Sweet, sour, & spicy Korean fried chicken

Yangnyeom-tongdak 양념통닭

Hi everybody!
I wanted to update my recipe with a few improvements I’ve developed over the years, as well as the proper measurements. This new version is almost the same as the one in my book Real Korean Cooking, with just a tweak to the amount of flour used.</recipe for>

What makes Korean fried chicken so different from other kinds of fried chicken is its lightness and crispiness, which comes from double frying. The first fry cooks the chicken through and the second fry at a higher temperature finishes it off and creates a crispy exterior.

Yangnyeom means seasoned and tongdak means a whole chicken but it’s really just bite sized fried chicken, so sometimes we just call it yangnyeom chicken. It’s crispy Korean fried chicken but then coat it with a spicy sauce. The history of yangnyeom-tongdak in South Korea is not long, it started in early 1980s. I remember when that kind of fried chicken was popular and I used to order it all the time for my family. I’d call up the chicken shop and they’d deliver delicious, hot, spicy, garlicky, and crunchy chicken to our house in less than an hour.

The chicken shops making yangnyeom-tongdak were usually franchises. All of them tasted similar, the only difference between this place or that place came down to 2 elements: batter mix and the sauce. I remember some of funny popular franchise names such as:

“Mother-in-Law’s Chicken” (Korean mothers-in-law are always nice to the sons-in-law): 장모님 치킨 (Jangmonim Chicken)
“Son-in-Law Mr.Lee’s chicken”: 이서방 치킨 (Lee Seobang Chicken)
“Pelicana Chicken”: 펠리카나 치킨 (Pelicana Chicken)
“Wife’s Parent’s House Chicken”: 처가집 치킨(Cheogajip Chicken)
“Very Large Chicken”: 아주커 치킨 (Ahju-keo Chicken)

One day on my way home from work, I stopped by our local chicken shop for take out. “Can you make and wrap 1 order of yangnyeom-tongdak for me?” I knew the store owner because he was my long time neighbor. He cooked the chicken right in front of me and I saw the entire process. I watched as he made the batter, fried it twice, and made the red garlicky sauce with ketchup and gochujang. My eyes burned into his hands. It looked so easy!

Later I made it at home. My children said, “It tastes exactly like the fried chicken place!”

My 2 children are grown-ups now and I asked them: “Do you remember the first time I made yangnyeom-tongdak at home, just like the fried chicken shop?”

Yes, they remembered! : ) That chicken was delicious and it’s the same chicken I’ve been sharing with all of you. Enjoy the recipe!


For 3 to 4 servings

For the sauce:

For a side dish, pickled radish (chicken-mu), optional


Start the first fry:

  1. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large heavy frying pan or pot over medium hight heat for about 10 to 12 minutes until the oil temperature reaches 330-350ºF. I used my 12 inch pan but if your pan is smaller, work by batches. If you don’t have a thermometer, test it by dipping one piece of chicken in the oil. If it bubbles, it is ready.
  2. While the oil is heating, combine chicken, salt, ground black pepper, starch, flour, baking soda, and eggs in a large bowl. Mix altogether well by hand.
  3. Add the coated chicken to hot oil one by one. Fry them for 12 minutes until the all sides of the chicken are golden brown and crunchy, turning over with tongs.
    Yangnyeom chicken
  4. Take out the chicken with tongs or a large slotted spoon to wire strainer over a bowl to remove the excess oil.

Make seasoning sauce:

  1. Heat the 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Stir in garlic until light brown for about 30 seconds. Add the ketchup, rice syrup, gochujang, vinegar and stir well with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to low and stir until bubbling. Remove from the heat.

Start the second fry:

  1. Let the oil heat up for 2 minutes over medium high heat until it reaches 330-350ºF.
  2. Fry the chicken one more time, turning over with tongs for about another 12 minutes until very crunchy.
    Frying chicken
  3. Reheat the sauce over medium high heat until it’s bubbling again. Add all the hot crunchy chicken and mix well with a wooden spoon and tongs.sweet spicy crunchy Korean fried chicken

Finish and serve:

  1. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and transfer to a serving plate. Serve with chicken-mu (pickled radish) if you have it.sweet spicy crunchy fried chicken

Leave your rating:

So far this is rated 5/5 from 594 votes

Be the first to rate this.


