Teriyaki Chicken is a very popular Japanese dish and is so easy to make. The sauce is just a mixture of soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar. Just sauté the chicken and cook in the sauce (DO NOT marinate chicken in the sauce to make Teriyaki Chicken the Japanese way). It takes only 15 minutes!
Teriyaki Chicken (照り焼きチキン) is more commonly called tori no teriyaki (鳥の照り焼き) in Japan. Tori (鳥) means bird but chicken in this context.
It is one of the most popular Japanese dishes among Aussies and I presume in other parts of the world as well. At almost every Japanese restaurant in Sydney, you will find Teriyaki Chicken on the menu.
I often find that the flavour of the Teriyaki Chicken at restaurants is slightly Westernised and I can sometimes even taste garlic in it. But the recipe I am sharing today is the traditional Japanese way of making Teriyaki Chicken.
ABOUT TERIYAKI SAUCE
You can’t talk about Teriyaki Chicken without mentioning Teriyaki Sauce.
This is a very simple sauce that is made up of only four ingredients. But once you know the proportion of ingredients, it becomes so easy to cook flavoursome dishes in 5-10 minutes. Any dishes called ‘teriyaki’ something uses this Teriyaki Sauce.
The Teriyaki Sauce is made with 1 part soy sauce + 1 part sake + 1 part mirin + about ½ part sugar. I say ‘about ½ part sugar’ because you can adjust the sweetness to your liking.
Here is the sample photo of soy sauce, sake and mirin I use. At supermarkets in Australia, you might find different brands of mirin and cooking sake such as Bento brand. They are fine to use too. Please visit Japanese Dressings for more details about them.
Combine them together and mix well to dissolve the sugar. You can heat the mixture slightly to speed up the process of dissolving the sugar if you like.
This sauce is a very good sauce to have on hand. It keeps for weeks in the fridge and you can sauté or grill fish/meat/vegetables and pour the sauce over it. You could add grated garlic/ginger to vary the flavour too.
PREPARING CHICKEN for Teriyaki Chicken
I use chicken thigh with the skin on. I know the skin is fatty, but I think that the chicken looks nicer with the skin on when cooked, especially nicely browned.
But if you prefer chicken fillets without the skin on, that’s OK. You can also use chicken breast but you might find that the cooked chicken is slightly dry.
Thigh fillets are usually thick on both sides and thin in the middle. It is important to make the thickness of the fillet even.
Place a fillet on a cutting board, skin side down, and make a cut horizontally and outward where the meat is thick and butterfly it (see the photo below and the Video).
Using the tip of the knife, poke the skin randomly (see the Video). This will allow the Teriyaki Sauce absorb into the flesh better.
SECRET OF MAKING GREAT TERIYAKI CHICKEN
Have you ever experienced the teriyaki sauce not sticking to the chicken evenly and the sauce is somewhat mixed with oil? This is because you had too much oil in the frying pan before adding the Teriyaki Sauce to it.
The chicken is covered with oil and also the excess oil and the sauce splits as they do not mix well. To prevent this to happen:
- Do not add oil to the frying pan when cooking the chicken.
- Wipe away any excess oil in the frying pan just before adding the Teriyaki Sauce (see the photo below).
When you do the above, you will find that the sauce sticks to the cooked chicken and you will have a saucy Teriyaki Chicken.
Serving Teriyaki Chicken
Most Japanese meals are served in such a way that you can pick up and eat the food with chopsticks without needing to cut it. In this recipe, I sliced the chicken after it was cooked so that you can still see the whole fillet of chicken, and it is easier to pick up a piece with chopsticks.
But if you are eating Teriyaki Chicken with a knife and fork, you don’t need to slice the chicken.
I served Teriyaki Chicken with shredded cabbage but any green salads or boiled vegetables are OK. If you are using a dressing, I’d suggest a light one.
Teriyaki Chicken Don
If you place sliced Teriyaki Chicken over the rice with extra sauce poured on it, you get a Teriyaki Chicken don (Teriyaki Chicken on rice in a bowl).
Instead of shredded cabbage, you can grill or blanch vegetables to give extra colour to the dish. Below is a Teriyaki Chicken don with charred shallot/scallion stems and blanched snow peas that I just ate after taking these photos (yum, yum).
I cut the white part of shallots/scallions to 5cm/2″ long then cooked in a frying pan with no oil until they get burnt here and there. They go surprising well with the Teriyaki Sauce.
