Gochujang Chicken is an easy and delicious Asian Roast Chicken. This popular Korean chicken recipe is the perfect flavor explosion for busy weeknight dinners, Sunday lunches, Thanksgiving or even Christmas!
⭐ Why This Recipe is a Star
- This Gochujang Chicken is a flavorful and hands-off 1 pot meal: roast the chicken with cut vegetables and you get a nutritious, filling meal! A much healthier but still delicious alternative to Korean Fried Chicken! You can marinade the chicken before work then pop it in the oven when you're back- a great recipe for busy weeknight dinners!
- Versatile: the extra spicy gochujang sauce marinade can be used as a dip or spicy burger spread (but you must boil it down first!) And any leftover meat can be incorporated into this 15-minute spicy fried rice recipe!
It's a perfect chicken dinner recipe for Date Night!
What is Gochujang?
It's a red, fermented Korean chili paste which has a deep flavor. It's not meant to be eaten on its own but is usually mixed with other ingredients to make stews or sauces in Korean cuisine.
In fact, it's the building block of many Korean recipes as the fermentation process gives it a unique flavor which is a little sweet, a little tangy, a little spicy and full of umami.
You can also use it in fusion dishes. For example, you can mix it with mayonnaise as a dipping sauce or sandwich spread, bake it with butternut squash or serve it with pan-fried salmon and even spaghetti noodles!
Some of the key ingredients you will need for this gochujang chicken recipe are:
- chicken: I use 1 whole chicken as it's more economical but you can use other chicken parts as well. The cooking time will change though (See substitutes below on how to use chicken thighs instead. You can also use chicken breasts but I'm not a fan as they're rather flavorless!)
- gochujang paste: get the 1 in the tub which is unseasoned and not the one in the squeeze bottle! If you like Korean cooking, this condiment is a must-have in your pantry. (It's pretty mainstream now so you can find it in regular large supermarkets. If not, head over to the Asian grocery store or online.) If you can't get it, try 1 of these gochujang alternatives. The ingredients should go well with sambal oelek too but the final dish would taste totally different.
- Mirin: you can substitute with soju and sake but add extra sugar as mirin is sweeter.
- Sugar: some recipes go for honey but heat destroys honey's benefits so I find it a waste and use white sugar instead. (I have not tested the recipe with maple syrup yet.)
- Rice Vinegar: do not omit the vinegar! The acidity lifts the flavors in the sauce. You can use white wine or apple cider vinegar instead but not lemon juice. I've done that substitution and it tastes flat!
- Sesame Oil
- Neutral Vegetable Oil: do not substitute with 100% sesame oil as sesame oil burns easily!
- Garlic Cloves and Fresh ginger
- Green onions and sesame seeds for optional garnishes.
Substitutes & Variations
- For more flavor: You can stuff the chicken, just before roasting. I used ⅓-1/2 cup of aged, sour kimchi mixed with 1.5 garlic bulbs. Alternatively, rub some kimchi aioli in the chicken cavity!
- For a whole meal: I sometimes add ½ garlic bulb and 5 carrots, cut into rounds, under the marinated chicken to maximise my use of the oven. Feel free to use white potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash or even parsnips instead of carrots!
- Alternative stuffings: use a kimchi rice stuffing to make it a one-pot meal! (Carrots (veg/ fibre) + chicken (protein) + rice (carb)!)
- For a quicker cook: you can roast gochujang chicken thighs instead of a whole bird. (Place them skin side up.) This will bake at 425°F (218°C) for 25-35 minutes, or till the juices run clear when cut at the thickest part. (If you have a food thermometer, the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat should be 165F/ 75C (or 175 F for dark meat.)
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
- Mix the marinade ingredients in a small bowl till well-combined.
- Place the chicken in a large bowl and rub well with the spicy sauce then refrigerate for 1-8 hours. (Make sure to rub the inside of the chicken cavity too even if not stuffing it! See above for stuffing suggestions.)
Tip: you can place chicken on top of vegetables to roast at the same time. The chicken juices will drip onto the vegetables and make it more flavourful!
