Today’s recipe is super-spicy chicken, called buldak in Korean. The Korean word bul means fire, and dak means chicken, so you can call this “fire chicken.”

I first heard about this dish years ago, when I still lived in Korea. One evening I saw a truck on the street selling barbecued chicken. The guy had set up a homemade grill with real fire underneath, and was barbecuing huge chunks of chicken covered in a thick, spicy paste. With the flames and the smoke, it was a real festive sight, and there was a crowd of people gathering around, some to buy his chicken and some to just take part in the revelry.

He had a banner on the side of his truck that said “불닭” (buldak). I had never heard the name before, but between the spicy chicken and the fire he was cooking it over, it seemed like a great name to me. I bought some and brought it home to my family. It was fantastic!

These buldak trucks caught on: they would come out in the evenings, set up their makeshift fire pits, and grill spicy chicken over the flames. People would come out and take part in the fun.

I can’t set up a fire pit in my apartment, but my version is still plenty fiery! This buldak is spicy, a little sweet, and plenty soft and juicy. The crunchy rice cakes are my own variation and optional, but they give the dish a wonderful texture. If you want to make it less spicy, cut down on the hot pepper flakes, or use milder flakes. I use chicken breast in my recipe, but you could use chicken thigh, too.

I hope you love this recipe! Let me know if you try it!
buldak with cheese (치즈불닭)


For 4 servings

  • 2 pounds of chicken breast, cut into ¾ or 1 inch cubes
  • ½ cup Korean hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons hot pepper paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup rice syrup (or corn syrup, sugar, honey)
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese (optional), cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup of sliced rice cake (optional)
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup water



  1. Combine hot pepper flakes, hot pepper paste, soy sauce, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, ground black pepper, rice syrup, garlic, and ginger in a bowl. Mix it well into a sweet and spicy paste.
  2. Add the chicken and mix well by hand.
    buldak with cheese (차즈불닭)
  3. Heat up a skillet with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add the sliced rice cakes and fry them for a few minutes. Turn them over with a spatula once or twice until both sides are crispy and light golden brown.
    sliced rice cakes
  4. Place the marinated chicken into a heavy pan, preferably cast iron. Use the water to rinse the bowl and get the last of the sauce into the pan. Cover and cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes. If you use a normal frying pan, it will take 7 to 8 minutes. Be sure not to burn the chicken.
    buldak with cheese (치즈불닭) buldak with cheese (치즈불닭)
  5. Uncover, stir and turn over the chicken with a wooden spoon. Add the rice cakes to the top of the chicken.
    buldak with cheese (치즈불닭)
  6. Turn down the heat very low. Cover and let cook another 10 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked. If you’re using cheese, pre-heat the oven broiler.
  7. When the chicken is cooked, put the cheese over the top. Slip it into the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.buldak in the oven
  8. Remove and sprinkle with the chopped green onion. Serve hot.
    buldak with cheese (치즈불닭)buldak with cheese (치즈불닭)

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  1. tulips2kiss Oregon joined 7/20 & has 1 comment

    my family is really pick and they LOVE this dish!! my mom requested that I make it tonight but we only have fresh mozzarella, I’m afraid the water content will be too high…. will it work?

  2. Jessicaf North carolina joined 6/20 & has 14 comments

    Sooo good. Crazy idea I’ve yet to try: omitting rice cakes and using as topping for Fire chicken pizza. Salivating just thinking about it. I don’t usually think of cheese going well with Asian style cuisines. How wrong I was! Very unique dish.

  3. ilovepastry Toronto, Canada joined 5/20 & has 18 comments

    Wow~ They don’t call it Fire Chicken for nothing! Tasty, but quite spicy. Thanks again, Maangchi!

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  4. michelefernandez19 KL, Malaysia joined 4/20 & has 1 comment

    I tried making this the other day maangchi, and it was amahzing!! <3 Thank you maangchi!

  5. celzalejandro Manila joined 4/20 & has 1 comment

    This is the 4th time I’ve made buldak, and each time I use your recipe! I’ve since tried to be more creative with it, but oh man I really think your recipe is the best Maangchi!

  6. Gdasau London, Canada joined 2/20 & has 1 comment

    Made as directed other than used jaggery instead of the Korean Rice Syrup (ssalyeot). Delicious !! Easy to make! Thanks.

  7. Katsqwerl Oxfordshire joined 2/20 & has 1 comment

    I have made this twice and it is incredible. I have subbed honey or golden syrup for the rice syrup and it works just fine. Thanks Maangchi!

  8. ax89 Ottawa, ON joined 1/20 & has 1 comment

    I made this recipe without the cheese so I just cooked it on the stove top. I did not have the rice cakes.

    I did not find it very hot, surprisingly. Maybe my pepper flakes were a bit old. I ate this with some basmati rice – very delicious! Thank you Maangchi.

