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Air Fryer Korean Fried Chicken

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Skip takeout tonight, and instead make Air Fryer Korean Fried Chicken! Air fried chicken thighs are wonderfully crispy and tossed in homemade gochujang sauce, then placed atop a heaping portion of asian pear and Napa cabbage slaw.

Chicken thighs are tossed in sauce and topped with scallions and sesame seeds.

Korean fried chicken is so addicting and once you have it, you seriously won’t be able to quit it. I don’t know what they do to them but the coating is ridiculously crispy and so the sauce flavors are so good.

I have always wanted to make them at home and well, I did and I’m blown away.

I have two magical words for you – air fryer. Seriously, I don’t know how we all survived without these things! I’m obsessed with how perfectly it always cooks my chicken.

Air fryer recipes are the best because they preheat in no time, and always make the crispiest, juiciest chicken.

Besides just being air fried to perfection, these chicken thighs are tossed in what may truly be the most mouthwatering sauce EVER. Authentic, delicious ingredients like gochujang paste, sesame oil and soy sauce (along with so many other tasty ingredients) are mixed together to create an unforgettably good Korean sauce.

Do you think I’m finished with just the chicken and sauce? Of course not!

Why not go the extra mile and make coleslaw… only better. Asian pear and Napa cabbage slaw is sweet with ingredients like asian pear, tangy with apple cider vinegar and boldly fresh with cilantro and ginger.

Vibrant orange sauce covers cooked chicken thighs.

Ingredients

For the fried chicken, you’ll need:

  • Chicken thighs – Boneless and skinless work best for this recipe.
  • Buttermilk – You’ll need just enough to cover the chicken thighs.
  • Flour – Use plain all-purpose flour for the best results.
  • Paprika – This seasoning gives the chicken wings some extra color and flavor.
  • White pepper – This earthy pepper is a bit stronger than black pepper.
  • Salt – As always, use just a pinch of kosher!
  • Avocado oil – This will be used to spray the air fryer basket. You can also use vegetable or olive oil in a pinch.

The gochujang sauce calls for:

  • Gochujang paste – Head to your local Korean market for the most authentic paste if you’re not lucky enough to find it in a supermarket.
  • Sesame oil – In a pinch, coconut oil can be used, be sesame oil really is the best.
  • Apple cider vinegar – White wine vinegar can be substituted if you’re all out.
  • Soy sauce – If preferred, keep things low-sodium with tamari or low-sodium soy sauce.
  • Worcestershire sauce – This powerful ingredient compliments the other bold flavors wonderfully!
  • Yellow mustard – A plain, normal yellow mustard is perfect. No need to whip out the dijon!
  • Honey – I personally like to buy organic honey from the local farmer’s market, but the cute little bear from the grocery store will also do the trick.
  • Garlic powder – You can toss a little extra in there if you really love garlic – I won’t tell!
  • Water – Just enough to thin the sauce and coat the chicken.

The cabbage slaw requires:

  • Napa cabbage – Slice it nice and thin for the best slaw consistency.
  • Asian pear – These pairs are very aromatic and have a perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors.
  • Ginger – Use freshly grated ginger for the boldest flavor.
  • Cilantro – This is another ingredient that I sometimes toss a little extra of into the mix!
  • Apple cider vinegar – Really, could you make any kind of slaw without it?
  • Sugar – Plain white granulated sugar works best, but if you’re feeling fancy, try using coconut sugar!
  • Salt
  • White pepper
A piece of chicken is placed on top of pear slaw and a tortilla

How should I serve air fryer Korean fried chicken?

You’ll need corn tortillas to tie everything together! Simply top the corn tortilla with the fresh slaw, then a piece of warm chicken, and enjoy. Oh, and don’t forget the extra chopped green onions and sesame seeds on top, of course!

You can also have them traditionally without the corn tortillas too and just eat them as is without the taco setup!

Another great option is to serve the Korean fried chicken with homemade kimchee!

Chicken, tortillas, slaw, and extra sauce are all placed on a table.

Is this air fried chicken recipe spicy?

