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18 June 2021

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.

We’re cooking up another very quick and easy recipe that is sure to please the spicy food lover in you, my friends. When you’re slammed with work and need to get dinner on the table fast, this is a recipe for you.

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. I know you get it.

We all get that way from time to time. For some of us, it’s MOST of the time.

SO! This is why we need recipes like this one in our back pocket. I’m talking Spicy Korean Chicken. It’s very quick and easy to make, 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. That’s hard to beat, isn’t it?

No one ever said a great meal with great flavor had to take a long time to cook.

Korean Chicken in a bowl with rice

Spicy 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.

Spicy Korean Sauce in a bowl

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 we make spicy Korean chicken, shall we?

Spicy 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)
  • Sriracha.
  • Rice Wine Vinegar.
  • Hot Sauce. 
  • Seasonings. Garlic, ginger, spicy chili flakes, salt and ground black pepper.
  • FOR SERVING: Cooked white rice, fresh herbs, green onions, sesame seeds, extra sliced peppers

Korean Chicken in a bowl with rice, ready to serve

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.

Chicken marinating in a spicy Korean sauce

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.

Cooking chicken in a hot pan to make Korean chicken

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 Korean Fried Chicken.

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, bok choy, so many other options. Also, try it with noodles instead of rice. Great stuff!

Let me know how you like it! — Mike H.

Try Some of My Other Popular Chicken Dishes

Korean Chicken in a bowl, ready to serve

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.

Korean Chicken Recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Spicy Korean Chicken Recipe

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.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Marinade Time1 hr
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, Korean, one pot
Servings: 4
Calories: 331kcal

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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!

Video

Notes

Serves 4
Heat Factor: Hot if you make it my way, though you can easily tame the heat with milder hot sauces and a milder gochujang.
See: gochujang chili paste and The Hottest Damn Hot Sauce I Ever Made!

Nutrition

Calories: 331kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 215mg | Sodium: 1694mg | Potassium: 661mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 220IU | Vitamin C: 7.7mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 2.6mg

NOTE: This recipe was updated on 6/18/21 to include new information, photos and video. It was originally published on 5/26/18.

 

16 comments

  1. 5 stars
    I did this tonight and it was beyond fantastic. Easily now in my top ten things to cook! Instead of stir-frying the chicken thighs, I grilled them over lump charcoal and pecan wood until they were 180 F internal. (This also gets them a lovely char on the outside.)

    Additionally, I made a second batch of the marinade, with which I heated up to boiling and added 1 tbl of corn starch mixed with 1 tbl of water. This thickened the marinade into a nice sauce that also had a lovely brick-red color.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Outstanding, Michael. I love what you’ve done here! Nice.

  2. Thanks for the prompt reply, my chicken is marinating and looking forward to this one. I have tried a few of your recipes and have been thoroughly impressed with the results, especially the buffalo chicken, my friends really enjoyed it. All your efforts pay off handsomely

  3. Just a quick question, the recipe says mix all the ingredients together and marinate, but it also says to heat up a pan and add the olive oil, did I miss something? Does the olive oil go into the marinade or kept separate for the frying?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Ian, it’s totally fine to put the oil in the marinade, though a little oil in the pan will just help to make sure things don’t stick. I made and update to the recipe to make it clearer. Thanks!

  4. Jennifer Buksa

    I haven’t made the Korean Chicken yet but was wondering why it so high in fat. The only thing I can attribute to this is the skin on the chicken thighs. I have never purchased Sriracha or Gochu sauces; maybe they contain a lot of oil.
    Thank you for a great website. I am a hot’n spicy freak and have managed to convert my husband as well.

    Jennifer Buksa

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Jennifer. It’s from the chicken skin. I recalculated the recipe with skinless chicken thighs and the fat content is MUCH lower. I typically use skinless chicken thighs for this recipe. I hope this helps. Great job on converting your husband! The more the merrier! Take care.

  5. Debbie Lea

    Hi, I’m making this today and my chicken is marinating now. When you fry up the chicken do you fry it with all the marinate? Or toss it?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Debbie, dump the whole thing into the pan, marinade and all. Let me know how it turns out for you. I hope you enjoy it.

      1. Debbie Lea

        5 stars
        Thank you! I dumped the whole thing in the pan :). It turned out amazing! So much flavor with the right amount of heat. My daughter loved it and she doesn’t care for chicken thighs. She went back for seconds. My husband loved it as well. It was so easy to make too. I wasn’t sure about the chili paste because I never used it before but wow what flavor!! Thank you for all your recipes! I’ve made a few :).

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          Outstanding! THANKS, Debbie! I’m super happy your family loved it. I appreciate the comments.

  6. 5 stars
    I bought gochujang because of you! You seemed to love it so much!
    I didn’t know exactly wich fresh herbs you meant, Mike, so I used cilantro and mint.
    I wanted to use non-deboned chicken thighs, so I used a slow cooking, but it was very different, looked like grilled.
    For hot sauce, I used my own reaper one.
    And for extra sliced pepper, I used jalapeño.
    …This was gorgeous, well-flavoured Mike, thank you!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Perfect, Jeremie. Yes, I love gochujang, and use it very much. Such a great flavor. I usually leave the choice of herbs up to my readers, though I often use cilantro and/or parsley for general cooking. Mint would be great here as well. Glad you enjoyed it!

  7. Larry Root

    We can’t get enough of this dish. We use coconut milk to make the rice, and leftovers are gone the next day at noon. Spices up nicely.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thank you, Larry. I’m happy you enjoyed it.

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