Japanese Fried Chicken Recipe for Crispy Juicy Karaage Chicken. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Japanese Fried Chicken Recipe for Crispy Juicy Karaage Chicken Pieces

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Our Japanese fried chicken recipe for karaage chicken makes incredibly juicy chicken pieces with a super crispy skin. Karaage is a technique that calls for marinating the chicken, before a light coating with flour, then twice-frying the chicken, and while it can be applied to any meat or fish, when people think of karaage, they think of Japanese fried chicken.

One of the things we love about fried chicken is that you can eat it year-round – fried chicken is fantastic with creamy mashed potatoes or spicy potato wedges in winter and pairs perfectly with summer salads in the warmer months, and this fried chicken recipe for Japanese karaage chicken is no exception.

In the colder months, this Japanese fried chicken calls for a side of korokke or deep-fried panko-coated mashed potato croquettes (recipe coming soon), while during warmer weather you’re going to want to tuck into some karaage chicken with this Japanese potato salad or Japanese style cucumber and cabbage salad.

If you’re a fried chicken and salad lover, you should also try this Belles Hot Chicken Nashville-style Southern fried chicken and our Burmese fried chicken recipe which makes a popular street food snack in Myanmar, which is brilliant with this Shan tomato salad or Burmese raw cabbage salad.

Now before we tell you more about this Japanese karaage chicken, we have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you’ve enjoyed our recipes or other content on the site, please consider supporting Grantourismo. You could buy us a coffee and we’ll use that donation to buy cooking ingredients for recipe testing or contribute to our epic original Cambodian cuisine history and cookbook on Patreon.

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You could also shop our Grantourismo store on Society6 for gifts for foodies, including fun reusable cloth face masks designed with Terence’s images. Now let me tell you a little about this Japanese fried chicken recipe for karaage chicken.

Japanese Fried Chicken Recipe for Crispy Juicy Karaage Chicken

This Japanese fried chicken recipe will make you the crispy-skinned succulent chicken pieces that are available everywhere in Japan, from izakayas, where you can order for karaage chicken among other small plates of drinking food to soak up the booze, to convenience stores, where the chicken is sold in take-away cardboard containers.

One of karaage chicken’s biggest fans was the late Anthony Bourdain who confessed he was addicted to karaage chicken, which he said was something of a guilty pleasure. Bourdain said whenever he passed through Narita airport, he’d make a beeline for a Lawson convenience store, which are ubiquitous in Japan, and that he “never got on the plane without loading up on these bad boys”.

I, for one, prefer home-cooked karaage chicken and I love this Japanese fried chicken recipe which Terence has perfected. Getting a crunchy exterior involves three steps – first marinating the chicken, then coating it in flour, then twice-frying the chicken, and Terence has a pic below on what the first fry looks like.

Some tips from Terence on how to make this Japanese fried chicken recipe for crispy juicy karaage chicken.

Japanese Fried Chicken Recipe for Crispy Juicy Karaage Chicken. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.
Karaage Fried Chicken after the initial fry.

 

Tips to Making this Japanese Fried Chicken Recipe for Crispy Juicy Karaage Chicken

Just a few tips to how to make this Japanese fried chicken recipe for crispy juicy karaage chicken, starting with the chicken. We use chicken drumettes for our karaage instead of boneless chicken thigh pieces.

We find that the drumettes stay really juicy compared to the chicken thighs and you get a great mix of crispy skin and moist dark meat in every bite.

If you do want to use chicken thigh pieces, don’t cut them too small; ideally, they should be at least 5 cm (2 inch) pieces or just cut each thigh into four pieces. We do not recommend chicken breasts as the texture can be chewy as they can dry out too much.

Our Japanese fried chicken recipe calls for potato starch as a coating. There are lots of different flour mixes in recipes out there for this dish but after a lot of delicious testing, we found that potato starch is the best at creating a crunch coating. Corn starch is also a good substitute, but all-purpose flour is a little too indelicate for our tastes.

Japanese Fried Chicken Recipe for Crispy Juicy Karaage Chicken. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Unlike a lot of Japanese karaage chicken recipes that either marinate the chicken for as little as five minutes or as long as an hour, we marinate our chicken for 20 minutes.

We have found that having a longer time to let the flour ‘glue’ to the chicken is more beneficial as you can give it an extra coating before deep frying.

While our cooking times and oil temperatures should result in fully cooked chicken, always use a deep fry thermometer to check for doneness. Chicken should be cooked to 74°C (165°F).

Have a baking sheet with a wire rack ready for the finished chicken pieces to drain on.

Japanese Fried Chicken Recipe for Crispy Juicy Karaage Chicken

Japanese Fried Chicken Recipe for Crispy Juicy Karaage Chicken. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Japanese Fried Chicken Recipe for Crispy Juicy Karaage Chicken

Our Japanese fried chicken recipe for karaage chicken makes incredibly juicy chicken pieces with a super crispy skin. Karaage is a technique that calls for marinating the chicken, before a light coating with flour, then twice-frying the chicken, and while it can be applied to any meat or fish, when people think of karaage, they think of Japanese fried chicken.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Appetiser
Cuisine Japanese
Servings made with recipe4
Calories 250 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g chicken drumettes
  • sea salt - , to taste
  • black pepper - , freshly ground, to taste
  • ½ cup potato starch - , or corn starch
  • vegetable oil - , for deep frying

Marinade

  • 2 cm ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar

Garnish

  • lemon slices
  • Japanese mayonnaise
  • Shichimi Togarashi - , Japanese seven spice

Instructions
 

  • Crush the ginger and garlic. Add this, the chicken and the rest of the marinade ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. Marinate for 20 minutes.
  • Spread the potato starch and the salt and pepper on a tray.
  • When the chicken has marinated, shake the marinade off the chicken to remove any ginger or garlic pieces. Roll the chicken in the potato starch mixture. Make sure all the pieces are fully coated before placing in the fridge for an hour.
  • If you have leftover potato starch apply it to the chicken as the chicken will absorb the potato starch.
  • Heat the oil to in a deep fry pan or deep frier to 165°C (330°F).
  • Give the chicken pieces a light shake before adding carefully to the oil. Do not crowd the pan and cook in batches if you have a small pan. Cook for around 2 minutes, after which the chicken should have a very light brown colour. Place on a wire rack.
  • When all the pieces of chicken have been cooked, remove any loose pieces of coating from the deep fryer as these may burn at a higher heat.
  • Increase the heat to 180°C (355°F) and fry the chicken pieces again for a minute for each batch. The chicken should be a light golden brown with a crispy skin. Check that the chicken has reached 74°C (165°F).
  • Serve with lemon wedges, Japanese mayo, Shichimi Togarashi and salad or rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 250kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 15gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 571mgPotassium: 342mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 99IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1mg

Please do let us know in the comments below if you make this Japanese fried chicken recipe for crispy juicy karaage chicken, as we’d love to know how it turned out for you.

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AUTHOR BIO

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A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, TIME, CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, International Traveller, Get Lost, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.

2 thoughts on “Japanese Fried Chicken Recipe for Crispy Juicy Karaage Chicken Pieces”

  1. This is our favorite fried chicken recipe, Terrence. We make it all the time. My husband does the frying and says your instructions are easy to understand. I make Lara’s cucumber cabbage salad. It’s the best meal. We just wanted to let you know. Thank you.5 stars

  2. Hi Helena, that’s so great to hear! Thank *you* so much for taking the time to visit us here and let us know x

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