Tempura vs Kakiage vs Karaage: What is the Difference?

When it comes to traditional dishes that represent Japanese cuisine, many people will be reminded of “Tempura (天ぷら)”.

As you know, it is a deep-fried thing or “Agemono (揚げ物)” covered in a batter.

And typical ingredients include prawn, squid, conger-eel, eggplant, asparagus, sweet potato, pumpkin, maitake and shiitake mushrooms.

Tempura (天ぷら)Prawn Tempura

Tempura vs. Kakiage vs. Karaage

“Agemono (揚げ物)”, meaning “deep-fried thing”, is the generic term for Japanese deep-fried foods, such as Tempura, “Kakiage (かき揚げ)”, and “Karaage (から揚げ)”.

But do you know how the dishes Tempura, Kakiage, and Karaage differ? 

Kakiage vs. Tempura

Kakiage (かき揚げ)Kakiage

Like Tempura, Kakiage is made by deep-frying unseasoned ingredients coated in a batter made from wheat flour. But it is different in some points from Tempura.

Unlike Tempura, the ingredient for Kakiage is cut into small pieces, and a mixture of those chopped foods is combined with flour batter and deep-fried in plenty of oil.

So a piece of Kakiage typically consists of various kinds of foods.

On the other hand, Tempura usually consists of only one piece of ingredient covered in a crispy coating.

But long and thin foods, such as asparagus and common bean, are formed into a bunch, battered, and deep-fried in oil.

In conclusion, Kakiage is a kind of Tempura. In other words, they are essentially the same things.

By the way, if you want to know how to eat Tempura (Kakiage), this article will help.

Karaage vs. Tempura (Kakiage)

Karaage (唐揚げ)Tori no Karaage

Karaage is also a type of Agemono, but it is quite different in the cooking method from Tempura and Kakiage.

Karaage is deep-fried in oil after the ingredient is thinly coated with wheat flour/Katakuriko potato starch, instead of using batter.

Speaking of Karaage, it is almost synonymous with “Tori no Karaage (鳥の唐揚げ)” using chicken thigh meat, but various foods can be the ingredient, including flatfish, shrimps, potatoes, and asparagus.

In modern times, like “Tatsuta Age (竜田揚げ)“, the ingredient for Karaage is often pre-seasoned with soy sauce and mirin (sweet cooking rice wine), sometimes accompanied by ginger and garlic.

Unlike Tempura and Kakiage, Karaage is typically eaten with mayonnaise or lemon.

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia 天ぷら, かき揚げから揚げ )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.