Recipe: Spicy Korean Grilled Chicken

updated May 2, 2019
4th of july
Spicy Korean Grilled Chicken
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Spicy Korean chicken legs on a white platter
(Image credit: Alice Choi)

Hot off the grill, this spicy Korean chicken will not disappoint. Using chicken drumsticks and chicken thigh meat doused in a spicy, flavorful marinade, this grilled chicken needs to make an appearance on your dinner table soon!

(Image credit: Alice Choi)

The summer is in full swing and I’m loving every minute of it. Not sure if it’s the fact that we get to wear shorts and flip-flops, the kids are out of school, there’s an abundance of ice cream and homemade Popsicles in the freezer, or that we can get out and enjoy the sun and nice weather — whatever it is, summertime is awesome and it’s my favorite season. And for me, summer is synonymous with being outdoors and grilling.

I love everything about grilling. Firing up the grill, smelling whatever deliciousness we have going on, and also seeing my husband with his grilling utensils in hand. There’s something about a man who can grill. Too bad he won’t wear the cool apron I got him.

And the best thing? When it’s his turn to grill, I get a night off from cooking and can just sit back with a drink in hand and relax.

July 4th is right around the corner and the only way my family knows how to celebrate is by inviting friends over and grilling. So kick back, grab a cold one, and fire up that grill. If you like chicken, you’ll love this Spicy Korean Chicken recipe.

Wishing everyone a safe and fun July 4th holiday! I hope it’s filled with lots of food and great company. Enjoy!

(Image credit: Alice Choi)

Spicy Korean Grilled Chicken

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 2

    small to medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped

  • 4 to 5

    garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 cup

    soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup

    gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)

  • 2 tablespoons

    packed light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons


  • 1 teaspoon

    brown or regular rice vinegar

  • 1/4 cup

    toasted (Asian) sesame oil

  • 3 pounds

    bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (I used drumsticks and chicken thighs; see Recipe Note)


  1. Combine the onions, garlic, soy sauce, gochujang, brown sugar, honey, rice vinegar, and sesame oil in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Place the chicken in a large zip-top bag and pour the marinade in, making sure all of the chicken is covered. Seal the bag and lay it flat in a large, shallow pan or on a plate. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight, flipping once the bag through.

  2. When ready to cook, prepare a charcoal grill for high, direct heat and indirect heat, or heat a a gas grill to high. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place skin-side down over direct heat. Cover and cook for a few minutes until grill marks appear. Flip the chicken, cover, and cook until grill marks appear.

  3. Move the chicken to indirect heat if cooking on a charcoal grill. If cooking on a gas grill, reduce the heat to medium. Cover and grill, flipping the chicken every 3 minutes, until cooked through, no longer pink inside, and the thickest part of the meat registers 165°F, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Marinating tip: For more flavorful chicken, prick each piece of chicken just a couple of times with a fork before marinating. This helps the marinade penetrate the skin. You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if desired.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.