This Gochujang Chicken recipe gives a straightforward chicken and veggie sheet pan dinner a Korean upgrade. A wonderfully spicy and slightly sweet gochujang sauce gets brushed over chicken breasts which then get roasted alongside broccolini. While the chicken is at work in the oven, bring together a rustic crispy rice cake to add both crunch and chew to the dish.
How to make gochujang chicken
It’s no surprise that when it comes to gochujang chicken, it’s all about the sauce. This chicken is made with a wonderfully spicy slightly sweet homemade gochujang sauce. The sauce can be made ahead of time and can be used on a variety of proteins, but it’s especially delicious on chicken.
The sauce is made with onion, garlic, ginger, gochujang, mirin and honey for sweetness, and soy sauce for savoriness. The ingredient list is simple, but when combined the flavors really create something delicious.
Once the sauce is prepared, it’s all about prepping the chicken. Here I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I cut down and pound out into an even thickness. This ensures that the chicken stays moist and tender! You can certainly use the sauce on thighs, wings, and drumsticks. If you choose to use a different cut, modify the cooking time (see below for a guide on cooking times).
If you’re making wings or drumsticks, I recommend tossing them in a third or half of the gochujang sauce to coat prior to roasting. And lastly, if you don’t want to roast the chicken, you can certainly grill it!
Here’s how long to cook different cuts of chicken at 450ºF (232ºC) in the oven:
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs: 25–30 minutes
- Wings: 30–35 minutes (or broil for 15–20 minutes, flipping a few times)
- Drumsticks: 35–40 minutes
In addition to time, use temperature to be your guide for knowing when chicken is done cooking. I always rely on my instant-read thermometer to check the internal temp of meat. Cook light meat chicken to 165ºF (73ºC) and dark meat chicken to 170ºF (76ºC).
How to make it a full meal, start to finish
First and foremost, you’ve got to make the gochujang sauce before you get started on anything else. The nice thing is that the sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead of time. So with just a bit of planning ahead, this dinner can come together in no time. Buuuut don’t worry, if you’ve decided to cook this up tonight, the process is simple and quick.
Aside from the sauce, it’s important to get the rice cooking because you’ll need to allow enough time for it to chill. This recipe calls for arborio rice which, 99% of the time, is used for risotto. The reason I call for it here is because it stays nice and chewy once cooked, lending itself well to packing together and making a patty. Once your rice is cooked, spread it on a sheet pan and pop it in the fridge to chill (you can also do the freezer, just don’t forget about it in there).
While the rice cooks, preheat the oven to 450ºF (232ºC) with racks set in the top and bottom thirds. Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack while the oven preheats (a trick for jumpstarting cooking).
Then prep the chicken by slicing it in half into two thinner breast pieces. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and pound the halves to ¼-inch thickness with a meat tenderizer (or rolling pin).
Toss the broccolini with oil and season generously with salt and pepper. I prefer to use grapeseed oil here because it’s a healthy oil that’s neutral in flavor. You can also use olive oil if you don’t have grapeseed.
Carefully pull the baking sheet out of the oven and coat it with nonstick spray. Arrange the chicken on one half of the sheet (it will sizzle!) and the broccolini on the other. Try to arrange the broccolini in an even layer as best you can to promote roasting, not steaming.
Spoon one tablespoon gochujang sauce over each piece of chicken and brush to coat with a pastry brush (or spread it around with the back of a spoon).
Roast the chicken and broccolini for six minutes, then remove the sheet, flip the chicken and top each piece with one more tablespoon sauce. Roast for four minutes, then transfer to the top rack and broil until broccomini starts to char and the chicken is cooked through.
While the chicken is roasting, make the crispy rice cake. It’s very simple and hands off. First things first, preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high for a few minutes. Add a few teaspoons of oil and let that heat until shimmering. Add the rice to the pan, patting into a compact layer and cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes.
Flip the rice cake with a spatula (or give it a toss if you’re feeling confident) and cook until the second side is lightly golden. If the cake breaks into a few pieces when flipped, thanks OK, it gets broken into pieces for serving anyhow.
