I’m all about quick weeknight dinner recipes and this Easy Teriyaki Chicken is one that I think you’ll come back to over and over again. It’s almost too easy, and who doesn’t love teriyaki chicken?? The simple marinade turns into a gorgeous light glaze that adds just the right amount of salty, sweet, and savory flavor to juicy chicken thighs for a simple yet satisfying dinner. The leftovers are pretty good for lunch the next day, too. ;)
What’s in Teriyaki Sauce?
Traditional teriyaki from Japan is grilled meat with a simple glaze made of soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar. My teriyaki sauce, while still fairly simple, is a bit close to what you’ll find in bottled teriyaki sauce in the U.S. It has the basic salty-sweet flavor of soy and sugar, but you’ll also find a little garlic and ginger for extra complexity. If you prefer the flavor of an authentic teriyaki sauce, make sure to check out this recipe from Just One Cookbook.
Which is Best, Chicken Thighs or Breasts?
You can make this teriyaki chicken with boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, or even chicken tenders. I find chicken thighs to be the best for this recipe because they cook quickly and stay super tender and juicy. If using chicken breasts, make sure to fillet them into two thinner pieces or pound the chicken to a ½-inch thickness before marinating. This will help them cook quickly and evenly in the skillet before the glaze burns.
How Long Should I Marinade the Teriyaki Chicken?
You can marinate your chicken for as little as 30 minutes, or up to a full day for maximum flavor. This gives you the flexibility to start marinating the chicken just before you begin preparing dinner, in the morning before you leave for work, or even the night before. The longer it marinates, the more delicious it will be!
What to Serve with Teriyaki Chicken
When I’m in a hurry I just keep things simple with some long-grain white rice and steamed broccoli, but you could always make your meal a little more interesting by pairing your teriyaki chicken with something like a Crunchy Cabbage Salad, Sesame Roasted Green Beans, or a Sesame Cucumber Salad.
Easy Teriyaki Chicken
- Prepare the marinade first. Stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, water, garlic, ginger, and 1 Tbsp of the cooking oil in a bowl.
- Place the chicken in a shallow bowl or dish, then pour the marinade over top. Turn the chicken a couple of times to make sure it's well coated. Let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes to one day (refrigerated), turning the chicken occasionally as it marinates.
- When ready to cook the chicken, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken, discarding the remaining used marinade.
- Cook the chicken for about 5-7 minutes on each side or until cooked through and the liquid in the skillet has reduced to a light coating of glaze on the chicken.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
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How to Make Teriyaki Chicken – Step by Step Photos
Make the marinade first. In a bowl, stir together ¼ cup soy sauce, 3 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, 1 Tbsp water, and 1 Tbsp cooking oil.
Place about 1.75 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a wide bowl or dish (or a zip top bag), then pour the marinade over top. Flip the chicken thighs a few times to make sure they’re fully coated in the marinade. Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes or up to a full day (refrigerated). Turn the chicken occasionally as they marinate.
When you’re ready to cook the chicken, heat one tablespoon of cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the marinated chicken. Discard the remaining used marinade.
Cook the chicken thighs in the skillet for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is cooked through and the excess liquid in the skillet has reduced into a light coating of glaze on the chicken.
Transfer the cooked teriyaki chicken to a cutting board to rest for about five minutes before slicing and serving.
This teriyaki chicken is so extremely juicy and delicious. You’re going to love it!