Teriyaki Chicken. Tender chicken thighs cooked in a sweet, sticky, savoury teriyaki glaze. A popular Japanese dish that is simple to make at home. Ready in 30 minutes. A great main dish for dinner, lunch or as leftovers.
What is Teriyaki Chicken?
It's a popular chicken dish in Japan where the tender chicken thighs are cooked in a sweet, savoury, sticky glaze. The cooking method of teriyaki dates back to as early as the 17th century! The simple sauce is made of soy sauce, mirin, sugar and sake with hints of garlic and ginger. It's such a beloved chicken dish in Japan and you'll often find it served at many Japanese restaurants with steamed rice or in a bento box.
I love enjoying this main dish with steamed rice and veggies to keep things simple. The sauce from the chicken over the rice really hits the spot! There are also many other ways to serve this delicious meat dish, such as with noodles, in a noodle stir fry, in fried rice, and more!
Please scroll down to below recipe card for exact measurements.
Note: Most Asian grocers will carry these ingredients. You may find some at your select grocery store or online, like on Amazon.
- Chicken thighs, boneless skinless or skin-on: or substitute with chicken breast but please reduce the cooking time to prevent it from drying out
- Cornstarch or potato starch
- Neutral oil: like avocado oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil or canola oil. Avoid olive oil, coconut oil or any heavy scented oils.
Chicken Teriyaki Sauce:
- Regular soy sauce
How to Make Chicken Teriyaki
Prepare Chicken Thighs
First you'll slice your boneless chicken thighs into equal thirds.
Combine sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil so it's bubbling and let it bubble for 2 minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Remove off heat and set aside.
Lightly Starch Chicken
Using a brush, lightly dust sliced chicken with cornstarch on both sides with dabbing motion. Do not heavily coat in cornstarch.
Over medium high heat, add cooking oil into hot pan. Fry chicken thighs on both sides until browned. About 3-5 minutes each side.
Pour Sauce over Chicken
Pour sauce over top. Let it bubble to thicken and reduce, about 1-3 minutes.
Flip Chicken Over & Simmer
Flip chicken over to simmer on the other side for 30 seconds. Optional: garnish with sesame seeds and green onions. Enjoy!
Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions (both optional) and enjoy!
Storage & Reheating
This dish will last up to 4 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge. To reheat, microwave for 2-3 minutes or reheat on the stovetop in a pan on medium heat until hot.
Use chicken thighs for best taste
Traditionally this cut of meat is used for this dish as it’s very tender thanks to fat running through it. Chicken breast may be used but I would recommend checking the internal temperature every now as you cook it. Then when you reach 155 F, pour the sauce overtop and cook for another couple minutest to reach 165 F.
Cornstarch helps the sauce stick
You may be wondering why cornstarch is used? Well, it’s to help the chicken to get a little crispy and creates an outer “shell” to soak up that delicious sauce.
Boil the sauce
We are only bringing the sauce to a boil for 2 minutes to allow the alcohol in the sake evaporate. Once it has evaporated, then we need to remove off heat. Don’t forget we will be pouring this sauce into a hot pan with the chicken, so we don’t want to burn the sauce.
Brown the chicken until it’s golden on each side
This gives the chicken more flavour and creates more texture as the exterior is slightest bit crispy.
Do not overcook the sauce in the chicken
Remember we’ve already boiled the sauce, so allow it to simmer in the chicken until it’s reduced and thickened.
Any Substitutes for Sake?
You can substitute with a broth of your choice or rice vinegar as a last resort.
Substitutes for Soy Sauce?
You can substitute with tamari sauce, coconut aminos or any gluten-free soy sauce if you wish.
What can I use instead of Mirin?
I would omit mirin and replace with broth and add a bit more sugar.
Can I use this teriyaki sauce on other proteins?
Yes, this works for beef, pork, tofu or shrimp.
Other recipes you may like!
- Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)
- Japanese Ebi Mayo
- Korokke Japanese Potato Croquettes
- Air Fryer Japanese Katsudon
- Air Fryer Chicken Katsu
Easy Teriyaki Chicken (Authentic)
- Slice chicken thighs into equal thirds.
- Combine sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil so it's bubbling and let it bubble for 2 minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Remove off heat and set aside.
- Using a brush, lightly dust sliced chicken with cornstarch on both sides with dabbing motion. Do not heavily coat in cornstarch.
- Over medium high heat, add cooking oil into hot pan. Fry chicken thighs on both sides until browned. About 3-5 minutes each side.
- Pour sauce over top. Let it bubble to thicken and reduce, about 1-3 minutes. Flip chicken over to simmer on the other side for 30 seconds. Optional: garnish with sesame seeds and green onions. Enjoy!
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