Korean Style Chicken Wings

Great Sea's Chicken Wings. If you're a Chicago foodie, you know what I'm talking about. There's this Chinese restaurant in the Albany Park neighborhood of Chicago called Great Sea. They offer the standard Chinese American fare but the draw of this place is their Korean style chicken wings, interestingly enough. Their super crispy and crunchy chicken wings are perfectly glazed with this amazing sweet, garlicky, yet subtly spicy sauce. I've wanted to crack the secret to their wings for years, searching for a recipe that could even come close. Well, I'm done searching. I've found the recipe for Korean Style Chicken Wings I've been looking for and learned the secret to the unmistakable crunch these wings are known for...

Who doesn't love a good chicken wing? They're the perfect meaty, flavorful snack and best consumed when watching a game, right? I made this recipe as we watched the most recent Chicago Bears vs. Greenbay Packers football game and they were a hit. Crunchy, sweet and a subtle spice... total umami if you ask me! I soon found out that the secret to crispy chicken wings is cornstarch.

These wings start out by seasoning them liberally. I seasoned them with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder since those are typically my favorite seasonings. Once seasoned, the wings get dredged in cornstarch and placed in a strainer so that any excess cornstarch can be removed. It's especially important that the wings have only a thin coating of cornstarch. Next, a simple wet mixture of cornstarch and water is made and the wings are dipped in this batter just before frying up. It seems that the cornstarch really gives the chicken a shattering crisp coating. When the chicken wings are fully cooked and done frying, they are transferred to a wire rack and set aside.

Meanwhile, a sweet garlicky sauce is made either in the microwave or stovetop. Sugar, soy sauce, water, minced garlic, rice vinegar and a touch of sriracha sauce is the magic combination for the most perfect sweet and spicy sauce, giving these chicken wings that Korean touch. Garnish with some sliced scallions, and you've got yourself the homemade version of Korean Chicken Wings! You can also adapt this recipe for fried chicken as well.

Korean Chicken Wings
recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated The Best Ever Recipes

3 quarts vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
3 1/2 pounds bone in chicken wings
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup water
1 recipe for Sweet Soy & Garlic Sauce (recipe follows)
2 scallions sliced thin on a bias

Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with wire racks; set aside. Measure 2 inches of oil into a large Dutch oven or deep fryer and heat over medium high heat to 350 degrees.

Sift 1/2 cup of the cornstarch into a wide shallow dish. Set a large mesh strainer over a large bowl. Pat the chicken wings dry with paper towels and season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Working with several pieces of chicken at a time, coat all the chicken pieces thoroughly with the cornstarch, then transfer to the strainer and shake vigorously to remove all but a thin coating of cornstarch. Transfer the chicken to one of the wire racks.

Whisk the remaining cup of cornstarch, water, and 1 teaspoon salt together in a large bowl to form a smooth batter. When the oil is hot, finish coating the chicken by adding half of the chicken to the batter and turning to coat. Using tongs, remove the chicken from the batter, 1 piece at a time, allowing any excess batter to drip back back into the bowl. Add to the hot oil.

Fry the chicken, stirring to prevent the pieces from sticking together and adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain an oil temperature of 350 degrees, until the chicken begins to crisp, turns slightly golden. Continue cooking until the chicken turns a darker shade of golden brown to fully cook. Repeat with the remaining half of chicken by battering and frying.

Once fully cooked, transfer all the chicken to a large bowl, drizzle with the sauce and gently toss until evenly coated. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, sprinkle with scallions and serve. You could also serve up the chicken once they're all fried and drizzle the sauce over as garnish instead of tossing completely to coat.

Sweet Soy-Garlic Sauce

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce

Combine all the above ingredients together in a small sauce pan over medium heat until syrupy. about 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before service. Alternately you can prepare this in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for about 5 minutes. Remove from the microwave and set aside to thicken.


  1. These look SOO good! These will be perfect for watching the games this coming weekend! Thanks for sharing and thanks for sharing the secret!

  2. Umm, YUM! You can't go wrong with wings!!! These look fabulous!!!! I've never had Korean wings, this is for sure a must try!

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    Jaime and Jen

  3. That looks great. I love the sauce.

  4. Geez, those look amazingly good!

  5. Hi Joelen, these sound great. Do these taste anything like the wings at Crisp in Chicago? Thanks - Ariana

  6. Ariana, yes! They're pretty similar to the chicken wings at Crisp! :)

  7. I've been looking for Korean Fried Chicken recipe, can't wait to try this, Thanks for sharing!

  8. Korean cuisines are definitely tasty, thanks for the post! it surely helps me.

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  9. These are some of the best wings ever! I loved this recipe!

  10. yummy i am hungry for some spicy kicked up wings!