Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)
Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)
The only karaage recipe you'll ever need. Learn two methods of frying that produce moist, flavorful, boneless, skinless Japanese fried chicken with a super-thin coating that's incredibly crispy and crunchy. Serve with lemon or lime wedges.


  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sake
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • ⅛ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces 
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 1 quart canola oil, or as needed


  1. Mix garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sake, mirin, sesame oil, black pepper, cayenne, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Place chicken in the marinade and mix until thoroughly and evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 10 hours.
  3. Set up your dredging station: Place a wire rack over a foil-lined baking sheet. Add potato starch to a wide, shallow bowl.
  4. Remove chicken from the refrigerator. Stir to coat with marinade. Toss 2 or 3 pieces at a time in the potato starch until evenly coated. Shake off any excess starch and place chicken on the wire rack. Repeat to dredge remaining pieces.
  5. Tap the rack on the baking sheet to remove any loose chunks of starch, then transfer the baking sheet and rack of chicken to the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes.
  6. Heat oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  7. Without crowding, lower chicken carefully into the hot oil in batches. Fry, tossing occasionally, until cooked through and the outside is crunchy and browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Chef's Notes

  • If you can't find mirin, you can use sake plus an extra teaspoon of white sugar. You can use cornstarch instead of potato starch, but don't use potato flour! It's not the same as potato starch.
  • For crispier, darker karaage that's made in two steps and great for a party, try the double-fry method! Follow the instructions to Step 6. Fry chicken as directed in Step 7, but only fry for 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Remove to a rack and let cool to room temperature. Finish by frying at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 2 more minutes. Chicken can be refrigerated until the second fry.


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