Yakitori

published Feb 22, 2022
Yakitori Recipe

These grilled chicken skewers make the perfect weeknight dinner.

Serves4

Makes10 to 12 skewers

Prep20 minutes

Cook35 minutes

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Skewered chicken on a gray plate
Credit: Sahara Bohoskey

Yakitori is classic Japanese street food. Literally translating to “grilled chicken,” you’ll usually find skewers of thin strips of chicken thighs with stems of scallions sandwiched in between. The aroma of grilled chicken over hot coals and the perfume of tare — the yakitori sauce that is basted on the meat — caramelizing is the scent of summer.

This easy indoor version is a convenient alternative when you’re looking for a simple dish that only takes 30 minutes from start to finish. This recipe is made on a stovetop or under the broiler, depending on your preference, and is quick and mess-free. Serve yakitori as an appetizer or for an easy weeknight dinner with a side of rice or a salad

Homemade tare is a condiment made with soy sauce, mirin, sake, and brown sugar that’s very similar to teriyaki sauce — the latter is made with the addition of garlic and ginger. Tare is sweet, savory, and versatile. Luckily, this recipe will leave you with plenty to spare. Drizzle it over rice bowls, brush it over salmon or tuna steak while grilling, or marinate tofu in it before pan-frying.

Credit: Sahara Bohoskey

Yakitori Recipe

These grilled chicken skewers make the perfect weeknight dinner.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes

Makes 10 to 12 skewers

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the tare (yakitori sauce):

  • 1 1/4 cups

    regular or low-sodium soy sauce

  • 3/4 cup

    mirin

  • 1/2 cup

    sake

  • 2 tablespoons

    packed light or dark brown sugar

For the yakitori:

  • 2 medium bunches

    scallions

  • 8 ounces

    boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 12

    wooden skewers

  • Cooking spray (if broiling)

Instructions

  1. Place 1 1/4 cups soy sauce, 3/4 cup mirin, 1/2 cup sake, and 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until reduced by half, syrupy, and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 8 minutes.

  2. Trim 2 medium bunches scallions, then cut the whites and light green parts crosswise 1 1/2-inch pieces; reserve the dark greens parts for another use. Cut 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips.

  3. Skewer the chicken and scallions onto 12 wooden skewers: For each one, thread a slice of chicken lengthwise onto the skewer, skewer a piece of scallions horizontally next to the chicken, and then thread a second slice of chicken lengthwise.

Cooking Option #1: Stovetop

  1. Heat a cast iron or nonstick grill pan or wide frying pan over medium-high heat. Add as many skewers as will fit with 1/2-inch space between skewers. Cook, flipping every 2 minutes, for 6 minutes total. Baste with the sauce and continue to cook, flipping and glazing every 2 minutes, until golden brown and slightly charred, about 10 minutes more. Repeat cooking the remaining skewers if needed.

Cooking Option #2: Broiler

  1. Arrange a rack 6 to 8 inches from the broiling element and heat the broiler to high.

  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then coat the foil with cooking spray. Arrange the skewers in a single layer on the baking sheet with 1/2-inch space between. Broil, flipping every 2 minutes, for 6 minutes total. Baste with the sauce and continue to broil, flipping and glazing every 2 minutes, until golden brown and slightly charred, 8 to 10 minutes more.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftover skewers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.