Korean Fried Chicken Bao

I’ve been on a journey to learn how to cook. I decided that by the end of this year I want to be be able to consider myself a michelin star chef.

One thing about me, I LOVE KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN and I also love bao buns.

I’m always seeing picture of Korean fried chicken baos, I wanted to learn how to make them so here we are!

7 of the baos filled with chicken and cucumber, inside a bamboo steamer.

Video Tutorial

Breakdown of the process

I decided that I wanted to make the buns myself, so this recipe does have quite a few different parts to it.

Of course you can just buy the buns, it will make the process easier and quicker. But I thought it would be fun to make them. 

Here’s what you are going to do to make these Korean fried chicken baos:

  • Marinate your chicken.
  • Knead your bao dough.
  • Form the shapes out of the dough and let these rest.
  • Fry the chicken.
  • Steam the buns.
  • Make the sauce and coat the chicken in this.
  • Put everything together

In the recipe card below, I’ve written the recipe in a way where you make the chicken first, and then the buns.

Realistically if you’re making these, you would want to make the chicken and the buns at the same time. Instead of making the chicken first and then the buns. Just so that they are ready at the same time.

But I’ve separated the recipe so that it is easier to follow along. I felt like it would be confusing if I kept switching from the chicken to the buns.

A close up of 1 bao filled with the chicken and cucumber.

The Korean fried chicken

Making the Korean fried chicken is pretty simple. There are 3 parts:

1) Marinate the chicken.

2) Coat the chicken in the flour and fry it.

3) Make the sauce.

Marinating the chicken

It is best to marinate your chicken pieces for at least an hour. But if you really don’t want to wait I guess you can skip this….I only marinated mine for like 20 minutes.

The seasonings you use here are totally up to you. I used garlic, ginger, soy sauce, paprika, chilli powder, salt, onion powder and black pepper.

But you can use whatever you want and whatever amounts you want!

The flour 

For the flour mixture, it wasn’t really a mixture I just used corn flour.

Normally I would season this, but the sauce and the seasonings we just added to the chicken are going to take over. So plain corn flour is fine.

I like to use corn flour because it gives crispier chicken, but regular flour works too. 

The sauce

Here are the ingredients you are going to need for the sauce:

  • Water
  • Gochujang
  • Soy sauce
  • Honey
  • Garlic
  • Chilli flakes
  • Red chillies
  • Salt

Making this sauce is easy, all you need to do is throw all of these ingredients into a pot or wok, and heat until the mixture thickens.

I just wanted to mention that the chilli flakes and red chillies are optional, you can leave them out. I just added them for extra spice!

The Korean fried chicken inside of a wok, with sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

Frying the chicken

When it comes to frying the chicken, you want to fry it in flavourless oil (such as vegetable oil) that is around 180c/350f.

If you don’t have a thermometer, DON’T WORRY, I don’t use one either.

Here’s how to check if your oil is ready:

  • Add a small piece of your chicken into the oil.
  • If this chicken starts gently bubbling, the oil is ready. Add in some more chicken.
  • If the chicken is not bubbling, the oil is not ready. Let it heat up for a few more minutes.
  • If the chicken is aggressively bubbling, the oil is too hot. Take if off the heat and leave it to cool for a few minutes.

How long should I fry the chicken for?

It is hard to give an exact time for this. Just because your chicken pieces might be slightly bigger or smaller than mine.

You just want to fry them until they’re crispy and cooked through.

If you are unsure, just take a piece out and then cut into it to see if the chicken inside is cooked! 

The Korean fried chicken coated in flour, before being fried.
The Korean fried chicken after being fried.

Ingredients for the buns

Here are the ingredients you are going to need to make the buns:

  • Plain flour – also known as all purpose flour.
  • Corn flour – this is going to make your buns extra soft.
  • Sugar – this is just for the yeast to feed on. I used granulated but caster sugar works too.
  • Instant yeast – I find it easier to use instant yeast so I can add it straight into the bowl with the other ingredients. If you are using active yeast, you need so activate it. So mix it with the warm milk first, leave this aside for 10 minutes, then add it into the other ingredients.
  • Baking powder  – for extra lift and fluffiness.
  • Salt – to enhance the flavours.
  • Whole milk – you want this to be warm, not hot, just warm to the touch. Heat it in your microwave for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
The buns after being steamed.

