Chicken Teriyaki

published May 11, 2024
Chicken Teriyaki Recipe

Cook juicy chicken thighs in an easy homemade teriyaki sauce in just 15 minutes.

Serves4

Prep5 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 20 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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overhead shot of chicken teriyaki served over white rice with a side of broccoli, topped with sesame seeds and green onion
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

Do you ever gravitate towards the Japanese stand in a mall food court because they’re giving out tasting samples of teriyaki chicken like I do? I always marvel at their cooktops loaded up with juicy chicken that they serve up with a pile of white rice and steamed broccoli. Well, I’m here to let you know that this deliciousness is doable at home — even on a weeknight. This recipe doesn’t require you to marinate the chicken, either. All you have to do is sear boneless chicken thighs on the stovetop and then finish cooking it in an easy sauce made of only five ingredients. It takes less than 15 minutes, and you’re also left with plenty of teriyaki sauce to drizzle over the rice.

Why You’ll Love It

  • It couldn’t be easier! This recipe cooks all in one pan in less than 15 minutes.
  • The easy teriyaki sauce is super delicious. It only has five ingredients, and there’s plenty to spoon over rice.

Key Ingredients in Chicken Teriyaki

  • Chicken: I like using boneless, skinless chicken thighs here because they stay juicy and cook quickly.
  • Soy sauce: Soy sauce gives deep, savory flavors and color to the sauce.
  • Sake: This Japanese rice wine gives complex flavors to the teriyaki sauce. An inexpensive one will work just fine here.
  • Mirin: Also a rice wine, but sweeter and with less alcohol than sake. You’ll find it in the same aisle as soy sauce.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

How to Make Chicken Teriyaki

  1. Make the sauce. Stir soy sauce, mirin, sake, water, and brown sugar together. Transfer some of it to a small bowl and add cornstarch (this will help thicken the sauce at the end).
  2. Sear the chicken. Sear the chicken in a hot pan until browned on one side.
  3. Simmer the chicken in sauce. Flip the chicken, add the sauce, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. Thicken the sauce. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce in the pan and cook to thicken it. Slice the chicken and pour the sauce over it. Serve with broccoli and rice.

Helpful Swaps

  • Chicken: Thin-cut boneless, skinless chicken breast can be used in place of chicken thighs.
  • Soy sauce: Tamari can be substituted for soy sauce if you want a gluten-free teriyaki sauce. (Here’s an explainer on the differences between soy sauce and tamari.)
  • Brown sugar: Both dark and light brown sugar will work here; use dark brown for a deeper, more caramelized flavor.

Storage and Make-Ahead Tips

  • Make ahead: The sauce can be made and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days. Add the cornstarch to the smaller portion of sauce when ready to cook.
  • Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to four days. 

What to Serve with Chicken Teriyaki

Chicken Teriyaki Recipe

Cook juicy chicken thighs in an easy homemade teriyaki sauce in just 15 minutes.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon

    vegetable or canola oil

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/3 cup

    mirin

  • 1/3 cup

    sake

  • 1/4 cup

    soy sauce or tamari

  • 1/4 cup

    water

  • 2 tablespoons

    packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    cornstarch

  • 1

    medium scallion, thinly sliced (optional)

  • White sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

  • Steamed white rice and cooked broccoli, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil in a large frying pan (12 inches) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Meanwhile, pat 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season all over with 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

  2. Add the chicken to the pan in a single layer and cook undisturbed until well-browned on the bottom, 4 to 6 minutes. Meanwhile, place 1/3 cup mirin, 1/3 cup sake, 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari, 1/4 cup water, and 2 tablespoons packed light or dark brown sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the sauce to a small bowl, add 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and whisk until the cornstarch is suspended.

  3. Flip the chicken. Pour the sauce without the cornstarch over the chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat as needed to maintain a lively simmer. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes more.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium. Transfer the chicken with tongs to a clean cutting board. Whisk the cornstarch mixture again. While whisking the sauce constantly, pour in the cornstarch mixture and cook until thickened, about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat.

  5. Cut the chicken crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide slices and place in a wide, shallow serving bowl; pour the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with 1 thinly sliced medium scallion and white sesame seeds if desired. Serve with cooked white rice with cooked broccoli.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The sauce can be made and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Add the cornstarch to the smaller portion of sauce when ready to cook.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.