Sweet, sour, & spicy Korean fried chicken

Yangnyeom-tongdak 양념통닭

Hi everybody!
I wanted to update my recipe for yangnyeom-tongdak Korean fried chicken which I originally posted in 2011 after so many people requested it, even back then. Now millions of people have used and enjoyed the recipe and I’ve included it in my cookbook too. I’ve been making this for decades so I really wanted to make an improved HD video for the recipe with a few improvements I’ve developed over the years, as well as proper measurements. This new version is almost the same as the one in Real Korean Cooking, with just a tweak to the amount of flour used.

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. The history of yangnyeom-tongdak is not long, starting 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


Fry chicken:

  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 it 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 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 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.
  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

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  1. ngyep Russia joined 8/19 & has 3 comments

    I’m sorry I have commented wrong recipe…

  2. SungHero03 Louisiana joined 3/18 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi,
    I am in Korea now, teaching English and I wanted to be able to make Yangnyeom Chicken at home instead of ordering it. Every time I try to make it, the coating for the chicken is too thick and clumpy. I’m doing it exactly as the recipe says… Can I add water to the batter to make it lighter? What do you suggest?

  3. Yash India joined 6/19 & has 4 comments

    Hi maangchi!
    I made yangnyeom-tongdak today for Father’s Day for my dad and my Husband who is celebrating his first Father’s Day :) I used chicken wings and used only cornstarch coating like u did in your dakgangjeong recipe. And used this sauce. It turned out so delicious that we all enjoyed and had an amazing lunch. I also made gamja salad.

    See full size image

  4. juniper89 Daegu, Korea joined 1/14 & has 3 comments

    Hey Maangchi! I’m planning on making this soon and wanted to know how I can add ddeok to it. When I lived in Korea, I used to go to the local chicken shop and get Yangnyeom with ddeok! It was crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle, could I fry it, then add it to the chicken and sauce?

  5. I never use ketchup because I find it unnecessarily overly sweet and kept avoiding this dish because all recipes seemed to use it. Hoping for best, I skipped the rice syrup and added hot pepper flakes using your video with FIrstWeFeast and it had a delicious balance of savory, spicy, and sweet.

  6. jyoo214 Seattle, WA joined 7/18 & has 1 comment

    Thank you so much for this recipe, Maangchi! Your recipes are always amazing and bring so much happiness to our family. As someone diagnosed with Celiac disease, I make modifications with gluten-free flour instead of regular flour. This has allowed me to eat delicious Korean fried chicken at home!

  7. Lashayya.K United Kingdom joined 7/18 & has 1 comment

    I made this for my family yesterday and they loved it (it was spicy for them but perfect for me hehe) Thank you Maangchi!

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  8. Ondrejsrb London joined 5/18 & has 1 comment

    Hi, I have combined this and your other way to make Korean chicken. I have used corn starch and an egg and it worked brilliantly. Love Korean food. Love at first bite.

  9. NoAngel815 Northern Illinois joined 2/18 & has 1 comment

    Do you think I could make this in an airfryer? I can’t eat foods fried in oil anymore but I love this dish!

  10. daphishere Corona, California joined 2/18 & has 3 comments

    This recipe is so yummy! I’ve made it twice and loved it! Mine turned out so good.

    See full size image

  11. LittlestBiscuit Toronto joined 1/18 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! I just wanted to say I really love this recipe :) I made it for my boyfriend as my first meal in my new apartment with some hoddeok for dessert and we both loved it! I made it for my parents too when I went home for Christmas and my mom asked for the link to the recipe :D

  12. Cornelius B. Ecuador joined 12/17 & has 42 comments

    I made this one last week: it´s really super deliciousss! Only added a tsp. of minced ginger to the sauce: that made it perfect!

  13. philpogi philippines joined 9/17 & has 1 comment

    maangchi! why do u use sweet rice flour together with potato starch? both of them has strong binding agent right? just kinda confused ^^ pls let me know your answer

  14. Rym NL joined 9/17 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi, If I wanted to make the sauce just a bit more spicy, what would be the best way? Thanks!

  15. eliiem Mexico joined 8/17 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi! I really love your recipes and I want to try this one, but I have no way of getting hot chilli paste or some of the ingredients to make it. Is there any other ingredient I can use instead? Thank you!!!!

    • Applesugarcookin New zealand joined 10/19 & has 2 comments

      Hi, I know I’m not maangchi but I use this recipe a lot and find that you can replace it with either chili flakes or paprika, the paprika is less spicy and you need to put in a little more in but it’s kinda close to the outcome of putting chilli paste in?
      Just a suggestion.

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