Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) 唐揚げ

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Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) is a popular dish for appetizer or as a main dish at home or restaurants.  It’s also a popular bento menu and my son loves it when I put karaage in his tiny bento box.  I shared my regular Chicken Karaage recipe a while back, but today I’m sharing more garlicky flavored chicken karaage recipe I’ve been making.  Both karaage recipes are pretty similar, but if you enjoy strong garlic flavor definitely go with this one.

Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

In Japan potato starch (or katakuriko 片栗粉) is most commonly used as a coating for deep frying instead of corn starch.  I was using corn starch when I first moved to the US because it was easier to find at supermarkets.  However, when I compared these two starch by rubbing them between my finger tips, I noticed they are quite different in texture so I wanted to test to see which karaage tastes better.

Between the two, I found potato starch seemed to be crispier and had a nice crisp texture when I bite into it, and that’s something we look for when we eat karaage in general.  If you cannot find potato starch, corn starch is still your best option, but otherwise I think it’s worth your time looking for potato starch if your pantry only has corn starch.  By the way, just so you know potato flour is completely different from potato starch.

And if you are wondering if I’ve tried baked version of karaage like how I tried with my Renkon Chips, then answer is no.  Good karaage must be deep fried for the best result and you don’t need to eat a lot but that’s the only way I would enjoy them! 😉

Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

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Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken Recipe)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 3-4 Servings
  • 1 lb. chicken thigh
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup potato starch (or corn starch)
  • ¼ cup flour
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Lemon wedges
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. sake (or dry sherry)
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  1. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Cut each chicken thigh into 2 inch pieces (so that deep frying time is about the same). Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put the chicken in a large bowl or Ziploc bag.
  2. Grate the ginger and mince the garlic (with garlic presser).
  3. Combine the chicken and all the seasonings in the bowl (or Ziploc bag). Cover with plastic wrap and rest in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  4. Bring the oil to 320-338F (160-170C).
  5. Meanwhile combine potato starch and flour, and whisk all together.
  6. Right before the oil is ready, add the potato starch and flour mix to the chicken. You do not need to mix it evenly. The uneven coating gives each piece its unique texture.
  7. Gently drop each piece of chicken separately into the oil. Do not overcrowd. Deep fry 3-5 pieces at a time. If you put a lot of chicken in the oil, the temperature will drop quickly and chicken will end up absorbing too much oil.
  8. Cook for 90 seconds, or until the chicken is cooked through and outside is light golden color. If the chicken changes color too quickly, then the oil temperature is too high. Either put a few more pieces of chicken in the oil or lower the heat. Controlling oil temperature is the key for deep frying.
  9. Transfer the chicken onto a wire rack to drain excess oil. While resting on the wire rack, the chicken will continue to cook with the remaining heat.
  10. Between batches (or even while cooking), make sure to pick up crumbs to keep the oil clean (otherwise oil will get darker).
  11. When you finish all the batches, then bring the oil to 356F (180C).
  12. Deep fry for the second time for 45 seconds, or until the skin is nice golden color and crispy.
  13. Transfer the chicken onto a wire rack or paper towel to drain excess oil. Serve the chicken immediately with lemon wedges.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.
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  1. Yumm! I rarely fry food at home, but this is seriously worth the effort. I guess I tend to indulge when I’m out with friends. This is a perfect appetizer. Or maybe to go with a salad drizzled with some smoked sesame dressing? Okay, am at work now, and all I think about is food food food.. what to make or what to cook. *Guilty*. Take care now my friend. xoxo, Jo

  2. Your karaage looks fantastic Nami! I’m sure if my husband were here he’d be licking the screen as karaage is one of his all time favourite Japanese dishes. Bookmarking this to surprise him with one day 😀

  3. Ohh, Nami. It`s like you can read my mind on what Japanese food I love!

    I love kaarage! And with a little more garlicky flavor? If only I can eat by looking at my computer screen…hehe~ I really like them in Japanese curry too. >__<

  4. Ok, so I’m a bit biased but outside of the south, Asians just know fried chicken! Case in point, your Karaage!! Looks incredibly crispy and delicious—you’ve got me salivating over here, my friend!!

