Why you’ll love this recipe:
This grilled teriyaki chicken recipe is one of my favorite warm-weather meals!
Even better than takeout, it’s easy to make and features BIG flavors thanks to a sweet and savory teriyaki marinade that doubles as a dipping sauce.
- Simple – This grilled teriyaki chicken requires a bit of planning, but it’s easy to make. All you have to do is marinate the chicken, cook it on the grill, and it’s ready to serve!
- Tender – The chicken stays moist and juicy.
- Flavorful – The marinade soaks into the meat, enhancing its flavor. Then, we pair it with more sauce for good measure!
This recipe is one that the whole family requests again and again. It’s simple enough for weeknight dinners yet satisfying and easy enough for feeding a crowd!
Key Ingredient Notes:
- Chicken thighs – Boneless, skinless chicken thighs work great for this recipe because they contain more moisture than breasts, keeping them super tender. If you prefer chicken breasts, that’s fine, too! Just adjust the cooking time as needed so they don’t dry out.
- Soy sauce – I recommend using reduced-sodium varieties to avoid overpowering the chicken. If you can’t tolerate gluten, swap the soy sauce with Tamari. This is a Japanese version of soy sauce that doesn’t contain any wheat.
- Cornstarch – This thickens the teriyaki sauce into a glaze so that it clings to the chicken.
- Mirin – Mirin is a rice wine that is made from glutinous rice. It has a subtly sweet, umami flavor and can typically be found in the international section of your local grocery store. If you can’t find mirin, rice wine vinegar can be used in its place.
How to make this grilled teriyaki chicken recipe:
- Prepare: In a small mixing bowl, whisk the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce together until smooth. Reserve ½ cup of the sauce for later.
- Marinate: Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl or zip-top bag, and pour the remaining teriyaki sauce on top, making sure to completely coat each piece. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or seal the bag, and transfer the chicken to the fridge to marinate.
- Grill: Place the marinaded chicken thighs on a pre-heated grill, and discard the leftover sauce. Cook the meat on both sides.
- Simmer: While the chicken is cooking, pour the reserved teriyaki sauce into a small saucepan, and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Let it cook for a few minutes to thicken.
- Serve: Garnish your grilled teriyaki chicken with sliced green onions and sesame seeds, and serve it warm with the thickened sauce!
- Pound the chicken with a meat mallet or a heavy-bottomed skillet until each piece is roughly ¼ inch thick. This helps ensure it cooks quickly and evenly!
- Marinate the chicken overnight, if possible. You want to allow at least 2 hours for the chicken to marinate and absorb the sauce. However, for an even deeper flavor, I recommend leaving it in the fridge overnight.
- Use a meat thermometer to check that the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and is safe to eat.
- Rest the chicken for at least 5 minutes before serving to help redistribute its juices, keeping it tender and juicy.
- Use store-bought teriyaki sauce.
- Prepare the chicken a day in advance.
- To store: Place any leftover grilled teriyaki chicken in an airtight container, and keep it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- To freeze: Transfer your chicken to a freezer-safe container, and keep it frozen for up to 3 months.
- To reheat: Let your frozen chicken thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, arrange the chicken in a single layer in an oven-safe dish, cover it with foil, and place it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes or until it is heated through.
No, teriyaki marinade has a thinner consistency and is used to flavor the meat slowly, soaking into the protein over several hours. Meanwhile, teriyaki sauce is served poured over meat or as a condiment and is thicker and stickier than a marinade.
My favorite way to serve this recipe is over a bed of cooked white rice with a side of grilled mixed vegetables. However, it’s incredibly versatile and can be paired with all your favorite sides and appetizers.
Yes, marinate the chicken as instructed in the recipe card below. Then, instead of placing it on the grill, cook it in a grill pan or a regular skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Alternatively, you can bake it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes or until it is cooked all the way through.
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
- 1 small mixing bowl
- 1 large mixing bowl or zip-top bag
- 1 grill
- 1 meat thermometer
- 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs pounded thin, Note 1
- 1 ½ cups soy sauce Note 2
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¾ cup mirin
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
- Sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds for garnish
- Cooked rice for serving
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk the soy sauce, cornstarch, mirin, brown sugar, minced garlic and grated ginger together until well combined and smooth.
- Reserve ½ cup of the teriyaki sauce for later use.
- Place the pounded chicken thighs in a large bowl or zip-top bag. Pour the remaining teriyaki sauce over the chicken, making sure each piece is well covered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight for a deeper flavor.
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the used marinade.
- Grill the chicken thighs for 5-7 minutes per side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
- While the chicken is grilling, pour the reserved ½ cup teriyaki sauce into a small saucepan. Bring it to simmer over medium heat and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until thickened.
- When the chicken is done, remove it from the grill and garnish with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds. Serve over cooked rice and enjoy!
– Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
– Freeze the chicken in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag for up to 3 months.
– Reheat thawed chicken by transferring it to an oven-safe dish and covering it with foil. Heat it in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.
* Disclaimer: All nutrition information are estimates only. Read full nutrition disclosure.
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