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of your chicken.
  • While the chicken is frying, mix together your 1/2 c - 60 gr of gochujang with 5 t - 25 gr of Frank's OR 5 t - 25 gr of mirin, depending on your heat resistance, and place at the end of the line of your fry station.
  • As you move chicken from the fryer let it sit on the paper towels to remove any excess oil and then, while still hot, toss in the hot sauce for a nice glaze.


This recipe will not work in an air fryer or oven as the batter is too liquid and needs to crisp up immediately to get the proper effect. 
If you are preparing the chicken to serve at a later time, you can fry the chicken ahead of time and reheat it in an oven at 175° C/ 350° F for 10 minutes before coating it in the sauce. If you coat it and leave it to cool the batter will lose its crisp.
Keyword chicken recipe, deuki hong, fried chicken, kfc, korean freid chicken, koreatown, matt rodbard, nombelina

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