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The Battle of the Best Fried Chicken Recipe: Southern American Fried Chicken vs Korean Fried Chicken

American Fried Chicken Southern vs Korean Double Fried Chicken Yangnyeom

Many worldwide love fried chicken, but it’s made differently from place to place. In the Southern United States, fried chicken is a classic dish, often served at family meals and special gatherings. It features a crispy, golden coating with juicy, tender meat inside. The seasoning, a mix of spices like paprika and garlic powder, adds delicious flavors that many people in the South grow up with.

Halfway across the globe in South Korea, fried chicken has its unique twist. Known for its super crispy skin, Korean fried chicken is famous for its tasty sauces that range from sweet and spicy to rich and garlicky. This chicken style is usually fried twice to make it extra crispy and then coated with sauce or served on the side.

In this guide, we’ll look at how Southern and Korean fried chicken are made, learn about their ingredients, and discover why these dishes are so loved in their cultures.

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Why Southern and Korean Fried Chicken Rank as Top Styles

Southern American Fried Chicken vs Korean Fried Chicken Double Fried 2

Fried chicken is a beloved dish worldwide, but Southern and Korean styles stand out for their distinctive flavors and cooking techniques that elevate the simple act of frying chicken into an art form. Both styles have garnered loyal followings and have influenced global cuisine, making them iconic in their own right.

What Makes Southern Fried Chicken Exceptional?

Southern Fried Chicken is celebrated for its comforting, down-home cooking appeal. It resonates deeply within American food culture, often evoking memories of family gatherings and sunny picnics. The secret to its lasting popularity lies in its:

  • Flavorful Marination: Soaking the chicken in buttermilk not only tenderizes the meat but also infuses it with rich flavors.
  • Crispy Coating: The seasoned flour coating, unique to Southern style, gives the chicken its satisfying crunch and golden appearance.
  • Deep-Frying Technique: This traditional cooking method seals in the juices, ensuring each bite is exceptionally moist and tender.
  • Cultural Significance: Southern Fried Chicken is more than just a meal; it’s a part of many family traditions and celebrations, embodying a sense of comfort and nostalgia.

What Sets Korean Fried Chicken Apart?

Korean Fried Chicken, often simply called “KFC,” has taken the world by storm, known for its ultra-crispy skin and dynamic flavors. Its popularity is attributed to:

  • Double-Frying Method: This technique ensures the skin is incredibly crispy and stays crispy longer, even when coated with sauce.
  • Innovative Sauces: Whether it’s sweet and spicy or tangy and garlicky, the sauces add a vibrant layer of flavor that is distinctly Korean.
  • Versatility: Korean Fried Chicken can be enjoyed plain, which highlights its delightful texture, or with various sauces, making it adaptable to different tastes.
  • Modern Appeal: It’s often associated with modern Korean culture and the global spread of K-pop and Korean dramas, adding a contemporary edge to its identity.

Distinguishing the Two Styles – American Fried Chicken vs Korean Fried Chicken

While both Southern and Korean Fried Chicken deliver in terms of flavor and satisfaction, they cater to different palates and occasions:

  • Southern Fried Chicken is all about tradition and nostalgia, often served at family meals where its hearty, comforting nature can be enjoyed as part of American Southern cuisine. Its flavor comes from the seasoned breading and cooking technique, making it a staple at gatherings where a touch of home-style cooking is cherished.
  • Korean Fried Chicken is about bold flavors and innovation, perfect for social gatherings where sharing food is part of the fun. Its appeal lies in its versatility and the unique experience of enjoying chicken that is at once incredibly crispy and coated in a variety of mouth-watering sauces.

Southern Fried Chicken Recipe

Southern American Fried Chicken vs Korean Fried Chicken Double Fried


  • Chicken: 3 pounds of chicken pieces (legs, thighs, and breasts)
  • Buttermilk: 2 cups for marinating
  • All-purpose Flour: 1.5 cups for dredging
  • Paprika: 2 teaspoons
  • Garlic Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Onion Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Cayenne Pepper: 1/2 teaspoon (adjust according to heat preference)
  • Salt: 2 teaspoons
  • Black Pepper: 1 teaspoon
  • Cooking Oil: Enough for deep frying (preferably vegetable oil)


  1. Marinate the Chicken:
    • In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
    • Submerge the chicken pieces in the buttermilk mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor.
  2. Prepare the Dredging Mixture:
    • In a large bowl, mix the flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
  3. Dredge and Fry:
    • Remove chicken from the buttermilk, shaking off excess.
    • Dredge each piece in the flour mixture until well coated.
    • Heat oil in a deep fryer or large pot to 350°F (175°C). Fry the chicken in batches, without overcrowding, until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 to 18 minutes per batch.
    • Use a thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the chicken reaches at least 165°F (74°C).
  4. Drain and Serve:
    • Place fried chicken on a rack or paper towels to drain excess oil.
    • Serve hot.

