This adapted Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich is made using Aldi’s Famous Red Bag Chicken in the Air Fryer. Once the chicken is cooked, it’s tossed in a sweet and spicy gochujang glaze. It’s then nestled into a spicy mayo slathered toasted brioche bun. The whole thing is ready in 20 minutes and it’s a delicious way to level up red bag chicken!
Pretty much every time we go to Orlando, I make us stop at Chi-Kin for one of their Korean Fried Chicken Sandwiches.
Their sandwich is the most perfect thing I’ve ever tasted. The breading is light and crispy, the sauce is sweet, savory and spicy and the bun is perfectly sweet and toasty.
But since that’s an hour away from our house, I decided to try my hand my own recipe using inspiration from Sue at My Korean Kitchen.
And since you know I love a shortcut, I’m using Air Frying the Red Bag Chicken from Aldi!
This is totally not authentic but it’s a great shortcut for a quick and easy lunch that’s full of flavor.
If you’d like to get inspiration from some amazing Korean food bloggers, be sure check out this list!
So let’s get to it!
Ingredients & Substitutions
For the Red Bag Chicken in the Air Fryer
- Red Bag Chicken Breasts – If you don’t have an Aldi near you, don’t sweat it. You can find other alternatives to their famous Red Bag Chicken. Apparently Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco and Trader Joe’s have their own version! I’ll update this as I learn more about each store!
- Brioche Buns – You don’t have to use brioche buns but I love the ones I buy at Aldi so I use them all the time. Any fluffy slightly sweet bun would work !
For the gochujang sauce
- Gochujang – There is absolutely no substitution for this Korean chili paste that’s full of spicy umami. It’s so incredibly flavorful and once you have it, you’ll love it and use it all time time! Plus it lasts forever! Additionally, if you have a Korean bbq sauce, Gochujang is probably the main ingredient so I guess that would be the only alternative.
- Honey – I used clover honey but you could use any ole regular variety. If you’d like to use white sugar, you’d probably only want to use 1 tbsp rather than 2.
- Seasoned Rice Vinegar – I think this is the best for Asian recipes but you could absolutely use apple cider vinegar or reg rice vinegar if your’e in a pinch!
- Toasted sesame oil – regular sesame oil would work fine, too!
- Toasted Sesame Seeds – This is mainly for texture and visual appeal but you could leave it out if you didn’t have it. And if you have regular sesame seeds, simply toast them in a pan very quickly over medium heat.
For the spicy Mayo
- Mayo – I use Kewpie Mayo when I have it but you could also use regular full fat mayo like Duke’s! Honestly any mayo variety will work!
- Sriracha – This is best hot sauce for the spice but you could also use sambal or another type of chili paste.
- Toasted Sesame Oil – regular sesame oil would work fine, too!
- White Sugar – You could use sugar in the raw or brown sugar. Honey is also doable but you’ll probably need to add a little more honey than you would with the sugar.
For the Quick Pickles
- Persian Cucumbers – I think the Persian or English Cucumbers work best but you could absolutely use a regular ole slicing cucumber — just peel some of the skin off as it can be rather tough and scoop out the large seeds.
- Sugar – You could use sugar in the raw or brown sugar.
- Salt – Kosher is best but you could use any variety you like.
- Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar – I think this is the best for Asian recipes but you could absolutely use apple cider vinegar or reg rice vinegar if your’e in a pinch!
How to make the red bag chicken in the air fryer
Making Aldi’s Red Bag Chicken in the Air Fryer is super easy! For two medium sized breasts, preheat your air fryer to 400F degrees (if needed) and then add the two breasts. Cook for 13-15 minutes at 400F degrees, flipping when there’s 5 minutes left. If it’s a larger breast, you might need to add a few more minutes. And if it’s a smaller breast, check it at 11-13 minutes.
When there’s 1 minute left on the chicken, this is when I like to toast my bun. Simply open up your brioche bun and throw it right in the air fryer on top of the chicken. Within that last minute, it’ll be perfectly warm and lightly toasted!
How to make the sweet and sticky Gochujang Sauce
Making the sweet and sticky gochujang glaze is super easy.
