Chicken Teriyaki Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Sujan Shrestha

Adapted by John T. Edge

Updated Feb. 13, 2024

Chicken Teriyaki Recipe (1)

Total Time
30 minutes, plus marinating
Read community notes

Teriyaki is derived from the Japanese root words teri, which means “to shine,” and yaki, which means “to broil or grill.” That’s the way traditional teriyaki looks: shiny and incised with grill marks. In Japan, teriyaki is a mix of soy sauce, sake and the rice wine mirin, which imparts a subtle sweetness. The teriyaki found throughout Seattle, of which this is an adaptation, is a bit more showy. Cooks sweeten with white sugar and pineapple juice. They thicken with cornstarch. Ginger and garlic go into the mix because of the Korean ancestry of many cooks. It is not at all traditional, but it is simple to prepare and a pleasure to eat. Be sure to plan ahead as you do need to marinate the chicken before cooking. An overnight stay in the fridge is ideal, but many readers have been happy with a quick marinade of an hour or so. —John T. Edge

Featured in: A City’s Specialty, Japanese in Name Only

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Yield:8 servings

  • 1cup soy sauce
  • 1cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoons brown sugar
  • 6garlic cloves, crushed in a press
  • 2tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • ¼teaspoon black pepper
  • 13-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1tablespoon pineapple juice
  • 8skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 2tablespoons cornstarch

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (8 servings)

557 calories; 32 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 13 grams monounsaturated fat; 7 grams polyunsaturated fat; 31 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 26 grams sugars; 35 grams protein; 1908 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Chicken Teriyaki Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except cornstarch and chicken. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and stir until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Discard cinnamon stick and mix in ½ cup water.

  2. Place chicken in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag. Add soy sauce mixture, seal bag, and turn to coat chicken. Refrigerate for at least an hour, ideally overnight.

  3. Step


    Remove chicken and set aside. Pour mixture into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low. Mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and add to pan. Stir until mixture begins to thicken, and gradually stir in enough water (about ½ cup) until sauce is the consistency of heavy cream. Remove from heat and set aside.

  4. Step


    Heat a broiler or grill. Lightly brush chicken pieces on all sides with sauce, and broil or grill about 3 minutes per side. While chicken is cooking, place sauce over high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a bare simmer, adding water a bit at a time to keep mixture at a pourable consistency. To serve, slice chicken into strips, arrange on plates, and drizzle with sauce.



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Cooking Notes


For those of you put off by the quantity of sugar, the introduction explains that this is a sweet, Seattle-specific, inauthentic version of Teriyaki. Perhaps a more authentic recipe would be more to your taste? This site has several less-sugary options, including Melissa Clark's Yakitori sauce. Google authentic Teriyaki, and wow, do the internets yield results! Or stick with this one, and reduce the amount of sugar. So many options that don't involve sugar-shaming other readers.

Linda Criss

Make the marinade
Do not heat
Make a bed of onion and carrot chunks
place bone in - skin on - chicken thighs on top of vegetables
Pour marinade over the dish
Bake 350
Two hours


This was easy and much better than any store bought marinade. First tip when reading ANY recipe I would say is to Always read it all the way through first, but, I did not marinade overnight, never do, no one has time for that. I let it marinate for 1hr 30min. More than enough time. Buy pre shaved ginger at grocery store by the herb pastes. 10-12 min each side for chicken under broiler. Pair with white rice and if you have a Publix near you then get their Makoto Honey Ginger salad mix in a bag.


This is so much tastier than any bottled teriyaki sauce, though I'm grateful for readers' suggestions for how to reduce the amount of sugar. Another thing: I wish the editors would stop using plastic bags in the recipe directions for marinades etc. Nonreactive bowls with a plate on top work fine.


I omitted the granulated sugar, but used all of the juice from a can of pineapple chunks. I marinated the chicken for an hour, then I browned it in a skillet for ~5 minutes per side, removed it from the heat. I cut up an onion, bell pepper, a fresh jalapeno and stir fried them with the pineapple chunks in a bit of peanut oil in the same pan until I had a few char marks and then added the chicken back, along with the marinade. I simmered all of that for about fifteen minutes. Served with rice.

professional chef

2 hours is 3-4x longer than necessary. Thighs cook quickly in a preheated oven, 25-35 minutes tops, depending on temperature and amount cooking. Im a professional chef on a mission to help people stop destroying their perfectly innocent and naturally delicious chickens.


I made it with skinless pounded chicken breast. I only marinated it 4 hours and it was still delicious. Grilled it and served it with basmati rice, scallions and roasted king oyster mushrooms.