Yield and Servings:

  • Serves: 4 to 6 people
  • Total Yield: Approximately 8 servings

Nutritional Information (per serving):

  • Calories: About 500-550 calories
  • Total Fat: 30 grams
    • Saturated Fat: 5 grams
  • Cholesterol: 110 mg
  • Sodium: 600 mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 20 grams
    • Dietary Fiber: 1 gram
    • Sugars: 1 gram
  • Protein: 35 grams

Seasoned Korean Fried Chicken (Yangnyeom Chicken) Recipe

korean fried chicken yangnyeom 3


  • Chicken:
    • 2 pounds of chicken wings or drumettes
  • Marinade:
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • Batter:
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup cornstarch
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 3/4 cup cold water
  • Yangnyeom Sauce:
    • 4 tablespoons Korean chili paste (gochujang)
    • 3 tablespoons ketchup
    • 3 tablespoons honey
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • For Frying:
    • Cooking oil (enough for deep frying)
  • Garnish:
    • Sesame seeds
    • Sliced green onions


  1. Marinate the Chicken:
    • In a bowl, combine chicken wings with salt, pepper, and grated ginger. Mix well and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.
  2. Prepare the Batter:
    • In another bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, and baking powder. Gradually add cold water to the dry ingredients, whisking until the batter is smooth and slightly runny.
  3. Prepare the Yangnyeom Sauce:
    • In a saucepan, combine gochujang, ketchup, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, minced garlic, and sesame oil. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring until smooth and fully integrated. Keep warm.
  4. Frying the Chicken:
    • Heat oil in a deep fryer or large pot to 350°F (175°C).
    • Dip marinated chicken pieces into the batter, ensuring each piece is well-coated.
    • Fry the chicken in batches, without overcrowding the pan, until golden brown and crispy, about 8-10 minutes per batch. Remove and drain on paper towels.
    • Let the chicken rest for a few minutes then fry again for 1-2 minutes for extra crispiness.
  5. Coating the Chicken:
    • Toss the double-fried chicken in the yangnyeom sauce until evenly coated.
    • Sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced green onions before serving.

Yield and Servings:

  • Serves: 4 to 6 people
  • Total Yield: Approximately 4 servings

Nutritional Information (per serving):

  • Calories: Approximately 650-700 calories
  • Total Fat: 35 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 6 grams
  • Cholesterol: 95 mg
  • Sodium: 950 mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 55 grams
    • Dietary Fiber: 2 grams
    • Sugars: 25 grams
  • Protein: 30 grams

Which Fried Chicken Reigns Supreme: Southern or Korean?

Deciding whether Southern Fried Chicken or Korean Fried Chicken is the superior choice is a matter of personal preference. Both styles offer unique flavors, textures, and culinary experiences. Here are several factors to consider when comparing these two beloved versions of fried chicken:

Flavor Profile

  • Southern Fried Chicken offers a classic taste that combines the savory flavor of seasoned breading with the natural juices of the chicken. It’s often enjoyed for its comforting and familiar flavors, enhanced by a combination of spices like paprika and garlic powder.
  • Korean Fried Chicken is celebrated for its bold and dynamic flavor profiles, often featuring a mix of spicy, sweet, and tangy notes. The sauces, like gochujang-based or garlic soy, add a depth of flavor that can be adjusted to suit a wide range of taste preferences.


  • Southern Fried Chicken is known for its crispy exterior and tender interior. The crust, derived from the flour dredge and buttermilk soak, is prized for its satisfying crunch.
  • Korean Fried Chicken stands out for its extremely crispy texture, achieved through double frying. This method ensures that the skin stays crispy for longer, even when coated with sauce.

Culinary Experience

  • Southern Fried Chicken is often associated with home cooking and traditional gatherings, bringing a sense of nostalgia and comfort.
  • Korean Fried Chicken is frequently linked with modern dining experiences, often enjoyed in social settings and paired with beer, making it a popular choice for a fun and contemporary meal.

Health and Nutritional Aspects

  • Both styles involve frying, which can be high in calories and fats. However, the choice of side dishes and how the chicken is served (e.g., with sauces or as part of a balanced meal) can influence the nutritional value.
  • Southern Fried Chicken typically involves deep frying, which may absorb more oil.
  • Korean Fried Chicken, thanks to its double-frying technique, often retains less oil in the final product, potentially offering a slightly healthier option depending on the sauce used.

Global Appeal

  • Southern Fried Chicken has a strong foothold in American cuisine and is beloved in many other parts of the world that appreciate its comforting taste.
  • Korean Fried Chicken has seen a surge in global popularity, particularly among younger demographics, driven by the worldwide interest in Korean culture and cuisine.

Final Verdict?

The choice between Southern and Korean Fried Chicken depends on what you’re looking for in a meal. If you prefer something classic and comforting, Southern Fried Chicken might be your go-to. But if you’re in the mood for something crispy with a bold sauce, Korean Fried Chicken could be the way to go. Ultimately, the best way to decide is to try making both at home and see which one wins over your taste buds!

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