The gochujang paste in the sauce certainly adds a kick, since it’s made with red chile pepper flakes.

However, I find that these tacos are just the right level of spicy that’s enough to make your mouth water – not go numb! If you’d like to make it spicier, though, just add a little more gochujang paste to the mix until you reach the desired level of heat.

A corn tortilla is topped with slaw, chicken, and extra sauce.

Check out more of my favorite Korean-inspired recipes!

Korean Bulgogi

Korean Galbi Bowls

Slow Cooker Korean Tacos

Spicy Korean Pork Pizza

Homemade Japchae

Air Fryer Korean Fried Chicken

Air fried chicken thighs are wonderfully crispy and tossed in homemade gochujang sauce, then placed atop a heaping portion of asian pear and Napa cabbage slaw.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Marinate time: 12 hrs
Total Time: 12 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 8 chicken thighs
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Ingredients 

For the fried chicken:

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into halves
  • 4 cups buttermilk, or enough to just cover the chicken pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Avocado oil spray

For the gochujang sauce:

  • ½ cup gochujang paste
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup water, or enough to thin sauce to coat chicken pieces

For Asian pear & Napa cabbage slaw:

  • 6 leaves of Napa cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 1 large Asian pear, cut into thin sticks
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper

To serve and garnish:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Chopped green onions
  • Sesame seeds

Instructions

For the fried chicken:

  • Remove bone from chicken thighs, keeping the skin intact. Cut thighs into halves
  • Place chicken pieces in a medium bowl and soak in buttermilk for 12-24 hours. Ensure chicken pieces are submerged
  • When you are about ready to air-fry the chicken, mix dry ingredients in a shallow dish
  • Dredge soaked chicken pieces in flour mix and make sure all surfaces of the chicken is covered. Place breaded chicken on a wire rack and let stand for 10-15 minutes so that the buttermilk and flour form a crust on the chicken. Repeat process for remainder of chicken pieces
  • Prepare Air-fryer basket by coating in olive oil spray, and arrange chicken pieces in the basket. Do not crowd the basket so the chicken can fry to golden brown and crispy. Spray chicken with avocado oil
  • Set air-fryer to 375 for 10 minutes, flipping after 5 minutes. Spray any white flour spots that remain on the chicken. After full 10 minutes, check whether chicken is golden brown and fully cooked. Add an additional 3 minutes if necessary. Set aside cooked chicken on cooling rack, repeat process for the remaining pieces
  • Pour sauce over air-fried chicken while still hot and garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds, if desired

For Gochujang Sauce:

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Continue to whisk and add water until you have achieved a semi runny consistency. This is a great BBQ sauce for chicken and pork dishes and can be stored in a jar in the fridge for 7-10 days

For Asian Pear & Napa Cabbage Slaw:

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix with hands until all ingredients are thoroughly tossed together. Keep in fridge until ready to serve

To serve:

  • Warm up the corn tortilla on a griddle / frying pan or over flame on the gas stovetop. Scoop a spoonful of the pear & cabbage slaw and top with fried chicken. Spoon more sauce and garnish over chicken if desired.

Notes

It is important to let chicken pieces stand for 10-15 minutes after breading so the buttermilk and flour combined can form a crust on the chicken. Place breaded chicken on a wire rack/cooling rack, not on solid flat surface to ensure breading stays on the surface of the chicken.
Do not crowd the chicken on the basket or on air-fryer rack to make sure there is plenty of space for hot air to circulate.I am using the Instant Pot Air Fryer lid attachment to make this recipe and each basket  can fit 4 pieces comfortably.
Cooking time depends on your air fryer. If in doubt, use less cooking time and keep checking the chicken and adding more cooking time until they are crispy, flipping them over so that the other side can get crispy as well.

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 chicken thigh | Calories: 388 kcal | Carbohydrates: 46 g | Protein: 28 g | Fat: 11 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 121 mg | Sodium: 1490 mg | Potassium: 608 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 28 g | Vitamin A: 428 IU | Vitamin C: 5 mg | Calcium: 166 mg | Iron: 2 mg

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: air fryer, air fryer chicken, air fryer recipes
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