No need to pop in the frozen dinner or spring for takeout when there’s Teriyaki Chicken. Made with chicken thighs or breasts in a sticky, sweet teriyaki sauce, served with brown rice and frozen veggies (hello shortcut!), this is a dinner-in-a-hurry that doesn’t sacrifice nutrition or taste.
When someone asks me how I’m doing, I try to say something more meaningful than “busy.”
We are all so busy, and cooking dinner can often be one of the first things to go as we try to prioritize life.
With teriyaki chicken, you can get a square meal on the table in only 20 minutes.
- This teriyaki chicken is the stovetop rendition of my favorite Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken and Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken, so you can stir up a healthy dinner FAST.
- For an oven version, check out Teriyaki Chicken Casserole.
Homemade Teriyaki Chicken is Healthy and Easy
There will always be a need for fast, healthy, one-pan dinners.
Chock-full of vegetables, made without butter and with little oil, and served over healthy whole grain rice (or noodles), this teriyaki chicken is a healthy, wholesome meal.
And, most importantly, it is so scrumptious.
- Bagged steamed vegetables serve as a secret shortcut, so no extra chopping is required.
- For a teriyaki chicken stir fry that is made with veggies sautéed right in the dish, rather than opting for bagged, steamed veggies on the side, see Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry.
This Sauce is the Boss
- Teriyaki chicken sauce is made of soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
- You’d think you should use the bottled teriyaki sauce in keeping with the shortcuts, but it is truly so easy to whisk up your own.
- With making your own sauce, you can control the sugars and how sweet or spicy you prefer it.
How to Make Teriyaki Chicken
Whisk up your homemade teriyaki sauce while the chicken sizzles, steam some veggies, stir it all together, and POOF, dinner is served.
- Chicken. You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs; both are healthy, lean proteins. Thighs are my preference as they are more juicy.
- Soy Sauce. Opt for low sodium so you can control the salt content.
- Honey. Bottled teriyaki sauce can be loaded with sugars. This from-scratch teriyaki sauce is naturally sweetened with honey. It’s plenty sweet without any brown sugar.
- Rice Vinegar. Adds the acidity to the sauce.
- Garlic. Fresh, minced garlic is another essential ingredient to make this teriyaki.
- Ginger. Get about a 1-inch piece of ginger, peel and mince it. The flavor difference is worth it! Or, look for fresh ginger in a tube in the refrigerated section, or frozen ginger cubes.
- Cornstarch. Coating the chicken, plus whisked into the sauce to make a cornstarch slurry, cornstarch makes the sauce thick and glossy.
- Red Pepper Flakes. If you want to add a kick of heat.
- Oil. Use a neutrally flavored oil with a high smoke point, such as canola oil or grapeseed oil.
Do not use olive oil for stir fries. When it is heated hot enough to sear the chicken, the oil will burn.
- Green Onions. Adds a bite.
- Coat chicken with soy sauce, salt, and pepper.
- Stir in cornstarch.
- Whisk together the water, honey, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, and cornstarch.
- Brown chicken.
- Pour in the sauce and stir, and then simmer until sauce thickens.
- Stir in green onion. Serve hot with rice, steamed vegetables, and a garnish of green onions. ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate teriyaki chicken in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze teriyaki chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
You can prep the chicken and sauce in advance to make for extra-speedy dinner time cooking. Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and store in a ziptop bag in the refrigerator. Whisk together sauce ingredients right in your measuring cup and store in refrigerator with plastic wrap over the top.
What to Serve with Teriyaki Chicken
- Over Instant Pot Brown Rice is a classic way to serve the teriyaki chicken, but it would also be fun with noodles, such as whole wheat spaghetti.
- Homemade Fried Rice would be extra flavorful, or you could make Cauliflower Fried Rice for low carbohydrates.
- Asian Cabbage Salad or Asian Cucumber Salad would make cool sides.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Wok. With its high sides and round bottom, a wok is the perfect stir fry tool as you can more easily flip and turn ingredients without them spilling over the edge. Plus, it makes for even heat distribution.
- Glass Measuring Cups. Doubles as a mixing bowl.
- Whisk. I prefer the smaller-sized whisks as they are easy to maneuver.
Let’s nourish your family (and sanity) with quick and easy teriyaki chicken for dinner tonight.
Frequently Asked Questions
While Chinese cuisine also has dishes that use soy sauce, teriyaki chicken is a Japanese dish. Teriyaki chicken is Japanese, with “teri” meaning gleam and “yaki” meaning grilled or broiled.
You can think of soy sauce as a condiment and teriyaki sauce as a glaze or marinade. Teriyaki sauce is sweet and savory, made with soy sauce, sugar, and flavored with sake or mirin.
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 teaspoons cornstarch divided
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic about 3 cloves
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger from about 1, 1-inch piece
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes plus additional to taste (optional)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil or similar neutral cooking oil such as grapeseed oil
- 3 chopped green onions 1/2 cup, divided
- Steam-in bag stir fry vegetables for serving (if desired)
- Cooked brown rice for serving (see Instant Pot Brown Rice)
- Place the chicken in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch over the top and stir once more. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl or large liquid measuring cup with a spout, whisk together the water, honey, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and the remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce and 2 teaspoons cornstarch until smoothly combined. Set near the stove.
- In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the chicken in a single layer. Let cook undisturbed on the first side until deeply golden, about 2 to 3 minutes, then turn the chicken pieces and continue cooking until the chicken is browned all over and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Towards the end of the cooking time, steam the vegetables (if using).
- Pour in the sauce and stir to coat the chicken. Let simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens and looks sticky and glossy, about 1 to 2 minute. Stir in about two-thirds of the green onions. Serve hot with rice, steamed vegetables, and a sprinkle of the remaining green onions.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate teriyaki chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze teriyaki chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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