  5. Your son is so lucky to be given such delicious looking food in his lunch box. My poor boy gets a few crackers! This is a recipe I would like to try. I’ll look for potato starch. Thanks Nami xx

  6. Oh Nami, these chicken look so crunchy and appetizing but look very tender and moist inside. I love the the idea of putting more garlic in it. This something perfect with cocktail or beer. yummy!

  7. I remember your other chicken karage, Nami – and the more garlic, the better! Frying really is the only way to get it good and crispy, but I’m going to try potato starch on my version of un-fried chicken and see if it helps to make it crispy.

    Thanks for inquiring about my daughter – I replied to your comment, but I never know if it is also emailed to the person. She is loving Japan and, being in a smaller community, is learning more about the culture, food, and traditional festivals than she would have if she’d gone to Tokyo. She visited Kyoto with a few friends during the week break before the fall semester started and really enjoyed her time there. She’s is a little homesick and misses my cooking, but is very busy with her classes and will be home in two months :)

  8. The first time you wrote about karaage I had to look up the pronunciation of the word. I found one of those sites that says the word for you. I listened a few times. :)

    I’ve never used potato starch but I always put potato flakes and cornstarch in my dipping mix for onion rings. I’m definitely going to give this a try.

    Looks delicious.

  9. Thanks for sharing your experience with the different starch types, I hadn’t had the chance to try it out for myself and was in fact wondering about the differences. I feel like going and making your chicken karaage now. Looks fantastic!

  10. oh that is very clever. I didn’t think 90 seconds was long enough to cook a piece of chicken – how clever. It looks really scrummy, Nami. It’s breakfast time here, but I WANT SOME!!

  11. Orchidea

    This recipe is inviting. I like that all your recipes are very easy to make and you explain the whole procedure very well. l will try karaage on Saturday night! By the way I tried your “Miso seabass”, only I used a different fish because I could not find seabass, both my husband and I loved it!

    • Hope you will like Karaage! And thank you for trying miso sea bass recipe even with different fish! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it. Thank you for your feedback. :)

  12. i love karaage!!! the only time i ever made didn’t taste quite right.. and i’m afraid of deep-frying! but lately, i’ve been thinking of giving it another shot with your earlier recipe since i finally bought/found sake ^^ now i know i have to soonest!

  13. This looks amazing Nami! I love that you fried them twice to get them extra crispy. I would eat this as an appetizer, main meal… breakfast, lunch or dinner. :)

  14. Nami, it looks marvellous! I think I have already told you how much I love karaage, but now that I see a garlicky version, I think I will love it even more! I am crazy for garlic (I don’t know such a thing as “too much garlic”) so I am happy you have posted this version. I have never heard about garlicky karaage. (And yes, I agree, deep-frying is the only way to obtain juicy karaage; I have tried oven but it doesn’t work).

  15. Why fried meals have to be so good?
    I didn’t know there is a starch made with potato, I can imagine the results should be better than with corn starch, but is good to know that we can use it as I’m not sure here we can find the potato starch.

  16. Beautiful. I have never fried chicken before, but when I do, I’m using your recipe. Such beautifully detailed photographs and prose! Thank you for sharing. I finally got my google reader working and your feed is the first one I entered!

  17. I don’t know if I could stop eating this! You are SO right – that good fried chicken has to be fried! I’ve had both baked and fried and there is no comparison. As long as you get the oil hot enough (as you show), it doesn’t absorb that much fat. So frying it is! I’ve never used cornstarch nor potato starch with fried chicken. I’m going to have to try it. Love the seasonings you use. This is definitely a must try recipe!

  18. Linda @ My Foodgasm Journal

    What a perfect crispy chicken. Frederick is a HUGE fan of Japanese food, so I often make karaage from time to time. I agree, potato starch make the results different. Yummm!

  19. Now this is what I would call fried chicken done right! Your seasonings are heavenly Nami and even though I don’t do very much frying (your method looks excellent), I might steal your recipe and transition it to breadcrumbs/oven cooking. Not the same, I know… but a comfortable approximation that I think might work quite well on this end. Lovely recipe!

