Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich

Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches are easy to make at home and restaurant delicious!

These Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches might just be the best chicken sandwiches of your life!!!  Soft buns are topped with marinated Teriyaki chicken, slathered with cotitja avocado spread, cocooned in melted pepper Jack cheese and topped with sweet pineapple, tangy red onions, juicy tomatoes, crisp lettuce and drizzled with homemade teriyaki sauce.   You can customize the toppings or create a “sandwich bar” for everyone to make their own “Best” Teriyaki Sandwiches!

Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich on a blue plate with homemade teriyaki sauce

Teriyaki Chicken Recipe 

I am so excited to introduce you to these Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches!  It just doesn’t get much better than teriyaki chicken – except when you pile it with everything delicious! Its an explosion of sweet, spicy, cheesy, creamy, juicy you have to taste to believe…and then taste some more.

The tantalizing Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches must have caused me to temporarily lose my mind…which is also evidence by the picture below.

Yes, the pineapple still boasts its plastic price tag fastener.  But to be fair, this isn’t completely out of the ordinary with me, I often will wear clothes with the plastic tag still attached until the light catches it just right.  In my defense, I just can’t help it, there are always more important things on my mind – like these Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches!

top view showing ingredients for Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches with pineapple, tomatoes, red onions, avocados, letuce

WHAT CHICKEN IS BEST?

I use boneless skinless chicken breasts for Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches because they are leaner and emerge wonderfully juicy from the marinade but you are welcome to use chicken thighs if you prefer.

If your chicken breasts are extra thick, I recommend  slicing them through the equator to create thin fillets, otherwise make sure to pound them to an even thickness.  The chicken breasts should be a little larger than your buns because they will shrink when cooked.

What Buns are Best?

You can use your favorite buns for these Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches such as burger buns, sandwich buns, dinner rolls, kaiser rolls, sesame seed buns, and even sturdy bread.  I like to see what fresh buns the baker section of my grocery store has that day.

showing how to make Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches by adding cheese to chicken

What Spread is Best?

I am a firm believer that every chicken needs a spread – NO DRY SANDWICHES please! – and these Teriyaki Sandwiches are slathered in my favorite Cotija Honey Lime Avocado Spread. OH MY YUM!

I have an entire post dedicated to this spread/dip because it is my FAVORITE avocado/guacamole spread EVER! EVER! EVER!  The sweet honey paired with the fresh lime, mixed with the salty Cotija cheese (aka the “Parmesan of Mexico”), avocado and Greek yogurt then spiced with cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper creates layers of sweet, citrus, avocado, subtle cheese saltiness, and spices that are positively addicting! – AND super healthy!

Layer this stand alone worthy spread with your teriyaki ginger, garlic marinated chicken along with everything else (see below) and prepare for the best Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich of your life- or just the best sandwich of your life. period.

What Toppings for Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches? 

  • lettuce:  I like to use butter lettuce as a single leaf is perfection and just so pretty!  You could also swap the lettuce for shredded cabbage, coleslaw or broccoli slaw.
  • cheese: my favorite cheese for Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches is Pepper Jack because it melts beautifully and is buttery creamy with a hint of heat.  Monterrey, Gruyere or Havarti  would also be delicious.  I don’t recommend cheddar, however,  if you are using pineapple – and you should use pineapple.
  • pineapple: pineapple and teriyaki chicken belong together!  Make sure  your pineapple is ripe so your pineapple is sweet instead of tart (you can see all my tips and tricks in my grilled pineapple recipe).
  • red onions:  add a punch of tang to balance out the sweetness.  They are optional but recommended.  Pickled red onions or caramelized onions would also be delicious.
  • Tomatoes:  choose ripe tomatoes so the are sweet and not tart.
  • add-ons:  you can add anything your heart desires such as bacon, mushrooms, sprouts, cucumbers, onion rings, etc.

front view showing how to make Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches by stacking teriyaki chicken with pineapple and tomatoes

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE TERIYAKI SAUCE 

While there are many stars in this Teriyaki Chicken recipe, if I had to pick one, it would be the Homemade Teriyaki Sauce!  It is made with pantry friendly ingredients and SO easy to make, you will never want to buy store bought teriyaki sauce again!

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce is a simple whisking together of honey, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger, pepper, red pepper flakes and cornstarch.

The lip smacking teriyaki sauce doubles as the marinade (no extra work) and then you simmer the reserved sauce for 30 seconds to thicken – that’s it!

You can customize the teriyaki sauce to just your taste – for more sweet – add additional honey, for more savory – add additional soy, for more of a kick – add additional red pepper flakes.  The resulting teriyaki sauce will be YOUR favorite!

