Chicken Tempura Recipe

Published on October 20th 2021 by Rachael Ottier Hart.
Last updated on March 20th 2024
This recipe, developed through the collective effort of at least six experts, underwent meticulous research and testing for over three months. Learn more about our process in the art and science behind our recipes. This post may contain affiliate links. Read our Disclosure Policy.
Chicken Tempura being picked up with a chopstick

What Is Tempura? Tempura is a Japanese style of deep-frying food using a batter to dip the food before frying. The batter consists of three essential ingredients: flour, egg, and ice water to create a light puffy coating when fried. While Tempura is commonly used for seafood, vegetables, and sushi, modern interpretations have become more creative with all sorts of tempura variations. This recipe for Chicken Tempura is a perfect example of the possibilities with Tempura. We will guide you step by step to making your very own Tempura chicken nuggets or Chicken Fingers. This easy-to-prepare recipe is great for an appetizer or maybe a chicken and chips meal. Either way, we are sure you will enjoy making and eating our Chicken Tempura in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Does tempura mean fried?

Tempura translates to fried seafood or vegetables in Japanese. This method was originally brought to Japan by Portuguese missionaries. 

What is chicken tempura made of?

Tempura is made from very simple ingredients of flour, egg, cornstarch or arrowroot powder, and water. The secret to a light and crispy batter is that the oil needs to be very hot, and the batter needs to be very cold. 

Can you use tempura on chicken?

Yes, pretty much anything that can be fried can be made into tempura. 

How many calories are in Chicken Tempura?

There are 533 calories in one portion of chicken tempura. 

Average: 5 (5 votes)
Total rating includes sum of all comments and anonymous votes.

Click to avoid screen dimming during cooking.

Time & Serves

Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins
4-5 persons


  • Oil For frying

  • 6 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, Tenders, or Boneless Thighs

  • 1 1/4 cups All-purpose Flour

  • 1 1/4 cups Arrowroot or Cornstarch

  • ½ teaspoon Salt

  • ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder

  • ½ teaspoon Onion Powder

  • ½ teaspoon Paprika Powder

  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper

  • Ice cubes

  • 1 Large Egg - beaten

  • 1 1/4 cups Cold water


Prepare a heavy bottom pot or deep fryer with oil and bring to 350 °F/ 178 °C.

Oil being heated in a pan with a thermometer

Prepare a drying station with, baking rack on top of a baking tray or a plate with paper towels.

A colander set up as a drying station with a bowl underneath

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces for nuggets or strips for chicken fingers.

Raw chicken being cut into pieces using a knife on a cutting board

Using a large bowl, sift and mix the flour and starch, making sure there are absolutely no lumps, then remove half and set aside in another bowl.

Arial of two bowls of sifted flour on a countertop

Take one of the two bowls of the flour and starch mixture, and mix in the salt, garlic, onion, paprika, and black pepper, and then set aside; this will be your seasoned dry mix.

Overview of a bowl of flour with spices being whisked into it

Fill a large bowl with ice, large enough to fit the bowl with the tempura batter mixture into the ice to keep cold while cooking.

Bowl of ice water with another bowl inserted in it

Using a chopstick or a fork, mix the beaten egg, cold water, and the unseasoned flour and starch mixture, do not over mix once combined, and there are no lumps. Stop and place the bowl into the bowl with ice. Avoid putting too much air into the batter, and do not whip.

Overview of tempura batter being mixed with chopsticks in a bowl over ice

Now coat a piece of chicken in the seasoned dry mix, shaking off any excess mixture, and gently dip into the cold tempura batter, completely covering the chicken.

A piece of raw chicken being dipped into tempura flour using chopsticks

Then gently remove it from the batter and allow any excess to drip off for about a minute to ensure the batter is not too thick, which would result in the chicken not cooking properly.

Chicken being removed from a bowl of tempura batter with chopsticks

Carefully place the tempura-coated chicken into the hot oil and fry for 5 minutes or until golden and crispy.

Chicken tempura batter being fried in a pot of oil

Remove from the oil, placing on the drying station, and repeat until all chicken pieces are cooked.

Chicken tempura draining in a colander

Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce like Bacon Cheese Dip and enjoy.

Sideview of chicken tempura being dipped in sauce
Rachael Ottier Hart

Join Rachael on a global culinary journey. With a passion for travel and diverse cuisines, she crafts recipes that weave flavors, scents, and stories into each dish, igniting your wanderlust with every bite.

More posts by Rachael Ottier Hart

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tempura chicken nuggets, batter, fingers, tenders, chicken tempura recipes, fried

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Rachael Ottier Hart

Join Rachael on a global culinary journey. With a passion for travel and diverse cuisines, she crafts recipes that weave flavors, scents, and stories into each dish, igniting your wanderlust with every bite.

More posts by Rachael Ottier Hart