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. martik777 Vancouver, BC Canada joined 12/18 & has 2 comments

    I used some really old hot pepper paste, like years old, but it looked and tasted ok, not quite as red as your photos. Is it ok to use un refrigerated Gochujang ?

  2. gooshipsam Seattle, USA joined 9/22 & has 1 comment

    Thank you for this recipe !! I have been visiting your site since 2012, when I followed your recipe to make kimchi.

    I decided to make yangnyeom chicken following this recipe and it turned out sooo good. ㄱㅅㄱㅅ

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  3. HKim Korea joined 8/22 & has 1 comment

    Came out great! Thank you Maangchi

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  4. Menna Egypt joined 4/22 & has 1 comment

    i really love ur recipes especially this one…its super tasty XD but i was wondering what side dishes can i serve with it to make it a more filling meal
    i was thinking to make the braised potatoes , white rice & spicy cucumber salad
    what do u think???? will these go well with it?? is there something better to use??

  5. danowen st andrews west, ont, canada joined 8/12 & has 2 comments

    I been using your recipes for quite a few years now probably once a month. I always use wings and use deep fryer double fried at six minutes each. Perfect. Any longer tends to over cook and dry out the wings. Great recipe and a favorite around here. Thank you so much

  6. TheTravelingFoodie San Francisco, CA joined 1/22 & has 3 comments

    This one is my crowd pleaser anytime I need to feed a gathering! No other Korean fried chicken recipe matches up! The absolute BEST!

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  7. AllieCK UK joined 9/21 & has 1 comment

    Just wanna say you are a genius! I only use your recipes to make Korean dishes and they pushed my cooking skills to the next level for sure!

    However, somehow I made a stupid mistake when making Korean fried chicken today, I mistakenly used tbsp instead of teaspoon for measuring lol… The chicken turned out OK, but I can still taste the extra baking soda in it (which has a weird bitter taste)… So I changed the sauce ingredients and made it extra sour and IT WORKED!

  8. Madhu1010 USA joined 11/19 & has 3 comments

    I didn’t have any chicken, so I tried this with potatoes and O. M. G. Finger-licking good! So crispy and flavorful. I will definitely try this recipe again! Substitutions I made were: potatoes instead of chicken, golden syrup instead of rice syrup, and rice vinegar instead of white vinegar. So good!

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  9. katgirl1709 Canada joined 5/21 & has 1 comment

    This is a grear recipe, thank you. It was the best fried chicken ever. I make it a month ago and will do so again soon. I just made the sauce to soon, so it ended up to thick and sticky. Also I will need to word on my oil temperature. I may have had the heat to high. ;) new stove.

  10. AisyaHermosa Malaysia joined 2/21 & has 3 comments

    Tqsm maangchi for delicious recipe!! Had used your recipe many times, but this is 1st time i post my cooks here. I’d tried several 양념통닭 recipe, but this the best. It suits with me, hubby & frens/relative tastes. I add on 1tbsp 고추가루 to make it spicier. Love to make extra sauce & put in fridge, so when I’m not around, hubby can fried Frozen fried chicken & just coating with this sauce

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

    Your fried chicken recipes are to die for. Much better than Kentucky kfc. My husband requests Korean kfc like once a week. I think our family favorite is the honey butter flavor kind. It really is chicken candy. Almost like a fancy version of Cracker Jack caramel popcorn. One time I ended up making extra sauce, and did not label it so when we rediscovered it in fridge a few days later, someone thought it was caramel for ice cream. U know, it was pretty good on ice cream too!!. All of them r great though. Got any new fried chicken versions coming soon?
    Consider this an enthusiastic request
    Love your site.
    Kimchis have all been delicious too.

  12. dsladek Edinburgh joined 7/20 & has 1 comment

    Dear Maangchi,

    Thanks for the recipes! We’re enjoying Korean food in Edinburgh!

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  13. Zuhal Turkey joined 5/20 & has 1 comment

    HI Maangchi! I’ve just found your lovely website and have made a few recipes already like the kimchi and bulgogi! I made the fried chicken and it was amazing! My only problem is that I use a small pot and fry the chicken in two batches. But then the cornflour that is in the ends up burning and leaves dark brown pieces in the oil. What can I do?

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

    Thanks again Maangchi for another delicious recipe. I have used your recipe several times already! :)

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