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5 from 3 votes

Korean Fried Popcorn Turkey Nuggets

A simple and easy recipe for crispy bite-sized popcorn turkey nuggets tossed in a spicy, sweet and sticky gochujang sauce! Great as a snack or appetizer.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Korean
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 399kcal
Author: Joyce


  • 1 lb turkey (500g, cut into ½-inch bite-sized pieces - see notes)

Marinade Ingredients

  • 2-3 cloves garlic (grated, or blended in food processor)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh ginger (grated, or blended in food processor)
  • ½ small onion (approx. ⅓ cup, grated or blended in food processor)
  • 1 ½ tablespoon soy sauce


  • ½ cup potato starch (added into marinade mix)
  • ¾ cup potato starch (used to dredge to coat the turkey)

Sweet & Spicy Sauce Ingredients


Marinating the Turkey

  • Remove the skin from the turkey and cut the turkey into ½-inch sized pieces and place it in a bowl.
  • Cut the ginger into slices, peel the garlic and onions and blitz it in a food processor with the soy sauce. If you don't have a food processor, you can grate it manually. Pour the marinate into the bowl with the turkey.
  • Mix the turkey with the marinate together well and place it in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour, while you start making the sauce.

Making the Sweet & Spicy Korean Sauce

  • Set a frying pan over the stove and set the heat to medium low and add a bit of oil in.
  • Once the oil is shimmering, add in the garlic and brown it until it is golden in colour (approximately 1-2 mins)
  • Adjust the stove to low heat and add the rest of the sauce ingredients in and simmer it for 5 minutes.
  • Once the sauce is done, set it aside.

Battering & Deep Frying

  • Once the turkey has finished marinating, mix ½ cup of potato starch into the bowl and mix everything together well until the marinade has combined with the starch and everything is sticky.
  • Add ¾ cup of potato starch onto a plate. Dunk each piece of turkey individually one by one into the potato starch until it is well coated and white. Shake of excess potato starch and set aside.
  • In a deep fryer, set the temperature to 350F (180C). If you are using a pot, add at least 1 inch of oil and set the stove to medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350F (180C). To test if the oil is hot, you can stick a wooden chopstick in to see if it bubbles or throw in a grain of rice to see if it sizzles.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the turkey pieces in one by one, but do not over crowd the pot. (You might need to fry these in batches.) Fry for 2 minutes and set aside on a rack or paper bag to absorb the oil.
  • Once all the turkey has been fried, we are ready to do a second fry with it which will make it crispier. Add all the turkey back into the oil and fry it for 2-3 minutes.

Putting It Together

  • Stir the sweet and spicy Korean sauce. If it is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of water to it and mix again.
  • If the sauce is cold, re-heat the sauce.
  • Toss the freshly fried turkey with the sweet and spicy Korean sauce and enjoy!


  • You can use dark meat or white meat for this recipe, both work well. I like to remove the skin because I find it helps the batter stick better to the meat during the batter steps. If you are using bone-in turkey, debone it first and cut the pieces into ½ inch bite-sized pieces.
  • To increase the spiciness of the sauce, I use gochugaru (Korean chili pepper). If you can't find this you can use cayenne pepper but make sure you start off with putting half the amount first. Cayenne pepper is a lot spicier than gochugaru.
  • For the crispiest batter, use potato starch. If you can't find potato starch, you can use corn starch.


Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 549mg | Potassium: 878mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 244IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 2mg