Serve the chicken and broccolini over a few pieces of crispy rice, being sure to scoop up any of the juices or sauce left on the sheet pan—that’s flavor!
Give the whole thing a good drizzle of toasted sesame oil and finish with scallions and sesame seeds.
The key to perfectly roasted chicken breast
One of the biggest issues people have with cooking chicken breasts is that they often turn out overcooked and dry. Overcooked meat and fish is one of the most frustrating things in cooking. But GONE are the days of dry chicken! The key to juicy, perfectly cooked chicken breasts is to either cut or pound the breasts into an even thickness (or both).
OK, let’s break this down (pun intended). Let’s take this gochujang chicken recipe as an example. The recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken breast. Instead of leaving them as is, I have you cut the chicken breast in half horizontally to create two thin breast halves. This first step gets us closer to having chicken pieces with similar thickness.
The second step, pounding each chicken piece into an even ¼-inch thickness, gets the job done. The most important thing here is that we want each piece to be the same thickness throughout (from end to end).
Having an even thickness among the chicken pieces means that all of the meat will cook at the same rate and finish at the same time. Basically you won’t be waiting for the large end of the breast to cook through while the thinner end continues to overcook.
This is why chicken Parm, stir frys, fajitas, and skewers always feature such juicy and tender meat—the pieces of meat are cut into similar sizes and are finished cooking at the same time.
What to serve with gochujang chicken
If you’re just making the chicken—not the full meal—here are a few ideas of what to serve with it.
- Ginger Scallion Noodles
- Roasted Garlicky Brussels Sprouts
- Cooked brown rice and a simple spinach salad
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This gochujang sheet pan dinner creates the most tender and juicy chicken! Spicy and slightly sweet, the chicken is served with roasted broccolini and a crispy rice cake!
- 1 cup dry arborio rice, or short grain rice
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds + more for serving
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8-ounces each)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 pound broccolini, trimmed
- 4 teaspoons grapeseed oil (or olive oil), divided
- nonstick spray
- 1 recipe Gochujang sauce
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 3 scallions, green parts only, cut into 1-inch pieces
Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in rice, bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer over low heat; cook until rice is tender, 16–20 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and stir in sesame seeds; transfer rice to a sheet pan and chill in refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 450ºF (232ºC) with racks in top and bottom thirds. Place a baking sheet on bottom rack while oven preheats.
Halve each chicken breast horizontally into two thin breast halves, cover chicken halves with plastic wrap and pound to an even ¼-inch thickness with a meat tenderizer; pat chicken dry then season lightly with salt.
Toss broccolini with 2 teaspoons oil and season with salt and pepper.
Carefully remove baking sheet from oven and coat with nonstick spray. Arrange chicken on half of the baking sheet and broccolini on the other half in a single layer. Spoon 1 tablespoon gochujang sauce on top of each chicken piece and brush to coat.
Roast chicken and broccolini on bottom rack for 6 minutes.
Remove sheet from oven, flip chicken pieces and spoon 1 tablespoon of gochujang sauce on top of each chicken piece; brush to coat. Return sheet to oven on bottom rack and roast 4 minutes. Transfer sheet to top rack, turn oven to broil and cook for 2 minutes until chicken is cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the centers registers 165ºF (73ºC) and broccoli starts to char.
Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet (10-inch) over medium-high for 3 minutes. Add remaining 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil and heat until shimmering. Add rice in an even layer, pat down into a cake, and cook until lightly golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Gently flip cake with a spatula (it’s OK if it breaks into a few pieces) and cook 5 minutes more until crispy and golden brown.
Serve chicken and broccolini over crispy rice, spooning any pan juices over chicken. Drizzle each serving with toasted sesame oil and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with additional gochujang sauce on the side.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: make the rice up to 3 days in advance to cut down on cooking time.
If you don’t want to make the crispy rice, go ahead and serve the chicken over cooked rice or quinoa.
- Calories: 465
- Sugar: 9g
- Sodium: 747mg
- Fat: 14g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Carbohydrates: 52g
- Fiber: 5g
- Protein: 33g
- Cholesterol: 66mg
Keywords: gochujang sauce, gochujang, gochujang chicken, gochujang chicken and vegetables
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