Japanese Fried Chicken

Get ready to experience the ultimate crispy delight with my Japanese Fried Chicken recipe, also known as karaage! This traditional Japanese dish yields juicy chicken, marinated to perfection with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce, then coated and fried to golden perfection! With its irresistible umami flavors and straightforward preparation, this dish is a must-try for anyone who enjoys a delicious fried chicken dish!

Japanese fried chicken being picked with a pair of chopsticks.

Why I Love This Recipe

If you’re like me and love the flavors of Japan, you’ll love my Japanese Fried Chicken recipe! I made sure to craft this easy, fail-proof Japanese fried chicken recipe following the traditional Japanese way of preparing fried food, just like my Tonkatsu and Tebasaki Fried Chicken Wings! What makes my recipe stand out is its signature marinade and potato starch coating, resulting in irresistibly crispy yet thin crusts, setting it apart from Western-style fried chicken!

I marinate the chicken in my umami-packed sauce, similar to my Korean BBQ Marinated Chicken, before coating it with potato starch and deep-frying to golden brown perfection. Whether served as a main dish or side, this recipe promises to bring the authentic taste of Japan right to your kitchen with simple, natural ingredients. Get ready to elevate your fried chicken game and savor every bite of this dish!

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • Chicken – Cut into bite size pieces. Chicken thighs are the preferred meat for this recipe because it tends to be juicer and more tender.
  • Ginger – Grate ginger using a hand grater or a cheese grater works well too.
  • 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 – Grate garlic using a hand grater or garlic press.
  • Togarashi (red pepper)Togarashi Japanese chili pepper blend found in most Asian or Japanese supermarkets. A good alternative would be cayenne pepper or chili pepper.
  • Potato Starch – starch made from potato that gives the fried chicken a crispy coating. Can substitute with corn starch, but will not be as crispy. For low-carb, use a egg bath coated with crushed pork rinds or Pork Panko.

🍗 Chicken Ingredient Note

You can use Chicken Breast if preferred, but traditionally, this recipe is made with chicken thigh.

🍶 Mirin Ingredient Note

While mirin is traditionally used to make the marinade, we’ve considered that mirin might not be readily available in all areas. To accommodate this, the recipe modifies the ratio of Japanese sake and sweetener.

 

Japanese fried chicken

Directions

Step 1 Start by combining grated garlic, grated ginger, soy sauce, sweetener, Japanese sake, toasted sesame oil, and optional red pepper in a mixing bowl.

Japanese fried chicken karaage marinade in a mixing bowl.

Step 2 Add in bite-sized chicken pieces into this marinade, ensuring they’re well-coated. Allow the marination to happen in your fridge for at least 2 hours.

Japanese fried chicken karaage in a zip lock bag.

💡 Marinating Pro Tip

For optimal flavor, we recommend letting the chicken marinate for 8 Hours.

Step 3 After marinating, coat the chicken in potato starch.

Japanese fried chicken coated with potato starch.

💡 Coating Pro Tip

For optimal coating, there are two methods you can choose: Dipping each piece of chicken into a bowl of starch or generously Sprinkling the starch over the chicken.

Step 4 Deep fry until golden brown in vegetable oil for about 2-3 minutes. Drain excess oil on a wire rack and serve with a lemon wedge.

Japanese fried chicken karaage served in a bowl.

🍳 Deep Frying Pro Tip

Avoid Overcrowding the frying pan by frying the in batches. This allows each piece to cook evenly and prevents the oil temperature from dropping too much.

🌡 Internal Temperature Check

For safe consumption, make sure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

🍗 Extra Crispy Pro Tip

For an extra crispy texture, consider Double Frying the chicken. Once it’s rested for 1-2 minutes, fry it again to further enhance the crispiness of the exterior coating.

Recipe Variations

Try the Air Fryer Soy Sauce Chicken for a healthier option. Skip the coating and use an air fryer instead, maintaining juiciness inside while achieving a crispy exterior.

Pairing Recommendations

Serve my Japanese Fried Chicken with green salad dressed in Wafu Salad Dressing for a refreshing accompaniment that perfectly balances the savory flavors of the chicken. Pair it with classic Japanese noodle dishes like Beef Udon, Chicken Udon, or Black Garlic Chicken Ramen for a complete and satisfying meal. For simple yet flavorful sides, consider options such as Garlic Spinach Stir Fry or Japanese Cucumber Salad to add variety and texture to your table.

