Air Fryer Japanese Chicken Naked Karaage

There’s no breading needed for this naked air fried Japanese Chicken Karaage! It’s crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and full of delicious flavor!  Best of all it’s healthy, low carb and so easy to make!

I’ve been a huge fan of the air fryer ever since I purchased one a few months ago. It has really been a lifesaver on my most busy days and has made feeding my family a little easier.

Lemon being squeezed on air fried Japanese chicken karaage.

Although my passion is cooking, I don’t always like to make elaborate twenty step recipes and 5-course meals.  Sometimes, I just want something quick, easy, and tasty.  This naked air fried Japanese chicken karaage recipe is a great example!

I first started this recipe with a pork rind breading to replicate the traditional Japanese Karaage starch crust but quickly realized that it didn’t need it.

Marinated with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, monkfruit blend, togarashi, and Japanese sake, the chicken was delicious on its own!

So after making these test batches, I threw the rest of the chicken nuggets in the air fryer as is and I kid you not when I say I had about one bite before my family gobbled them up!  At this pace, we are definitely going to have to invest in a bigger air fryer!

What is Japanese chicken karaage?

Karaage is Japan’s version of fried chicken.  Traditionally, it’s breaded with a potato starch coating and deep fried in oil and served at many restaurants, bars, and street vendors.  It’s also a very popular appetizer served at izakayas, which is a restaurant that focuses on serving food that pairs with alcohol along with a great time!

Japanese Chicken Naked Karaage next to traditional Japanese Karaage.

What is the difference between traditional karaage and LCA’s naked Japanese chicken karaage?

As mentioned above, traditional karaage is typically marinated, then coated with flour or starch and deep fried in oil.  Our version is marinated then air fried without any type of breading or flour coating.   This style of karaage really brings out all the flavors of the marinate and leaves your palate feeling much cleaner.

Japanese Chicken Karaage being marinated in a glass bowl.

How long do I marinade chicken karaage?

We recommend at least 1 hour up to overnight.  We recommend somewhere around 6-8 hours for ideal taste.

Why air fry instead of oil fry?

Air frying is a healthier option since you are not frying in processed oils.  Not to mention, there’s less clean up with air frying and no excess oil to dispose of.

Minced, chopped, and grated garlic on a wooden cutting board.

What is the difference between grating, mincing, chopping garlic and why does it matter for chicken karaage?

With certain root type vegetables such as garlic, the majority of the flavors tasted on the palate are through essential oils.  The finer you can get the garlic, the more essential oils are extracted creating a strong flavor.  Typically for a marinade type recipe, we recommend grating the garlic to allow the oils to really absorb and infuse in the marinade.

Air fried Japanese chicken karaage served on a white plate with a wedge of lemon and fresh parsley.

Did you have any other Japanese chicken recipes I can try?

Now, let’s get air frying some Air Fryer Japanese Chicken Naked Karaage!

  • Prepping Time 5M
  • Marination Time 1H
  • Cook Time 10M
  • Total Time 1H 15M
  • Net Carb/Serv ~2g
  • Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lbs Boneless Chicken Thigh (about 3-4 small thighs)
  • 1/2 Inch Ginger
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Japanese Sake (can substitute with Dry Sherry)
  • 2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 tsp Monkfruit Erythritol Blend (or sweetener of choice)
  • 4 Cloves Garlic (add up to 6 garlic cloves if you like garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp Togarashi (optional)
  • 1 Lemon Wedge (optional)

Directions

1) Gather all the ingredients.

2) Grate garlic and ginger with a grater and add into a small mixing bowl.

3) Combine Soy Sauce, Monkfruit Erythritol Blend, Japanese sake, Sesame Oil, optional Togarashi into the small mixing bowl, mix well and transfer marinade into a zip-lock bag.

4) Cut chicken into 1/2 x 1/2 inch small bite-size pieces, place them into the zip-lock bag and marinate for 1 hour minimum (up to overnight) in the refrigerator.

5) Once 1 hour has passed, remove chicken from marinade and transfer to an air fryer tray.

6)  Air Fry at 360F for 10-12 minutes until chicken is golden brown.  Transfer to a serving plate and serve with a wedge of lemon.  Enjoy hot!

Hope you enjoy your Air Fryer Japanese Chicken Naked Karaage!

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Air fried Japanese chicken karaage served on a white plate with a wedge of lemon and fresh parsley.

Air Fryer Japanese Chicken Naked Karaage

There's no breading needed for this naked air fried Japanese Chicken Karaage! It’s crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and full of delicious flavor! Best of all it's healthy, low carb and so easy to make!
5 from 4 votes
Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: air fryer Japanese chicken, Japanese chicken karaage
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marination Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe
Calories: 448kcal

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lbs Boneless Chicken Thigh about 3-4 small thighs
  • 1/2 Inch Ginger
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Japanese Sake can substitute with Dry Sherry
  • 2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 tsp Monkfruit Erythritol Blend or sweetener of choice
  • 4 Cloves Garlic add up to 6 garlic cloves if you like garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Togarashi optional
  • 1 Lemon Wedge optional

Instructions

  • Gather all the ingredients.
  • Grate garlic and ginger with a grater and add into a small mixing bowl.
  • Combine Soy Sauce, Monkfruit Erythritol Blend, Japanese sake, Sesame Oil, optional Togarashi into the small mixing bowl, mix well and transfer marinade into a zip-lock bag.
  • Cut chicken into 1/2 x 1/2 inch small bite-size pieces, place them into the zip-lock bag and marinate for 1 hour minimum (up to overnight) in the refrigerator.
  • Once 1 hour has passed, remove chicken from marinade and transfer to an air fryer tray.
  • Air Fry at 360F for 10-12 minutes until chicken is golden brown. Transfer to a serving plate and serve with a wedge of lemon. Enjoy hot!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 167mg | Sodium: 1147mg | Potassium: 414mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 281IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 2mg
*Values Based Per Serving
Did you make this recipe?Tag @LowCarbingAsian on Instagram and hashtag it #LowCarbingAsian

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4 Comments

  1. The video stated to air dry at 360. The instructions say to sit dry at 390

  2. Amanda Marcus

    I tried this recipe and it turned out very well. I used Chinese rice wine for cooking instead of Japanese sake and it turned out well, but I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations of where and what to look for to get sake for cooking.

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