  9. dub3dude Australia joined 1/20 & has 1 comment

    Thanks Maangchi!
    Love your videos, love your cooking.
    Making this tonight. Really looking forward to it!

  10. Remigius the Netherlands joined 12/19 & has 1 comment


    Love the recipe and i am wondering what kind of cast iron pan you are using.



  11. Zukotsu USA joined 7/19 & has 1 comment

    This was the first dish I’ve ever made and everyone said it was perfect!!!!

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  12. Geemge California joined 2/19 & has 1 comment

    Amazingly delicious. Thank you, we’ll be making this again soon! We switched out the rice cakes for some roasted peppers and some sauteed onions, it was amazing.

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  13. Shadowsokar Pennsylvania joined 12/18 & has 1 comment

    This is my second time making this dish. I love the kick it has and the flavor is amazing. I added mushrooms as well to the chicken. Thinking of adding onions into the mix as well.

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  14. Jorobertson Alberta joined 10/18 & has 2 comments

    Woooeee! This is so good! My house actually smells like lasagne. Thought it would make for a fun Friday night dinner with my husband with a nice crunchy salad and some rice. You didn’t disappoint as it was simply delicious. Thank you so much for this recipe.

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  15. iamrhart Namhae, South Korea joined 10/12 & has 12 comments

    I made this for a United Way pasta potluck. I added noodles to this, like a caserol.

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  16. bowma02 Alaska joined 9/18 & has 2 comments

    This was a big hit in my house last night. I made a banchan with this as the entree. I had to dial the gochugaru back a bit as my husband can’t handle as much as I can. He loved it and raves about it all evening!

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  17. DianneHinWA Seattle Metro joined 8/18 & has 1 comment

    Tonight was the first time I’ve ever prepared a Korean dish. I decided to use this cheesy Fire Chicken recipe. I used only two tablespoons of the chili pepper paste and 12 oz mozzarella instead of the full pound. I also was able to find fresh rice cake cyclinders so I just sliced a few of those up. I’ll use the remaining cakes in your Hot & Spicy Rice Cake recipe.

    Your YouTube videos about shopping for Korean cooking essentials helped me immensely when I went to H Mart to find the key ingredients. I had a good mental image of what I needed even if I couldn’t read most of the words on the packages.

    The end result of tonight’s dinner was absolutely delicious! I will definitely be making this again for my husband and I. The only change I will make is to use chicken thigh meat the next time. Thank you for sharing your recipes. And, thank you for taking the time to film your wonderfully helpful videos.

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  18. The_Kewpie Australia joined 7/18 & has 1 comment

    Hey Maangchi,
    huge fan, always poking around your site looking for something cool to do when I’m feeling like Korean. Tried out this recipe and it was delicious but also it destroyed me because I’m weak against chilli, this was actually the second time we made it cus it was so good!! Thanks for all the great meals over the last few years. :)

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  19. Kay18 Kuwait joined 7/18 & has 2 comments

    Thank you for the recipe, we just ate up this buldak at lunch with rice, yum!

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  20. Nyna France joined 5/18 & has 1 comment

    Today my boyfriend who is simply the worsth cook I’ve ever known made this recipe : it came out delicious and we are still alive !!! Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge about korean food ! It’s highly appreciated ! Have a lovely day Maangchi !

  21. CathrinaB Denmark joined 5/18 & has 1 comment

    I just found the recipe and it was the best choice to try it out! It was so good to eat and I will make it again. The taste was both a little sweet and spicy and let me tell you it was HOT – which my family loves a lot (well my dad said his mouth was in flames hahah) ^^
    Thank you Maangchi for the recipe!

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  22. 1SpicyWonBok& has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi!

    This recipe looks amaaaaazing! I was just wondering, since I’m diabetic, is there any way to substitute the rice syrup/honey ingredient for a sugar substitute?

    Thank you!

  23. Mayuko Sweden joined 12/17 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi! I have followed you for sometime now on youtube. First i tried to make kimchi, but it diddent turn out so well because i got the wrong chili. But yesterday i tried this! I loved it so much and mu husband to. It got eaten so fast that i dident even get a photo. So yummy! I used honey instead of rice syrup and less chilliflakes. But totaly scrumptious!
    Thank you for your gourgeus recepies and happy smile! Hugs from sweden!

  24. spellbunny Canada joined 11/11 & has 2 comments

    Thank you for this recipe, I made it last night and it was delicious!!!

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  25. Vimal Muscat, Oman. joined 10/17 & has 4 comments

    I think this is the best thing i ever attempted! it was soo tasty. the sweet and spicyness was soo mouthwatering. I added mushrooms and ate with pita type of bread. Im definately going to try this recipe with other things later like cottage cheese cubes! Tasted very restaurant-ey. I couldnt believe i made it myself! Thanks Maangchi!! I finished it clean!

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  26. This was the first video of yours that I ever watched, Maanchi, and tonight I finally did it! It was a huge hit and sooo delicious. Thank you!

