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Tsukune Recipe

Tsukune are Japanese chicken meat balls with a kind of Teriyaki sauce and are popular at Yakitori restaurants.  Often times, small Tsukune meat balls are skewered on bamboo sticks and grilled on the coal barbecue grill, but they don’t  have to be.  Here they are shaped like small hamburger steaks and cooked in a frying pan. Tsukune is a great appetizer as well as a main dish for everyday dinners.

Ground chicken is the main ingredient for Tsukune.  Because of the soft texture, it is a popular item for children.  Raw ground chicken is much softer than ground beef or pork, and it is a little hard to handle.  Here we used Katakuriko, potato starch, as a binder, but you can also use some bread crumbs.  However, be careful with using too much of the binder, since it could change the texture of the meat to be too pasty. Use some oil on your hand when making the meat balls.  That may ease the stickiness of the meat.   Adding some vegetables to the meat is great too.  While we used finely chopped brown onion, some Renkon (lotus root), or water chestnuts are also great vegetables to add to give the meat balls a nice crunchy texture.

Tsukune Teriyaki is one of the popular dishes for Osechi (New Year meal) too.  There are a lot of traditional vegetables and seafoods (seaweeds) in Osechi, which could be a little boring, so this meat dish may be a refreshing take for the holiday feast.

If making small balls or putting on skewers is too much work for busy week nights, make patties like Hamburger Steaks.  Easy dinner is ready in no time!

Tsukune Recipe


  • 1/2 brown onion
  • 350g ground chicken
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp Katakuriko (potato starch)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Mirin
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp Katakuriko


  1. Chop brown onion finely. Mix ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, put chicken, onion, yolk, ginger, salt and potato starch, and mix very well until very sticky. Divide into 16 pieces and shape like small round or oval hamburger patties.
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan at medium heat, fry patties for 3-4 minutes each side until cooked through. Add the sauce, and cook for a minute coating chicken with the sauce.

Tsukune Recipe

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  • Kevin
    October 18, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! I might try using renkon or water chestnuts instead of onions, do you have any recommendations on how to prepare them?

  • K
    October 30, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    I’m looking at freezing these so I can use them for lunches – would it be better to freeze them uncooked or after they’ve been cooked?

  • Kelly
    November 17, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    I love this recipe thank you

  • Hannah
    December 13, 2016 at 8:57 am


    First, I love your recipes! I’ve followed a lot of your recipes here and they are always a hit with my family. This Tsukune sounds like something my kids would love. Potato starch is not widely available here, though. Can I use corn starch instead? Thanks and keep it up! 🙂

  • Victoria
    January 5, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    These are really delicious! Thank you for posting and for this site overall!

  • Marcial Mota
    January 25, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Is there a difference between Katakuriko (Japanese Potato Starch) and regular potato starch available in U.S. supermarkets?