If you are making Teriyaki Chicken don, cook Teriyaki Chicken as per the recipe but increase the amount of Teriyaki Sauce by 50% so that more sauce will be poured over the chicken and dribbled onto the rice, making the rice so tasty.
I hope you like my version of Teriyaki Chicken.
P.S. Don’t forget to see the section ‘MEAL IDEAS’ below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and the new recipe in this post that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
Teriyaki Chicken is one of the most popular Japanese dishes. The Teriyaki Sauce is so easy to make, it’s just a mixture of soy sauce, sake, mirinand sugar. You do not marinate the chicken in the sauce to make Teriyaki Chicken. Just sauté the chicken and cook it in the sauce, which takes only 15 minutes in total! See the video below the recipe to believe it.
- 350g/12oz thigh fillets skin on , bone removed (note 1)
- 1½ tbsp soy sauce (see post for sample photo)
- 1½ tbsp sake (see post for sample photo)
- 1½ tbsp mirin (see post for sample photo)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- ½ cup shredded carrot
- ¼ cup thinly sliced capsicum
- a sprig of parsley or mint (optional)
Combine the Teriyaki Sauce ingredients in a small bowl or cup and mix well until the sugar dissolves (note 4).
If the thickness of the chicken is uneven place a fillet on a cutting board, skin side down, make a cut horizontally and outward where the meat is thick and butterfly it (see the Video).
Poke the skin with the tip of the knife in several places so that the sauce will get through to the flesh better.
Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Place the chicken in the pan, skin side down. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the skin gets cooked to a golden brown. Turn the chicken over and cook for about 3 minutes (Note 5). If a lot of oil comes out of the chicken fat and skin, absorb excess oil with a paper towel (Note 6).
When the chicken is nearly cooked, add the sauce, shake the pan to even out the sauce, and put the lid on. Cook for 30 seconds.
Remove the lid and cook until the sauce thickens and reduces to about 1-1.5 tablespoons (Note 7). Turn the chicken over and coat the skin side with the sauce.
Remove the pan from the heat and place the chicken on the cutting board, skin side up. Cover with foil for few minutes to let it cook further. Slice the chicken into 1.5-2cm/⅝-¾” thick pieces.
Place mixed cabbage, carrot and capsicum salad on a plate and then arrange the sliced chicken. Pour the sauce over the chicken and add a sprig of parsley/mint if using. Serve immediately.
1. I could not find chicken thigh with only skin on. So, I bought chicken thighs with skin and bone on and removed the bones.
You can use skin off and even chicken breast if you prefer. The texture of the chicken will be different, particularly with chicken breast, but the flavour should be the same.
2. You can make a larger quantity of Teriyaki Sauce to use for another dish. Teriyaki Sauce keeps about a month in the fridge.
3. You can pick any vegetables to go with the Teriyaki Chicken but I would recoomend either fresh salad or boiled vegetables.
4. You can warm up the sauce on the stove or in the microwave to dissolve the sugar faster if you want.
5. Depending on the thickness of the thigh fillets, time will vary.
6. It is important to remove the excess oil as much as possible. Too much oil from the fat prevents the teriyaki sauce from sticking to the meat. This is the reason for using a non-stick frying pan with no oil. If using a normal frying pan, I’d suggest that you oil the pan with a small amount of oil when heating it up.
7. You need to retain enough sauce to pour over the chicken on the plate. After turning off the heat, the sauce continues to cook with the pan’s residual heat and concentrate further. So, turn off the heat slightly earlier. You can always concentrate further if required.
8. If you are making Teriyaki Chicken don (Teriyaki Chicken on rice in a bowl), increase the quantity of Teriyaki Sauce by 50% and pour it over the cooked chicken on rice. The rice will absorb extra sauce which is really tasty.
9 Nutrition per serving including salad.
serving: 329g calories: 442kcal fat: 26g (40%) saturated fat: 7g (35%) trans fat: 0.1g polyunsaturated fat: 505g monounsaturated fat: 11g cholesterol: 166mg (55%) sodium: 301mg (13%) potassium: 634mg (18%) carbohydrates: 19g (6%) dietary fibre: 3.1g (12%) sugar: 14g protein: 31g vitamin a: 109% vitamin c: 127% calcium: 4.6% iron: 9.5%
Originally published in August 2017. Rewritten in June 2019, new photos, Meal Ideas added.