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. JoyceWu Taiwan joined 7/12 & has 6 comments

    hello Maangchi,
    Love your recipe I try make this before.
    All my friend like this^^
    May I know if I wanna make 시리즈 the method is same like this one just dont need mix
    with sause?

  2. stormyp Liberty Township, Ohio joined 7/12 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,
    I love all of your recipes, my husband and I were stationed in Seoul for 4 years and I really miss the food. Your recipes really help me out, I have a question for you where did you get the indoor grill you used to make the LA galbi can you get one of those here in the states?
    Thank you!!

  3. mrs.cam Guam joined 6/12 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi, thank you for this recipe! I made this tonight and it looked and tasted so good, I forgot to take a picture before the kids and I ate it all up! I will make this again for the hubby when he gets back from training. I’ll remember to take a pic then! lol. Fan for life, Mrs. Cam

  4. chubchiii ._. joined 6/12 & has 1 comment

    Hello!:) Amazing recipe! I just tried out this recipe today and it was awesome:D Just curious, i was looking at the dakgangjeong recipe and I realise that the batter for the chicken is different (for that recipe you used 2 eggs and didn’t use sweet rice flour and baking soda). How will it affect the outcome of the fried chicken?

  5. ec[email protected] Winnipeg Mb joined 4/12 & has 1 comment

    Thank you for the recipe, I cook it last saturday and it taste good, it seems I’m in Korea again , this is one of the food I miss and also kimchi, I will try to make it next week, I want to visit Korea someday

  6. KerrBear New Jersey joined 4/12 & has 1 comment

    I just made this tonight and HOLY CANNOLI! I have had a lot of great sauces, but I think this just became my new favorite! It was AMAZING!!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this! Oh how I wish you would come cook with me! :)

  7. mel1223 kuala lumpur joined 3/12 & has 1 comment

    Ever since I stumble onto your blog while looking for tteokbokki recipe, I have fallen in love with all your recipes! The steps you shown are so easy to follow and it has always been a successful cooking attempt each time I followed through u ^^

    This dish is so mouth watering and I been craving for it for so long so I am gona try to make it real soon. Just one question – if I am unable to find Kosher salt (is this different from the normal salt we used for all other cookings?), what is the replacement for it? (I stay in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, not used to seeing this term here, so not sure if I can find it)


  8. faye_chen bali joined 3/12 & has 1 comment

    Thank you Maangchi! I am so going to try this recipe ^^ It’s one of my boyfriend’s (and mine, after he introduced me to korean famous two-two chicken) favourite dish. Will post the picture if I succeed!

  9. lmhjgsfever Hungary joined 1/12 & has 18 comments

    언니 감사합니다

    this was a hit with every one that tried it, it was gone in minutes thanks for another hit

  10. tantr33 Indonesia joined 8/11 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi! I really really love ur recipe especially this Yangnyeom Tongdak recipe :) I really want to make it but here is very difficult to find Gochujang, can I skip that or is there any alternative ingredient? Thank you so much Maangchi!! I have watched almost all ur recipes!! Keke~~ ^^ Gamsahamnida, Annyeonghaseyo!! :D

  11. yuvalerie Rockville, Maryland joined 2/12 & has 1 comment

    HI Maangchi! i really love this recipe, but i think there’s a typo on step 2. I think it’s suppose to be 1 ts of ground black powder not 1 tbs.

  12. sangtran Houston, TX joined 2/12 & has 1 comment

    I mom recently passed and I used to make your recipes when she was sick. It brought her comfort just like when she grew up on her old Korean farm…Your style of cooking was very similar to hers. I love this recipe! Can I make this a DAY IN ADVANCE? If so, how do you think I can reheat it without drying it out?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      Oh I’m sorry to hear about your mom! You used to cook for her when she was sick? You are such a nice daughter!

      “Can I make this a DAY IN ADVANCE?” I wouldn’t make this dish in advance. It’s best right after making but it will be ok to make several hours in advance. If you have to make it one day in advance for some reasons, keep it in the fridge and roast it in the oven.

  13. INDO170845 Jakarta, Indonesia joined 2/12 & has 1 comment

    can I use corn starch instead of potato starch?????

  14. Ryan Germany joined 7/11 & has 14 comments

    Hey Maangchi,
    I am craving for this recipe but I don’t have sweet rice flour on hand, with what can I substitute it (maybe rice flour or even plain flour) ? Another question, can I just skip the baking soda, because I don’t really like to eat something chemically (or factory-) made things, will they be still crispy and crunchy ?
    Thank you !

  15. yukialia Singapore joined 2/12 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    I’ve tried this recipe, friends & family likes it..
    I love all your videos, as you teach step by step & easy to follow for me
    as i’m a beginner in cooking.
    Thank you so much for the recipes.

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