Sticky Gochujang Chicken

5 from 15 votes
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Gochujang chicken with an irresistible sticky sauce. Crisp, succulent bites of chicken satisfy all takeout cravings in this easy 30-minute recipe.

Gochujang chicken and green beans in a shallow bowl ready to enjoy.

Easy And Delicious Korean Gochujang Chicken

This Gochujang chicken recipe combines the sweet and savory flavors of gochujang with succulent morsels of chicken that are coated and pan-fried fried until golden and crispy.

If you like Korean Fried Chicken, you’ll love this sticky, spicy chicken coated with a glossy gochujang sauce.

Why you’ll love it:

  • It has the effect of a deep-fried takeout dish while actually being a healthy chicken stir fry.
  • The heat level is great for kids, making it lip-smacking for the whole family.
  • Super quick and simple to make, and it’ll go beautifully with a bunch of different Korean and Asian sides. 
  • Easy mid-week dinner option with ingredients you can pick up in a jiffy.
  • This mildly spicy gochujang chicken recipe is also a real crowd-pleaser and is great spread out on a platter in the center of a big table.
Numbered photo collage of the first 4 steps for making gochujang chicken.
Numbered photos of the last 4 steps for making gochujang chicken.

Gochujang Chicken Ingredients 

Here are a couple of pointers on the ingredients in this dish:

  • Chicken thighs. This cut of chicken is juicy and full of flavor. You can do it as a gochujang chicken breast recipe for a slightly lighter version but it’s important to note that, due to the lower fat content, it’s likely to be less tender than the thigh meat.
  • Gochujang: this is a sweet and spicy Korean red pepper paste made with fermented rice, sugar, fermented soy and spicy red peppers. Here is a link to gochujang on Amazon so you can explore what some labels look like, but get it in your grocery store for much cheaper.
A container of gochujang paste to show the label.
  • Cornstarch (a.k.a corn flour). The cornstarch coats the chicken and insulates it with a yummy crust, keeping it super juicy inside.
  • Unsalted chicken broth. You can either make your own or purchase a good quality unsalted version. This ingredient really contributes to the lovely savory balance.
  • Avocado oil. This is the perfect oil to use as it has a high smoke point, so it won’t burn as quickly as other oils. It’s also pretty flavor neutral, so it won’t impact the taste intention of the dish. Peanut and sesame oil also stand up well to heat.
  • Brown sugar and honey. These contribute to the balance in the overall flavor profile. Use sustainably sourced palm sugar as an alternative. 
  • Soy sauce. Delivers the umami and salty goodness of this dish.

Best Gochujang Substitute

The most authentic gochujang replacement is a combination of miso paste and sriracha, with a little sugar.

Gochujang is not a hot sauce, it’s a sweet, spicy, slightly funky paste made with fermented rice and soybeans as well as chilli peppers.

If you use a hot sauce like sriracha or sambal oelek as a 1:1 gochujang substitute, your dish will have too much heat and acidity.

Hot sauces contain vinegar, and gochujang does not.

You’ll be missing out on the sweetness as well as the rich umami flavor of the fermented rice and soy beans as well.

For every 1 tablespoon of gochujang called for, swap in the quantities listed in this gochujang substitute recipe.

Taking a scoop of gochujang from the container.

How to Make This Tasty Gochujang Chicken Recipe

This incredible gochujang chicken recipe involves a couple of simple steps.

You start off by coating the chicken in cornstarch and then frying that off in shimmering hot oil. 

Next, you’re going to whip up the spicy gochujang sauce, and you’re pretty much there. 

View this short video here or watch the complete step-by-step video in the recipe card.

1. First off, toss the chicken with cornstarch and salt so that you coat everything evenly. 

Stir chicken with cornstarch.

2. Heat the avocado oil until very hot and cook the chicken in a single, even layer and leave them to cook, without moving them around, until deeply golden underneath. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes.

Cooking chicken with cornstarch.

3. While the chicken is cooking, whisk together the broth, brown sugar, honey, gochujang, and soy sauce. Set this all aside.

4. Push the chicken to one side of the skillet. Cook the garlic in the empty part of the skillet for about 2 minutes or until it’s soft. 

Adding garlic to one side of the pan.

5. Add the sauce and red pepper flakes to the skillet. Stir through the lovely chicken to coat, simmer and cook until the sauce has thickened. You will know the chicken is ready when the internal temperature reaches 165ºF

6. Top with green onions and serve.

What to Serve with Gochujang chicken

This lovely sweet and sticky chicken dish goes really well with steamed rice or a bowl of Korean fried rice. 

Traditionally, you’d serve this up with pickled radishes, kimchi, and a spicy cucumber salad

It’s just as good with a salad of lush lettuce with chopped-up cucumber and carrot. 

Gochujang chicken served with green beans.

Make Ahead Instructions 

This dish is pretty quick to whip up and has very little prep time as it is, but if you really want to tighten up the cook time, here’s what you can do:

  • Coat the chicken in cornstarch in advance. That way, it’s ready to cook when you are. Just remember to bring it to room temperature before doing so.
  • You can combine the broth, brown sugar, honey, gochujang, and soy sauce ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.
  • If you’re serving this dish with steamed rice, cook it the day before and reheat it in the microwave when you’re ready to serve. 

Storage Instructions 

Wait for the chicken and it’s sauce to cool to room temperature.

Once it’s cool, pack it in an airtight container. The chicken will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge.

You can absolutely freeze any leftovers as well. I prefer to bake or air-fry the leftovers to get that crisp texture back.

