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This easy teriyaki chicken recipe has the most tender, delicious chicken bites coated in a sweet teriyaki sauce from scratch. It’s a 30-minute dish that’s better than takeout!

You may also enjoy my Simple Mongolian Beef and Easy Orange Chicken recipes next.

a bowl of teriyaki chicken over jasmine rice

Why you’ll love it

There’s not much to this homemade teriyaki chicken, so it’s perfect for a quick weeknight dinner that’s faster and healthier than takeout. The irresistible sweet sauce is thick and rich. There isn’t a ton of it, but a little goes a long way! Think perfectly concentrated flavors.

Chicken teriyaki is one of my favorite takeout dishes, but it’s simple to make at home. This is definitely a North American style teriyaki. Traditional teriyaki sauce uses sake, but I decided to omit it since not everyone will want to buy it just for this recipe! Easy peasy.

What you’ll need

  • Chicken – we’re using chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Garlic powder and pepper – to infuse more savory flavor right into the chicken
  • Cornstarch – it gives the chicken that wonderful crispy exterior
  • Olive oil – for pan frying

For the sauce

  • Brown sugar – for sweetness
  • Ginger and garlic – I didn’t go overboard with them, so feel free to add more if zing is your thing
  • Mirin – for that signature teriyaki flavor. You can pick this up at the grocery store near the soy sauce. I use Kikkoman brand.
  • Soy sauce and rice vinegar – these Asian staples add savory depth and balance
  • Cornstarch – to thicken it up

What is mirin?

  • Mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine (similar to sake but with more sugar) that helps give teriyaki sauce its distinctive flavor.
  • The grocery store variety isn’t technically authentic but works great here. It’s also described as “mirin style sweet cooking seasoning”. You could go to an Asian foods specialty shop if you prefer.
ingredients for teriyaki chicken in prep bowls

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

How to make teriyaki chicken

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

whisking homemade teriyaki sauce in a bowl and tossing chicken with cornstarch

Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces, and add them to another bowl. Coat them evenly with the garlic powder and pepper, followed by the cornstarch.

frying chicken in a skillet and adding teriyaki sauce and scallions

Heat up two-thirds of the oil in a skillet. Once hot, working in two batches, cook the chicken until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate. For the second batch, add the remaining oil. Return the chicken, and stir in the sauce. Let it bubble until thickened.

Pro tip

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.

Substitutions and variations

  • You can definitely use chicken thighs instead if you prefer!
  • If you can’t find mirin, try a dry sherry or sweet marsala wine. You could also do some experimenting with dry white wine or rice vinegar and more sugar according to Bon Appetit magazine.
  • For a version with vegetables, try my Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry instead.

What to serve with teriyaki chicken

  • I serve it on a bed of rice (jasmine is my favorite) along with scallions and sesame seeds on top.
  • It goes well with steamed broccoli, sweet corn, and green beans as well.
  • Craving a salad? Try my Broccoli Ramen Salad for a fun pairing.

Leftovers and storage

  • Store any leftover chicken for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • Reheat over a low heat on the stove or in the microwave.
  • I don’t recommend freezing because the sauce will likely change texture, and the chicken won’t be as crisp.
closeup of a skillet with teriyaki chicken

If you made this best teriyaki chicken recipe, please leave a star rating and review below! Tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram so I can see your creations.

a bowl of teriyaki chicken over jasmine rice
4.94 from 29 votes

Easy Teriyaki Chicken

This easy teriyaki chicken recipe has the most tender, delicious chicken bites coated in a sweet teriyaki sauce from scratch. It's a 30-minute dish that's better than takeout!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 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

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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. 

Nutrition

Calories: 333kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 738mg, Potassium: 455mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 34IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 20mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

Leave a star rating and comment below!

This recipe was originally published on June 18, 2020. It’s been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!


Hi! I’m Natasha.

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69 Comments

  1. Kyra says:

    5 stars
    So yummy!! Will be making this again in the future!!

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s great to hear, Kyra!! 😀 Thank you!

      1. Sue says:

        5 stars
        Hi Natasha! Thank you for sharing a fabulous recipe! I’m 61 and love to cook. You’re never too young to learn new things! My husband was thrilled over this recipe. I’ve never cooked Asian style food very often after a couple bad failures. Lol well this is a recipe I will be happy to serve company. GOD bless ❤️

        1. Natasha says:

          That makes me so happy, Sue!! 😀 Thanks for letting me know!!

  2. Morgan says:

    4 stars
    I could not believe how quickly this came together! The sauce was a little on the sweet side for me, so I just added extra soy sauce and rice vinegar and it was delicious! All of my children (and my husband!) gobbled it up. Thank you for another wonderful weeknight recipe!M

    1. Natasha says:

      You’re very welcome!

  3. Sharon says:

    5 stars
    Made this for the first today. So good! Just like take out. The sauce is so good! Next time I will make extra.

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you so much, Sharon!! 😀

  4. Jan Abrahamsen says:

    5 stars
    This is an excellent recipe. I made it with cut up chicken thighs. I added toasted sesame seeds at the end and was so excited when I realized I made delicious sesame chicken!

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you!