Air Fryer Korean Sticky Chicken Fingers — We all know that chicken fingers are a classic kid’s dish, but they’re also a great adult option for a fun and easy meal. This version of chicken fingers is made with a Korean-inspired sticky sauce, and the air fryer makes them crispy and delicious. Serve them with some rice and steamed broccoli for a complete meal. Enjoy!
Air Fryer Korean Sticky Chicken Fingers are amazing! Lightly battered chicken with a crispy, spicy, sweet coating!
My kids have loved this dish, and I have been making it for a long time, using one of the recipes I discovered in College. I believe it was in a local newspaper, but not sure. It has been rewritten several times since then. I have since converted the recipe into one of my favorite air fryer recipes.
Korean chicken is typically sold only in Korean restaurants. It makes sense, right? But many of us do not have a Korean restaurant near us, this was especially true when I went from living in Boston to a rural setting in New Hampshire, and boy, did I miss my Korean chicken.
If you are looking for even more Air Fryer Chicken Tender Recipes, some of my favorites are AIR FRYER RANCH CHICKEN BITES, AIR FRYER CHICKEN NUGGETS (CHICK-FIL-A COPYCAT), and AIR FRYER, DORITOS CRUSTED CHICKEN STRIPS TENDERS.
Korean Sticky Chicken Fingers (KFC Chicken)
If you have never had Korean Sticky Chicken, it’s characterized by the special sauce added at the end of the cooking process, which includes Gochujang Sauce or Pastes.
The sauce creates a savory but sweet heat to the chicken dish.
The dish’s real name if you search it is KFC, Korean Fried Chicken, which is funny since it’s the same name as the other fried chicken dish in America, KFC. (Kentucky Fried Chicken)
What Is Gochujang Sauce or Paste?
These chicken fingers are crunchy, sticky, and have the perfect kick. They’re hand-breaded, air-fried to perfection, and then tossed in the perfect sticky sauce!
The sauce features gochujang. While some keep this around as a staple, for others, its popularity is on the rise, and rightfully so! Sold in chain grocery stores & on Amazon, as well as local specialty markets. It’s easy to find.
This Korean-inspired Sauce is made from red chili paste, similar to a spicy bbq. The gochujang is mixed with soy sauce, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, rice wine vinegar, and other common ingredients. This chicken is perfect as an appetizer or as the meal’s star.
These are spicy! If you need to tone them down, you can serve them with a nice cool and crisp salad or even omit the red pepper flakes in the breading/sauce.
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO YOU NEED FOR AIR FRYER KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN?
- Chicken Tenderloins
- All-Purpose Flour
- Corn Starch
- Panko Breadcrumbs
- Red Pepper Flakes
Sticky Chicken Fingers Sauce:
- Gochujang Sauce (or Paste)
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Soy Sauce
- Sesame Seeds
- Dried Chives
- Rice Vinegar
- Brown Sugar
- Sesame Oil
How To Make Air Fryer Korean Sticky Chicken Fingers
Place chicken tenderloins in an airtight container and add buttermilk. Let them soak in the fridge overnight, if possible, for at least 6 hours.
Get your breading station set up when you’re ready to cook the chicken. Add flour, cornstarch, egg, and water to a large bowl. Stir well. This is your wet batter. Set aside. In a separate medium bowl, add panko crumbs and red pepper flakes—Preheat the air fryer to 395 degrees F, air fryer setting.
Coat each piece of chicken in the wet batter. Allow any extra to drip off into the wet batter bowl before transferring the chicken to the bowl of Panko crumbs. Coat each piece completely in Panko.
After you’ve coated the chicken, place it in the air fryer basket. Leave a little space between each piece of chicken, so they aren’t touching. Don’t stack them either. Once your basket is full, place it in the air fryer and cook for 6 minutes. Very carefully flip the chicken and continue cooking for another 4-6 minutes.
Cook until the chicken is a nice golden brown and completely white on the inside. An internal thermometer should read 165 degrees F when inserted into the middle of the chicken. Remove chicken and set aside. Repeat until you’ve finished cooking all of the chicken.
In a bowl, combine gochujang sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, sesame seeds, chives, and red pepper flakes. Stir well.
Pour sauce over the chicken, coating each piece evenly and thoroughly. Garnish with a little sesame seed and cilantro. Serve as is, with overtopping rice or with a nice salad.