  1. Little-Bird Saudi Arabia - almadinah joined 4/11 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi
    i want to make this recipe for my family Tomorrow , it look so YummY ..^^..
    But the most of my family does not like chicken skin .. can i take it out ?

  2. carbonarapasta27 philippinws joined 4/11 & has 1 comment

    hi maangchi.!!! kamsahamnida for this recipe.. I used to eat this whenever my friend cooked this for me, but now, because of your video, i can make it on my own..

    i just want to ask, is it necessary for me to add the rice syrup or is it ok if i will put sugar instead of the rice syrup.???

  3. tastesofhome joined 11/10 & has 10 comments

    Hi Maangchi! I made this today and my family and I totally loved it! Fabulous! For my own little twist, I used plum sauce instead of ketchup and it worked out well too – a little fruitier :) But thanks so much for this recipe! Here’s the link to the photos:


  4. JamieF New Zealand joined 1/11 & has 120 comments

    I am making this for a party tonight – it will be my third time. Every time I make it everyone loves it! I think it would be more popular here than KFC and healthier!

  5. mahyazmama OKC joined 3/11 & has 2 comments

    I made this last night for the first time and OMG it was sooo good! I put one tablespoon of the red pepper paste instead and it was sweet but just left just a lite spicy tingle on the tip of the tongue and lips. Don’t tell my boyfriend’s mom, but he said that it taste like her’s but he liked mine better because he could eat it without burning his mouth!! haha I ate 2 pieces of chicken and he ate 6 pieces!!! I’m Mexican, Cherokee, German, and Dutch and he’s 100% Korean, so it made me feel good that he really liked it! :-D Thank you so much Maangchi for your recipes. I bought two of your books on Amazon (volume 1&2 and Volume 3)and suppose to get them tomorrow. Can’t wait to try out more recipes! Thanks again! :-D

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      Thank you very much for buying my books! You make me make money! : )
      I’m so happy to hear that your chicken was a big hit! “.. just a lite spicy tingle on the tip of the tongue and lips..” cute expression!

  6. KFCupcake2345 Perth, Western Australia joined 2/11 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi!

    I LOVE your recipes and I cook them all the time.. xD
    Haha! I seem to be the only 14 year old in Australia that’s ever even heard of you..

    Anyway, I absolutely can’t stand tomato ketchup, so is it possible to substitute this for a different sauce like chilli sauce or smokey barbecue or something?

    Cheers.. ^^

  7. bo Hawaii joined 7/10 & has 49 comments

    I thought I left a comment but it must have been on FB. This recipe was five stars, two thumbs-up… A perfect TEN!! It was so unbelievably crunchy and sweet and spicy. I used all chicken wings because that’s MY favorite. It was heaven!

    Mahalo so much!

  8. dexterous21 Philippines joined 3/11 & has 1 comment

    Hello! I have been using this site to try new recipes but this is just my first time to post a comment here. My husband and I were inlove with korean foods. I tried to cook this one last night. I was so happy that I was successful. It feels awesome to try new recipe after a long time of not cooking. :)

    Thanks, Maanchi!

  9. marbbq Menifee, CA joined 3/11 & has 1 comment

    Is this like Kampungi, if not does anyone have a recipe for Kampungi

  10. cobugi Davis, CA joined 5/10 & has 7 comments

    I made this for a bbq party this past weekend and it was such a big success! The batter is really great and the chicken came out so crispy on the outside and succulent and moist inside! Oh and they were so professional looking!
    Thank you for the great recipe maangchi!

    a few little changes i made were, I doubled the sauce and used 4 lbs instead of 3 lbs of chicken. I also added a lot more kotchujang and a little honey to my sauce because it was a little too ketchupy for me and I like it spicier. I added salt and garlic power to the batter and used a lot of those to marinate the chicken as well.

