Kind of spicy, kind of sweet and a whole lot of sticky in all the best ways are what these Instant Pot Korean Gochujang Sticky Chicken Wings are all about! They quickly became my FAVORITE wing flavor!
It wasn’t until my adult years did I develop a true love of various Asian flavors. To be honest, I wasn’t exposed to it growing up. I lived in a town where we didn’t have any Chinese, Thai, Korean or other Asian type restaurants. The closest thing I came to having some semblance of that type of cuisine was in the 4th grade when my social studies teacher was teaching us about China and brought in canned Chow Mein for us to try. It was in that teaching she also brought in fried chow mein noodles (like the ones sold in the grocery store today). Those, I loved! Canned Chow Mein… oh god no! So needless to say my exposure was grotesquely limited and what I was exposed to was horrific!
It wasn’t until I went to college did I go to my Chinese restaurant. I kept it simple as, back then, I was a wus when it came to trying to new flavors and foods. If I remember correctly I kept my order to plain white rice as fried rice had veggies in it (remember I still hated veggies at that time) and fried shrimp, broccoli and brown sauce. And I stressed… MILD!!! The waitress just smiled at me and off she went. My friends begged me to try their Mu Shu Pork and Kung Pao chicken but stupid me refused.
When I moved to Manhattan I was surrounded by all types of Asian cuisine and quickly my horizons broadened. I fell deeply in love with so many different flavors, combinations, dishes and foods that was too chicken to try before simply because I was afraid. I say this often but I so wish that my parents were here today to see how vast my food palate is today. There’s very few things I won’t try (don’t get me wrong I’m by no means Andrew Zimmern) but I now have such a love of all foods, cultures and more importantly, a RESPECT of those variances.
Over the years I’ve had to also go slow with Mr. Fantabulous breaking him in kind of the same way except he ate veggies but to get him to try something other than pasta and Sunday gravy took years of coaching. Now he’s all in. He’s still not as adventurous as I’d like (like he still refuses to try Peanut butter Thai sauce on chicken but I have hopes). Part of what I stand for, and firmly believe in, is acceptance and diversity. I want to experience as many food cuisines and cultural dishes as I can. By doing this, it allows me to gain more knowledge and insight but also helps me to expand TKW on recipe development. Plus part of what’s on our bucket list this is is travel throughout Asia. So enter Gochujang.
Wings are one of those things we’ll go in spurts on eating. Like I’ll make pounds and pounds in a couple of weeks and then I won’t make any for like 2 months. It’s not that they are bad but we try not to eat chicken with skin (as, even though it has flavor, it’s high in fat and let’s just say the metabolism is not like it used to be when we were in our 20’s!). I’m finding I’m making more tenders and boneless wings than anything which we both seem to love and don’t feel quite as guilty about. Now as you’ll see in the image below I have both wings AND chicken breasts. Stay tuned for the breast recipe as it’s a tad different than this one. I wanted to separate them just to remove confusion. Yeah I could have taken 2 shots – one with wings and one without buuuuuuuuuuut hindsight is 50/50 and I just thought about that now.
Are you familiar with Gochujang? Gochujang, though it’s been around for centuries, it’s the “new kid” on the food scene. The past few years it was Sriracha (rightly so) but I’ll be honest, I’m crushing HARD on Gochujang right now. I’ve had it a bunch of times before but this is the first time I ever made stuff at home for both of us to try. I’ve made it for me but he would have never tried it. Gochujang is s a savory, sweet and spicy condiment made from red hot chile peppers, glutinous rice (sticky rice), fermented soybeans, salt, and more. It’s this super thick, crimson paste. It’s spicy but not set-your-mouth-on-fire hot. It’s not like hot sauce so you can breath easy on that.
It adds this umami flavor that you just can’t get from say Sriracha or hot sauce. Forget what umami is? Read this article as I go into detail about it in my one recipe. Now the great thing about this paste is that because it’s made with sticky rice it adds a touch of sweetness to the paste. the chilis add the heat and the fermented soybeans act almost like a miso-type ingredient which brings the whole umami flavor into one cohesive, well-rounded flavor.
