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 have 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 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 were 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 are 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, and cultures, and more importantly, a RESPECT of those variances.
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 20s!).
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. For 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.
What is Gochujang
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 breathe 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 because it’s not a stand-alone type of 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!
You can absolutely make these in the oven although for the best results, it takes a little bit of prep time to get the crispiest wings.
- Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set rack inside. Carefully dry chicken wings with paper towels. Place wings in a bag, and add 1 Tablespoon of baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt. Shake evenly.
- Remove the wings from the bag and place them on the rack, leaving little space between each wing. Place baking sheet with wings in the refrigerator and allow to rest, uncovered, for at least 8 hours. This draws out the moisture and gives you a very crispy skin while keeping the meat juicy.
- When you’re ready to bake them, adjust the oven rack to the upper-middle position and preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Add chicken wings (you can use the same pan they were resting on in the fridge or a new cooling rack/rimmed baking sheet pan and cook for 20 minutes.
- While the wings are cooking make the sauce in a saucepan on the stove. After 20 minutes, flip the wings and continue for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss the wings in the, sauce and cook until crisp and golden brown, 10-15 minutes longer or until the internal temp is 160F (165F if you’re not broiling them) Remove the wings from the oven and place the oven to broil.
- 3 pounds chicken wings, thawed
- 3/4 cup light soy sauce, low sodium
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 4–5 tablespoon Gochujang (red chili paste) *go with 3 if you don’t like spicy
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon 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. After resting, add the wings and the marinade liquid to the Instant Pot.
- 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.
For how to oven fry/bake these, see the post for instructions.
Keywords: instant pot wings, korean sauce, gochujang, sticky sauce