Air Fryer Soy Sauce Chicken

Get ready to elevate your dinner game with my Air Fryer Soy Sauce Chicken recipe! Experience the irresistible flavors of Japanese fried chicken karaage, enhanced with a slightly sweet soy sauce marinade and air-fried to perfection. It’s a hassle-free dish that’s easy to make, fail-proof, and bursting with authentic Japanese flavors. Let’s dive into the world of savory delights and make dinner time a breeze!

Lemon being squeezed on air fried chicken marinated in a soy sauce marinade.

Why I Love This Recipe

What I absolutely adore about this recipe is its effortless simplicity combined with bold Japanese flavors. It’s essentially my own creative spin on Japanese Fried Chicken Karaage, but with a twist – instead of the traditional coating, I’ve perfected a technique to cook the marinated chicken in the air fryer, just like my popular Air Fryer Chicken Yakitori recipe. This means set it and forget it cooking, hassle-free and foolproof, a highlight that I’m sure everyone will love!

The marinade uses the base from my Baked Soy Sauce Chicken, featuring soy sauce, infuses the chicken with savory umami notes, complemented by hints of sweetness and garlic. Whether you’re seeking a satisfying main course or a flavorful side dish, this recipe is a winner. So, why wait? Dive into the world of Japanese cuisine tonight with this irresistible air fryer chicken recipe!



  • Chicken – boneless and skinless chicken thigh. Can substitute with chicken breast if preferred.
  • Ginger – grated using a hand grater.
  • Soy Sauce – low-sodium Soy Sauce preferred. Can also use tamari for gluten-free.
  • Japanese Sake – typically will come in a large bottle labeled junmai sake. Can also substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine, found at local grocery stores or Asian markets. 
  • Toasted Sesame Oil – 100% Toasted Sesame Oil that should have a dark brown color.  
  • Sweetener – use your preferred sweetener.
  • Garlic – freshly grated garlic.
  • Togarashi (red pepper)Togarashi Japanese chili pepper blend found in most Asian or Japanese supermarkets. A good alternative would be cayenne pepper or red pepper.
  • Lemon – optional, squeeze some lemon juice over cooked chicken before serving.

🍗 Chicken Note

You can use Chicken Breast if preferred, but best results with chicken thigh.

Chicken being marinated in a Japanese style soy sauce marinade.

Essential Kitchen Equipment


Step 1 Mix together soy sauce, sweetener, Japanese sake, and sesame oil in a bowl until well combined. Transfer the marinade into a ziplock bag. Add cubed chicken pieces to the bag and ensure they are fully coated in the marinade. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 2 hours to infuse it with delicious flavor.

Chicken being marinade.

💡 Marinating Pro Tip

For optimal flavor, we recommend letting the chicken Marinate for 8 Hours. For best results, try to Remove Excess Air out of bag before closing.

Step 2 Once the marination is complete, remove the chicken from the marinade. Arrange the marinated chicken pieces in a single layer inside the air fryer basket. There’s no need to flip them during the cooking process. Set the air fryer to 360°F and cook the chicken for approximately 10-12 minutes until it is cooked thoroughly and achieves a beautiful golden brown color.

Soy sauce chicken served on a plate.

💡 Air Frying Pro Tip

Arrange the chicken pieces in a Single Layer in the air fryer basket, Avoid Overcrowding. This allows for proper air circulation and ensures that the chicken cooks evenly.

🌿 Garnishing Pro Tip

For a burst of zesty freshness, squeeze Lemon Juice over the cooked chicken as a garnish.

Pairing Recommendations

Enhance your Air Fryer Soy Sauce Chicken with classic Japanese sides like a green salad dressed in Japanese Wafu Salad Dressing or a Japanese Cabbage Salad. Alternatively, enjoy a bowl of rice or Japanese Beef Fried Rice for a satisfying accompaniment. For added comfort, serve alongside Japanese Chicken Soup.

Air fried soy sauce chicken marinade served on a white plate with a wedge of lemon and fresh parsley.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I marinate the chicken for optimal flavor?

For optimal flavor, we recommend marinating the chicken for a minimum of 8 hours. This allows the chicken to fully absorb the flavors of the marinade, resulting in a more flavorful and delicious end result. However, if you're short on time, you can marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours, but the longer marination time will yield the best results.

Should I preheat the air fryer before cooking the chicken?

Preheating the air fryer is optional for this recipe. While you can preheat it if you prefer, it's not required, as the cooking time provided already accounts for a non-preheated air fryer.

Do I need to flip the chicken pieces during cooking?

No, there's no need to flip the chicken pieces during cooking when using an air fryer. The circulating hot air ensures even cooking on all sides, eliminating the need for flipping.

Is it necessary to use Japanese sake in the marinade, or can I substitute it with something else?

While Japanese sake adds a distinct umami flavor and helps reduce gaminess in the chicken, you can substitute it with Chinese cooking wine or simply omit it if necessary.

Storage Tips

To store leftovers, simply transfer them to an airtight container and place them in the refrigerator. When stored properly, the leftovers will maintain their freshness and flavor for up to 7-10 days.

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Watch How To Make It

Air fried soy sauce chicken marinade served on a white plate with a wedge of lemon and fresh parsley.

Air Fryer Soy Sauce Chicken

Welcome to my flavorful recipe for Air Fryer Soy Sauce Chicken! With the perfect blend of Japanese-inspired marinade and the convenience of air frying, this dish is a must-try for chicken lovers. Enjoy the crispy exterior and juicy interior of this air-fried karaage chicken, seasoned with savory soy sauce. It's a hassle-free way to indulge in the irresistible flavors of Japanese cuisine right at home!
5 from 11 votes
Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: air fry karaage chicken, air fryer soy sauce chicken
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marination Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe
Calories: 448kcal


  • 3/4 lbs Chicken Thigh can sub with chicken breast
  • 1/2 Inch Ginger
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Japanese Sake can substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine
  • 2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 2 tsp Sweetener your preferred sweetener
  • 4 Cloves Garlic add up to 6 garlic cloves if you like garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Togarashi optional
  • 1 Lemon Wedge optional


  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Ingredients for air fryer soy sauce chicken.
  • Combine grated garlic, soy sauce, sweetener, Japanese sake, toasted sesame oil, optional togarashi into the small mixing bowl, mix well and transfer marinade into a zip-lock bag.
    Marinade for soy sauce chicken.
  • Cut chicken into 1/2 x 1/2 inch small bite-size pieces, place them into the zip-lock bag and marinate for 2 hour minimum (up to overnight) in the refrigerator.
    Chicken being marinade.
  • Remove chicken from marinade and transfer to an air fryer tray in a single layer.
    Soy sauce chicken in a air fryer basket.
  • 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.
    Soy sauce chicken served on a plate.


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
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  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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