This soy-free baked version of Korean BBQ Chicken is a delicious main dish for easy weeknight meals. Ideal for meal prep, this easy chicken recipe is huge on flavor but requires minimal effort.

Korean BBQ chicken in a large roasting pan, fresh out of the oven. Sprinkled with green onions and sliced limes on the chicken.

If you’ve tried Korean BBQ Chicken, you know the glory of the sweet, savory, tangy, smoky goodness.

The palate is such an exquisite balance of flavors that Korean Barbecue Chicken is one of those main dishes everyone loves to love. 

Well the great news is you don’t have to wait for a special occasion to enjoy this classic chicken at a Korean restaurant. You can make it in the comfort of your own home. Quite easily, I might add!

There is very little preparation time or effort involved. With a few minutes of prep and some delicious ingredients, we end up with juicy chicken thighs boasting an array of flavors. 

While this recipe isn’t an authentic recipe for Korean BBQ Chicken, I think you’re going to love what you find here.

First, I have included both baking instructions and grilling instructions so that you have options when it comes to cooking methods.

Secondly, I make a small ingredient swap to make the recipe soy-free for those who don’t eat soy.

This soy-free version of Korean chicken uses coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. We’re still left with plenty of umami flavor. 

You can easily swap out the coconut aminos for low-sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos if you prefer.

The next time you’re looking new ways to enjoy chicken as a main entree for your weeknight meals, make this simple recipe!

Because the recipe makes 8 to 10 servings of chicken, it is ideal for meal prepping for the busy workweek. On the contrary, if you aren’t looking for leftovers or you’re serving just a few people, you can easily halve the recipe to accommodate. 

Large baking dish full of cooked Korean chicken.

The ingredients for Korean barbecue chicken can be found at most local grocery stores. Let’s discuss each one because they all serve an important purpose. 

Ingredients for Korean BBQ Chicken:

Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs: Pick up 3 pounds of boneless chicken thighs. You can also use bone-in chicken thighs or boneless chicken breasts but note that the bake time and temperature need to be adjusted if you use a different cut of chicken.

For instance, boneless skinless chicken breast require about 20 to 25 minutes at 350, depending on the thickness of the breast.

Coconut Aminos (or Low-Sodium Soy Sauce): Coconut aminos is a soy-free alternative to soy sauce. It is naturally sweet and has umami flavor which brings an abundant balance of flavors.

If you prefer using low-sodium soy sauce, feel free to make the switch. 

Gochujang: Bringing smoky flavor with a hint of spice, gochujang is a fermented red chili paste that is commonly used in Korean cooking.

This Korean chili paste makes a big difference to the flavor so be sure you don’t skip it. You can find it at just about any local grocery store, so no sweat if you’ve never heard of it.

Honey: Bringing some additional sweetness to the marinade, we add a little honey.

Toasted Sesame Oil: Sesame oil brings that unique sesame flavor and a little richness to the marinade. The oil also helps lubricate and protect the chicken while it bakes.

The sesame oil can be replaced with olive oil or avocado oil if need be, but for the best flavor I recommend sticking to the recipe. 

Rice Vinegar: To counterbalance some of the sweetness, we add a little tangy rice wine vinegar to help round out the flavor profile.

Fresh Garlic and Fresh Ginger: Fresh garlic and ginger add a burst of vibrant, natural flavors that make the chicken taste so enticing.

Black Pepper: Season the chicken using black pepper to your personal taste. Because the Korean BBQ sauce contains ingredients with plenty of salt, you likely won’t need to add any salt to the recipe. 

For Serving: Chopped green onions, sesame seeds, and lime wedges are great supporting actors for serving the baked chicken thighs.

Recipe Customizations:

  • Replace the coconut aminos with low-sodium soy sauce, tamari, or liquid aminos. If you go this route, add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to the marinade.
  • Use pure maple syrup instead of honey.
  • Swap the rice vinegar for fresh lime juice.
  • Add red pepper flakes to the marinade for spicy sauce.
  • The recipe as written is fairly mild with a small amount of eat from the Korean gochujang paste. For spicy Korean chicken, I recommend adding your favorite chilies like Thai red peppers, or dried spices like cayenne.

