Karaage – Japanese Fried Chicken

Karaage is delicious, flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth boneless Japanese chicken that has been marinated in Japanese seasonings and then coated with potato starch and fried. Karaage can be enjoyed as a snack or as an entree.

Karaage is boneless Japanese chicken, marinated and then coated with potato starch and fried.  Karaage is very popular in Japan and can be found almost everywhere, but has only been around for about 100 years. Having spent quite a bit of time in Japan, I have grown quite fond of karaage and decided that instead of buying store bought, why not make my own?   And so I came up with this recipe that I have tweaked over time.

At my home we enjoy karaage as a snack or as a main course.  It keeps well so my daughter brings it to school for lunch sometimes.  It can be refrigerated and reheated later.  And like many staple foods, there are nearly as many variations on this wonderful dish as there are kitchens that make it!

Try this one out and let me know what you think!  Be sure and share your experience in the comments.

Karaage - Japanese Fried Chicken

Karaage should be crispy and not greasy, it should have a great flavor, the chicken should be tender and cooked with the skin, and it should be completely boneless so you can eat it without have to spit any part of it out.  The most important considerations when preparing karaage are the chicken, the oil, and the marinade.  For this recipe I use chicken thighs and leave the skin on, but I trim out any extra bits of bone, fat or cartilage.  I cut the meat into pieces that can be eaten in a few bites.  You don’t want to cut it too big because you want to fry it to a perfect golden brown without undercooking the meat.

I recommend using either rice bran or peanut oil for cooking,  Both are unflavored and cook at a high temperature.  The oil needs to be preheated to 340 degrees F (170 degrees C) and kept at that temperature for the duration of cooking.  When frying the chicken you will want to cook it in small batches to prevent the oil temperature from dropping too much.

The chicken is first marinated in flavorings, and then the potato starch (katakuriko) and egg are mixed in just before cooking,  It’s important to thoroughly coat the chicken with the egg and katakuriko before frying.

30 mins 20 mins Serves 4
PREP 30 mins
COOKING 20 mins
YIELD Serves 4


  • 1 lb boneless chicken thigh, skin on, cut into cubes
  • 2 TBSP Soy Sauce
  • 2 TBSP Mirin
  • 1 TBSP Sesame Oil
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 TBSP fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 egg, beaten
  • 3/8 cup katakuriko (potato starch)
  • Cooking Oil
  • 1 lemon for serving


  • Combine the chicken, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and mirin.  Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
  • Add in the egg and katakuriko.  Mix well until the chicken is thoroughly coated.

  • Preheat the oil to 340 deg F/ 170 deg C.
  • Fry the chicken for 5-7 minutes in small batches until golden brown and cooked through.  Allow the oils to heat back up in between batches.

  • Drain on a rack or with paper towels.

  • Serve over lettuce or plain.  Garnish with a lemon slice, shichimi, and/or Japanese mayonnaise.


  • Use boneless chicken thigh with the skin on.  You can use chicken breast if preferred.
  • Use an oil thermometer to ensure the oil is heated to 340 degs F/ 170 degs C.  If cooking over an electric stove, keep the heat at medium-low to medium to prevent the oil from getting too hot.
  • Refrigerate leftovers and reheat in the oven or a microwave- or eat them cold!



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