  20. Nami you have fried chicken down pat! It looks so crispy and delicious and I’m all for more garlic. The more the better in my book. This meal would be a hit with my whole family. I just hope I can get mine to look as golden and crispy. I’m just drooling over here! :)

  21. Note to self – don’t stop by Nami’s blog when it is 1:45 and you haven’t had lunch yet. What I wouldn’t do for a big plate of this right now. Yum, Nami! You have the best fed kids around for sure.

  22. I have a dislike for frying foods. The reason is that I always burn myself so I don’t want to do it, lol:) Your chicken looks absolutely scrumptious! My husband and I would love this. I’m going to ask him to do the frying though. Hehe!

  23. I can always be talked into eating something fried! I don’t believe I’ve ever had a fried something coated with potato starch before – interesting idea. And I love the seasoning on this – really good stuff. Thanks.

  24. Dear Nami, I have potato starch at home and I just bought organic chicken-) Thank you for wonderful idea and we do love garlic a lot! What kind of sauce would you use for this dish?

    • I use organic chicken too – perfect! No sauce necessary. You squeeze lemon juice and if you like it spicy you can sprinkle Japanese chili pepper called “Shichimi Togarashi” but it’s up to your liking! :)

  25. Hi Nami,
    I love fried chicken and would love to try your version. I am wondering if I could substitute the potato starch for cornstarch.
    This would be such a great appetizer. Would go so well with beer.

  26. i have always considered fried chicken to be the best comfort food ever. this japanese version is wonderful and as usual, your pictures are breath-taking! 😀

  27. Ooooh!!! A while ago, when I was writing a column for my school newspaper, I wrote about the different culture’s fried chicken, and kaarage was one of them!! Yours look delightful, Nami!

  28. Hehe, Nami I think I am starting to recognize your Daiso dishes, as I have a few and planned on buying that green small vase myself :) I love that place! Anyway, this looks really good. Potato starch is actually pretty easy to find here, so I think I’ll give this a try before we go-afterall, my husband LOVES fried chicken and we don’t make it often either.

  29. Very interesting Nami. Now you’ve got me curious to do a comparison as well. Although I never fry foods anymore my husbands favorite dish up until 3 years after we were married was fried chicken. It would be fun to fry some up for him to see what he thinks. I have to admit yours looks pretty tasty and nice and crispy!

  30. Garlic and ginger seasoned chunks of chicken thigh, sounds delicious! I like your choice of seasonings and the look of the fried chicken, I can imagine your son enjoying this in his lunch! I would like to make your recipe for an appetizer during one of our football games, my family would love it;-)

  31. Okay I’m totally trying this. I love anything fried, and this looks incredible. Great recipe and photos Nami. Making me hungry for dinner and it’s only 9:30 am.

  32. I’ve never used potato starch, just corn starch and arrowroot powder. I love it when I learn something new! These look crunchy and amazing! I agree, if you don’t eat fried foods everyday, it’s okay to indulge! YUM!

  33. Some of the best things in life are deep fried. Yum yum! I don’t deep fry often but if I do, it is usually chicken. Nothing like it. I must try your seasoning for this karaage as I love garlic and ginger together.

  34. Oh, Nami, this is just so wonderful – the recipe is clear and precise, the photos are wonderful, the ingredients are easy to find around here and the chicken looks so utterly delicious – who could resist immediately trying out this terrific looking recipe. I am most definitely hungry now and I would so much like to enjoy a piece of your Japanese Fried Chicken!

  35. Nami, you sure know how to make us hungry! Great comparison between potato starch and corn starch. Back in Malaysia, my mom often uses potato starch for deep frying too. I haven’t found potato starch near our area either, so I’ll be interested to look for one once we move closer to the City. Oh yes, you gotta enjoy these chicken karaage deep fried!

  36. Oh this is awesome – I’ll definitely go with the more garlicky version, I’m a sucker for garlic. This is getting added to my to-try list. I haven’t had good luck with frying chicken so far (or good skills lol) but I love the idea of doing a double fry to make it extra crunchy.

