Let’s make some Korean fried chicken! Dakgangjeong (닭강정) is a deep-fried crispy chicken dish glazed in a sticky, sweet, and spicy sauce. This recipe uses bite sized boneless chicken pieces, so it cooks up very fast in shallow oil. It’s the easiest Korean fried chicken you can make at home!
Whenever I go to Korea, I try to enjoy as much Korean fried chicken as possible. There are so many delicious variations! Dakgangjeong is a big part of the Korean fried chicken culture, and some of the best dakgangjeong places are in traditional markets and streets of Korea, sometimes with long lines.
Koreans often enjoy fried chicken with beer, and that combination is called ChiMaek (치맥), chi from chicken (치킨) and maek from maekju (맥주, the Korean word for beer). Hope you make this chicken dish and enjoy your chimaek at home.
You can easily double or triple the recipe for a bigger crowd. Great for a potluck or a party. The chicken stays crispy!
Dak means chicken in Korean. Gangjeong is a type of traditional Korean confectionery. It’s made by deep-frying sweet rice batter into crackers, coating with a syrup, and finally covering with puffed rice, sesame seeds, or nuts. Traditionally, the similar concept/technique — deep frying and coating with a sticky syrup — is also used to make various other sweet and savory dishes. Dakgangjeong is the chicken version.
How to make sweet crispy Korean fried chicken
Dakgangjeong is traditionally made with a whole chicken cut up. Some people make it only with chicken wings. I usually use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe, but you can use breast meat if preferred.
To make this dish, I soak the chicken pieces in milk for a couple of hours, but it’s not absolutely necessary. This is a technique Koreans use to tenderize the meat and remove any gamey taste. The result is tender, juicy, and flavorful fried chicken.
Then, marinate the chicken pieces with a little bit of salt, ginger and garlic before lightly coating them with the potato starch.The potato starch creates a light, crispy crust for the fried chicken.
Sweet and spicy sauce
The sauce is sweet and tangy with a little spicy kick from the gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste). It’s far from fiery hot, but reduce or omit the gochujang if you’d like. You can replace gochujang partially or entirely with ketchup. It’s very common to use ketchup in a dakgangjeong sauce for a milder taste. Add more soy sauce if omitting or reducing gochujang.
You can also boost the heat level by simmering the sauce with a little bit of gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes) or whole dried red peppers.
Garnish with chopped nuts or seeds, if desired. Peanuts are common, but sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are great as well.
Tips for deep frying
- Use a deep medium size pot if available. You’ll need less oil than using a large pan with less splash of oil.
- Be sure the oil is sufficiently hot (330°F for this recipe).
- Do not overcrowd the pan/pot. Fry the chicken in batches.
- Be sure to reheat the oil between batches.
- Double fry! It’s the Korean way.
More Korean Chicken Recipes
Dakgangjeong (Sweet Crispy Korean Fried Chicken)Appetizer, Snack
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thigh and/or breast
- 1/2 cup milk optional
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- pinch pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon rice wine if not using milk
- 1/3 cup potato starch or corn starch
- oil for deep frying
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons rice wine or mirin
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon gochujang, 고추장 (Korean red chili pepper paste) Omit for a mild version and add 1 more tablespoon soy sauce (Also see note)
- 3 tablespoons honey or corn or rice syrup (use 4 tablespoons)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- pinch pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped peanuts or seeds
- Remove any visible fat. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.
- Soak the chicken pieces in milk for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. This step is optional.
- Drain well. Mix with the salt, pepper, rice wine (if you didn’t use milk) garlic, and ginger. Let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
- In a pan, add all the sauce ingredients, and stir well. Bring it to a boil. When it starts to bubble, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until it thickens slightly, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the heat off.
- Coat each chicken piece well with the potato (or corn) starch.
- Pour about 1 inch of oil in to a heavy bottom pan. Use a narrow and deep pan if available, When the oil is sufficiently hot (330°F), drop the chicken pieces in one at a time. Fry them in two batches. Overcrowding will drop the oil temperature too quickly. Cook until light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove and set them on a wire rack or a paper towel-lined plate.
- Reheat the oil to 330°F. Deep fry again until golden brown, about a minute or two. You can do the second frying in one batch.
This recipe was originally posted in March 2014. I’ve updated it here with new photos and minor improvements to the recipe.