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, the Japanese food is a deep-fried thing covered in a batter which is classified as an “Agemono (揚げ物)“.

As typical ingredients for Tempura, prawn, squid, conger-eel, eggplant, asparagus, sweet potato, pumpkin, maitake and shiitake mushrooms, are well-known.

Prawn Tempura

The Difference: Tempura vs Kakiage vs Karaage

“Agemono (揚げ物)”, literally deep-fried things, is the generic term for Japanese deep-fried foods, including “Kakiage (かき揚げ)” and “Karaage (から揚げ)”, together with Tempura.

But what is the difference between Tempura, Kakiage, and Karaage? For those of you who don’t know much about these Japanese fried foods, this time let me explain the difference between them.

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 Kakiage is somewhat different in the cooking method from Tempura.

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

Not only does Kakiage consist of various food materials, but it can actually also be made with just one ingredient.

On the other hand, basically, Tempura consists of only one piece of ingredient covered in a crispy coating, though long and thin foods, such as asparagus and common bean, are formed into a bunch, battered, and deep-fried in oil.

In a nutshell, it is generally said that Kakiage is a kind of Tempura, in other words, Tempura and Kakiage are essentially the same things.

Karaage vs Tempura (Kakiage)

Tori no Karaage (鳥の唐揚げ)Tori no Karaage

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

In general, Karaage is deep-fried after the ingredient is thinly coated with wheat flour and/or Katakuriko (Japanese potato starch), instead of batter.

Like “Tatsuta Age (竜田揚げ)“, prior to being deep-fried, the food material for Karaage is often flavored with Japanese seasonings like soy sauce, sake rice wine, and Mirin sweet cooking rice wine, together with ginger and garlic.

As for the ingredient for Karaage, the most representative one is chicken thigh meat and its Karaage is called “Tori no Karaage (鳥の唐揚げ)”.

In addition, flatfish, shrimps, potatoes, and asparagus are typically prepared as the ingredient of Karaage.

(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.

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