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Karaage Recipe

Karaage is Japanese style fried chicken (two words: kara age).  It is a great appetizer for your drinks,  kids (and adult) friendly dinner, and also a perfect small dish for your lunch box.  Japanese Karaage is usually seasoned with garlic and ginger along with soy sauce, coated lightly with flour, and deep fried.  Because of the oil, it may not be the healthiest Japanese food but it’s certainly a very popular one in Japan.

Karaage means deep fried food with no batter in Japanese, so you could also call fried fish Karaage.  However, if it is not specified, it usually means chicken.  You can get Karaage absolutely anywhere in Japan.  Izakaya, Japanese bars, serve a lot of little appetizers (like Tapas restaurants), and Karaage is a staple dish there.  Hot delis in supermarkets have freshly fried chicken pieces for people to take home.  Even convenience stores today sell Karaage for snacks (7-11 is everywhere in Japan too.)

Although you can find Karaage many places, it is easily made at home too.  Ingredients are very simple and found in any markets.  Serve hot with freshly squeezed lemon juice which helps to cut grease (unfortunately not calories).

Karaage Recipe

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings


  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 2 Tbsp Sake
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp garlic, grated
  • 1-2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • salt and pepper
  • oil for deep frying


  1. Cut a chicken thigh into 3-4 pieces. In a medium size bowl, mix Sake, soy sauce, salt, garlic and ginger with chicken. Let it sit for 1/2-1 hour.
  2. Mix flour, corn starch and some salt and pepper in another bowl. Coat marinated chicken pieces with flour mixture.
  3. Heat oil at medium high heat (350F). Deep fry for 5-8 minutes depending on the size of meat.

Karaage Recipe (Japanese fried chicken)

Karaage (Japanese fried chicken)

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  • Lii
    January 9, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Hi you forgot to tell us what to do with the Ginger & garlic, I suspect include it in the marinade. Thanks, just thought I’d let you know.

    • Noriko
      January 12, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      You are right! thanks for pointing that out.

    • Aikquel
      March 7, 2016 at 9:34 am

      in the Ingredients portion. it says garlic and ginger should be grated.. so it will mix to marinade..

  • esasba
    February 24, 2014 at 12:36 am

    yeah they did it says mix sake soy salt and garlic and ginger duh

    • Noriko
      February 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      thanks for your comment! I forgot to include some ingredients in the written recipe.

  • Jamie
    March 2, 2014 at 7:06 pm


    Just wondering can you use Mirin instead of sake?

    • Noriko
      March 2, 2014 at 11:21 pm

      it tastes a little sweeter, but you can.

  • kevin
    May 28, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    can i make this for my 8th grade middle school even though it uses sake

    • Noriko
      June 2, 2014 at 11:22 pm

      yes, alcohol will evaporate while cooking.

  • matty
    June 12, 2014 at 4:49 am

    I don’t drink wine or bear.Is there anything non-alcoholic I can use instead of the sake?

    • Noriko
      September 14, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      you can omit sake in Karaage.

  • Mike
    June 15, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks for the recipe, karaage wa ume desu.
    But the coating did not become crispy after 7-8 min.
    Do you have a guess about what i could have done wrong.

    • Noriko
      September 14, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      Thanks for trying our karaage recipe! Thicker coating of flour may help.

    • Jamie
      September 26, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Increase the temperature. If i is too cold it will not crisp, but become a soggy coating of grease. Also allow the oil time to heat up (if in doubt, use one piece as a tester)

  • Raika
    August 11, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    I don’t have sake, what other alternatives do you have?

    • Noriko
      September 12, 2014 at 1:37 am

      just omit it.

    • Brandon
      August 29, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      You can substitute cooking sherry for Sake. Or use Mirin.

  • Cat
    August 12, 2014 at 4:17 am

    Great karaage recipe, great dish, great video, nice and simple and not stupid!!!…but cooking time is 20 minutes not 20 hours…just a tip for beginner cooks!…arigato…

    • Noriko
      September 12, 2014 at 1:29 am

      thanks for pointing that out!

  • mari
    August 17, 2014 at 2:59 am

    What do you think about adding some sesame oil?

    • Noriko
      September 8, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      sounds good!

  • Sue
    September 15, 2014 at 7:28 am

    I’ve never heard of karaage without eggs.

    • Noriko
      September 15, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      this is a pretty typical Karaage recipe, and now you know the new way to make it! Let us know the difference if you make our version.

    • natty
      January 23, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      Did you by any chance confused karaage and chicken katsu? 😊

  • Janine
    October 4, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    great recipe! instead of the flour and corn starch, i used potato starch. i didn’t write down all the ingredients and my friend told me potato starch is used, so while rushing to shop i went ahead and grabbed potato starch instead. it came out really crispy, even through the next day! (:

    • Noriko
      October 11, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      potato starch is good to use for Karaage, it is actually more authentic Japanese way of making it (a lot of us outside Japan may not access to potato starch, so we substituted).

  • Bobby
    December 28, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    If we can’t get ahold of minced garlic and ginger would ground ginger and garlic powder be a good substitute?

    • Noriko
      December 28, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      fresh ginger and garlic are the best for the flavor, but can be substituted with powder.

  • Yuri
    January 19, 2016 at 7:30 am

    could we storage the floured chicken in the fridge to fry it the next day? and how long could we storage it?

    • JapaneseCooking101
      January 20, 2016 at 12:05 am

      You can keep the marinated chicken in the fridge for a day, but we recommend frying it soon after you flour the chicken.

  • Matt
    February 19, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    I made this last week and I loved it! I was wondering next time I make this if I could fry them in a cast iron skillet instead of a pot?

    I’m looking forward to try many more of your fantastic recipes! 🙂


  • Kaitlin
    February 20, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    Hello, I am loving trying your recipes! I currently live in Japan and it is a great help with learning how to cook!

  • Rose
    March 3, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    This was a very oishii recipe, though i didn’t have sake. Will make again. Thank you for sharing it with is.

  • Daryl
    August 13, 2016 at 2:54 am

    Hi, umm what can I do to replace sake? My place here doesn’t sell sake.

    • Noriko
      August 19, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      you can just omit it.

  • Karaage lover
    August 17, 2016 at 8:05 am

    I thought your suppose to use potato starch not corn as it is too crispy and hard.

    • Noriko
      August 19, 2016 at 11:56 am

      Karaage lover,
      you’re right, Katakuriko (potato starch) is better! You could substitute with corn if you don’t have it.

  • G
    September 14, 2016 at 6:24 am

    I’ve tried this recipe dozens of times and while the karaage comes out tasting good, it’s never quite right. The batter never bubbles and crisps like other karaage i’ve eaten, and it kind of just flakes off the chicken. What am I doing wrong!?

  • Ryan
    September 18, 2016 at 9:31 am

    How much weight are in 4 chicken thighs?

  • Recipe: Karaage – SEVAC – SouthEastern Virginia Anime Community –
    September 23, 2016 at 11:42 am

    […] Karaage Recipe […]

  • Charcoal
    November 7, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    I just made this for my family and it was a hit. I love the flavor especially the sake. It’s very subtle but adds to the flavor.

  • Gita
    November 17, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    if I do not use or alcohol sake, if the taste karaage that I make will be fine?