Now that we’re familiar with the basic ingredients list for this quick Korean BBQ chicken recipe, let’s make these delicious, tender chicken thighs.

How to Make Baked Korean BBQ Chicken Thighs:

Add all of the sauce ingredients to a small bowl or measuring cup or bowl and stir well until combined.

Ingredients for Korean bbq sauce in a measuring cup, ready to stir together.

Transfer the raw chicken thighs to a large zip lock bag, along with all of the marinade. Seal the bag then move the contents around until the chicken pieces are coated in marinade. You can also perform this step using a large bowl covered with plastic wrap instead of a plastic bag. 

Zip lock bag full of chicken thighs and Korean sauce marinade to be marinated for BBQ chicken.

Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes, up to 12 hours.

When you’re ready to bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Transfer the chicken thighs and all of the marinade to a large casserole dish or baking dish and arrange them in a single layer.

Large baking dish full of raw marinated chicken, ready to go into the oven.

A large rimmed baking sheet works too but I recommend using something that has a deep lip to catch all of the juices. I find a casserole dish works best for easy clean up.

Bake on a shelf that is either in the center of the oven or one shelf up from the center for 12 to 18 minutes, or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the chicken from the oven and spoon the juices from the bottom of the pan on top of the chicken pieces to baste it.

Spoon basting cooked chicken.

Change the oven setting to the high broil setting and place the chicken back into the oven. Broil for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the thighs are golden brown and crispy. Chicken thighs taste best once they have reached an internal temperature of 180 to 190 degrees F.

Insert a digital thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh to check the temperature. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Garnish chicken with sesame seeds, chopped green onions and serve with fresh lime slices.

Spoon the juices over the chicken and enjoy with your favorite side dishes.

I recommend serving the cooked chicken with steamed white rice or brown rice to soak up the juices and stir fry vegetables for a complete meal.

Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

You can chop up leftover Korean BBQ chicken to use the chicken in a lettuce wrap, burrito bowl, salad, tacos, and more. 

If you’d like to stick with the traditional method of grilling the Korean BBQ Chicken, here are the barbecue instructions.

Grilling Instructions:

If you would like extra sauce for serving the chicken, prepare extra marinade and reserve some in a jar. 

For a Gas Grill: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (about 450 degrees F). 

For a Charcoal Grill: Prepare your coals in a charcoal chimney to heat the coals quickly. Once the coals are hot, arrange them either in the very center of the grill or off to one side below the grill grate, so that there is a section of the grill that is less hot where you can cook over indirect heat. 

Place the marinated chicken thighs on the grill grate on the hottest part of the grill (over direct heat) and grill for 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the thighs and cook on the other side for 3 to 5 minutes, until both sides are golden brown and have grill marks.

Move the Korean BBQ chicken to the cooler side of grill to continue cooking over indirect heat. Flipping occasionally, cook until the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F and has reached your desired level of crisp.

I find chicken thighs taste best when cooked to 180 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Use tongs to transfer the grilled chicken thighs to a serving plate. Allow the chicken to rest at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving. 

Cooked Korean sticky chicken in a baking dish, ready to serve.

Serve with your choice of side dishes and extra sauce and enjoy!

What to Serve with Korean BBQ Chicken:

Rice: Whip up some steamed rice while the chicken is baking. If you feel extra motivated, you can make my Kimchi Fried Rice

Cucumber Salad: Pairing this rich chicken dish with a light and refreshing side like my Asian Cucumber Salad is always a win.

Vegetable Side Dishes: Stir fry vegetables, roasted vegetables, and steamed veggies are all great sides. Make my Stir Fry Vegetables Recipe or my Crowd-Pleasing Roasted Vegetables

This Korean-inspired main dish is here for any occasion, whether you’re enjoying a regular evening meal at home or are entertaining guests. Prepare for your taste buds to be impressed by this savory chicken!

Roasting pan full of Korean BBQ chicken.

If you’re looking for more flavorful chicken recipes like this Korean classic, also try out these gems.

More Chicken Recipes:

Enjoy this sweet and savory sticky chicken!

