Crispy Chicken Wings, Korean-Style

In our Korean Chicken Wing recipe, which calls for a blend of Wondra and potato starch, you could use just potato starch, but your wings might turn out cakey, and if you leave them out for your party guests to enjoy, they might get soggy over time. Wondra really increases their crispiness, so much so that on the rare occasion that there are some leftovers from the batch made the day before, we eat them cold. Wondra flour is readily available in the U.S., but if you live elsewhere, we recommend ordering it online.

—Sam Fahey-Burke, Development Chef

Tips & Substitutions

For Prepping the Wings:

  • You can find both michiu rice wine and monosodium glutamate (MSG) at Asian grocery stores.
  • MSG, which adds a savory flavor called umami, is the salt of glutamic acid. It is an amino acid, and thus it is found in many foods, such as parmesan cheese.
  • No scientific studies have linked MSG with health problems, but some people feel like they have a negative reaction to it. Feel free to leave it out. For more on the science of MSG, see page 1·213 of Modernist Cuisine.
  • If you can’t find michiu wine, you can substitute sake, dry white wine, or a mixture of three parts water to one part vodka.
  • Wondra flour can be found at any grocery store in the U.S. If you live outside of the U.S., we recommend ordering it online.

For Deep-Frying the Wings:

  • Warm the wings to room temperature before frying.
  • If you have a deep fryer, you can use that instead of a pot on the stove.
  • The frying temperature in this recipe is slightly lower than some of our other chicken wing recipes because the Korean-style marinade is higher in sugar, and we want to avoid over-browning the batter.
  • Make sure you have an accurate thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil.
  • It will take roughly seven minutes for the wings to cook in the oil. This may change, however, depending on the size of your pot or fryer. The more oil there is in the pot, the less it cools when the cold wings enter it, and so the shorter the cooking time.
  • Cook in small batches to help minimize the cooling that occurs when you add the wings.
  • Fill the pot no more than half full in order to avoid spillovers. That being said, make sure you also use enough oil that the wings float and do not touch the sides of the pan. A large, deep pan is best.
  • Don’t get too close to the oil. Use tongs, a slotted deep-frying spoon, or a frying basket to insert and remove the wings.
  • Never use water, flour, or sugar to put out a grease fire. And do not try to carry a flaming pot outdoors. Use baking soda, a damp towel, or a fire extinguisher specifically designed for grease fires to suffocate the fire.
  • Drain the wings on paper towels to remove excess fat.

For the Korean Wing Sauce:

  • You can find gochujang (fermented chili paste) and Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine) at Asian grocery stores.
  • If you cannot find Shaoxing wine, you can substitute medium-dry sherry. Do not substitute mirrin as it is too sweet.
  • Whisk the ingredients together until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  • You can serve the sauce hot or cold. If you are coating the wings with the sauce, it is best to heat the sauce to room temperature.
  • We devoted an entire chapter to chicken wings in Modernist Cuisine at Home, with recipes for Sous Vide Buffalo Wings, Crispy Skinless Wings, and Boneless Yakitori Wings. We also have recipes for accompaniments, including Chinese Garlic Chili Condiment, Blue Cheese Sauce, Yakitori Sauce, Buffalo Sauce, and Honey Mustard Sauce.

15 Responses to “Crispy Chicken Wings, Korean-Style”

  1. Brian M says:

    There’s a discrepancy between the video and the recipe in this post. In the video, the wings are pulled out of the marinade and then dredged in the flour mixture. But in the recipe and the pictures the flour mixture is added to the wings/marinade to form a wet batter. Which is correct? Or does it make a difference one way or the other?

  2. Leah says:

    Oh, I’m so excited to make these wings!! I went to the Asian grocery today for the ingredients. I was directed by a clerk to the Shaoxing and Michiu. I realized when I got home that they are the “cooking wine” versions, which contain salt. I am curious if the recipe should be made with this version or the traditional wines you would drink? If it’s the latter, I guess I can cut out the added salt and a little bit of the soy sauce?

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  3. Brian Mac says:

    The e-mail blast says “And not to worry: no deep-fryer required for these wings” yet the recipe calls for the wings to be deep fried (step 6). Is this a discrepancy or are there other ways to cook the wings?

    • Judy says:

      Hi Brian,

      Thanks for your question. No deep-fryer is needed because it is possible to deep-fry these wings on your stove in a pot of oil. See the tips for deep-frying for more information, or see “How to Deep-Fry Without a Deep Fryer” on page 27 of Modernist Cuisine at Home for even more on this.


  4. KH says:

    I’d love to order some Wondra, but I noticed that the place you suggested for ordering internationally is Amazon. Amazon doesn’t usually ship grocery items overseas. I tried adding it to my cart to see if the policy had changed, but I was definitely denied when I tried ordering it. Do you know of any other sources to order Wondra online?

  5. chris says:

    I made these but omitted the frying/batter and grilled them. They were amazing! This is the best sauce I have found in years. Next time I’ll use the batter and fry them. I’m curious how a mixture of plain flour and cornstarch would work. Luckily I had the substitutions when needed for the marinade and sauce.

    • Rosebud says:

      I’m having trouble getting Wondra – it’s cheap enough but postage to Oz is tooooo expensive. I used the recipe from the MC @ Home, sous vide buffalo & added potato starch, the result was amazing. This is the first I’ve brined anything! Yum.

  6. walkie74 says:

    I made this with drumsticks and thighs instead of chicken wings, and tripled the ingredients. It was amazing! My husband told me that the sauce could beat out anyone else’s :) Just wish I’d come up with it myself! Next time, I’ll do the wings.

  7. learner says:

    So what should the oil temperature be after all? Thanks.

  8. maximon says:

    hai, i live in indonesia and we don’t have wondra is there any flour that i can use to change wondra flour.. thx..

  9. Howard says:

    Strange, I thought I had posted a comment on this some time ago.

    Anyway, I was wondering how you guys arrived at the proper amount of oil to use in the marinade. When it came time for me to add the potato starch and Wondra, the amount of oil prevented me from getting a uniform batter on the wings. The batter instead turned into a stringy mesh so it was quite the exercise trying to get the wings to have a decent coating on them.

    Unless, of course, I measured the amount of oil incorrectly…

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