Crispy Chicken Wings, Korean-Style - Modernist Cuisine

Crispy Chicken Wings, Korean-Style

Recipe • January 25, 2013

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


Korean Chicken Wings, Step 4

Dust the marinated chicken wings with Wondra and starch, and then stir to form a thin batter, coating the wings evenly.

Korean Chicken Wings, Step 5


Deep-fry the chicken wings until golden brown, about seven minutes.

Korean Chicken Wings, Step 6


Drain the wings on a paper towel to remove excess fat.

Korean Wing Sauce


Whisk the sauce ingredients together until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Korean Chicken Wings, step 8


Toss the wings with the sauce until the wings are thoroughly coated.

Chicken wing cropped

These wings are best served hot, but we’ve been known to eat them the next day right out of the refrigerator.

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 1ยท213 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.