Teriyaki Chicken

EASY TERIYAKI CHICKEN RECIPE WITH ONLY 5 MINUTE PREP INFUSED WITH THE BEST MARINADE!

This Teriyaki chicken is the best teriyaki chicken I have ever had – restaurant or homemade!  The homemade teriyaki sauce doubles as the teriyaki marinade for an easy family favorite that tastes better than takeout!  The tender, juicy chicken breasts or thighs can be cooked on the stove, in the oven, crockpot or grill – all methods included!  You can serve this easy Teriyaki Chicken recipe with rice and veggies, or in salads, tacos or wraps!  

top view of easy teriyaki Chicken recipe with grilled pineapple

TERIYAKI CHICKEN RECIPE

We are moving this week – ah!!!  So this quick and easy Teriyaki Chicken Recipe with only one dish (if you grill) is just what I needed and hopefully will fit your bustling back to school/work needs too.   But even if you have all the time in the world, this sweet and savory chicken with its bold flavors and lick-your-plate-homemade teriyaki sauce belongs in your life.  On your plate.  In your belly.

You will love this easy teriyaki chicken recipe because: 

  • Easy:  all you do is whisk together a few ingredients!
  • Simple ingredients:  it uses pantry staples so you can make it any time.
  • FLAVOR! My secret ingredient of Asian Sweet Chili Sauce elevates this recipe to the BEST teriyaki chicken you’ve ever had!  Teriyaki + Sweet Chili  Sauce = magic.
  • Versatile: you can cook this teriyaki chicken recipe on the stove, grill, oven, or crock pot!
  • JUICY and so TENDER:  the marinade tenderizes the chicken leaving it incredibly moist and flavorful.
  • Customizable:  you can serve teriyaki chicken as a stir fry, with veggies, in salads, in wraps, the possibilities are endless – and so is the deliciousness!

HOMEMADE CHICKEN TERIYAKI SAUCE 

If you have never made your own Teriyaki Sauce before, it is very simple to make with just a few pantry ingredients and I love how you can customize it to just your taste – more sweet, more savory, or more of a kick.

Traditional Teriyaki Sauce is equal parts, soy and mirin (a sweet cooking sake) and sugar to taste.  Another version of simple teriyaki is equal parts soy sauce to granulated sugar.  Instead,  I’ve gone all sort of non-traditional for what tastes like teriyaki but with an added drool worthy something, something by using Asian Sweet Chili Sauce.

By substituting some of the sugar with Asian Sweet Chili Sauce, we not only get sweet but we get sweet heat infused with red chilies,  garlic and ginger – a depth of flavor that can’t be beat.  I added some cider vinegar to add back some tang and balance the sweetness along with additional garlic and ginger to create a dynamic Chicken Teriyaki Sauce/Marinade that takes just minutes to whip up!

5 Minute prep Easy Teriyaki Chicken infused with Sweet Chili Sauce for added depth of flavor and YUM! The marinade doubles as the sauce for an easy family favorite that tastes better than takeout! My family loves this with rice and stir fried veggies and I love it on salad or in wraps!

HOMEMADE CHICKEN TERIYAKI SAUCE INGREDIENTS

  • soy sauce:  use reduced sodium soy sauce or your Teriyaki Chicken will be too salty.
  • sugar: granulated sugar is traditional in Teriyaki Sauce but you may substitute with some honey, or brown sugar but it will create a slightly different flavor profile. 
  • Asian sweet chili sauce:  this is my non-traditional addition to this teriyaki chicken sauce and it is phenomenal.  It is sweet and spicy and packed with flavor from a combination of red chilies, onion, garlic, brown sugar and fish sauce.  It can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store.
  • 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 1 tablespoon minced garlic or you may substitute with one teaspoon garlic powder.
  • ginger:  I use ½ teaspoon ground ginger because it is such a small amount but you may substitute with 1 ½ teaspoons freshly grated ginger.  
  • cornstarch:  thickens the sauce to create the gorgeous silky consistency. 

CHICKEN TERIYAKI SAUCE

HOW DO I MAKE HOMEMADE CHICKEN TERIYAKI SAUCE?

To make homemade chicken teriyaki sauce, whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, Asian sweet chili sauce, apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger and cornstarch in a small bowl and remove half to marinate your chicken.  You will add the remaining teriyaki sauce to a small saucepan and simmer until thickened.  Remove from heat and brush all over your chicken.  How easy was that?!

HOW DO I THICKEN TERIYAKI SAUCE?

