Let’s learn how to make teriyaki chicken at home and even better! Picture juicy chicken coated in a sweet and tangy thick glaze and then enjoyed with some jasmine rice and steamed veggies.
Fun fact! The name teriyaki is actually derived from teri which means shiny in Japanese and yaki which means grilled. Put that together and you get teriyaki which means shiny grilled just like teriyaki chicken where the chicken is grilled and then coated in a sweet and savory glaze. When the sugars in the sauce caramelize, it creates that shininess!
How to Make Teriyaki Chicken
There are two parts to making the teriyaki chicken and in total, it only takes about 15 minutes to make – the perfect quick and delicious dinner!
The first step is to grill the chicken in a pan with a little oil to get some beautiful browning and crispiness. You can use chicken breast or boneless, skinless chicken thighs and just add a sprinkle of salt and black pepper.
The second step is to make the teriyaki sauce using soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and cornstarch. Add the sauce to the pan and once it thickens up and glazes the chicken, it’s ready to go!
Garnish it with green onions and sesame seeds over a bed of rice and enjoy.
Can I Use Chicken Breast?
Yes, you can definitely swap out chicken thighs for chicken breast! It will still be delicious but keep in mind, chicken thighs are more traditionally used because they’re a lot more juicy and the extra fat caramelizes beautifully when grilled.
You can also make beef teriyaki instead of chicken. For the cut of steak, choose between flank or sirloin. Just thinly slice it against the grain and coat it in cornstarch to help it crisp and brown more.
How Do I Make This Vegetarian or Vegan?
The teriyaki sauce is already vegetarian and vegan! So all you need to do is swap the chicken for tofu or your favorite vegan chicken substitute.
Just take a block of extra-firm tofu that’s been pressed and cut it into small cubes. Sprinkle it with salt, black pepper, and coat it in cornstarch. Get it nice and crispy in a pan with some oil and then toss it into the sauce to glaze the tofu!
What to Serve With Teriyaki Chicken
My favorite two things to enjoy with teriyaki chicken are jasmine rice or any kind of white rice and steamed broccoli and/or carrots! A drizzle of sriracha, some chopped green onions, and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds on top turns it into the perfect bowl. Some other options include brown rice, noodles, and fried rice. You can also add additional toppings to your bowl like avocado, edamame, grilled pineapple, and sliced cabbage. The possibilities are truly endless and delicious.
Tips & Notes
- Make sure the pan and oil are both very hot before adding the chicken so it can brown and crispy up nicely!
- Feel free to use honey as a sweetener to taste instead of brown sugar.
- If you are allergic to soy or gluten-free, coconut aminos works as a perfect substitute.
- 1 pound chicken thighs boneless and skinless
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
- scallions and sesame seeds (to garnish on top)
- sriracha (optional drizzle on top)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, water, sesame oil, dark brown sugar, rice vinegar, and cornstarch. Set aside for later.
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Sprinkle chicken thighs with just a dash of salt and then black pepper to taste.
- Add the chicken to the hot oil and pan and sear until browned and crispy. Then flip over and brown the other side.
- When the chicken is almost cooked through, add the teriyaki sauce we made earlier.
- After 1 minute of the sauce simmering in the chicken, it will thicken up and glaze the chicken.
- Serve the chicken on top of rice with green onions, sesame seeds, sriracha if you like a kick and any other toppings you fancy!
- If you'd like it sweeter, feel free to add more brown sugar. You can also use honey too.
- Chicken thighs are best to use but you can also use chicken breast.
- To make it vegan, you can just use tofu. Take a block of extra-firm tofu that's been pressed and cut it into small cubes. Sprinkle it with salt, black pepper, and coat it in cornstarch. Get it nice and crispy in a pan with some oil and then toss it into the sauce to glaze the tofu!