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The Food Lab

The Best Korean Fried Chicken

The Best Korean Fried Chicken

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Note: Cornish hen broken down into frying parts (drumstick, thighs, and breast quarters) can be used in place of the the chicken wings.

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Serve this chicken with with either of these sauces:

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

Every recipe we publish is tested, tasted, and Serious Eats-approved by our staff. Never miss a recipe again by following @SeriousRecipes on Twitter!

The Best Korean Fried Chicken

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About This Recipe

Yield:serves 4
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:1 hour
Special equipment:Wok, deep fryer, or dutch oven
This recipe appears in: The Food Lab: The Best Korean Fried Chicken
Rated:

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cups corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 pounds chicken wings (about 12 whole wings)
  • 2 quarts peanut oil or vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1 recipe Sweet Soy Sauce or Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce

Procedures

  1. 1

    Combine 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/4 cup cornstarch, and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder in a large bowl and whisk until homogenous. Add chicken wings and toss until every surface is coated. Transfer wings to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, shaking vigorously as you go to get rid if excess coating. Transfer to refrigerator and let rest, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

  2. 2

    When ready to fry, preheat oil to 350°F in a large wok, Dutch oven, or deep fryer.

  3. 3

    Combine remaining 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, flour, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk until homogenous. Add water and vodka and whisk until a smooth batter is formed, adding up to 2 tablespoons additional water if batter is too thick. It should have the consistency of thin paint and fall off of the whisk in thin ribbons that instantly disappear as they hit the surface of the batter in the bowl.

  4. 4

    Add half of the wings to the batter. Working one at a time, lift one wing and allow excess batter to drip off, using your finger to get rid of any large pockets or slicks of batter. Carefully lower wing into hot oil. Repeat with remaining wings in first batch. Fry, using a metal spider or slotted spatula to rotate and agitate wings as they cook until evenly golden brown and crisp all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season immediately with salt. Keep warm while you fry the remaining wings.

  5. 5

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