  11. Hi Maangchi! I made this today and it turned out so great! I love it so much! But I didn’t use any rice syrup, how would it affect my cooking? Is it just to add sweetness? Because the one that I made today is pretty sweet to me already.. Thanks for the recipe and for answering Maangchi!

  12. jparklee Fullerton joined 6/10 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi!!
    One of my husband’s favorite dishes is tong-dak and yang-nyum tong-dak. I made this for today and he absolutely loved it!! I was so amazed at how easy you made it!! Thank you for another great recipe!

  13. Hi!
    This is my first time posting a comment, event though I’ve been using your site for a long time!
    What I want to ask is:
    What is the song playing in this video? You usually post the name, it sounds like the music from 춘향뎐, which I really love and want to find on cd. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes!
    Actually when I made kimchi and let my Korean teachers try it, they said it was the best they’ve had in the US and asked for the recipe so they could tell their wives and daughters about it!
    Thank you!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      ” Actually when I made kimchi and let my Korean teachers try it, they said it was the best they’ve had in the US..” awesome! You must have been very happy when you hear the compliment! I’m very happy for you! : )

      Music: “Jindo Arirang” played by Chae Okseon (gayageum musical instrument)

  14. Jinnie NJ joined 2/11 & has 1 comment

    Thanks!!! I’m not a huge fan of deep frying but this was well worth it. My husband loved it. It really does taste like the real thing.

  15. tyas jakarta, indonesia joined 1/11 & has 5 comments

    Wanna make it too !
    Thank you, maangchi :)

  16. SerenaK North Jersey joined 12/09 & has 5 comments

    maangchi unnie, do you have a recipe for the cubed radish that normally comes with YangNyeomTongDak?

  17. katoo joined 2/11 & has 3 comments

    hi maangchi,
    Last sunday,i searched on google with code word”kimchi recipe” and happened to find your website.I spent an hour to read all your posts.Let me say one word about them AWESOME!!!And,of course i read both whole napa cabbage kimchi and mak kimchi too.I tried to make both of them.They turned out so great!I really want to make kaktugi too.But i’m just a beginner so step-by-step direction is very important to me.
    Could you post a recipe for only kaktugi in the future,plz!
    I’m looking forward to your answer,
    Have a nice day!

  18. Do you know the recipe to Bon Chon Chicken? I love your website btw!

  19. Unnie, unnie! is this similar to chicken from Chicky Pub or something?? i love that kind of chicken, i used to buy it often when i was still in Seattle *-* i’ve moved to Perth now, i wanna try to make this but it’s hard to find decent Asian markets to shop in here :( plus ever since mom came to visit me, i never cook anymore because she did it for me. now that she’s gone, i must do the cooking myself again, and i’m kinda afraid that i’ve forgot how to do that… ^^;; one question, are all ingredients you mentioned a must? what substitutes can i use, or what can i skip if i couldn’t find something from the list? hope you can answer soon because i can’t wait to try this recipe! :D

  20. eyw8888 Bayside, New York joined 4/10 & has 2 comments

    I made this last nite and boy o boy was it DEELISH! Thank you Mangchi for another great recipe!

  21. jaylivg Houston joined 7/10 & has 107 comments

    This was very delicious !! My husband loves it and he said he can eat korean fried chicken everyday ! LOL
    Although i didn’t use potato starch , instead i used corn starch , but it still comes out delicious and crunchy . Thanks Maangchi for another awesome recipe !

  22. philm00x Winter Park, FL joined 1/11 & has 2 comments

    My wife and I just tried this at home tonight, and it was AMAZING! Although, we used chili sauce instead of hot pepper paste because we couldn’t find it, but the flavor was just outstanding. Hot enough but not tongue-numbing, and you could still taste the flavor of the spices. We are definitely going to use this recipe more often!

