Oven Fried Korean Popcorn Chicken, a slightly healthier, much easier, take on Korean style fried chicken. Inspired by the food carts found on the streets in Seoul. Breaded in corn flakes, oven baked, and finished with an addicting sweet and spicy Korean inspired BBQ sauce. This chicken is sure to be loved by all. Serve with steamed rice and a plate full of stir fried veggies for an easy dinner that’s different, delicious, colorful, and full of flavor.
Oh how this recipe takes me back to one of my favorite memories in life…this time last year in South Korea for the 2018 winter Olympics. I’ve said it so many times, but I am so grateful for those memories. And even more grateful that I was able to experience them with my favorite people. I can’t believe that I was this close to skipping out because I needed to stay home and work. I mean, I always knew in my mind there was no way I’d miss watching my brother compete in the Olympics, but I toyed with the idea for sure.
Glad I got smart, played the supportive older sister role, and dragged my butt onto the 16 hour flight. Because without a doubt, that will be a trip I will never, ever forget. Lost bags and all…
It really just goes to show me that I can’t always put work first. I think I need to remember that now more than ever. So thanks to the post, and to this recipe, for helping me to regain some perspective.
Now, let me tell you about this popcorn chicken. Which as you’ve probably guessed, was inspired by my time in South Korea.
After Red had competed, it was time for a few of my family members and I to head home. We decided to spend a day in Seoul before our flight back to LA. Even though we only spent 24 hours in Seoul, I can truly say that it is such a cool city. Full of so much culture and energy. The outdoor street markets were my absolute favorite. They had everything from fresh produce, to homemade dumplings, to waffles stuffed with ice cream (and the waffles were shaped like fish). Of course, they also had the most delicious fried chicken, tossed in Korean style BBQ sauce.
The dumplings, which I’ve now made a couple versions of here on HBH, were definitely one of my favorite foods. But the Korean chicken was equally amazing.
With the 1-year of anniversary of our trip falling on both this week and last. I thought it was the perfect time to recreate the Korean chicken. Hard to believe I didn’t make this sooner, but oh my gosh, I’m sure glad I finally did.
It. Is. The. Best.
First, I’m not really sure how traditional this is, as I didn’t base it off of any particular Korean fried chicken recipe (I really couldn’t find any). I just want to put out there that this is my take on the chicken we had on the streets in Korea. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s pretty dang close, and more importantly, pretty dang delicious…and probably healthier too!
To start, you need to bread the chicken. I use my go-to method…tossing the chicken in a little buttermilk, then coating it in finely crushed corn flakes. The finely crushed corn flakes are KEY. They really give the chicken an authentic “fried” taste and texture, without actually frying the chicken.
Tip? Pulse the corn flakes in the food processor to really break them down into a fine crumb.
Next, bake the chicken in the oven until it is crisped all over. My secret is to gently dab/brush the chicken with olive oil before it bakes. This helps the coating to really crisp up nicely in the oven.
While the chicken is baking, make the sauce. The sauce is the absolute heart of the recipe. It’s sweet, spicy, and probably my family’s favorite sauce of all time. The important ingredient is Gochujang (Korean chili paste). It’s spicy with a little sweetness, and it’s extremely flavorful. You can find it here on Thrive Market.
Drizzle or toss the chicken with the sauce, sprinkle with sesame seed, and EAT. I love serving this with steamed rice and veggies for a complete meal. But this chicken makes for a really fun appetizer too.
I really can’t tell you enough how much I love this chicken. It’s so delicious, addicting, easy, and a recipe that truly everyone will love. Plus it’s pretty easy too!
Favorite part about this Korean chicken though? That it takes me back to a really special time. I love when recipes bring back the best of memories.
If you make this oven fried Korean chicken, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Watch the How To Video:
Oven Fried Korean Popcorn Chicken.
