No need to spring for takeout when there’s this easy Chicken Teriyaki recipe to save the day. 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.
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Why You’ll Love This Easy Chicken Teriyaki Recipe
- Quick, Easy One-Pan Dinner. With chicken teriyaki, you can get a square meal on the table in only 20 minutes. This recipe 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.
- A Delicious Healthy Dinner. Chock-full of vegetables, made without butter and with little oil, and served over whole grain rice, this chicken teriyaki stir fry is a healthy, wholesome meal. And, most importantly, it is SO scrumptious.
- A Store-Bought Shortcut. 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, see my Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry.
- This Sauce is the Boss. Chicken teriyaki 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. Making your own sauce gives you control over the sugar content and how sweet or spicy you prefer it.
5 Star Review
“This is a ‘to die for’ recipe! Made it for dinner for the first time tonight. We ate the whole thing!”— Pam —
How to Make Chicken Teriyaki
- 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 chicken 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.
- Season. Coat chicken with soy sauce, salt, and pepper.
- Coat. Stir in cornstarch.
- Make the Sauce. Whisk together the water, honey, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, and cornstarch.
- Brown Chicken. The cornstarch will give it a nice crust.
- Make It Saucy. Pour in the sauce and stir, and then simmer until sauce thickens.
- Finish. Stir in green onion. Serve chicken teriyaki with rice, steamed vegetables, and a garnish of green onions. ENJOY!
- Use Another Protein. Salmon, beef, and pork are all delicious cooked with teriyaki sauce; simply adjust the cook time accordingly. For more stellar teriyaki recipes, see Teriyaki Salmon, Teriyaki Salmon Bowl, and Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry.
- Make It Vegetarian. Swap a can of rinsed, drained low-sodium chickpeas for the chicken or use diced extra-firm tofu. For inspiration, check out my General Tso Tofu, Tofu Stir Fry, Air Fryer Tofu, and this perfect method for Crispy Tofu.
- Make It Gluten Free. Use gluten-free tamari in place of the soy sauce.
- To Store. Refrigerate chicken teriyaki 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 the refrigerator with plastic wrap over the top.
What to Serve with Chicken Teriyaki
- Grains or Noodles. Over Instant Pot Brown Rice is a classic way to serve chicken teriyaki, but it would also be fun to make chicken teriyaki with noodles, such as whole wheat spaghetti or udon.
- Fried Rice. Homemade Fried Rice would be extra flavorful, or you could make Cauliflower Fried Rice and pile the chicken on top for chicken teriyaki bowls.
- Salad. 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.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Cut the Chicken Into Even Pieces. This will help ensure that it’s all cooked through at the same time—and that smaller pieces don’t over-cook while you’re waiting for the larger pieces to be finished.
- Double Up on the Sauce for a Bigger Meal. If you want to load up on veggies and grains, or if you just like your chicken teriyaki on the saucy side, you can double the sauce to make some extra.
- Make Sure the Wok Is Hot. To keep the chicken from over-cooking, you want to stir-fry it quickly over high heat. The pan should be blazing hot before you add the chicken pieces—especially if you use chicken breast, which is more prone to getting tough when cooked too long.
- 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 chicken teriyaki 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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