Excellent. Worth the little bit of planning to marinate the night before. I used 1/2 cup of sugar and it was perfect. There was ample sauce, so we put it on our rice too. I baked the thighs at 400 for 12 minutes first, then broiled 3 minutes per side and they were perfectly done.


What I like to do when recipes call for marinading overnight, 6 hours etc is to make up a big batch, do the marinade time then freeze the uncooked meat in some sauce in zip lock bags. That way I can have the meat already marinaded when I pull it from the freezer. I have a wonderful recipe for boneless pork chops - Teriyaki and Beer Marinade. Great on the grill.


Made this tonight. Family loved it. I did marinate the chicken overnight and grilled it. Cut the granulated to sugar to 3/4 cup. I added a small can of pineapple chunks to the chicken and used the juice for the sauce. Easy to make too. Will be making this again.


Excellent recipe. I just have to say that the sauce to chicken ratio seems way out off balance: I ended up with way to much leftover sauce

Peter C. Herman

Really good, but a cup of sugar? Seriously? I cut the sugar content down to about three tablespoons of brown sugar (I also used pineapple juice) and it came out great.


Grilled outside on skewers with fresh pineapple & dried figs. Used ground cinnamon instead of stick. Was yummy even after 3.5 hrs marinate. Added cumin for a little kick. Used low-salt soy sauce. Cooked brown rice with chicken broth to accompany. Yummy Sunday dinner with grilled corn.


The floating material may have been clumps of cornstarch. I had one and I had to strain it out. Otherwise, this was very delicious and easy. Just wish I made more chicken as it would make great left overs.


These are just so tasty and so easy to make. Cut into small pieces and serve with toothpicks as an hors d'oeuvre or serve over rice as a main dish or with any other side. Not fancy by any means but everyone will love it.


Substituted apple juice the first time i made this.

Andrew Reimers

I used this recipe but used a smoke and sear technique for the cook with great results. Smoked the thighs to 140F or so and then seared them over medium direct heat taking care not to burn the sugar. This results in smoky, charred, and slightly tacky chicken. I suspect this recipe and technique would also work well for pork ribs, which I might have to try sometime soon.


Too sweet for our taste.

Ben C

Whoever is recommending cooking bone-in chicken thighs in the oven at 350 for 2 hours is making wild suggestions. That's about an hour of extra cooking time. You'd be better off cooking at 375 for like 45 minutes and broiling for 2-3 minutes.


Trying to use only what's in the fridge and pantry this week, without having to go to the grocery store. I made the sauce (used rice vinegar instead of pineapple juice) and drizzled it over stir-fried shrimp, tofu, bok choy and rice. We all loved it, especially the kids, who had thirds and now probably have diabetes but it was worth it.


Made this as written many times. Recently, I’ve been only using a 1/2 cup sugar, and aprox a tablespoon molasses instead of brown sugar. My family loves it just as much as the original. In a pinch, I’ve also made the entire sauce in the microwave in the bowl I plan to marinate in. One less pot to clean.


Really good. I made this with just 1/4c of sugar instead of the full amount. I glazed it a second time mid way through cooking for extra coating of sauce. Sprinkled with sesame seeds and sliced scallions after it was done. It was a huge hit and am making it (the second time in two weeks) tonight.


Tasty but very, very sweet (and I have a sweet tooth!). I’d cut down on the sugar next time. Also, this makes an enormous amount of sauce so think ahead to what else you can use it for.


Four stars, tasty and easy to make. I agree that it is on the sweet side but that’s how it’s supposed to be.

RW Carter

Sauce is amazing. Lower and slower on the grill is the key. High heat and high sugar are dangerous. Garnish with scallions and a bit of ginger.


Verb: Marinate/marinatedNoun: marinade


I eliminated the sugar altogether (not sugar shaming, have a diabetic family member) and just used pineapple juice and some honey for the sweetener. Other than that, followed the recipe exactly and it was utterly delicious!


My husband and I really enjoyed this dish. I used full amount of sugar, marinated in fridge overnight, and oven-broiled 7 minutes each side, one notch from the top. This is a keeper!


Experienced beginner at broiling. Put the chicken on for three minutes. Needed four but the smell of burning chicken had me pulling it out soon. Just the rough tips of the chicken had burned a bit crispy which was yummy. Thank you for this recipe. I really like that this had cinnamon in it.


Disappointing. Tried it on a whole chicken that was spatchco*cked and cooked in the oven. Looked great, thought we had a real winner, but it came out bland compared to what we usually get from our teriyaki sauce recipes. Seemed to lack depth.

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Chicken Teriyaki Recipe (2024)
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