Note: Do not put the vegetables next to or above the chicken as they will release water and steam the chicken. You won't get a nice crisp skin!
4. Pre-heat the oven.
Remove the chicken from the fridge around 30 minutes before baking (or long enough for it to come to room temperature.)
Bake for 30 minutes then cover with aluminium foil, and roast for another 1 hour or till the juices run clear when a knife is inserted into the thickest part.
5. Rest the cooked whole chicken for 15-20 minutes before carving.
Optional: Boil the marinade over medium heat or medium-high heat for several minutes to kill any bacteria. You can use it as a spicy glaze or salad dressing.
Tip: To get crispier chicken skin, broil the chicken for 1-2 minutes after applying extra boiled-down marinade. (Make sure not to leave it in for too long as the sauce has a lot of oil which could catch fire!)
🥡 How to Store
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
Tip #1: If you don't have the fermented Korean paste, you can use 1 of these gochujang paste substitutes or DIY your own by mixing 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes with 2 tablespoons white miso paste (or doenjang), 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 tablespoon light soy sauce.
Tip #2: Shred any leftovers. The bones can be made into stock for soondubu jjigae or kimchi jjigae and the meat can be wrapped in perilla leaves and bao buns!
Tip #3: If you like spicy food, you can adjust the spice level by using more Korean red pepper paste or add gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) in the gochujang marinade.
💭 Recipe FAQs
Steamed white rice, kimchi fried rice, stir-fried wok-choy, roasted sweet potatoes, cucumber salad, Korean jjiggaes, gochujang squash fries and kimchi all go well with this dish.
🥗 Other Korean Recipes
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Korean Gochujang Chicken
- Knife and chopping board Substitute: grater
- Dutch oven Substitute: Baking tray
- 1 whole chicken 2-3 pounds. Cooking time will vary with the size of the chicken ! You can use other chicken parts as well. The cooking time will change though (See substitutes below on how to use chicken thighs instead.)
- ¼ Cup Korean Gochujang Paste
- ¼ Cup Neutral Vegetable Oil Can substitute with olive oil.
- 2 Tablespoons Light Soy Sauce Substitute: fish sauce.
- 1 Tablespoons White Granulated Sugar Substitute: honey
- 1 Tablespoon White Rice Vinegar Do not substitute with lemon juice- it doesn't taste as good! (I've tried.) Use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar instead.
- 1 Tablespoon Mirin Substitute: the same amount of sake or soju but increase the sugar used to 2 tablespoons.
- ½ Tablespoon Sesame Oil
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and grated
- 1½ inch ginger grated. Substitute: ½-1 teaspoon ginger powder but it won't have the same zing.
- Sliced spring onions
- ½ Tablespoon White sesame seeds Lightly toasted
- Whisk the marinade ingredients till well-mixed.
- Coat the chicken well and marinade for at least 1 hour but no more than 8 hours/ overnight (or the chicken flesh will break down due to the acid in the sauce.)Tip: Make sure to rub the inside of the chicken cavity too even if not stuffing it! See above for stuffing suggestions.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge around 30 minutes before baking (or long enough for it to come to room temperature.)
- Pre-heat the oven at 356F/ 180C /160C fan.
- Bake for 30 minutes then cover with aluminium foil, and roast for another 1 hour or till the juices run clear when a knife is inserted into the thickest part.
- Rest the cooked whole chicken for 15-20 minutes before carving.
- Optional: Boil the marinade over medium-high heat for several minutes to kill any bacteria. You can use it as a spicy glaze or salad dressing.To get crispier chicken skin, broil the chicken for 1-2 minutes after applying extra boiled-down marinade. (Make sure not to leave it in for too long as the sauce has a lot of oil which could catch fire!)
- Optional for a well-balanced meal and to maximise the baking: you can place vegetables under the chicken to roast at the same time. The chicken juices will drip onto the vegetables and make it more flavourful! Do not put the vegetables next to or above the chicken as they will release water and steam the chicken. You won't get a nice crisp skin!
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