Adding honey to gochujang chicken.

Gochujang Chicken Variations 

  • Try making this sauce with baked chicken wings for a finger-licking snack.
  • This dish has a kid-friendly medium heat, but there are spicier versions of gochujang marinades. To make it spicier, add ½  Tsp red chili flakes, or to taste.  I love extra heat in my spicy gochujang chicken, as the spiciness is a perfect counterpoint to the sticky sauce, but I omit it for the kids.
  • You can swap out the chicken for shrimp or fish to make a seafood version of this. Of course, you won’t need to cook the shrimp for quite as long (Psst. try this yummy Boom Boom Shrimp if you love sticky-spicy shrimp recipes).
  • Try tofu as a vegetarian protein option with your gochujang sauce. 
  • Use toasted sesame seeds as a garnish.

FAQs

What does gochujang taste like?

The taste of gochujang can be described as spicy and sweet, with a little bit of funk (like miso paste) from the fermented rice and soybeans. It is a thick paste (thicker than tomato paste).

Should gochujang be refrigerated?

Once you have opened the packaging, store your gochujang in the refrigerator, sealed. 

Is Gochujang spicier than sriracha?

Gochujang is only about half as spicy as sriracha. The sweet and funky flavors in gochujang come through as much as heat, whereas sriracha has a biting heat and acidity.

What is the best substitute for gochujang?

To capture the sweet, spicy, umami and slightly funky flavors, the best gochujang substitute is a combination of miso, sriracha and sugar. See the exact ratio in the article above.

Can gochujang be eaten directly?

Yes, you can use gochujang by itself (raw, without cooking it) as a sweet, spicy condiment if you like.

Chicken cooked in a pan with gochujang sauce.

Pro Tips and Tricks

  • Do most of the cooking on the first side to ensure a crispy, golden exterior. Don’t flip it until it browns nicely on the first side (the second side won’t brown as much). The total time isn’t exact; just watch the color.
  • If you want to double the recipe, cook the chicken in two batches first and transfer both batches to a plate while you make the sauce in the pan. 
  • Key to good browning is: pan-preheated, preheated oil preheated, and dry chicken.
  • You can transfer the browned chicken to a plate before you add the garlic to the pan. Finish the sauce like this on its own (letting it reduce and thicken) before you add the chicken and simply toss to coat. This will ensure the chicken’s crust stays crispy (but you’ll have another dish to wash). 
Grilled Korean Short Ribs on a plate with green onion garnish.

Other Fan-Favorite Takeout Fakeout Style Recipes:

If you are as obsessed with Asian takeout like I am, you’ll wanna try some of these obsessively-good Takeout Fakeout recipes:

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5 from 15 votes

Gochujang Chicken

Gochujang chicken with an irresistible sticky sauce. Crisp, succulent bites of chicken satisfy all takeout cravings in this 30 minute recipe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 lb chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • tsp kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp avocado oil or other cooking oil
  • cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp gochujang
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 2 green onions sliced
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Instructions 

  • Toss chicken pieces with cornstarch and salt to evenly coat. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. Add chicken in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until deeply golden on the bottom. Flip and cook another 2 minutes (don’t worry about cooking it through yet).
  • Meanwhile, whisk together broth, brown sugar, honey, gochujang and soy sauce and set aside.
  • Push chicken to one side of the skillet. Cook garlic in the empty part of the skillet until soft, about 2 minutes. Add sauce mixture and red pepper flakes, if using. Stir through chicken to coat. Let it come to a simmer and cook until thickened, 2-3 minutes more. Chicken should reach 165ºF inside. Top with green onions.

Video

Notes

    • Best chicken to use: Use chicken thighs for tender and succulent chicken. Chicken breasts dry out too quickly.
    • Cooking tip: The pan should be preheated and the oil should be shimmering hot to get that golden brown crust on the chicken pieces.
    • Want more heat? Increase the spice level by adding 1/2 a tsp of red pepper flakes. Without them, this dish is a mild-medium heat. You can taste the finished recipe and add the red pepper flakes the end if you aren’t sure.
      •  
    • Gochujang substitute: For every tablespoon of gochujang called for, substitute 1/2 tablespoon of miso paste, 1/2 tablespoon of sriracha, plus 1/2 tsp sugar. OR substitute just sriracha, but use half the quantity (as it is spicier).

Nutrition

Calories: 507kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 824mg | Potassium: 354mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 239IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




20 Comments

  1. Louise says:

    5 stars
    Excellent !

    1. Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD says:

      Glad you liked it! 🙂

  2. Kim says:

    I’ve had gochujang chicken before, but never this well-balanced. It’s spicy but also sweet and savory. It’s such a great blend of flavors! I’ll be making this all week long!

  3. Beatrice says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is awesome. It was easy and delicious. I was a bit too liberal with my addition of red pepper flakes but it added nice heat to compliment the sticky sweetness. Definitely a keeper!

    1. Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD says:

      Hi Beatrice, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Haha yes you have to go slow when adding additional red pepper flakes.

  4. Amy Liu Dong says:

    5 stars
    I love this recipe! It is so easy and delicious and everyone in the house loves it!
    Thank you!

  5. jamie says:

    5 stars
    Oh my, this looks absolutely delicious and very enticing! That sticky sauce will add and boost the flavor and taste of this dish! I’ll definitely make this at home!

  6. Ann says:

    5 stars
    I have not tried gochujang chicken before. The recipe sounds delicious! Excited to give it a try!

  7. Gwynn says:

    5 stars
    The sauce on this chicken is absolutely delicious! Yum!