The cornstarch in the chicken teriyaki sauce will thicken the sauce as it boils.  If you still would like a thicker sauce, then just keep simmering until it reaches desired consistency.

HOW DO I THIN CHICKEN TERIYAKI SAUCE?

Your teriyaki sauce can thicken if it is not used right away.  To thin, simply whisk in additional water.  If it is not easily mixing, then whisk over low heat.

HOW DO I STORE HOMEMADE TERIYAKI SAUCE?

Store homemade teriyaki sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

WHAT CAN I USE TERIYAKI SAUCE ON?

You can use teriyaki sauce on this fabulous Teriyaki Chicken or on steak, fish, burgers, shrimp, tofu or veggies or even tacos!  

WHAT CHICKEN IS BEST FOR TERIYAKI CHICKEN? 

You have three options when it comes to what chicken you would like to use for this Teriyaki Chicken recipe:

  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs: are dark meat and therefore inherently juicier and more forgiving as far as cooking time.  It is hard to dry out chicken thighs, so they are always a winner.
  • Bone-in skinless chicken thighs:  these are probably my favorite cut of chicken and I use them whenever I can.  They are SO juicy and hard to overcook.  They take longer than both boneless chicken thighs and breasts to cook, so you will need to to adjust cooking time accordingly.  I suggest bone-in chicken thighs for grilling or baking, but not for the skillet or crockpot.
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts:  are leaner but still emerge wonderfully juicy from the marinade.  If you use chicken breasts, take care they are pounded to an even thickness so they cook evenly.  I suggest using chicken fillets, which are large chicken breasts sliced through the equator to create 4 thinner cuts.
Teriyaki Chicken breasts being brushed with homemade teriyaki sauce

TERIYAKI CHICKEN MARINADE

The Teriyaki Chicken marinade is SO easy because it is just half of the teriyaki sauce plus olive oil.  Here are some tips and tricks when it comes to marinating your Teriyaki chicken to maintain sanitary conditions and food safety:

  • What containers to use: For easy cleanup, use food-safe plastic bags during storage, and discard the bags after marinating. You may also use food grade plastic, stainless steel, or glass containers to marinate food.  If you marinate in a container instead of a plastic bag, cover the container during storage in the refrigerator.
  • Where to marinate: Always marinate chicken for a prolonged period of time in the refrigerator, never on the counter. You can marinate on the counter for 30 minutes to help bring the chicken to room temperature and cook evenly, but no longer.
  • Reusing marinade: Never reuse marinade used for raw chicken or meat unless you boil it first to destroy any harmful bacteria. Instead, we are going to divide the marinade in half and use part of it to marinate the chicken and the rest (that never comes in contact with raw teriyaki chicken) for the glaze.
  • Storing marinated food:  If things get busy and you end up not cooking the teriyaki chicken, don’t worry!  You can store marinated poultry in your refrigerator for two days IF it does not contain lemon or other citrus juices.
  • Cook it safely: Be sure to use a food thermometer and cook protein to a safe minimum internal temperature.

HOW DO YOU MAKE TERIYAKI CHICKEN?

  • Whisk teriyaki sauce ingredients together.  To make this easy teriyaki sauce, whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, Asian sweet chili sauce, apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger and cornstarch in a small bowl.
  • Remove half for teriyaki chicken marinade.  Eyeball about half of the sauce and add it a large freezer bag or bowl along with ¼ cup olive oil.
  • Marinate Teriyaki Chicken.  Add chicken and marinate 1 hour up to overnight. Refrigerate remaining Teriyaki Sauce (will become your Sauce) separately.
  • Cook Chicken Teriyaki.  You can cook your teriyaki chicken on the stove, grill, oven or in the crockpot.  I have included instructions for each method below.
top view of grilled teriyaki chicken breasts on a white plate

How to COOK TERIYAKI CHICKEN

As far as cooking method goes, I know everyone has a preferred method, so I’ve covered it all! Directions are for boneless chicken breasts or thighs unless otherwise specified.

SKILLET Teriyaki Chicken

  • Marinate chicken according to directions.
  • Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
  • Once very hot, drain chicken from marinade, pat dry and add to skillet.  It is important to pat chicken dry to develop the nicely caramelized crust.
  • Cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, or until nicely browned on one side. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 3-5 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through.

Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken

  • Lightly grease crockpot with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Whisk Teriyaki Sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl EXCEPT cornstarch and pour HALF of the sauce over the chicken. Refrigerate the other half until later.
  • Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours or until chicken is tender enough to shred.
  • Remove chicken to a cutting board to shred. Meanwhile, strain any excess liquid from the slow cooker into a small saucepan. Whisk 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch with reserved Teriyaki Sauce and add to saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  • Return shredded chicken to slow cooker and toss with thickened sauce. Cook an additional 20-30 minutes on LOW to allow the chicken to absorb even more flavor. 

