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Marinated with sake, salt, and pepper and served with a squeeze of lemon, this ultra-crispy chicken karaage is a delicious Japanese fried chicken.

Shio Karaage

Shio Karaage is a mouthwatering variation of Japanese fried chicken thanks to an umami-packed marinade and crackling crisp skin. Learn all of my tricks for making the crispiest chicken karaage with this easy-to-follow recipe.
Course Entree
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword deep-fried
Level Beginner
Main Ingredient Poultry
Diet Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Low-Carb
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinating Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 560kcal


  • 5 grams garlic (1 medium clove, grated)
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper (to taste)
  • 400 grams skin-on boneless chicken thighs
  • vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 50 grams potato starch (~1/3 cup)
  • ½ lemon (cut into wedges for serving)


  • Whisk the garlic, sake, salt, and black pepper together in a medium bowl until the salt is fully dissolved.
    5 grams garlic, 2 tablespoons sake, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    Mixing marinade for shio karaage.
  • Trim any excess fat or tough connective tissue of the chicken.
    400 grams skin-on boneless chicken thighs
    Trimming excess fat and connective tissue from chicken thighs.
  • Look for natural partitions in the meat with the skin-side down and follow them with a sharp knife to slice the chicken into 1.5-inch strips (4cm).
    Cutting chicken thigh into strips.
  • Next, you want to cut the strips into pieces of chicken that are roughly the volume of a golf ball. This will mean that thinner areas will need to be cut longer while thicker areas should be shorter.
    Cutting chicken thighs up into bite-sized pieces.
  • Add the cut chicken to the marinade and stir to coat each piece evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight.
    Marinating bite-sized chicken pieces for karaage.
  • When you're ready to fry your chicken karaage, add 1-2 inches of oil to a heavy pot with high sides and preheat to 340°F (170°C). Prepare a cooling rack by lining it with a few paper towels.
    vegetable oil
    Pot of oil pre-heated to 340°F.
  • Put the potato starch in a bowl, and then roll each piece of chicken in the starch to coat it in an even layer. Next, use your fingers to squeeze the chicken into a ball and lower each piece into the preheated oil. I recommend frying the Karaage in two batches.
    50 grams potato starch
    Dusting karaage chicken with potato starch.
  • Once the coating on the chicken has set, flip the pieces over to cook them evenly.
    Flipping karaage chicken over.
  • How long the chicken takes to cook will depend on how large the pieces are, but they should take about 5 minutes to cook through. They should read an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) when they're cooked. Transfer the chicken as they cook to the prepared rack to drain.
    Draining karaage on paper towels.
  • Serve the Shio Karaage immediately with a few wedges of lemon.
    1/2 lemon
    Plating Japanese fried chicken with lemon wedges.


Calories: 560kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 196mg | Sodium: 759mg | Potassium: 718mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 165IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2mg