Melanin is a brown or black pigment that protects skin from ultraviolet radiation and reactive oxygen species (ROS). However, overproduction of melanin is associated with lentigines, melasma, freckles and skin cancer. Licorice has shown antioxidant, anti-tumor, anti-platelet, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities and is used as a natural treatment for skin whitening. We aimed to confirm the potential of Wongam, a new cultivar of licorice developed by the Rural Development Administration (RDA), as a whitening agent in cosmetics. In addition, we verified the effect of heat treatment on the bioactivity of licorice by comparing antioxidant and anti-melanogenic activities of licorice extract before and after heating (130 °C). The heat-treated licorice extract (WH-130) showed higher radical-scavenging activities in the ABTS (2,2′-azino-bis-(3-ethylbenzothiazolin-6-sulfonic acid) diammonium salt) and DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) assays. In addition, WH-130 inhibited melanogenesis more effectively due to downregulation of tyrosinase in B16F10 melanoma cells than non-heated licorice extract. Moreover, heat treatment increased total phenolic content. In particular, isoliquiritigenin, an antioxidant and anti-melanogenic compound of licorice, was produced by heat treatment. In conclusion, WH-130, with increased levels of bioactive phenolics such as isoliquiritigenin, has potential for development into a novel skin whitening material with applications in cosmetics.