Baked Teriyaki Chicken

  • Marinate chicken according to directions.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish and add chicken in a single layer with the some of the marinade.  Cover the pan with foil.
  • For chicken fillets and boneless thighs, bake for 25-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  For bone-in chicken thighs, bake for 40 minutes-50 minutes, depending on size.
  • The last few minutes of baking, thicken reserved teriyaki sauce on the stove according to directions.

Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry

  • Marinate chicken for 30 minutes at room temperature while you prep your veggies.  Discard marinade and pat chicken dry.
  • Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Once hot, add chicken and desired vegetables and stir fry until golden, but not cooked through.
  • Add sauce and continue to cook until sauce is thickened and chicken is cooked through.

GRILLED TERIYAKI CHICKEN

  • Grease and preheat grill to medium heat, 375 to 450°F. Drain chicken from the marinade and pat dry.
  • Boneless, chicken breasts and thighs:  Grill the boneless chicken breasts and thighs undisturbed for 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 165 degrees F when chicken is done.)
  • Bone-IN chicken thighs:  Add chicken to grill, cover, and reduce heat so it stays around 350-375°F with the lid CLOSED.  Grill chicken thighs 6-10 minutes per side, depending on size, or until no longer pink and an inside thermometer registers 165 degrees F.
5 Minute prep Easy Teriyaki Chicken infused with Sweet Chili Sauce for added depth of flavor and YUM! The marinade doubles as the sauce for an easy family favorite that tastes better than takeout! My family loves this with rice and stir fried veggies and I love it on salad or in wraps!

What Sides do I serve with Teriyaki Chicken?

My favorite side to serve with homemade teriyaki chicken is steamed rice.  The chicken is so flavorful, that the rice offers a neutral, textural counterpart that sops up the delicious teriyaki sauce.  Here are some more delicious options to serve with your easy teriyaki chicken:

CAN I PREPARE CHICKEN TERIYAKI AHEAD OF TIME?

Yes, please do because the teriyaki chicken is just as delicious the next day, especially if you use chicken thighs.  You can have a container of marinated and cooked chicken in the fridge for up to a week that you can warm up or serve cold on a salad, sandwich, wraps etc.

CAN I FREEZE CHICKEN TERIYAKI?

Yes, yes, and yes!  You can freeze either the chicken teriyaki marinade or the cooked teriyaki chicken.

  • Marinade: Whisk together, add to a freezer bag, label and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Chicken: After you have cooked the chicken, let it cool completely then transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.

HOW TO REHEAT TERIYAKI CHICKEN

  • From frozen:  thaw Teriyaki Chicken in the refrigerator overnight.  You can also defrost in the microwave but take care to defrost slowly so your chicken doesn’t get rubbery.
  • From fridge: you can warm chicken in a skillet on the stove top or in the microwave at 30 second intervals.  Take care not to overcook or it will become dry.  You can also reheat in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or just until warmed through.

IS CHICKEN TERIYAKI HEALTHY?

The chicken in Teriyaki Chicken is very healthy.  It is a lean protein which means it doesn’t have very much fat which can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and even lose weight all while helping to sustain your muscles.  Chicken is also full of calcium and phosphorous which helps strengthen your bones and reduce the risk of arthritis.

To keep your Teriyaki Chicken on the lighter side, make sure to cook it on the stove, grill or in the oven as opposed to deep frying.  As far as teriyaki sauce, soy sauce is quite high in sodium so take care to use a low sodium soy sauce.

5 Minute prep Easy Teriyaki Chicken infused with Sweet Chili Sauce for added depth of flavor and YUM! The marinade doubles as the sauce for an easy family favorite that tastes better than takeout! My family loves this with rice and stir fried veggies and I love it on salad or in wraps!

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

5 Minute prep Easy Teriyaki Chicken infused with Sweet Chili Sauce for added depth of flavor and YUM! The marinade doubles as the sauce for an easy family favorite that tastes better than takeout! My family loves this with rice and stir fried veggies and I love it on salad or in wraps!

