Gochujang Chicken or Korean Chicken Bulgogi

Gochujang Chicken

Spicy Gochujang Chicken or Chicken Bulgogi




I’m on a Korean food kick that started at, of all places, the hippie-dippy, clothing optional Sierra Hot Springs Resort in Sierraville, California (about thirty miles from the town of Truckee). I was there recently for a long weekend of soaking in au naturel in the hot springs with my husband and toddler. Among the other guests in the lodge were two thirty-something Korean sisters and their mother, who was visiting from Korea and spoke barely a word of English. Three times a day, the three of them would descend upon the lodge’s communal kitchen, set up shop, and fill the entire building with the pungent scents of Korean cooking, like this spicy and addictive gochujang chicken, as they methodically cranked out an elaborate traditional meal.

While the other guests jockeyed for space to whip up their healthy green smoothies, sprout-and-chickpea salads, and tofu stir-frys, these ladies went to town. On the first morning, they made a fish and seaweed stock for a fish soup that also included rice dumplings, made right there in that ill-equipped and crowded kitchen. At another meal, there was homemade ramen soup, tiny and starchy Korean corn on the cob, both aged and unaged kimchee, and more. For dinner, a spicy stir-fried pork bulgogi, bright red from the fermented red pepper paste called gochujang (also spelled kochujang) that is ubiquitous in Korean kitchens, was accompanied by piles of fresh herbs, sliced red and yellow peppers, and julienned carrots, all meant to be bundled along with the meat into crisp green lettuce leaves. The women were generous with tastes, but those delicious morsels only whet my appetite, creating a deep yearning for large amounts of spicy, salty, tangy Korean food.

Since returning home, I’ve been enjoying poached eggs over steamed brown rice slathered with that tangy-spicy gochujang paste for breakfast, snacking on kimchee, and gracing my family’s dinner table with this chicken-based version of the ladies’ pork bulgogi. With only six ingredients, the marinade can be tossed together in less than five minutes. I usually bake the chicken in the oven because it’s easiest, but it is also delicious grilled. Serve it with steamed rice and crisp lettuce leaves, julienned red or yellow bell peppers and cucumbers, mint and basil leaves, and any other fresh vegetables you like. Instruct diners to make their own wraps by piling ingredients into the lettuce leaves.


Spicy Chicken Bulgogi

You can find gochujang at Korean or Asian markets or order it online. I’ve tamed the fiery marinade for the sake of my young son, but if you like more of a kick, feel free to add a tablespoon or more of Korean red pepper flakes.

  • Author: TwoLazyGourmets.com
  • Yield: 4


  • 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons gochujang (fermented red pepper paste)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, combine the onion, garlic, soy sauce, gochujang, honey, and sesame oil and stir to mix well.
  2. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  4. Place chicken in a single layer in a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil, turn chicken pieces over, and bake another 30 minutes uncovered.
  5. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes.
  6. Slice chicken pieces into strips and serve on a platter drizzled with the sauce and garnished with sesame seeds, if using.




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12 Responses to Gochujang Chicken or Korean Chicken Bulgogi

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  3. LizC says:

    Thanks for this recipe. I have a container of Gochujang and have been looking for recipes. My son lives in Seoul and tells me it is ubiquitous over there. I love its liquoricey taste.

  4. Jason says:

    Just wanted to say, I was a little dubious about how this would turn out. I usually just stick to beef or pork-related korean recipes but I thought I’d give it a shot considering the recipe was simple enough. And you know what? It was absolutely delicious. The only thing I did different was use a skillet and then throw it in the broiler for a couple of minutes at the end. Just wanted to say thanks for the recipe!

  5. April says:

    I can’t eat spicy foods, but this sure looks delicious. I’d love to have some of that chicken wrapped in a lettuce leaf.

  6. James says:

    Step 6 “drizzle with the sauce” What sauce? do you heat the leftover marinade?

    • Robin says:

      Hi James, If you bake it in the oven as the recipe directs, keep the marinade with the chicken to bake (so just dump the whole thing into a baking dish.) Then you will have sauce. If you are grilling, you could reserve the marinade and then heat it up in a saucepan and reduce it by boiling it for 10 or 15 minutes.

  7. Rachael says:

    Hi, I’m really excited to try this recipe out…
    One quick question, when the recipe calls for soy sauce, are we talking Korean soy or Chinese dark soy sauce?

  8. Sienna says:

    I just made this and am disappointed, because it turned out really soupy, way too much liquid.
    Not sure how to prevent this from happening again.


    • Robin says:

      Hi Sienna! I’m sorry it didn’t turn out the way you hoped. There are a couple of ways you could fix this. One, you could cook it for the full time uncovered. This way the marinade would reduce much more during baking. Two, you could put the marinade in a saucepan (after baking the chicken) and reduce it on the stovetop. You can also cook this recipe on a grill, which is the most traditional way and gives you that nice charred glaze you are seeking.

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