  23. Shimako Romania joined 1/11 & has 3 comments

    I’m curious,why does the chicken has to be fried two times?if you fry it once for a longer period of time don’t you get the same result?
    I don’t have much cooking experience so I’m sorry if I asked something obvious ^^

  24. Sandy Bell Jordan joined 12/10 & has 14 comments

    Maangchi’s chicken looks delicious

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

    Dear Maangchi, sunday morning here, I am sitting here with a cup of coffee, reading the news, then I open your website and see this amazing recipe. Plus at the end of the recipe you greet us in Italian, what do I want more…?
    Kamsahamnida for all your videos, 감사합니다!

  26. mokpochica Michigan joined 1/09 & has 89 comments

    Yay! I sent my husband a link to this recipe last night and to my surprise he called me about an hour later asking “What is rice syrup” because he was already at the Korean store buying the ingredients. He made the recipe last night and it was awesome. We were both happy as clams eating it. I think hubby had been craving this since seeing it advertised at a restaurant during our trip to Chicago on New Year’s Day, so he was especially happy.

    I remember another Chicken place that always makes me laugh—Smoper Chicken. The sign was a green smurf. I remember how funny I thought it was when I finally figured out that Smoper was the Korean way to write Seu-muh-peu, the Korean approximation of Smurf. I have a picture of their storefront somewhere in my albums…

  27. shedorvin KY joined 10/09 & has 3 comments

    Thank you for posting this recipe. It is one of my favorites from my time in Korea. The restaurants always served this chicken with little cubes of white radish. How do I make that?

  28. JamieF New Zealand joined 1/11 & has 120 comments

    All done and eaten. Absolutely amazing. This is the best chicken dish I have ever eaten! For those afraid of the hot pepper paste – don’t be – it is actually quite mild. Thanks Maangchi for the best chicken recipe on earth!

  29. Tequila Malaysia joined 7/10 & has 15 comments

    Uses corn syrup again! Gotta be extra careful this time. hehe…
    My son loves fried food. Will try this recipe once I manage to get all the ingredients. Thanks for sharing it with us. :D

  30. JamieF New Zealand joined 1/11 & has 120 comments

    I am making this right now – so far the recipe is perfect (as are all of the things I have cooked by Maangchi so far). I can’t wait to eat it! The Korean lady at the Korean market laughed when I handed her a shopping list with ingredients in Korean (copied from here) and asked her for help!

  31. garpu Seattle joined 4/09 & has 5 comments

    Question about frying chicken from when I made your other recipe…when you’re frying it and it bubbles like it’s frying, but sticks to the bottom, does that mean the oil is too hot? (The chicken bits didn’t stick when I put the first batch in.)

    Can’t wait to try this one!

  32. Mikura New Haven, CT joined 6/09 & has 8 comments

    You posted this just in time for the upcoming Super Bowl. Now I know what I’m going to make for it….thanks for the recipe!

  33. JamieF New Zealand joined 1/11 & has 120 comments

    Would it be okay to have this with kimchi and other vegetable sides from your recipes? The chicken looks amazing and I am going to make it tonight. It will be my third recipe of yours which I have cooked – the other two were perfect and everyone loved them! My first time cooking Korean.

  34. BxlSprout Brussels, Belgium joined 5/10 & has 46 comments

    Maangchi’s chicken looks absolutely delicious! I know it would taste wonderful made with vegetarian chick’n or wheat gluten. Mmm! Thanks for perfecting and sharing your recipe.

    • BxlSprouts Brussels, Belgium joined 5/10 & has 3 comments

      Finally I’ve done it! :) Maangchi and friends, I’ve just put Maangchi’s sauce over a batch of oven-roasted gluten (wheat meat) for an easier and lower-fat method than deep-frying produces. It smells heavenly. Replying now, a little early before trying the finished dish, as my little ones are napping :)

  35. Jenneida Bronx, New York joined 5/09 & has 4 comments

    The sauce almost looks like a dipping sauce my boyfriend’s family uses for gyoza but they use Tabasco sauce and no syrup. This looks so good I can see this recipe in my house in the future ^_^ Thank you for the recipe

More comments to read! Jump to page: 1 2 3 5

Leave a Reply

You must create a profile and be logged in to post a comment.