Korean BBQ chicken in a large roasting pan, fresh out of the oven. Sprinkled with green onions and sliced limes on the chicken.

Baked Korean BBQ Chicken

4.75 from 8 votes
An easy baked version of Korean BBQ Chicken that is also soy-free and refined sugar-free. Serve it with your favorite sides for a complete meal! See the post above for grilling instructions.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings: 8 to 10 Servings

Ingredients

For Serving:

  • sesame seeds
  • 4 stalks green onion
  • 1 to 2 limes cut into wedges

Instructions

  • Add all of the sauce ingredients to a small bowl or measuring cup or bowl and stir well until combined.
  • Transfer the raw chicken thighs to a large zip lock bag, along with all of the marinade. Seal the bag then move the contents around until the chicken pieces are coated in marinade. You can also perform this step using a large bowl covered with plastic wrap instead of a plastic bag.
  • Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes, up to 12 hours.
  • When you’re ready to bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Transfer the chicken thighs and all of the marinade to a large casserole dish or baking dish and arrange them in a single layer. A large rimmed baking sheet works too but I recommend using something that has a deep lip to catch all of the juices. I find a casserole dish works best for easy clean up.
  • Bake on a shelf that is either in the center of the oven or one shelf up from the center for 12 to 18 minutes, or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and spoon the juices from the bottom of the pan on top of the chicken pieces to baste it.
  • Change the oven setting to the high broil setting and place the chicken back into the oven. Broil for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the thighs are golden brown and crispy. Chicken thighs taste best once they have reached an internal temperature of 180 to 190 degrees F. Insert a digital thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh to check the temperature. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. Garnish chicken with sesame seeds, chopped green onions and serve with fresh lime slices. Spoon the juices over the chicken and enjoy with your favorite side dishes. I recommend serving the cooked chicken with steamed white rice or brown rice to soak up the juices and stir fry vegetables for a complete meal.

Notes

*Use low-sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos as a replacement for the coconut aminos if you’d like.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving (of 10) · Calories: 304kcal · Carbohydrates: 7g · Protein: 29g · Fat: 17g · Saturated Fat: 4g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g · Monounsaturated Fat: 7g · Cholesterol: 87mg · Sodium: 476mg · Sugar: 5g
Author: Julia Mueller
Course: Chicken Main Dishes, Main Dishes
Cuisine: American, Korean
Keyword: baked chicken recipes, chicken recipes, easy healthy recipes, healthy dinner recipes, korean bbq chicken, paleo recipes
Did You Make This Recipe?I want to see it! Tag @the.roasted.root on social media!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

Julia Mueller
Meet the Author

Julia Mueller

Julia Mueller is a recipe developer, cookbook author, and founder of The Roasted Root. She has authored three bestselling cookbooks, – Paleo Power Powers, Delicious Probiotic Drinks, and The Quintessential Kale Cookbook. Her recipes have been featured in several national publications such as BuzzFeed, Self, Tasty, Country Living, Brit.co, etc.

Read More

Need Help With Dinner?

View More Dinner Ideas
4.75 from 8 votes (7 ratings without comment)

Join The Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Questions and Reviews

    1. Hi Leah! You can use chicken breasts, but the baking instructions are slightly different with breasts. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the breasts reaches 165 degrees F. Depending on the thickness of the breasts and their temperature going into the oven, the bake time might vary, so the best bet is to use a thermometer to check for doneness 🙂 Hope this helps, and enjoy! xo

  1. Hello Julia!
    Do you use gochujang paste or sauce in your recipe? Your link connects to a sauce but your recipe says paste. I’m assuming the paste would be more flavorful.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Janelle! I used the sauce I linked to, so I suppose technically I used gochujang sauce, not paste. I have used regular gochujang paste in past recipes and it is very similar to the sauce I used in this one. In this sense, either one will work just great 🙂 Hope you enjoy! xo

  2. This was so delicious. My family loved it. Served it with jasmine rice and broccoli. Will make this again!

    1. Ooh, jasmine rice and broccoli sound like the perfect pairings! I love hearing that you intend to make the recipe again! Thanks so much for sharing, Michelle!