  37. I think I just drooled over my keyboard! That looks so delicious, Nami! I’ve never tried home-made karaage before! Must taste delishh!! :) hehe.. kinda intimidated by the deep frying though. lol

  38. Nami…I am sure I could eat the entire bowl of chicken. It looks fabulous! Such a crunchy crust but the chicken looks so moist! I started using potato starch when it was required for a cupcake recipe that I was making. And I use it now in place of corn starch all the time. This is really an amazing recipe Nami….thanks for sharing it with us! : )

  39. うちの主人はこれが大好き!でもまだニンニクバージョンはまだ試してないので、作ってみたいです。

  40. Ooh, fried chicken without breadcrumbs or batter… a great use for the HUGE sack of potato starch I bought recently, and even though I don’t eat chicken that often I really love a good batch of fried chicken! 😀 Did you ever try making your own potato starch by the way? It’s really fun and easy :)

    • Hi Helene! Thanks! I googled it and it looks like coconut oil is being used for deep frying, but I’ve never tried it before. Let me know if you try? :)

  41. I like that you’ve used chicken thighs in your recipe. I like chicken breast, but the thighs just seem to be much more tender and moist. I can see why your son loves this recipe!

  42. Hi there. This is my first comment on your recipes though I have tried a few already. Just this past week I made dashi, tonjiru and sukiyaki using your recipes and they were amazingly authentic and total sellouts with hubby and my for kids. Your stunning photography certainly helps to trigger the taste buds even before the food is ready! So this comment is to thank you profusely for your contributions. I have a quick question. I love your ginger grater! Where did you get out from?

    • Hi Angie! I’m really happy to hear that you enjoyed my recipes that you tried! I need to retake tonjiru and sukiyaki pictures soon as they are not so appealing…but thanks for trusting the recipes and give them a try!

      Ohh that ginger grater! I LOVE IT. My mom has been using that for years and I had to ask my mom to buy one and send it to me (or she might brought it with her last time). It’s nice enough to serve like that to table too. It’s made of ceramic but I have grated ginger, daikon, etc. I actually found it online… I don’t think it cost this much though. Here’s the link.

      Thanks again for your kind comment!

  43. Wow! Thanks for taking the time to reply! I really appreciate it. And thanks for the link too. I’m maki getting one right now! We are a Chinese family and my kids are big fans of Japanese food. I’m making your crispy tonkatsu for guests tonight. Am so in love with your recipes! Keep blogging! :)

  44. Brittany

    I have a gluten intolerant friend and this is great because of the potato starch vs cornstarch, however flour not so much. do you think i could substitute this for rice flour?

    • Hi Brittany! I’ve seen GF flour in Trader Joe’s, but I’m not sure where you locate and maybe it’s hard to find. I am pretty sure you can use rice flour to substitute flour, but I have never made karaage with rice flour and I cannot guarantee the same result with the rice flour. If you use it, would you please let me know how it turns out with rice flour? :) Hope you enjoy!

      • Brittany

        I’m from Australia so I dont know what that is, I have seen GF flour around the place but i didnt realise that the recipe called for flour.
        theoretically in this situation rice flour should act the same way since it is often used for batters as a direct substitution for regular flour (in my research) so fingers crossed it will work and I will definitely let you know how it works! I would like to know what the purpose of the flour in this recipe is? Is it to add some substance to the batter or for another reason or do you not really know? that should give me a better idea of how rice flour should work in this situation :)

        • In my previous Karaage recipe, I only used corn starch (or potato starch) and didn’t use any flour. I’ve been just experimenting to get the perfect karaage texture so I added flour. You can omit the flour if you prefer. It doesn’t affect on flavor, it’s more of texture difference. Hope that helps! :)

  45. Barbara

    I had chicken karaage at a local food truck earlier this month and it was delicious so I was so pleased to see this recipe on pinterest. One trip to our Asian supermarket for potato starch and I have my chicken marinating in the refrigerator. I can’t wait for dinner!

    • Hi Barbara! What a cool food truck to serve karaage! 😀 I hope you enjoyed this recipe. Thank you so much for stopping by! :)

  46. KiimChee

    I tried using the corn starch and it doesn’t look that appetizing as the one in the photo. I guess that’s one difference with the potato starch. The recipe is overall delicious and I can’t wait to try more of your mouth watering recipes. Cheers!

