Quick and Easy Teriyaki Chicken
With tender bites of chicken coated in a sweet, silky homemade sauce, this easy Teriyaki Chicken will be a new back-pocket recipe for busy days. Ready in less than 30 minutes!
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This quick and easy teriyaki chicken tastes every bit as delicious as the popular takeout dish, but is much healthier and so easy to make in your own kitchen.
It requires no marinating and no hard-to-find ingredients. Best of all, you can have it ready in about as much time as it takes to coordinate and place a takeout order — at least in our house. 😉
Teriyaki sauce without mirin
This is most definitely an Americanized version of teriyaki chicken. A more traditional recipe would include sake and/or mirin, a sweet Japanese rice wine with a unique flavor.
You can find mirin at well-stocked grocery stores, but I completely understand that many people don’t like to buy a lot of specialty ingredients, so I’ve tested and written this recipe to work without it. The combination of apple cider or rice vinegar for tang and honey and brown sugar for sweetness makes for a very tasty imitation.
Ingredients and substitutions
Here’s what you will need to make this recipe at home:
- Chicken breasts: The boneless skinless variety. Chicken thighs are also terrific and will just need to cook a few minutes longer.
- Soy sauce: I strongly recommend low-sodium soy sauce for this recipe. If you have regular on hand, consider substituting up to half of the amount with water to control the saltiness.
- Honey and brown sugar: Either light or dark brown sugar works well.
- Apple cider or rice vinegar: The acidic ingredient that complements the sweet sugars and salty soy sauce.
- Toasted sesame oil: Adds irresistible warmth and flavor.
- Ginger and garlic: Fresh minced or grated ginger works well, but I actually love using frozen cubes of crushed ginger. In a real pinch, you could use 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger, though the taste will be slightly different.
- Cornstarch: The key to a nice coating on the chicken and integral to thickening the sauce without burning.
- Olive or avocado oil: Any other neutral-tasting vegetable oil can be used as well.
- Sesame seeds and green onions: These are totally optional garnishes, but they do add a nice pop of flavor and finish the dish.
How to make teriyaki chicken
- Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and toss with cornstarch.
- Whisk together the sauce ingredients.
- Warm oil in a large skillet until hot and shimmering.
- Sauté chicken pieces just until browned, then remove to a plate.
- Pour sauce into pan and bring to a simmer.
- Return chicken, toss to coat, and sauté until cooked through.
- Serve over rice and with veggies of choice!
- Be sure to cut the chicken into evenly-sized bites so they cook at the same rate.
- Whisking the sauce together before starting to cook is a helpful way to ensure the chicken doesn’t overcook and dry out. This is also why I recommend searing the chicken, then removing it and adding back in. An extra step, yes, but it takes only a minute and ensures the chicken stays nice and tender.
- Last tip to ensure tender chicken: use an instant read thermometer to know exactly when it hits 165 degrees and is done.
- Simple kitchen tongs make quick work of turning and transferring the chicken pieces.
What to serve with it
Teriyaki chicken goes perfectly with steamed broccoli and rice–brown, white, jasmine, you name it. I also really enjoy it with edamame or another steamed veggie.
Top the chicken itself with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and thinly-sliced green onions for a little extra garnish.
This is a must-try, especially if you’re looking to change up the weeknight dinner routine. Everyone is going to love it!
More easy takeout-inspired recipes
If you try this Easy Teriyaki Chicken, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.
Quick and Easy Teriyaki Chicken
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch divided
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar light or dark
- 1 tablespoon apple cider or rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons peeled and minced fresh ginger see note
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
- green onions and sesame seeds optional for serving
- Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cornstarch, toss briefly to coat, and set aside.
- In a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the soy sauce, water, honey, brown sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and remaining 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Whisk until smooth and set aside.
- Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it is hot and rippling. Add chicken pieces and cook for about 1 minute on each side, just until the outside edges are golden. The chicken should not be cooked all the way through. Remove pieces to a plate and set aside.
- If there is a lot of oil left in the skillet, soak up a bit with a paper towel and discard. Lower the heat to medium, pour in the sauce, and bring it to a simmer. Return chicken to the pan and stir to coat. Cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly.
- Serve warm garnished with green onions and sesame seeds, as desired. Enjoy!
- Ginger: Fresh minced or grated ginger works great, but I usually use frozen cubes of crushed ginger, because they are so darn convenient! I buy Dorot brand, and use 2 cubes for this recipe, which is equivalent to about 2 teaspoons of the fresh grated stuff. Look for the cubes in the freezer section near frozen veggies.
- Prep Work: This comes together really quickly, so it’s helpful to mix together the sauce ingredients before starting the chicken. Otherwise, you risk overcooking the chicken while you measure and mix up the sauce.
- Leftovers: Keep well for 2-3 days and make a great reheated lunch.