All you need to do is grab a shallow bowl and pour all of the ingredients into it. Whisk the sauce for 30 seconds to a minute until all the ingredients are combined and the sauce is smooth.
Set this gochujang sauce aside until the chicken is ready.
This sauce recipe was adapted from Sue’s Bibimbap Sauce Recipe from her blog by My Korean Kitchen! She’s great and I highly recommend stalking her site because everything is amazing!
How to make the spicy mayo
Making the spicy mayo sauce for the bun is also super easy and is pretty much the same as the Gochujang sauce.
Grab a small bowl and add in all the ingredients. Whisk until combined and set aside.
How to make the quick pickles
Making these quick pickles should be done when the chicken has about 5 minutes left.
First, grab your cucumber and slice it into thin coins. Sprinkle the coins with a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar and toss.
Let them sit for a few minutes to draw out some of the water then drain the excess water off.
Now add a splash (about 2-3 tbsp) of seasoned rice wine vinegar and toss once more.
The pickles will be ready immediately.
How to Make this Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich
Once everything is ready, it’s time to assemble the Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich!
First, smear a little bit of mayo onto the insides of both of the buns and set aside.
Now it’s time to glaze the chicken. Quickly submerge one of the cooked chicken breasts in the gochujang sauce and toss to combine — being careful not to knock off the fried chicken crust.
Repeat this process with the other chicken breast. You could also do this in a ziplock bag if you’d like.
Once the chicken is coated in the sauce, put it on top of the bottom half of the bun then top with a few pickles and finish by adding the other half of the bun on top. Repeat for the second sandwich and eat immediately.
What air fryer do I use
**This isn’t sponsored but if you order from Amazon using any of these links or images, I get a small kickback!**
After doing extensive air fryer research, I decided on this GoWise 5.8 quart Air Fryer.
After doing tons of research, I saw that this one is it the best seller on amazon, it was affordable, and it also fit my needs and aesthetic perfectly.
I went with the white 5.8 quart because it’s the perfect size for me and my family. It is large enough to cook two sandwiches in, a whole chicken, or a big batch of fries without things getting too crowded.
Anything smaller would have been kind of pointless to me. It also has more temperature controls and more cooking options than a lot of the other air fryers on the market do.
Plus, there’s no preheat required for this model which makes it stand apart from other air fryers. I also loved that it came with a whole entire cookbook and temperature manual for various foods.
What if I don’t have an air fryer?
If you don’t have an air fryer, you can absolutely still make this. Just follow the baking instructions on the back of the bag.
What to pair it with
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Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich Video
Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich made in the Air Fryer
For the Sandwich
- 2 Fried Red Bag Chicken Breasts
- 2 Brioche Buns
- Gochujang Glaze recipe below
- Spicy Mayo recipe below
- Quick PIckled Cucumbers recipe below
For the Gochujang Glaze
- 2 tbsp gochujang Korean chili paste
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp seasoned rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar or reg rice vinegar
For the Spicy Mayo
- 2 tbsp mayo
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
For the Quick Pickled Cucumbers
- 1 small Persian cucumber
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
For the Sandwich
- Preheat your air fryer to 400F degrees if yours requires one. Then add chicken breast and cook for 13-15 minutes (depending on size) at 400F degrees.
- When there’s 1 minute left of cooking time, add the brioche buns to the air fryer basket and cook until lightly crisped and toasty.
- While the chicken is cooking, prep the rest of the ingredients below.
- Then once everything is done, assemble the sandwiches.
- Slather the insides of the toasted buns with the spicy mayo.
- Then toss the cooked chicken breasts in the gochujang sauce and place it on top of the bottom half of the bun.
- Top with the quick pickles and place the remaining half of the bun on top.
- Serve immediately.
For the Gochujang Glaze
- Add all ingredients to a shallow bowl and stir until combined.
For the Spicy Mayo
- Add all ingredients to a small bowl and stir until combined.
For the Quick Pickled Cucumbers
- Sprinkle the cucumbers with a pinch of sugar and salt and let them rest for a few minutes.
- Strain off excess liquid and add the seasoned rice wine vinegar. Toss once more and set aside.