WHAT KIND OF CHICKEN DO YOU USE?
Typically this chicken dish is served with bone-in chicken. But since I adapted this to an air fryer recipe, I typically use chicken tenders. My kids enjoy this chicken dish when I cut the tenders into bite sizes, which makes for an amazing appetizer.
This recipe can be used with bone-in chicken thighs, boneless chicken thighs, boneless, skinless chicken breast, and split chicken breast.
The cooking times for each type of chicken would need to be adapted. For best results, use a meat thermometer.
WHAT GOES WELL WITH KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN?
Korean Sticky Chicken Finger (KFC) is usually served with a bowl of steamed Jasmine Rice. But you can serve it with anything.
Traditional Korean options include salads, light coleslaw, pickled radish, and a mayonnaise sweetcorn dip.
WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN?
Korean Fried Chicken is crispy. The sauce provides a lot of flavoring, as does the buttermilk at the beginning of the cooking process.
The sticky sauce provides a ton of flavor to the dish, and the air-fried chicken flavor with all the spices is also unique.
CAN YOU MAKE THIS BY DEEP FRYING THE CHICKEN ON THE STOVETOP
You can make this recipe exactly as called, by either method, deep-frying and sauteing it.
If you go to any Korean restaurant, the traditional method is for the chicken to be deep-fried. Follow your manufacturer’s guide on how to deep-fry chicken.
Add vegetable oil to a large frying pan to saute it, and cook over medium-high heat until fully cooked. I was flipping a few times while the chicken is cooking. Let drain on a paper towel before adding the sauce.
You can add the sauce and then saute again for the most flavor.
TIPS FOR MAKING AIR FRYER KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN
- To make the best Korean chicken, the key is to let the chicken marinate overnight in the buttermilk. If you do not have the time, allow it to marinate for at least 2 hours for best results.
- Use a meat thermometer to make sure your chicken is perfectly cooked but not overcooked. Every time you use a meat thermometer, you will get a piece of juicy and tender chicken.
- If you want to make the sauce ahead of time. Just make it at room temperature for use in the recipe.
- Toss right before serving.
Some Other Easy Air Fryer Chicken Recipes-
- AIR FRYER HONEY BBQ CHICKEN TENDERS
- AIR FRYER HONEY BBQ CHICKEN WINGS
- EASY AIR FRYER CHICKEN MILANESE
- AIR FRYER BOURBON CHICKEN
- AIR FRYER COPYCAT KFC FRIED CHICKEN
Air Fryer Korean Sticky Chicken Fingers
- 1 pound Chicken Tenderloins
- 1 cup Buttermilk
- 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/4 cup Corn Starch
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup Gochujang Sauce (or Paste)
- 1 tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/3 cup Soy Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Sesame Seeds
- 1 tablespoon Dried Chives
- 1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
- Place chicken tenderloins in an airtight container and add buttermilk. Close and let them soak in the fridge for at least 6 hours but overnight if possible.
- When you’re ready to cook the chicken, get your breading station set up. In a large bowl, add flour, cornstarch, egg, and water. Stir well. This is your wet batter. Set aside. In a separate medium bowl, add panko crumbs and red pepper flakes—Preheat air fryer to 395 degrees F, air fryer setting.
- Coat each piece of chicken in the wet batter. Allow any extra to drip off into the wet batter bowl before transferring the chicken to the bowl of Panko crumbs. Coat each piece completely in Panko.
- After you’ve coated the chicken, place it in the air fryer basket. Leave a little space in between each piece of chicken, so they aren’t touching. Don’t stack them either. Once your basket is full, place it in the air fryer and cook for 6 minutes. Very carefully flip the chicken and continue to cook for an additional 4-6 minutes.
- Cook until the chicken is a nice golden brown on the outside and completely white on the inside. An internal thermometer should read 165 degrees F when inserted into the middle of the chicken. Remove chicken and set aside. Repeat until you’ve finished cooking all of the chicken.
- In a bowl, combine gochujang sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, sesame seeds, chives, and red pepper flakes. Stir well.
- Pour sauce over the chicken, making sure to coat each piece evenly completely. Garnish with a bit of sesame seed and/or cilantro. Serve as is, overtop rice, or with a nice salad.
- Plate, serve, and enjoy!
- Air Fryer
- Cooking Spray
- Parchment Paper, optional