Baked Chicken Karaage

Posted by on April 1, 2010 in Blog, Chicken, Family Favorites, Japanese Cuisine Favorites | 12 comments

1 Baked_Chicken_Karaage_Bebe_Love_Okazu

Baked Chicken Karaage

Chicken karaage is the Japanese version of American fried chicken. The chicken is marinated and then coated in starch and then fried. Sometimes this dish is also called tatsutaage, which refers to a Japanese style of fried food that is similarly seasoned, coated and fried.

You’ll often find chicken karaage on the menu at Japanese izakaya (tapas), Japanese restaurants, ramen restaurants and even in the deli or pre-made foods area of popular Japanese supermarkets, possibly in a bento.

It’s great as an appetizer, side dish, or at my house – the main course! It’s also perfect for entertaining a large crowd or for potlucks. It’s easy to make a lot of this dish.

5-Unfried Chicken Karaage Bebe_Love_Okazu

I know, I know… fried stuff is bad for us which is why I BAKED this, and its umai!

In my childhood, I remember my Mom made karaage for us occasionally, and I always thought it was a treat to eat fried food.

I called her to ask her for the recipe… and of course she said in Japanese, “Eh? I don’t really have a recipe.”  I am beginning to notice a pattern with my mom…

I asked her if she could tell me what’s in the marinade.  She said, “Just use shoyu (soy sauce), sake, and mirin (sweet cooking sake) and marinate the chicken.  You can also add ginger and/or garlic, then cover in potato starch or flour, fry it and you’re done.”  Ohhh-k, thanks mom.  :)

My Mom has always used katakuriko (potato starch) instead of corn starch so I’ve picked up this habit, but feel free to substitute potato starch with corn starch or even flour.

As for the meat, chicken thighs tend to be juicier and more tender than breast meat which has a tendency to be dry, but either type of meat will work. I prefer using chicken thighs, as does my Mom, but it’s really a personal preference.

Baked (Unfried) Chicken Karaage

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup potato starch (split 50-50 with flour or substitute potato starch with corn starch)
  • lemon wedges (optional, but recommended)

For marinade:

  • 4 tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking sake
  • 2 teaspoon mirin (sweet cooking sake)
  • 1 tablespoon shaved ginger (use less, 2 teaspoons, for milder flavor if using grated ginger from the tube)
  • 1 small  garlic clove, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine marinade ingredients.  Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.  Turn occasionally. The longer the chicken marinates, the deeper (and saltier) the flavor of the karaage becomes.

I only had boneless, skinless chicken thighs so I used this in lieu of the chicken breast.  I find that the leg is more tender than the breast, especially when baking. The breast is more dry.

COOKING TIP:  Since I don’t use ginger very often, I store it in the freezer.  Peel the skin of the ginger using a peeler, and then continue to use the peeler, or a knife, to shave off little curls of ginger.  It’s easier than defrosting and chopping, and the flavor of the ginger is superb. Also, if you’ve never tried it, buy raw grated ginger available in tubes at the Japanese market.

Mix potato starch (or use cornstarch if you don’t have any) with flour.  Coat chicken with starch and flour mixture and shake-off excess.

Line baking sheet with foil, and spray with Pam to prevent sticking.  Lay chicken on foil, spread apart, then bake for 20 minutes.

You’ll find that some of the starch (white powder) mixture is still on the chicken, but no worries – – – I think it makes the karaage look pretty AND it’s healthier than frying it!

Squeeze juice of lemon lightly over chicken, and serve with lemon wedges on the side.  A squirt of fresh lemon juice really brings the karaage to life!


Judy | bebe mama


5.0 from 1 reviews
Baked Chicken Karaage
Recipe type: Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine: Japanese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 4 tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking sake
  • 2 teaspoons mirin (sweet cooking sake)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger (substitute 2 to 3 teaspoons prepared grated raw ginger available in tubes)
  • Chopped garlic, optional
  • ½ small clove garlic, chopped (add more to taste)
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup potato starch (substitute corn starch or flour)
  • Lemon wedges (optional, but recommended)
  • Cooking oil spray
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.Combine marinade ingredients. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and marinate for 15 to 30 minutes. Turn occasionally. Longer the chicken marinates, the stronger the flavor.
  2. Mix potato starch. Coat chicken with starch and flour mixture and shake-off excess.
  3. Line baking sheet with foil, and coat with cooking oil spray to prevent sticking. Lay chicken on foil, spread apart, then bake for 20 - 25 minutes until cooked through.
  4. Serve chicken on platter and squeeze fresh lemon juice lightly over chicken, and serve with lemon wedges on the side.


  1. avatar

    Me and my BF really like kara-age but it’s fried and that stops me from cooking it all the time. It’s wonderful that you created a new way to cook this! I gotta try it soon! tabetai!

  2. avatar

    i am not fond of japanese cooking.. only fried ones. but this, i can tell i’m gonna like.

    • avatar

      Ah yes, I understand why you like fried Japanese foods. They are very tasty. Hopefully you will enjoy this healthier, unfried version of a classic dish. :)

  3. avatar

    I want to make chicken karaage for my lunch tomorrow, but am burdened with a) being out half the evening and b) not wanting to deep fry things. Thank you for this baked alternative!

  4. avatar

    your write up made me laugh. Everytime I ask my mom for a recipe she says the same thing. Must be a japanese thing-“kun de oryori suru.”

    • avatar

      The other day I was at my parents house and my mom made this great little marinated dish, and as soon as the words left my mouth, “do you have a recipe for this”, I regretted it! She did not… LOL.Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment for m

  5. avatar

    Our family started a weight loss challenge during the holidays, so we are all trying to eat healthier. Your recipe for baked chicken karaage is so delicious! My kids couldn’t believe it wasn’t fried. It is healthier, easier to clean up and actually tastier and more moist than the fried versions that I have tried. Also great for bento box road trips…Thank you!

    • avatar

      Congratulations on the challenge! Sounds like a wonderful effort! I’m so glad you and your kids enjoyed this recipe. It’s definitely great for bentos too! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment for me. Cheers!

  6. avatar

    The instructions called for flour mixes in with potato or corn starch, but found no flour in the ingredient list. SO, how much flour to mix in?

    • avatar

      1/4 cup of starch (either potato or corn) may be used, or 1/8 cup starch, and 1/8 cup flour, hence 50-50 flour and starch. :)

      • avatar

        Is it okay if i use only potato starch. My house has run out of plain flour lol

        • avatar

          Yes, the texture may change slightly but it will work.

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