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3 chicken wings over rice on plate with chop sticks
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5 from 2 votes

Sous Vide Chicken Wings (Korean-style)

Sous vide chicken wings are moist and tender and a great way to make these sweet, spicy, umami Korean style wings. Is the sous vide method worth it? Check out the pros and cons.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr 35 mins
chill time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: appetizers, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Sous Vide
Servings (change as needed): 2 -3 main dishes
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken wings (split or whole wings, tips cut off)
  • seasoning: kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder
  • garnish: sesame seeds, chopped green onion optional

Korean-style sauce, Note 1

  • 2 tablespoons gochujang paste, Note 2
  • 3 cloves garlic or 3 teaspoons minced (or 3/8 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce light is fine
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (or 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, Note 3
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, or more to taste (or lemon, lime or rice wine vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Instructions

  • PREPARE SOUS VIDE WATER BATH: Fill water in the sous vide container as per manufacturers instructions. Set the temperature to 156F/69C for 1 1/2 hours (or 165F/74C for 1 hour) and allow water to heat to that temperature.
  • PREPARE AND BAG CHICKEN WINGS: Season both sides of chicken wings with salt, pepper and garlic powder. To bag wings with vacuum sealer method. fold back top of vacuum seal bag about an inch to create a flap (this ensures no food touches the top of the bag where it gets sealed). Insert the wings in a sous vide bag in a single layer. Unfold the flap and vacuum seal the bag. Note 4 for displacement method with ziploc bag.
  • SOUS VIDE CHICKEN WINGS: When water temperature has been reached, submerge sealed bag with wings into water bath. Cook for 1 1/2 hours or a maximum of 3 hours. If using 165F/74C, cook 1-2 hours.
  • MAKE KOREAN SAUCE: Mix all sauce ingredients together in microwavable measuring cup or small bowl. Microwave 1 minute. Sauce will be slightly thickened. Taste and adjust to your liking by adding more of the ingredients you think it needs e.g. sweet, tart, salt, etc.
  • FINISH CHICKEN WINGS UNDER BROILER:
    Heat oven to BROIL setting and place oven rack a few inches from heat source (top of oven). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray it with oil to prevent sticking.
    Remove chicken wings from hot water bath and place bag in a bowl of ice water for 8-10 minutes. This will cool down chicken and allow more time to broil and glaze it without affecting texture and doneness. Then dry wings well with paper towels.
    Place half the sauce and cooked wings in a bowl and toss to coat well. DON'T do this if you are deep frying wings.
    Place wings on wire rack in single layer. Broil for 3 minutes until starting to char. Turn over wings, brush on more sauce and broil another 2 minutes. Transfer wings to a serving plate, brush with more sauce, add sesame seed and chopped green onion if you like and serve with extra sauce if you have any left.
    Note 5 for other finishing methods

Notes

  1. Shortcut for Korean-style sauce: Buy a glaze or sauce such as teriyaki, Korean kalbi marinade, sweet chili Thai sauce. Even your favorite BBQ sauce. 
  2. Gochujang paste substitute: use garlic chili paste or Thai red curry paste. Or try one of these substitutes for gochujang.
  3. Maple syrup substitute: brown sugar, white sugar, honey or apricot/peach preserves (use sugar free for lower calories)
  4. Water displacement method with ziploc bag: Place wings in ziplock bag in single layer. Lower bag into water (which will push as much air out as possible) just until seal is above water line. Seal bag. 
  5. Alternative finishing method for wings:
    • Grill: Heat grill to high for 10-15 minutes. Scrape grill to clean, spray oil on grill or dip paper towel in oil and wipe over entire grill. Make sure grill is very hot. Grill wings for 2 minutes per side to get grill marks, brushing with sauce as you flip them. Remove to plate and brush with more sauce.
    • Deep fry (for crispy skin): You will get better results if you dry wings on rack in fridge uncovered overnight. Heat a few inches vegetable oil in skillet to 400F/204C. Quick fry small batches of wings at a time for 2-3 minutes total until chicken skin is crispy and golden brown. Don't overcrowd pan. Transfer with spider strainer to plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with more wings (you might have to lower temperature a bit). When finished, toss wings in large bowl with sauce and serve. 
  6. Make ahead or freeze:
    • A few days ahead: cool sous vide wings in bag, place in fridge for up to 3 days. Finish them off when before serving.
    • To freeze: chill wings in ice bath or at room temperature. Place in freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw wings when ready to use, then finish them on grill or broiler.
    • To store and reheat: Place leftover finished wings in airtight container. Warm the wings in a 350F/177C oven for 5 -7 minutes or in the microwave for a minute or two.
 
Nutrition values are estimates. 
Calories: 632kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 189mg | Sodium: 765mg | Potassium: 471mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 392IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 3mg