    • Hi KiimChee! I’ve used corn starch for sometime when I couldn’t find potato starch, and I have to say I really like how potato starch gives nice texture to the chicken karaage! Hope you can find potato starch and try again. :) Thank you for writing!

  47. Shauna McMunn

    This recipe is amazing! After living in Japan for 6 years, karaage became a favorite and I always am getting it at Japanese restaurants. I had no idea how easy it was to make at home myself!! I also am a firm believer that there is no such thing as too much garlic, so this recipe tweak was perfect for me! I was surprised how quickly the chicken cooked too! I used a small deep fryer instead of a pan and it worked just great! Thanks again for this great website and all the recipes that even I am able to do!!!

    • Hi Shauna! It’s very simple to make (especially if you’re not afraid of deep frying part – I assume people are hesitant to make because of deep frying…). Plus, you get to adjust the seasoning to your liking, get to choose the best quality chicken, oil…. the result will be pretty awesome at home! :) I’m glad you liked this recipe, and thank you for trying and writing your feedback. :) I’m so happy you enjoyed this dish. xo

  48. Hi Nami, I have recently tried out this Karaage recipe, very nice & my family loves it. Thanks for sharing with us. So good to know a great Japanese cook around.

  49. Jason

    Hi there. In my experience, potato starch can be found in the kosher foods section (if your supermarket has one).

    • Hi Jason! Thank you so much for letting us know. I had no idea we could find in Kosher foods section! I’ll definitely inform readers if they can’t find potato starch. Thank you!!!

  50. Ethel Grimes

    I am SO going to try this! I’ve never used potato starch before, but I definitely want to look for it now.
    And if you use the “healthier” types of oils like peanut oil, there should be no harm in frying it.

  51. fumerie486

    I made these for dinner with my boyfriend today and they went deliciously well with Korean fried rice. The boiling oil scared us a bit at first, but the results were so worth it! It was very crispy on the outside but moist and tender in the inside.

    I thought it was about time I leave a comment, since I’ve been using your recipes all the time since I moved into an apartment with a full kitchen. Thanks! ♡

    • Hi Fumerie486! I’m so happy to hear you liked this recipe! Yeah deep frying can be a bit scary, but we can’t make good karaage without deep frying… plus, homemade one tastes better with clean oil. I love connecting with my readers and I’m glad you stopped by to leave a comment. Thanks so much for such a kind feedback! :)

  52. Lucy

    Hi Nami, thank you for recipe. I love chicken karaage. I will have to try it out soon. I have been using your other recipes and they all turned out wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing them- I have been searching high and low for authentic Japanese recipes but had not found them until I stumbled upon your page and your recipes are very easy to follow and so delicious ! I’m so grateful !
    I hope you will have time to add more yummy recipes to your collection.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Lucy! I’m really happy to hear you like my recipes and thanks so much for your feedback! I’m so glad that you found me and I’m grateful for your readership. :)

  53. Debbra

    As a foreigner in Japan, yours is my go-to page for accurate recipes to satisfy my husband.
    I made this karaage but accidentally left it to marinade for 2 days. The results were the best fried chicken I’ve made to date. Thank you!

    • Hi Debbra! I’m happy to hear you enjoy my blog and thank you so much for trying the karaage recipe! Haha good to hear you enjoyed it after 2 day marinade! 😀

  54. Em

    Hey Namiko,
    My husband is a United States Marine and he used to be stationed in Japan. He ate at a place called Hokka Hokka Tei A LOT. All I know is it is a famous bento restaurant there. He is in the states now and he craves their chicken there. I have been on a mission to find a copy cat recipe to the chicken he loves there so much. They are called fried chicken balls. It was fried chicken in the shape of a ball served with a packet of lemon. Would this be most likely what they served there? If you have ever heard of this place I would love to know more about how to cook or make that chicken. 😉 going to try your recipe soon.

  55. Thank you for this wonderful recipe, I tried it with chicken tendons today and it turned out really delicious – much better than what we ordered from restaurants. Thank you!