Classic Chicken Teriyaki

4.8/5 (5)
Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
2 servings
Chicken Teriyaki Chicken Teriyaki



  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Mixing bowls
  • Skillet
  • Spatula
  • Grater

Quick Directions

  1. Cut chicken into pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Grate onion, ginger and mince the garlic.
  3. Add the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sake, mirin, and sugar and stir. Add chicken and marinate 30 minutes.
  4. Heat oil in skillet on medium high heat. Remove chicken from sauce, add to pan and cook until bottom is browned.
  5. Flip chicken, turn down heat to medium and coer pan. Add remaining sake and cook until sake is absorbed.
  6. Remove chicken from pan, blot pan with paper towel to absorb excess oil, then add chicken and remaining sauce to pan.
  7. Cook until sauce thickens. Add butter and stir until evenly coated.

The Story

Chicken teriyaki is one of my favorite Japanese dishes, and a dish many people are already familiar with. But what you may not know is teriyaki is not a flavor, but a style of cooking. Teri means luster and yaki means grilled, so making great teriyaki involves really mastering the technique to create a beautifully glossy, grilled dish full of flavor. While in Japan teriyaki is mainly enjoyed at restaurants that specialize in the skill, it can also be enjoyed at home with minimal effort. This is my go to method for making great teriyaki, so you’ll be enjoying authentic teriyaki chicken at home in no time!

A key thing to note about chicken in Japan is thigh meat is more popular than breast meat because it has more flavor. Where in the US, breast meat is generally more expensive, in Japan thigh meat is more expensive instead! Many Japanese chicken recipes, especially grilling recipes, call for chicken thigh because the Japanese prefer it, so I’m using thigh meat to keep it more authentic. Feel free to use chicken breast instead, just be extra careful not to overcook it, chicken breast can get very dry!

The teriyaki sauce I use below is one of many combinations you can try. If you want to vary it up a little bit, start off with my basic recipe and go from there to find the flavor you like best!

Recipe – Classic Chicken Teriyaki:

– Cut each piece of chicken into 5 or 6 smaller pieces. Pierce with a fork, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Chicken Teriyaki

– Next prepare the teriyaki sauce. Using a grater, finely grate the onion, ginger and garlic in a small bowl.

Chicken Teriyaki

– Add the soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar and stir until combined. Add the chicken and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Chicken Teriyaki

– When the chicken is ready to be cooked, heat the oil on medium high heat in a large skillet. Remove the chicken from the sauce and add to chicken to the pan skin side down, setting aside the remaining sauce for later. Cook for a few minutes until browned.

Chicken Teriyaki

– Flip the chicken over and reduce the heat to medium. Add the two tablespoons of sake, cover, and let cook until the sake is almost completely absorbed.

Chicken Teriyaki

– Remove the lid, then remove the chicken from the pan briefly. Use a paper towel to remove any excess oil, then return the chicken to the pan.

Chicken Teriyaki

– Continue cooking the chicken until the skin turns crispy. Add the teriyaki sauce to the pan and stir to coat the chicken. Once the sauce starts to thicken, add the butter, then stir to coat evenly.

Chicken Teriyaki


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  • Caroline @ Shrinking Single

    Great looking recipe and I love the photos of the steps – makes it very straightforward to follow. The background on the food is wonderful too.

  • Anna

    Hi! So I cooked your teriyaki chicken, and everybody loves it! This recipe is fantastic! I am incredibly happy it turned out! I am happy to give it a 10/10! I will be making it again, but next time I will have to cook more!!

    • Dani

      So glad it was a hit! I’ve basically ruined teriyaki chicken for my family, when we order it at a restaurant, they always like mine better! It’s both a blessing and a curse! I always try to make a little extra to have for lunch the next day, but it’s so delicious, we always eat it all!

  • Charlotte Cambronero

    This recipe looks good but confused on the instructions. Should I put back the marinade as a sauce?

    • Dani

      Yep, don’t let that flavor go to waste! As long as you cook it properly, the marinade creates a great sauce to finish the dish