Teriyaki Chicken

Easy Teriyaki Chicken with only 5 Minute prep infused with Sweet Chili Sauce for added depth of flavor and YUM!  This Teriyaki Chicken is the best teriyaki chicken I have ever had – restaurant or homemade! The teriyaki marinade doubles as the sauce for an easy family favorite that tastes better than takeout!  Serve this Teriyaki Chicken with rice and veggies, or in salads, tacos or wraps!  
Servings: 2 -4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken fillets or boneless chicken thighs (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Teriyaki Marinade/Sauce

Garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Whisk together all of the Teriyaki Marinade/Sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Add ½ (eye ball it) to a large freezer bag and whisk in ¼ cup olive oil. Add chicken and marinate 30 minutes at room temperature or up to overnight in the refrigerator. Refrigerate remaining Teriyaki Sauce (will become your Sauce) separately.
  • When ready to cook, let the chicken sit at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.

GRILL DIRECTIONS

  • Meanwhile, grease and preheat grill to medium heat, 375 to 450°F. Drain chicken from the marinade and pat dry.
  • BONELESS CHICKEN BREASTS OR THIGHS:  Grill the boneless chicken breasts and thighs undisturbed for 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 165 degrees F when chicken is done.)
  • SKINLESS BONE-IN CHICKEN THIGHS:  Add chicken to grill, cover, and reduce heat so it stays around 350-375°F with the lid CLOSED.  Grill chicken thighs 6-10 minutes per side, depending on size, or until no longer pink and an inside thermometer registers 165° F
  • Meanwhile, add reserved Teriyaki Sauce to a small saucepan. Place covered saucepan on the grill (or stove), and bring to a simmer (this can be done after chicken is cooked if you don’t have room on your grill). Once simmering, remove lid and whisk until thickened. Brush cooked chicken with glaze and serve any extra as a sauce for rice.
  • Garnish chicken with green onions, sesame seeds and chili sauce to taste (optional).

STOVE DIRECTIONS

  • Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, drain chicken from marinade, pat dry and add to skillet.
  • Cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, or until nicely browned on one side. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 3-5 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a plate and tent with foil.
  • Add reserved Teriyaki Sauce to the now empty skillet. Bring to a simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally. Add chicken and toss to coat. Garnish chicken with green onions, sesame seeds and chili sauce to taste (optional).

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15 Comments

  1. Dorothy Dunton says

    Hi Jen! Mouth crying!! I love the flavors here and I do love grilled pineapple! We bought our house here ten years ago and moved here permanently eight years ago and I still can’t find some stuff!

    • Jen says

      LOL! Its amazing when you move you learn to live without certain things and then wonder why you ever needed them in the first place! I love being organized though – can’t wait to get sorting 🙂 Hope you love this chicken Dorothy, its SO good especially with grilled pineapple!

  2. Keiko says

    Hi Jen,

    It looks so good! I love grilled pineapple, but never made one by myself. I should try! Where are you moving to? I was hoping to see you in October when we go there, but you won’t be?

    • Jen says

      Hi Keiko, yes you have to try grilled pineapple, SO easy and amazing! We will be in Rancho Bernardo until end of October then move into our house in Carlsbad when its ready – so we still will be around!

      • Keiko says

        Great! I will let you know when it gets closer in October, and I hope I will see you!!

    • Jen says

      YAY! I hope you love it Aimee! Thank you for trying it out!

  3. Jessica says

    Quick question: is the olive oil one of the ingredients in the marinade? It was listed with the chicken breasts, but I didn’t see how it was used in the instructions.

    • Jen says

      Hi Jessica, in step 2 you whisk together the marinade/sauce ingredients and then divide in half. You add 1/4 cup olive oil to one of the halves – this half with the olive oil becomes your marinade. Hope that helps!

  4. Sarah E Ackerman says

    I made this recipe for dinner tonight and it was awesome! I will definitely be adding it to my keeper file. I also love your crockpot salsa verde honey lime chicken recipe.

    • Jen says

      Hi Sarah, I am so sorry at my delayed response as I was in the hospital when I received it and have been so behind ever since but I SO appreciate you taking the time to comment! I am so glad this was a winner and made it to your “keeper binder” – the ultimate compliment 🙂

  5. Layne says

    Jesse raved about the teriyaki sauce! So easy and flavorful!

    • Jen says

      I love hearing that, thanks so much Layne!

  6. Heather Sprang says

    Hi! I have never commented on a recipe here but this is one of my go to sites for recipes (only have like 2). Everything’s always so good!
    I just had to comment on this recipe though. It’s was perfect! I made it in the oven and it was so easy to throw together. Thank you for all your hard work.

    • Jen says

      I’m so glad you DID comment, thank you so much Heather! I’m honored my site is one of your go-to sites and you’re loving my recipes! I’m thrilled this teriyaki chicken was good enough to warrant comment 😉 Thank you so much!