Chicken Karaage: Japanese Fried Chicken

Karaage, or Japanese Fried Chicken, is one of the most popular dish in Japanese food establishment. And yes, you can make it at home! The recipe is pretty simple. Like any fried chicken enthusiast, I have developed my recipe after many trials and experiments. My Karaage is juicy and soft, slightly sticky outside rather than crispy. Very much homemade style. It’s worth a try even you don’t do much deep-frying at home.

Well seasoned Karaage tastes good when it’s just made, or after cooled down to room temperature. It looks perfect in bento box for lunch, and goes really well with your happy hour beer. Make a lot and you can use leftover as topping for different dish, such as curry, ramen, fried rice, etc. Usually there isn’t much leftover when I make them, though!

Technically, my recipe is Tasutaage (another popular Japanese style fried chicken) since I use potato starch instead of flour. Some recipes use both. If you don’t have potato starch, feel free to substitute with flour.

This Koko version Karaage could be gluten free if you use soy sauce that’s made without wheat. I will also share how you can add flavor after it’s made.


Serves 4

  • Chicken thigh 1lbs
  • Garlic 1 clove, large
  • Ginger about the size of tip of your thumb, 1″ cube
  • Soy sauce 3 tbsp
  • Sake 3 tbsp
  • Sesame oil 2 tbsp
  • Agave or sugar 1 tbsp
  • Potato starch 1/2 cup
  • Oil for frying (Use high heat oil. I use Spectrum Sufflower Oil)


  1. Grate or mince garlic and ginger, put in a plastic zipper bag, and mix with soy sauce, sake, sesame oil, and agave/sugar.
  2. Cut chicken into bite sizes and add to the bag and mix them well. Please leave the skin on if there is, it will add a flavor, but trim excess fat. I like using boneless chicken thigh but you can use any other parts of chicken such as breast or wings. Seal the bag after pushing the air out. Keep in the fridge for 30min–overnight.
  3. Use a small to medium size pot and pour oil in about 2–3″ deep. Start heating the oil in medium high heat.
  4. While oil is heating up, take the chicken out of fridge and drain the liquid out of the bag. Then shake in potato starch and mix well in the bag. Add potato starch little by little for even coating.
  5. Check the oil temperature by dropping the starch mix from the bag. If it comes up immediately and start bubbling, it’s ready to fry.
  6. Keeping medium high heat, add chickens in the pot. Do not put too many pieces at one time as it will bring down the oil temperature. Turn the chicken around a few times. If the chicken is stuck at the bottom after putting in oil, let it cook for a minutes or so, then try to free it.
  7. Fry until it’s brown, chicken pieces should feel lighter when it’s ready.


  • It’s a good trick to know that you can add flavor after chicken is fried. My favorite addition is curry powder (Frontier Organic Curry Powder is great!). Move the fried chicken in a large bowl and shake in curry powder or any other spices and herbs you like. If the chicken was under seasoned in marinade, you can add salt here as well.