Chicken Karaage (Japanese fried chicken)

This chicken karaage was one of the best bites of fried chicken I have ever had. That’s a huge statement considering how much fried chicken I have made and eaten in my life. It is perfectly season, crispy, juicy, and goes perfectly with a dip in kewpie mayo.

Corn starch for chicken karaage

Many fried chicken recipes will use flour or a mix of other starches as a coating. Corn starch creates a more light and crispy batter and find that it sticks to the crevices of the chicken better. Corn starch is also gluten free for those who have dietary restrictions.

In addition to the actual breading, I add corn starch in the marinating process before coating. I do this to thicken the marinade which will allow for more corn starch to stick onto the chicken when coating afterwards. The thick and sticky batter will create the small crackly bits that everyone loves when frying chicken.

Allow the chicken to rest after coating in corn starch

When you allow the chicken to rest, the natural moisture from the chicken and marinade absorb the corn starch. This prevents dry corn starch from being fried which results in a less golden and almost pale looking fried chicken. If there is still excess corn starch on the surface of the chicken after 20-30 minutes, just dust it off with your hand.

Double fry chicken karaage

As we all know, the double fry is the king of crispy, long lasting fried chicken. Of course, you don’t need to double fry, however, I would highly recommend it for the long lasting crunch. For the first fry, I keep it at 300F – 325F for 4 minutes. The second fry is at 375F for 1-2 minutes until golden and crispy.

Something to note when double frying is that the oil gets very dirty after the first fry so you might need to replace it with new oil.

Skin on boneless chicken thighs

If I’m being 100% honest, the skin on chicken thighs is a gamechanger. Chicken skin is just a next level of added flavor and crunch which is what makes this fried chicken so unique. If you cannot find skin on chicken thighs that have been deboned, you can debone them yourself. It is quite easy, just run your knife along the bone until the meat comes off.

Chicken Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)

One of the best bites of fried chicken you will ever have. Keep in mind that you can make this in 20 minutes without the marinating steps but it will not be as flavorful. For best results, plan for 1 hour 10 minutes.
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 2 people


Chicken marinade

  • 5 boneless skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • tbsp soy sauce
  • tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • ¼ cup minced ginger
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • 1 large egg


  • cups corn starch (or just enough to coat all chicken)


  • Debone your chicken thighs.
  • Cut boneless skin-on chicken thighs into 2 inch pieces. I would split 1 chicken thigh into 3-4 pieces.
    5 boneless skin-on chicken thighs
  • Add cut chicken into a bowl along with the remaining marinade ingredients. Let it marinate at least 15 minutes. The marinating step is optional but will end up more flavorful
    5 boneless skin-on chicken thighs, 2 tsp salt, 1½ tbsp soy sauce, 1½ tbsp mirin, 1 tsp sugar, ¼ cup minced garlic, ¼ cup minced ginger, 1 tsp white pepper, ¼ cup corn starch, 1 large egg
  • In a large plastic bag, add enough corn starch to coat all the chicken. Add the chicken into the bag, seal, and shake until each piece is coated well.
    1½ cups corn starch
  • Dust off excess corn starch from each piece of chicken and place them on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes. The chicken should hydrate the corn starch. Flipping the chicken after 15 minutes will help the process. IF you are low on time you can skip immediately to the frying process.
  • First fry at 300F – 325F for 4 minutes.
  • Turn up the heat to 375F and fry for another 1-2 minutes until crispy and golden.
  • Immediately season with salt and serve with kewpie mayo and a lemon wedge.
Keyword chicken, deep fried, fried chicken, japanese, karaage

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  1. Hi Jackiy, can you tell me what oil you use to fry in? I bought peanut oil but I’m not sure if this is what would be the best to fry in

    Thanks !

    • Peanut oil works great! Just a little more expensive. I use corn or canola oil.

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