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  27. ColtPixy Bergen, Norway joined 7/17 & has 4 comments

    I was going to make this today after drooling over the recipe and video for months! I had secured my chicken, bought cheese and was ready to start when I got home from work. I had just measured up my hot pepper flakes when I remembered the chicken in the fridge and went to get it (my apartment is so small my fridge is in my living room not the kitchen). What do I discover?!?! It wasn’t chicken I had taken out of the freezer, it was white fish (which looks quite similar when deep frozen). So instead of the meal I’ve wanted to try for months, I had a tomato-based fish stew. I will try this recipe tomorrow, after buy chicken not just hoping that’s what I took out of the freezer.

    • ColtPixy Bergen, Norway joined 7/17 & has 4 comments

      So I was finally able to make this today and it was absolutely gorgeous! Takes a bit of time when you have a small kitchen and limited utensils and casseroles, and your oven overloads the circuit when cooking the chicken mixture and preheating the oven. Despite this I used no more than and hour, and that included two trips out of my apartment to turn the power back on! I made this in my wok, because I don’t have a skillet, and it turned out perfectly. I also didn’t have ginger so I squeezed half a lime in before topping with cheese.

      Thank you so much for this recipe and I have your yukgaejang recipe in mind next!

  28. shimeringstars McKees Rocks joined 6/17 & has 13 comments

    Loved this recipe so much! I got a lot of compliments on it and I will definitely be making this again in the near future.

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  29. Kfwooten NC, USA joined 6/17 & has 1 comment

    Great taste overall. Didn’t find it spicy enough and the proportion of pepper flakes made the sauce a bit off-putting texture-wise. Will be trying again by grinding the store-bought flakes to a finer texture, replacing some with fresh ghost pepper, and adding cayenne to help round together the flavors.

    Didn’t use cheese and only served with plain rice, but after seeing the comments will serve with cabbage next. Thank you for the recipe!

  30. If I replace rice syrup with corn syrup, do I have to mix the corn syrup with honey and sugar? Or do I just use corn syrup by itself?

  31. shscrafty79 Dallas, TX joined 1/17 & has 1 comment

    Made this tonight without the rice cakes or cheese. So incredibly delicious, I am in love!!

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  32. ChrisCooksKorean Oklahoma U.S. joined 9/16 & has 1 comment

    I love this recipe, and I’ve made this 5 or 6 times now. It always goes perfectly except for toasting the rice cakes. I use the frozen slices they sell at the grocery store and I can never get the little buggers to toast. If I put them in a hot pan frozen or thawed they just start to stick to the pan like glue well before they get anywhere close to being toasted. I’ve tried a dry pan and oil. It’s fine, because I prefer them chewy, but I can’t figure out why the ones in the recipe video don’t stick and mine do. Maybe because mine aren’t homemade?

    • kaite5028 Earth joined 11/16 & has 1 comment

      I just made this and used frozen sliced rice cakes. I let them thaw while I was getting everything else ready. I used a non-stick pan and the oil and didn’t have issues with them sticking to the pan. I did have problems with them sticking together though, so I had to work to break them apart. After they started to toast some they didn’t stick anymore. Overall, I’ve decided to skip the toasting part next time. I wasn’t a fan of the toasted rice cakes in the dish because I also like them chewy. Although, I did enjoy munching on them by themselves after they were toasted :)

  33. Andrea Italy joined 1/09 & has 19 comments

    Oh Maangchi, why haven’t I tried this recipe before?
    I just finished eating my portion (I’m the one who eats spiciest in the household, so I wanted to check it myself first) and… boom! What a delicious meal.
    I know I shouldn’t have cooked only one portion, it was so good!
    Thank you thank you for this good recipe. I’ve never been to Korea but with your recipes I get an idea of it.
    I have used normal Italian mozzarella, what you show in the recipe we call it mozzarella for pizza, so my cheese was a bit more watery and some of the rice cakes were soggy. Tasty nonetheless.
    Look at the photo, what a cute dish :-)
    Love from Italy

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  34. Rekhapragadish India joined 7/16 & has 1 comment

    Dear Maangchi

    I am so delighted to share my experience about trying this Cheese buldak.. Iam from India where I don’t get Gochujang.. I somehow got an imported tub from an online site and I tried this recipe..

    It became a big hit in our home in spite of the spiciness…I love the simplicity of this recipe where they is no need of marination and the mixing sauce and chicken gets cooked and final touch with mozzarella …

    I am new to Korean cooking and I have tried so many recipes from the site… Thanks for your wonderful recipes.. Looking forward for more spicier recipes from u..

    Rekha Pragadish.

  35. anits12 malaysia joined 6/16 & has 1 comment

    I am so going to try this recipe, what can I sub the rice syrup, I follow low carb, the rice syrup will throw me way out. Your suggestion will help, please. Thank you.

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