Gochujang isn’t like ketchup or say sriracha in the sense it’s not a stand-alone type sauce. You need to cut it with something (like sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, etc). That’s where the rest of the ingredients in this recipe come into play. I know many of you will ask about substitutions and the answer is no.
- You cannot substitute olive oil, vegetable oil or any other oil for sesame oil
- You cannot use apple cider, white or red wine vinegar in place of rice wine vinegar.
This dish comes together pretty quickly. When I make this dish or most recipes that have these types of flavors in it, I tend to let the food hang out for about 10 minutes in the marinade before I cook them. If you’re rushed for time you can skip it but if you can spare the 10 minutes, I find that it helps develop the flavor a bit more.
Pressure cooking these only take about 10-12 minutes. That’s pretty easy. Now what I did find that does take some time is getting the sauce to thicken up. Depending on how watery your chicken in it can take 15-35 minutes to thicken up. Now you want the sauce to get to a thick consistency where it coats the back of a spoon. If you don’t let it thicken up, when you go to brush it on the wings and broil them, the wings won’t be sticky. It’ll taste fine but the stickiness is part of the whole experience.
Also, you will have extra sauce – this is NOT a problem. Just store in the fridge and use on another dish or make more wings! I’m totally ok with that! I actually have a pint jar of sauce in the fridge that I used as a pizza sauce and shredded gochujang chicken plus other stuff on top! It was EPIC guys – seriously, EPIC! I will most definitely share that recipe but I need to create it a few more times as well, every time I went to take photos we devoured the pizza!
Speaking of devouring… When I set these on the table for us I didn’t say anything as I wanted him to taste them without any judgements. His first comment, before eating, “They look really good! And man they smell amazing!”. And then he took a bite. It was an unfamiliar taste and we both knew it. I stared at him like a starving dog waiting for scraps – I wanted a comment. He finished his wing and asked, “Have I ever had these before? It’s a new flavor.” I told him no and asked if he liked it. He waited until he finished his 6th wing to tell me he LOVED them and that this is a keeper and that I MUST SHARE this with you guys RIGHT AWAY!
When I told him what they were he said “Gotchuwhat???” lol he’s so pretty. I told him again, showed him the container and he just smiled and asked if I was going to finish mine…as he grabbed my plate and started eating them. LOL
So if you’re like how I was, don’t be afraid to get out of your foodie comfort zone. I would not steer you wrong with these. If you’re unsure about how hot they are, make the sauce and BEFORE you put the chicken in, give it a taste. You can always add more Gochujang but it’s hard to take away heat.
- 3 pounds chicken wings, thawed
- 3/4 cup light soy sauce
- 2 Tbl sesame oil
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3/4 tsp red chili flakes
- 4–5 Tbl Gochujang (red chili paste) *go with 3 if you don’t like spicy
- 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbl honey
- 1 Tbl minced garlic (about 2–3 large cloves)
- One -1” piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- Minced green onions
- White sesame seeds
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a cooling rack inside; set aside. Place your oven rack to the upper third tray.
- In a large bowl whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, chili flakes, Gochujang, honey, garlic, and ginger. Place your wings in the bowl and gently toss/stir to coat all of the wings. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. If you’re in a hurry you can skip this part and dump it all into the Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker.
- Close the lid on your IP, set the cooking time to 10 minutes/High pressure. If your wings are frozen set it to 12 minutes/High pressure. When the time is up, carefully do a quick release.
- With tongs, remove the wings to the rimmed baking sheet and set the IP to sauté or brown function as you’ll need to thicken up the sauce. Depending on how watery your wings were your sauce can take 10-25 minutes to get to a thickened state. Just stir often to not burn. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Once it gets to that state, remove it from the pot and place in a container.
- While the sauce is thickening up, place the wings in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the skin on both sides (~5-8 minutes per side). By this time the sauce should be thick enough to baste the wings. Slather the wings with the thickened sauce and broil just for a minute as you want to slightly char the sauce but not burn it.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions. Store the remaining sauce in the fridge for up to a week.
Keywords: instant pot wings, korean sauce, gochujang, sticky sauce