INGREDIENTS FOR HOMEMADE TERIYAKI SAUCE 

To make teriyaki sauce for these Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches, you will need:

  • soy sauce use reduced sodium soy sauce or your Teriyaki Chicken will be too salty.
  • honey: while granulated sugar is traditional in Teriyaki Sauce, I love to use honey for its floral undertones in this recipe.  If you don’t have honey on hand, you may use granulated sugar.  
  • apple cider vinegar:  provides the fruity, tangy balance to the soy sauce.  You may substitute with rice wine vinegar or white vinegar if that’s all you have on hand. White vinegar has more acidic than apple cider vinegar, so only use 3 tablespoons. 
  • garlic:  you will need 3 garlic cloves or you may substitute with one teaspoon garlic powder.
  • ginger:  you will need 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger or you may substitute with use ¾ teaspoon ground ginger.
  • red pepper flakes:  these are optional but I highly suggest some – even if its just a pinch to help awaken the rest of the flavors.  You may also use Asian chili sauce to taste.
  • cornstarch:  thickens the homemade teriyaki sauce to create the gorgeous silky consistency. 

showing how to make Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches by pouring teriyaki sauce on top of sandwich

WHAT TEMPERATURE DO I GRILL CHICKEN BREASTS AT? 

You will want to grill your chicken over medium heat, 375-450°F.  This ensures your chicken cooks through without becoming charred on the outside and remaining raw on the inside.

HOW LONG DO I GRILL TERIYAKI CHICKEN FOR? 

The exact time for grilling your chicken depends on their actual thickness and heat of your grill.   My chicken breasts take around 6-7 minutes per side.  You may need to cook more or less depending on the thickness of your chicken.  You’ll know your chicken is done when an inserted thermometer reads 155 degrees F.  The chicken temperature will continue to rise to 165 while resting.

TIPS TO GRILL CHICKEN

I  have provided instructions in the Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich recipe for how to cook your chicken on the grill or the stove top.   If you decide to grill your chicken (smart choice), here are a few tips:

  • Pound chicken even.  Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are quite uneven – with one side much thicker than the other.  If you cook the chicken uneven like this, then it will cook unevenly – with the thinner side cooking much quicker than the thicker side -resulting in half of the chicken breast being dry.  To solve this problem, it is important to pound the chicken even first.  To do this, place the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap or inside a freezer bag and pound with a meat mallet or the side of a can.  Take care to pound gently just until it reaches an even thickness.
  • Bring chicken to room temperature.  You always want to let your chicken sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes in order to come to room temperature.  This allows the chicken to cook more evenly.
  • Grease Grill.  Grease your grill with olive oil and NEVER cooking spray as cooking spray is flammable.
  • Use a thermometer. I highly recommend an instant-read thermometer if you don’t own one otherwise it is always a guessing game as to whether your chicken is cooked which can result in under-cooked or overcooked chicken.  A meat thermometer, on the other hand, will deliver perfectly cooked, tender, juicy chicken every time.  Your chicken is done when the thermometer registers 165 degrees BUT you will want to remove the chicken when it reaches 155 degrees because it will continue to rise as it rests.

front view of Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich on a blue plate with teriyaki sauce drizzling down the front

HOW TO TOAST BUNS

The BEST Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches need toasted buns for optimal golden, crispy outside, tender inside AND because toasted buns prevents them from becoming soggy.

You can toast your buns in the oven, stove or grill, depending on how our are making our Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches:

STOVE

The stove is perfect if you only need 4 buns, like in this recipe, although it will still require 2 batches, to toast both the top and bottoms.

  1. After the chicken is cooked, don’t wipe out pan.
  2. Heat pan to medium low heat.
  3. If there isn’t much grease left, then you may want to melt 1-2 tablespoons butter.
  4. Add buns, cut side down.
  5. Toast until golden, tilting a bun up to check for doneness.

GRILL

If you’re grilling your Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches, then toasting the buns is super simple and doesn’t require any additional pans.

  1. Wait until the last minute and your chicken is almost done.
  2. For more flavor, spread some softened butter on the cut side of the buns before grilling.
  3. Add buns to the grill in a single layer, cut side down.
  4. Grill until slightly charred, about 1 minute.

OVEN

If you’re toasting more than 4 buns, then it might be easier to toast them in the oven.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line top and bottom buns on a baking sheet, cut side up.
  3. Spread with softened butter (optional).
  4. Bake until warmed and lightly crispy about 5 minutes.
  5. Don’t over bake or they can become dry – we don’t want croutons!

WHAT GOES WITH TERIYAKI CHICKEN SANDWICHES?

These Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich pair well with a number of sides including:

Looking For more sandwich and burger recipes?

up close of the best Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich with easy teriyaki chicken

Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches

These Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches are easy to make at home and restaurant delicious! Soft buns are topped with marinated Teriyaki chicken, slathered with cotitja avocado spread, cocooned in melted pepper Jack cheese and topped with sweet pineapple, tangy red onions, juicy tomatoes, crisp lettuce and drizzled with homemade teriyaki sauce.   You can customize the toppings or create a “sandwich bar” for everyone to make their own “Best” Teriyaki Sandwiches!
Servings: 4
Cook Time: 12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 buns