Japanese fried chicken being picked with a pair of chopsticks, top down shot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use cornstarch instead of potato starch for the coating?

Yes, you can, but keep in mind that the texture won't be as crispy as when using potato starch.

What temperature should the oil be for frying the chicken?

The ideal temperature for frying the chicken is between 350-375°F. Ensure the oil is at this temperature range to achieve crispy results. Avoid overcrowding the pan to maintain consistent frying.

Can I meal prep the chicken marinade?

Yes, you can. After marinating the chicken, you can freeze it as is. When you're ready to cook, simply place the bag in a water bath until defrosted, then proceed to deep fry as usual.

Storage Tips

Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. When reheating, it’s best to use an air fryer or bake it in the oven for optimal taste and texture.

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Watch How To Make It

Japanese fried chicken being picked with a pair of chopsticks.

Japanese Fried Chicken

Discover the authentic flavors of Japan with my delicious Japanese Fried Chicken recipe. Perfectly crispy and bursting with savory goodness, this dish is a must-try for any fried chicken enthusiast!
5 from 11 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Japanese fried chicken
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marination Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe
Calories: 453kcal

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lbs Chicken Thigh boneless
  • 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
  • 1/4 Cup Potato Starch use egg dip with Pork Panko or crushed pork rinds for low carb
  • 1 Wedge Lemon optional

Instructions

  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Ingredients for Japanese fried chicken.
  • Grate garlic and ginger with a grater and add into a mixing bowl.
    Grated garlic.
  • Combine Soy Sauce, sweetener, Japanese sake, Toasted Sesame Oil, optional Togarashi into a mixing bowl and mix well.
    Japanese fried chicken karaage marinade in a mixing bowl.
  • Cut chicken into small bite-size pieces, about 1/2 x 1/2 inch and place into a ziplock bag. Pour marinade from above into the ziplock bag and marinate for 2 hour minimum (up to overnight) in the refrigerator.
    Japanese fried chicken karaage in a zip lock bag.
  • Remove chicken from the marinade, coat with potato and set aside.
    Japanese fried chicken coated with potato starch.
  • Add enough oil to cover about 1/2 inch and heat oil up to 375F. Once the oil is preheated, carefully place chicken inside without overcrowding to deep fry (cook 2 batches if needed). Cook until crust is lightly browned on all sides, about 2 – 3 minutes in total. You may have to rotate/flip chicken depending on how much oil you used.
    Japanese fried chicken being deep fried.
  • Transfer to a wire rack. If you do not have a drying rack, place use a plate with a paper towel to soak up oil. Once all residual oil drips off, transfer to a serving plate with an optional wedge of lemon.
    Japanese fried chicken being deep fried.

Nutrition

Calories: 453kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 33g | 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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8 Comments

  1. Wow, this looks delicious! What kind of oil did you use to fry the chicken?

    Also, thank you for the step-by-step photos. It’s so helpful!

    • LowCarbingAsian

      Thank you!! We just used regular vegetable oil, but you can use any oil suitable for deep frying and you are welcome for the step by step!! Like they say, a picture is worth a 1000 words!!

  2. This recipe looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it out! I was just wondering if you have the nutritional information for all macros or is it similar to the original kaarage? Thanks!!

    • LowCarbingAsian

      Hi! We do not have the exact nutritional facts on it but it would be similar to traditional kaarage. My guess would be the carbs would be less and fat would be increased. Hope the recipe comes out well for you!

  3. is there a possible replacement for pork rinds

    • LowCarbingAsian

      Hi Sam! We haven’t tried it, but believe you can use psyllium husk as a replacement. You also try to toss it in some almond flour as well. Just keep mind though that both these methods probably won’t be as crisps as pork rinds.

  4. Jenny Wilson

    I was so hopeful for this dish…I followed the directions exactly but was quite disappointed. I ended up with deep fried chicken pieces as all the coating came off as soon as the chicken hit the oil.

    • LowCarbingAsian

      Hey Jenny! Sorry to hear you were disappointed with the dish. Some of the pork rinds are going to come off when it hits the oil but it helps if you grind the pork rinds very finely. This dish is traditional made with potato starch, but there isn’t a low carb substitute for that ingredient so pork rinds will have to do. I haven’t tried this, but if you dip the marinated chicken into beated eggs before applying the pork rinds, it might help bind the pork rinds onto the chicken.

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