This spicy Korean chicken recipe is quick and easy, made with gochujang, sriracha, soy sauce, spicy chili flakes and more. On the table fast! Perfect served over rice.
Korean Chicken Recipe
We're cooking up another very quick and easy recipe that is sure to please the spicy food lover in you, my friends.
As much as we all love spending time in the kitchen, some days it just isn't possible. Everyone is busy with work and life and everything else.
This is why we need recipes like this one in our back pocket. I'm talking Spicy Korean Chicken. It's quick and easy to make, a great combo of sweet and savory, and you're going to love it.
It's got a nice level of spice to it and it's ready and on the table in only 10 minutes once you start cooking.
No one ever said a great meal with great flavor had to take a long time to cook.
Korean Chicken Marinade
The hero of this recipe is the spicy Korean chicken marinade. You essentially marinate your chicken in a spicy, saucy mixture of soy sauce, gochujang sauce, sriracha, rice vinegar, your favorite hot sauce, ginger, garlic, spicy pepper flakes and a bit of salt and pepper.
If you're looking for a sweeter marinade, add in a bit of brown sugar or honey. Sesame oil is a nice addition as well.
The key is to get the marinade going the night before. This will make cooking the meal a snap. Get the marinade going before you go to bed, or in the morning before you leave for work.
Marinate the chicken in a bowl or baggie, then cover and refrigerate. It will be ready and waiting for you when you get home.
However, if you're strapped for time, you'll still get a good level of flavor marinating for 30 minutes, so it is definitely worth doing.
Making Korean Chicken is ridiculously simple, and the GREAT thing about it, aside from being so easy, is that you can easily adjust this to your preferred heat level, which is discussed below in the recipe notes section.
Let's talk about how to make Korean chicken, shall we?
Korean Chicken Ingredients
- Chicken. Use 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, chopped (Or use chicken breast, or both!)
- Oil. For cooking. Olive oil, peanut oil or other vegetable oil are great. Try it with sesame oil.
For the Korean Chicken Marinade:
- Soy Sauce.
- Gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- Rice Wine Vinegar.
- Hot Sauce.
- Seasonings. Garlic, ginger, spicy chili flakes, salt and ground black pepper.
- Cooked white rice, fresh herbs, green onions, sesame seeds, extra sliced peppers.
How to Make Korean Chicken - The Recipe Method
Marinate the Chicken. First, add the chicken pieces to a large bowl with all of the marinade ingredients and stir it up until all of the sauce is nicely combined and coating every bit of chicken.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Overnight will get you the most flavor. I usually get my marinade going either the night before or the morning of.
Cook the Chicken. Heat a large pan or large skillet to medium heat or medium-high heat and add the olive oil.
Add the chicken, stirring here and there, until the chicken is cooked through and golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Much like a stir fry. They will be tender and juicy.
Serve. Serve over rice with fresh herbs, extra pepper flakes and peppers!
Boom! Super easy recipe, isn't it? Ready and on the table in 20 minutes. I love a nice easy recipe, especially one that is as packed with flavor as this one.
I often prefer to make it this way rather than deep frying the chicken, which is more like this Korean Fried Chicken Recipe.
Korean chicken is definitely one my favorite quick recipes. I greatly enjoy Korean food. Great for weeknight cooking. Such a great recipe. I love it over steamed rice or fried rice.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Gochujang. If you haven't cooked with gochujang chili paste yet, go get some now. It's my new favorite ingredient. SO. GOOD. See my recent post: What is Gochujang and Why You Need it Now. There are different levels of heat with gochujang, so your choice can affect the overall heat level. You can find many different types and heat levels of gochujang at most Asian markets, though I have been finding some brands more and more in my local grocery stores in the international section. You can also order some online.
- Heat Factor. Mild-Medium. Feel free to use whatever hot sauce you believe will work best if you prefer a hotter version. I feel a simple Louisiana style hot sauce is in order here. Patty happened to be out for the evening, so I made mine EXTRA SPICY by using this hot sauce in the recipe - The Hottest Damn Hot Sauce I Ever Made. You can also up the heat with sliced serrano peppers or other hotter peppers, though again, the choice is yours based on your preferred heat level.
- Sweet Factor. You can add in a bit of honey to make this recipe more sweet, or use brown sugar or agave nectar. Sometimes I enjoy a bit of sweetness, which really plays nicely in conjunction with the spiciness.
- Marinating Times. How Long Do You Marinate Korean Chicken? Marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour, but overnight will gain you more intense flavors. You can get away with a quicker marinade if needed, but you won't get as much flavor penetration. 30 minutes will get you decent flavor, though, so even if you're strapped for time, it is worth doing. Wait for as long as you can the day of the cook. Then, once you're ready to cook, just cook the chicken up in a pan or on the grill and you're good to go. Super easy! Works great with chicken wings, too.
- Serving Suggestions. I like to serve mine over rice with some fresh herbs and extra chili flakes. You can also toss in some vegetables of choice and make this more of a stir fry recipe. Some ideas include chopped peppers, broccoli, snap peas or snow peas, edamame, sliced cabbage, spicy kimchi, bok choy, so many other options. Also, try it with noodles instead of rice. Great stuff!
Storage & Leftovers
Store any leftover Korean chicken in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 5 days. You can reheat it in a pot on the stovetop to enjoy again.
You can also freeze it in freezer containers for 3 months or longer.
Let me know how you like it! -- Mike H.
Try Some of My Other Popular Chicken Dishes
If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you'll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don't forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I'll be sure to share! Thanks! -- Mike H.
Spicy Korean Chicken Recipe
- 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for cooking
FOR THE MARINADE
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons gochujang chili paste
- 2 tablespoons sriracha
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of your favorite hot sauce I used some of this – The Hottest Damn Hot Sauce I Ever Made!
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon spicy pepper flakes + more for serving
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- FOR SERVING: Cooked white rice, fresh herbs, extra sliced peppers
- Add the chicken to a large bowl with all of the marinade ingredients and stir it up until all of the sauce is nicely combined and coating every bit of chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Overnight will get you the most flavor.
- Heat a large pan to medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the chicken, stirring here and there, until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Serve over rice with fresh herbs, extra pepper flakes and peppers!
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 6/18/21 to include new information, photos and video. It was originally published on 5/26/18.