Korean Chicken Wings
These Korean Chicken Wings hit all the flavor notes: sweet, spicy, tangy, and savory. The sauce only takes 5 minutes to make and coats the chicken beautifully with a consistency that’s similar to BBQ sauce. It’s the perfect appetizer for game day and parties!
Whenever I see chicken wings on sale at the grocery store, they always go in my cart. They’re one of my favorite foods ever and I love playing with different types of sauces.
That’s the beauty of wings, as they are a blank canvas that can be coated in nearly any type of flavor combo.
While the classic Buffalo Sauce will always be my favorite, this Korean chicken wings recipe is pretty incredible too. The sauce has the perfect balance of tanginess, savory/umami, sweet, and spicy, and a rich thickness that coats the drumettes and wingettes kind of like a BBQ sauce.
It’s definitely a situation where the phrase “finger licking good” comes to mind.
And bonus, this gochujang-based Korean wing sauce is nearly as simple to make as Buffalo sauce, and only takes 5-10 minutes. You can definitely make it while the chicken is cooking.
Before we dive into the step-by-step, I should clarify that these Korean Chicken Wings are made with deep fried or baked chicken wings (your choice on however you cook them, you could even use the air fryer).
Then the crispy chicken wings are coated in a Korean sauce, and thus are not to be confused with Korean style chicken wings. Those are battered and deep fried, and have a crispy shell surrounding the meat.
Korean style wings are crazy delicious, but I like to go out for those since I don’t do any deep frying at home anymore, and those must be battered and fried.
Now I always bake chicken wings per the recipe link in the previous paragraph, and they always turn out wonderfully crispy from that method of parboiling and baking.
Tips for Best Results
Coat the wings while hot – In order for the skin to best absorb the sauce, you’ll want them to be piping hot out of the oven when you toss them. Have the sauce ready to go.
Keep the sauce warm as needed – Similarly, if you make the sauce in advance, make sure it’s also hot when you toss the wings. Don’t toss the hot chicken in cold sauce. Both should be hot.
Serve promptly – It doesn’t matter how crispy the wings are when they are done cooking, if they sit too long in the sauce, the skin will eventually become flabby. So serve the wings promptly once they’re ready.
Step by Step Overview
To get started, place butter, gochujang, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, honey, rice wine, and rice vinegar in a small saucepan:
What is gochujang?
If you’re not familiar with gochujang and this is your first time using it, it’s a sweet and spicy fermented Korean red chili pepper paste. This thick paste is one of the most foundational ingredients of Korean cooking, and it has an incredible flavor. You should be able to find it at pretty much any grocery store these days.
One thing I’ll note about the gochujang is that the sweetness varies wildly from brand to brand, so if you prefer it one way or another, take a look at the label before buying one. I also prefer the more natural brands…some have things like corn syrup and preservatives in them.
Also, if you don’t have rice wine on hand, you can use water instead. It still has tons of flavor to please the taste buds!
Bring all the ingredients to a boil over high heat, then let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes over medium high heat (or over medium heat, if the sauce starts sputtering too much):
This gives the sauce plenty of time to thicken a little bit, and for the garlic and ginger to cook.
When your wings are just about done cooking, pour the Korean wing sauce into a large bowl, one that’s big enough to hold all the wings:
While the wings are hot out of the oven (I use this Baked Chicken Wings recipe), toss them into the bowl with the spicy sauce:
Stir to coat, until every bit of surface area is covered:
Don’t they look kind of like BBQ sauce wings? They’re pretty similar, but with a Korean flavor theme and sticky sauce. There are so many different flavors in each bite!
For extra visual appeal and flavor, I like to sprinkle them with some thinly sliced green onions, or you may use white or black sesame seeds.
How to Serve It
Enjoy your Korean Chicken Wings right after coating with the sauce, otherwise they’ll get soggy and lose their crispy exterior. If you need to keep the meat warm before adding the sauce, keep in a 250F oven on a wire rack set inside a large rimmed baking sheet, then toss right before eating.
The Korean Chicken Wing Sauce recipe is below, and here’s the oven method for Chicken Wings.
If you enjoy the taste of sesame oil, add up to 2 teaspoons to the sauce.
If you don’t have fresh minced ginger on hand, you can swap in 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
Recipe Tips and FAQ
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Yes, keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
While you can reheat in the microwave until warm, I recommend the oven instead, which produces slightly less soggy skin. Heat in a 300F oven for about 10-15 minutes until warmed through. Add an extra 5 minutes if reheating straight from frozen.
The sauce can be made ahead up to 3 days in advance, but just make sure you heat it up before you add the meat. Don’t add hot wings to cold sauce.
Yes, feel free to make breaded chicken breast bites and toss them in this amazing sauce. There’s so much flavor! You can also use this as a dipping sauce for chicken tenders.
Korean Chicken Wing Sauce
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup gochujang
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp rice wine or water
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- Place all ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.
- Simmer for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly, to the consistency of a ketchup or BBQ sauce.
- Toss cooked Chicken Wings with the sauce, then serve immediately.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.