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Classic Japanese Karaage Chicken Recipe

classic, authentic, Japanese fried chicken, Karaage chicken, recipe Food & Recipes

Japanese-style fried chicken called Karaage chicken is the most popular comfort food in Japan.

Today, you can find greasy deliciously Karaage chicken at home, at Izakaya restaurants, at food trucks, convenience stores, and literally, everywhere in Japan.

The Karaage chicken is not difficult to make despite the kitchen going to be a mess and use many pieces of equipment enough to fill up a dishwasher.

Japanese fried chicken aka Karaage chicken, you’ll absolutely love this addictive gingery soy-sauce hint fried chicken!

It is my husband’s favorite Japanese dish, and also our guests give me compliments.

Tender, juicy and crispy fried chicken.


“Kara-age” (唐揚げ) refers to the deep-fried dishes includes meat seafood, and vegetable. These ingredients are lightly coated with flour or starch (or both) and deep-fried.

Since the Karaage chicken is very popular, so KARAAGE often refers to chicken.

TORI NO KARAAGE (鶏の唐揚げ) also refers to Karaage chicken.


Boneless skinless chicken thighs and breast meat are used for Karaage chicken.

Needless to say, chicken thighs are more preferred than breast meat.

Breast meat is often dried without tenderizing, so I recommend tenderizing the meat with my baking powder solution, the sugar water, or use batter milk before making Karaage chicken.


Bite-sized chicken (thighs or breast meat) is marinated in grated ginger & garlic, dark soy sauce, Japanese sake, salt & pepper for 1 hour to overnight in the most common recipe.

Often, dark soy sauce let the meat dry because of its sodium level, so I add sesame oil and sugar to prevent them from drying out.


Japanese Karaage chicken is lightly coated with unseasoned flour since the meat is fully seasoned.

Commonly, wheat flour or mixed flour and potato starch is used for coating the chicken.

Use cake flour (not all-purpose flour) to make crispy fried chicken.

*By the way, a standard wheat flour in Japan is “cake flour” which has less gluten content, so use cake flour when you see “flour” in Karaage recipes wrote by the Japanese.

*Also, coating the ingredients with potato-starch-only goes to the different name of dish which is “TATSUTA-AGE”.

Some recipes also use egg wash in the coating.

Adding eggs before flour coating creates a fluffy and flavorful fried chicken. Also, eggs preserve the flavor of fried chicken, so if you’re bringing it to a potluck party or making a bento, it’s a good idea to add egg wash.



Depending on the types of coating, the flavor and texture of Kaeaage chicken will be varied.

I’ll talk about rice flour in another post, so read it later if interested.

Besides, both coating cannot beat the rice flour about giving the fried chicken crispy texture.


Cake flour coating slightly add flavor and color to the coating, also keep the flavor in the chicken.

So, flour coating is better for a bento lunch box and a potluck party.

Potato starch can be lightly coated and add crispy texture to the coating.


Cake flour coating can be difficult to make the chicken crispy. (Karaage chicken will be likely fluffy.)

potato starch coating makes cooking oil messy.

Over time, the potato starch coating will become watery and soggy.

So, potato starch coating is not suitable for the bento or the potluck party.

Thus, by mixing both powders together, you can make crispy, juicy, and tasty Karaage chicken.

2-step coating

I know, I know, it is pain in the neck, but, this is the best way so far until I found the rice flour is much easier!

(whoopsy! is you want to know about it, check out here!)

classic, authentic, Japanese fried chicken, Karaage chicken, recipe

Classic Japanese Karaage Chicken Recipe: How To Make It Crispy

Rico McConnellRico McConnell
The classic Karaage Chicken recipe- everyone can make Japanese-style fried chicken at home. Crispy and juicy, it's sure to be a family favorite. Despite there's no need for a long marinade in buttermilk like classic fried chicken, yet, I recommend marinating the chicken in buttermilk, Shio-koji, or the baking powder solution, especially when using chicken breast meat. The two-step coating process can bring the best crispy Karaage chicken, besides using cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. (and mix starch.)
Course Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 6 servings


  • 2 lb boneless chicken thighs or breasts
  • Cooking oil (for deep-fry)


  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger (or 1 tsp of ginger powder)
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh garlic
  • 1/2 -1 tsp grated black pepper (or white pepper)
  • 1 tbsp Japanese sake or white wine
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Toasted Sesame oil (olive oil, vegetable oil)
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce (Kikkomann)
  • 1 egg *Optional


  • 1/3 cup Cake Flour
  • 1/3 – 2/3 cup Potato starch or corn starch


Prepare Chicken

  • Trim excess fat and tendon if needed.
  • Cut chicken into bite-size, about 2-3-inch wide pieces.(about 1.4oz, 40-50-g), don't cut too small, to make juicy Karaage chicken.
  • Season the chicken. In a large bowl, add the meat and seasonings (grated ginger, grated garlic, black pepper, Japanese sake (or white wine), sugar, soy sauce, roasted sesame oil), and combine them well.
    *Add egg optionally.
    The reason for adding the egg, read the post.
    massage chicken
  • Allow the chicken to marinate for 15-20 minutes.
    *Avoid marinating the chicken for over a half-hour since soy sauce dries the meat out.

Coat The Chicken

  • Prepare cake flour and potato starch in each bowl.
  • Place the chicken pieces on a baking pan, and tap dry them with paper towels.
  • Coat all chicken pieces with cake flour. Remove excess flour each time.
  • After completing to coat all pieces with the cake flour, coat each pieces with the starch.

Cook The Chicken

  • Preheat the oil to 320F (160℃).
  • Fry the chicken, a few pieces at a time, for about 3 minutes.
  • Remove the fried chicken and cool them on a rack. Repeat for the remaining pieces.
  • Reheat the oil to 350 F (180℃).
  • Fry the chicken for 1 minute. Be careful of the oil splattering.
  • Transfer the chicken to the rack.


©Japanmcconnell/Rico McConnell- Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
Keyword Chicken, Deep-fry, Holiday, Izakaya, meat, Nibbles, sesame oil, Soy sauce, Traditional

Karaage Sauce Ideas

Karaage chicken is already flavorful, so generally, you don’t need a dipping sauce. Yet, it is often served with a fresh lemon wedge.

My husband uses “Sweet chili sauce” and “Chinese garlic chili oil” for his taste.

Japanese Mayonnaise lovers called Mayolaah like dipping Karaage chicken in Japanese Mayo.

I recommend The Easy Japanese aurora sauce for kids, which is made of ketchup and Japanese mayo.

Besides, Japanese tartar sauce is also a popular dipping sauce item for Karaage chicken.

My husband loves drizzling Japanese Layu on Kraage Chicken. If you like sesame oil and spicy food, make homemade Layu!

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