This easy teriyaki chicken recipe has the most tender, delicious chicken coated in a sweet teriyaki sauce. Skip the takeout... this is ready in half an hour!
This post was originally published on November 30, 2018. I updated the recipe to make it better, added more tips to the blog post, and took new photographs.
This is definitely a North American style chicken teriyaki. Traditional teriyaki sauce uses sake, but I decided to omit it since not everyone will want to buy it just for this recipe. Also, I do use mirin, but I use a grocery store version of it that's more easily accessible to most people.
There's really not much to this recipe, so it's perfect for a simple weeknight dinner. If you've finally decided to learn how to make teriyaki chicken in your own kitchen, you've come to the right place!
I also have an Instant Pot teriyaki chicken recipe if you'd rather make it in there.
What's in teriyaki sauce?
Garlic, brown sugar, fresh ginger, mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine), soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and water. I also add some cornstarch to thicken it.
I don't go too crazy with the garlic or ginger in this recipe, so feel free to add more if more zing is your thing.
What is mirin?
Mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine (similar to sake but with more sugar) that helps give teriyaki sauce its signature flavor. Most grocery stores will carry a version of it (I use Kikkoman brand - it's described as "mirin style sweet cooking seasoning"), which is fine for this recipe. If you want something a little more authentic, you may want to check an Asian foods specialty shop.
Mirin substitutions: If you don't have mirin, try a dry sherry or sweet marsala wine. If you want to do a bit of experimenting, Bon Appetit magazine suggests that dry white wine or rice vinegar will also work, BUT you will need to counteract the sourness with about a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar for every tablespoon you use... so be sure to give the sauce a taste to ensure that it's to your liking. This will also change the amount of sauce that's made, so I would be pretty careful with this particular recipe to ensure it thickens properly etc.
Recipe notes & tips:
- The sauce is quite thick and rich. There isn't a ton of it, but it's sweet and a little goes a long way IMO.
- The second batch of chicken tends to cook a little faster because the pan is hot, so you may need to turn down the heat a little bit if the pan starts smoking too much.
- The cornstarch helps give the chicken a nice crispy outside and tender inside. It also helps thicken up the sauce quickly.
- You can definitely use chicken thighs instead if you prefer!
- Using a splatter guard helps make clean-up easier. I also love using kitchen tongs for quickly turning the chicken.
What to serve with teriyaki chicken
I love to serve teriyaki chicken with rice (jasmine is my favorite) and scallions on top. It also goes well with broccoli, sweet corn, and green beans as well.
Questions about this recipe? Let me know in the comments below. Tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram so I can see your creations!
Easy Teriyaki Chicken
- 2 chicken breasts cut into 1" pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- Garnish (optional): chopped scallions & sesame seeds to taste
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger grated
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons mirin see note
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Add the sauce ingredients to a small bowl and whisk together.
- Cut the chicken into about 1" pieces and add it to another bowl. Add the garlic powder and pepper and stir until coated, then add the cornstarch and stir again to coat.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a skillet. Let it heat for a few minutes over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken in 2 batches (don't crowd the pan). Cook the chicken for 4 minutes and then flip (I use tongs to make it easy) and cook for another 3-4 minutes or so. Chicken should be browned and cooked through (165F). Transfer chicken to plate. For the second batch, I add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.
- Once the second batch of chicken is done, add the chicken that's on the plate back to the pan. Stir in the sauce and let it bubble for a minute or so, until thickened. Serve immediately over rice with scallions & sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
- Mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine. For this recipe, it's fine to use the grocery store version (found in the Asian foods aisle near soy sauce etc.). I use Kikkoman brand.
- Handy trick: the ginger is much easier to grate if it's frozen. I always keep some fresh ginger in the freezer and I use my Microplane grater/zester to easily grate it.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.