Shaping the buns

In the recipe below, I don’t know if I’ve done a very good job at explaining how to make the shapes for the buns.

So I took some picture to make it easier, in case you need to visualise it.

Here’s how to form the buns

1) Get 40g of the dough and roll this into a ball.

2) Use a rolling pin to roll this ball into an oval shape that is around 0.5 – 1 cm thick. My ovals were around 11 cm long, but the exact size doesn’t really matter.

A small piece of the dough rolled into a ball.
The dough ball rolled out into an oval shape.

3) Rub a little bit of oil on the surface of the oval. This is just so that the dough doesn’t stick together when you fold it.

4) Fold the oval over, lengthways. Press it down just slightly.

5) Repeat this until you’ve used all of the dough.

The oval of dough with oil rubbed on the surface.
The oval of dough folded over

Leaving the buns to rest

Before steaming the buns, you want to leave them to rest for about 30 minutes.

Unlike other doughs, you’re not looking for this to double in size. 

All you want for them is to look slightly puffier and also feel slightly puffier. The difference won’t be huge.

After they have rested, steam them, then fill them and dig in!

Here are some other savoury recipes I think you need to try:

Korean Fried Chicken Bao

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Makes: 7-9

  • 600g diced chicken, I used breast but you could use thighs or a mix of both

  • For the marinade:
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • For the flour:
  • 250g corn flour

  • For the sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons water

  • 3 tablespoons gochujang

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons chilli flakes (optional)

  • 2 red chillies, chopped (optional)

  • Salt, to taste

  • Plus some sesame seeds (also optional)

  • For the bao dough:
  • 140g plain flour

  • 25g corn flour

  • 15g granulated sugar

  • 4g instant yeast

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 100ml whole milk, warm

  • Extras:
  • Some cucumber slices, or anything else you want to fill the buns with


  • Making the chicken:
  • Add your chicken into a large bowl, as well as all the ingredients for the marinade.
  • Mix all this together, then cover and leave in the fridge for 1 hour.
  • After it has marinated, coat all of the chicken with the corn flour.
  • Frying the chicken:
  • You want to fry the chicken in oil that is around 180c. If you don't have a thermometer, just add 1 piece of chicken into the oil, if it starts gently bubbling, the oil is ready.
  • Fry your chicken until crispy and fully cooked. The time will vary depending on the size of your chicken pieces, mine took around 5 minutes. If you are unsure, just take one piece out and cut into it to see if the centre is cooked.
  • Once they are all fried, leave them on a wire rack.
  • Making the sauce:
  • In a pan or wok, add all the ingredients for the sauce, expect the sesame seeds. Mix all this together.
  • Place this onto medium heat and keep heating it, whiles stirring now and then, until the sauce thickens slightly.
  • Add your fried chicken pieces into this and mix until all the chicken is coated. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
  • Making the bao:
  • Add all the ingredients for the dough into a bowl and mix until a dough forms. Once a dough forms, knead it for about 5 minutes, or until you get a smooth ball.
  • Get a 40g piece of this dough and form it into a ball. Then use a rolling pin to roll this into an oval shape that is around 0.5 - 1 cm thick.
  • Rub a little bit of oil on the surface of this oval, then fold it over, lengthways. Repeat this until you've used all of your dough.
  • Leave these to rest for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, they should look and feel slightly puffier, you don't need them to double in size, they should just be a little puffier.
  • Place your steamer over a pot of boiling water and steam your buns for about 8-10 minutes.
  • Assembling:
  • Once the chicken and the buns have been made, you can put them together.
  • Open up your buns, add some cucumber into them and then the chicken.
  • Now just enjoy!