Honey Teriyaki Sauce

Toppings

Instructions

  • To marinate chicken and pineapple: Pound chicken to about ½ inches thick. The chicken breasts should be a little larger than your buns. Whisk all of the marinade/sauce ingredients together except for the cornstarch and add ¼ cup of the marinade to a large freezer bag and add chicken. To a separate freezer bag, add the remaining marinade along with pineapple. Marinate 4 hours up to overnight.
  • GRILL DIRECTIONS: Let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes (time permitting).
  • Meanwhile, grease and preheat the grill to medium heat, 375-450°F.
  • Discard marinade and grill chicken undisturbed for for 6-7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (an inserted thermometer should read 155 degrees F.), adding cheese the last couple minutes after flipping. When you flip the chicken, add the pineapple slices, to the grill. Cook 3-4 minutes per side. To toast the buns, place the buns face down on the top rack of your grill, close the lid and buns should be toasted in less than a minute.
  • To grill pineapple, grease grill and lightly brush pineapple with a neutral tasting oil. Grill pineapple over direct medium heat for 7-10 minutes total, turning occasionally, until the pineapple is tender with distinct grill marks.
  • SKILLET/INDOOR DIRECTIONS: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a non stick over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook 3-4 minutes, or until browned. Flip chicken, cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook 5-7 minutes or until cooked through. To cook pineapple, add slices to heated skillet and cook approximately 2 minutes per side. To toast buns, place them face up on an oven rack and broil for 30 seconds or until golden.
  • To make Honey Teriyaki Sauce: Whisk 1 tablespoon cornstarch to reserved marinade/sauce that you removed pineapple from. Add to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until thickened, about 30 seconds.
  • To assemble, layer chicken covered in cheese, smear with Cotija Honey Lime Avocado Spread, then stack tomatoes, drizzle with Honey Teriyaki Sauce and finish topping red onions and lettuce.

Notes

HOW TO TOAST BUNS

The BEST Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches need toasted buns for optimal golden, crispy outside, tender inside AND because toasted buns prevents them from becoming soggy.
You can toast your buns in the oven, stove or grill, depending on how our are making our Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches:
STOVE
The stove is perfect if you only need 4 buns, like in this recipe, although it will still require 2 batches, to toast both the top and bottoms.
  1. After the chicken is cooked, don’t wipe out pan.
  2. Heat pan to medium low heat.
  3. If there isn’t much grease left, then you may want to melt 1-2 tablespoons butter.
  4. Add buns, cut side down.
  5. Toast until golden, tilting a bun up to check for doneness.
GRILL
If you’re grilling your Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches, then toasting the buns is super simple and doesn’t require any additional pans.
  1. Wait until the last minute and your chicken is almost done.
  2. For more flavor, spread some softened butter on the cut side of the buns before grilling.
  3. Add buns to the grill in a single layer, cut side down.
  4. Grill until slightly charred, about 1 minute.
OVEN
If you’re toasting more than 4 buns, then it might be easier to toast them in the oven.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line top and bottom buns on a baking sheet, cut side up.
  3. Spread with softened butter (optional).
  4. Bake until warmed and lightly crispy about 5 minutes.
  5. Don’t over bake or they can become dry – we don’t want croutons!

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23 Comments

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much! You will love it!

  1. Kungphoo says

    I am down for this, but what can i substitute the avocado with? I am allergic..

    • Jen says

      Sorry you are allergic to avocado! I would make the same spread, but you can just leave out the avocado – so it will be a Honey Lime Cotija crema – should be delish!

    • Jen says

      Thanks Choya! I’m happy the pictures were appetizing enough to make you hungry! Success! 🙂 I wish I could bring you a sandwich right now to satisfy that hunger!

    • Jen says

      Yes, even just the chicken is delicious! Thanks and enjoy!

  2. Paula Parker says

    Another great recipe! Thank you very much! I would never think to make a Honey Terriyaki Pineapple burger! Awesome.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Paula! The flavor combo really is delicious! Can’t wait for you to try it!

  3. Jessica P says

    My stomach started rumbling when I looked at this post – yum!!

    • Jen says

      Thanks Jessica, I’m glad your eyes and your stomach like it 🙂 Hopefully you can satisfy that rumble soon!

  4. Heidy L. McCallum says

    This is a fantastic combination of luscious flavors ! I love Teriyaki Sauce and pineapple! I definitely would not mind making these!

    • Jen says

      Thanks Heidy! If you love Teriyaki and pineapple, you are guaranteed to love this!

  5. Tara says

    Looks fabulous, as always, man you take some great pics!!

    • Jen says

      You are so kind Tara, thank you!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Serena! I hope you can enjoy it soon 🙂 I love your site by the way!

  6. Sophia @ NY Foodgasm says

    This is a kick- ass recipe- love all the cultures coming together, Tex-Mex-Hawaiian oh MY!! You are one very talented women! XOXO!

    • Jen says

      Sophia, you have to be then nicest person ever! Thank you for all your support!

  7. Lauren says

    Made this tonight and it was outstanding! Thanks for sharing your fantastic recipe.

    • Jen says

      YAY! You are the first one to comment after making this recipe, so I am so extra excited to hear that you loved it! Thanks for making my day Lauren :)!