Calories Per Serving: 1048 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch cubes
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3 cups finely crushed corn flakes
- 3 tablespoons whole wheat or all-purpose flour
- black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
Korean BBQ Sauce
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1-2 tablespoons Gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- green onions, chopped, for serving
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- 1. Add the chicken to a gallon size zip top bag. Pour the buttermilk over the chicken. Toss well to coat. 2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.3. Add the corn flake crumbs, flour, and a pinch of pepper to a medium sized bowl. Stir to combine.4. Remove each piece of chicken from the buttermilk, and dredge through the crumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the chicken has been used. Make sure not to crowd your pan, if necessary use two baking sheets. Lightly brush the chicken with olive oil. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.5. Meanwhile, make the Korean BBQ Sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, honey, Gochujang (Korean chili paste), rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly into more of a glaze. Remove from the heat. 5. Brush or drizzle the chicken generously with Korean BBQ Sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve warm Enjoy!
This was very good! Everything took a bit longer than the expected times to get to the right textures but it was worth the wait. A crowd pleasing dish! Served it with kimchi, pickled cucumbers, sesame broccoli plus an order of dumplings from a local Korean restaurant. Made extra, hoping it’ll heat up well for lunch tomorrow.
Fantastic! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! xTieghan
Very much enjoyed this! Made this tonight for dinner with rice and roasted broccoli. I did substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce in the sauce and it was great! I doubled the chicken dredged with the cornflake mixture and froze half on tray lined with parchment. Excited to have this on standby. Thank you!
Happy Friday!! Love hearing that you enjoy this recipe, I so appreciate you giving it a try! xxT
Love Tieghan and normally love her recipes but I agree it was too salty for me sadly! That being said my boyfriend loved it so I guess it’s just preference. If it was me I would cut the soy sauce in half of maybe ever experiment with only adding a couple of tablespoons.
So sorry to hear this, did you use low sodium soy sauce? Let me know if I can help in anyway! xTieghan
I made this before and I loved it, but this time it was too salty for me too. I did use regular soy sauce because my husband buys it by the gallon. Do you have any conversion advice for making the sauce with regular soy sauce? Maybe just extra water or would you do like a tablespoon more of everything else? Thanks for your advice! Your recipes are genius!!
Thanks for trying the recipe! So sorry, regular soy sauce definitely adds more salt, I am afraid water would just water down the sauce, I would stick with low sodium soy sauce. xTieghan
I tried the sauce again (never too much!) and halved the soy sauce but kept everything else the same. I think it turned out ok! I suppose you could always add more to thin or to taste 🙂 once this gallon is gone I’ll grab low sodium!
Thanks so much for making this recipe and sharing your feedback, I love to hear that it was enjoyed!! xTieghan
Can I use panko instead of the cornflakes? (Sorry if this has already been asked). Looking forward to trying out this recipe.
Sure, Panko would work well for you. I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan
Outstanding recipes! I did use Chicken Thighs rather than breasts. My family LOVED it and said this was one of the best dishes I’ve made in several weeks. I added more salt and pepper than called for in the corn flakes and flour mixture. I also added some onion powder to the corn flakes/flour mixture. I served it over Trader Joe’s white organice jasmine rice paired with broiled broccoli (which I cooked at the same time as the chicken) and sliced persimmons .
Personally I did not get a good result from this recipe – I don’t quite know what I did wrong. Instead of brushing with olive oil I coating with canola oil spray, but I don’t think that should be the problem. I ended up with chicken being undercooked even after quite a bit of time baking, while the breading was becoming burnt.
So sorry to hear this, was there anything you adjusted in the recipe? The canola oil spray definitely could have burnt the breading, next time I would try using olive oil. xTieghan
Enrico, I used a spray bottle with olive oil to spray the chicken. I have found the spray bottle with olive oil to be a very helpful tool in the kitchen. I also made sure none of my chicken nuggets were touching each other.
Can you use wings with this recipie?
Sure! I would just increase your baking time accordingly. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know how it turns out! xTieghan
Unfortunately I found the sauce extremely salty and strong 🙁
So sorry you did not enjoy the recipe, please let me know if I can help in anyway! xTieghan
This is the second time I’ve made this recipe and just love it. I discovered the other “oven fried” chicken recipes at the bottom of the post and am excited to try them too.
I am so glad the recipe was enjoyed, thank you for making it! xTieghan
These were delicious and easy to prepare! I’ll definitely be using this recipe again.
I am so glad you have enjoyed the recipe, thanks so much for making it! Have a great week! xTieghan