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. Vey Indonesia joined 6/17 & has 12 comments

    Thank yuo so much for recipe, my mom n niece also my friends love it so much.. me too, although i must change some ingredients that i can’t find here but the taste reallyyyy yumyyyyyy

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  2. aagigas Canada joined 6/17 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! I’ve been loving your recipes! I just got back from 5 days in Seoul, and wanted to make this recipe for my family to show them just how great chimaek is! This tasted exactly like the huge plate of chicken that defeated me on my first night, and it was so nice to know that I’ll be able to make it whenever I want! I made up 3 pounds of wings, but forgot that that increases the amount of surface area that the sauce would need to cover. If I made this much again I would definitely double the sauce recipe!

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  3. Kanenas London joined 3/17 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi your recipes are to die for; I made a big batch tonight for my sister and her fiance and there was none left!

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  4. Yviseins Germany joined 2/17 & has 2 comments

    can I use chicken breast too? I’m on diet and the skin is much fat.
    Do you know where to get your new book for a good price? I’m poor. Sorry

  5. zulixia UK joined 2/17 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,

    So glad I found your channel ^_^ ! Ever since I went to Seoul, Korean food has become one of, if not my favourite food! Everything I ate in Korea was amazing but I’ve never been able to re-create yangnyeom chicken at home, it never came out right or the sauce was wrong.

    I tried your recipe and it was AMAZING! I felt like I was back in Seoul again :) . I will try your buldak and tteokkbokki next ^^ !

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  6. John in Baton Rouge Baton Rouge Louisiana joined 12/16 & has 40 comments

    This looks so delicious, with the wonderful spicy sweet sauce… I’m thinking I wouldn’t limit it to chicken. I may buy some nice boneless thick center cut pork chops and cube them :)

  7. Haan Qatar joined 12/16 & has 2 comments


  8. armytransguyvirginia Wakefield, VA joined 2/17 & has 2 comments

    Sorry meant to say I’m now retired from the US Army.

  9. armytransguyvirginia Wakefield, VA joined 2/17 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi I have been watching your videos since I was stationed at Aviano Airbase, Italy and at Camp Carroll from Jun 2013 to Sep 2014, Last night I used your
    recipe last night my company I’m not retired from the US Army is having a party today and last night I made 75 wings, they taste awesome and I’m sure will get rave reviews.

  10. sanne Munich joined 8/14 & has 268 comments

    새해 복 많이 받으세요!

    After all, it’s the year of the fire rooster… ;-)

  11. R Morrissey Maryland, USA joined 1/17 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,

    Thank you so much for the recipes. those are the best fried chicken ever. everybody loves it :)

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  12. Hana_Ya Los Angeles joined 11/16 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi! How would you make this spicier? More hot pepper paste? Korean Chili Flakes? Thank you for teaching me how to cook Korean food so tasty, my Korean parents are SHOCKED!

  13. BHunt87 Dover Delaware joined 6/16 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi!,

    I made your fried chicken recipe today for my friends and we loved it! It was so flavorful, crunchy and tasty! I’ll definitely be making this again!

    See full size image

  14. ShanileM Western Pennsylvania joined 8/16 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,
    Is it possible to make this recipe without sweet rice flour and potato starch?

  15. qikhoo Malaysia joined 5/16 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    Look ! This is my 2nd time do the spicy fried chicken. My husband very love this.
    Thanks for your recipe.

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