Easy Teriyaki Chicken

$6.34 recipe / $1.27 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.67 from 12 votes
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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. ;)

sliced teriyaki chicken on a bed of rice next to broccoli.

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.

Close up side view of sliced teriyaki chicken on a platter.
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Easy Teriyaki Chicken

4.67 from 12 votes
This Easy Teriyaki Chicken is perfect for quick weeknight dinners, and has the most delicious salty, sweet, and savory flavor!
Sliced teriyaki chicken on a bed of rice next to steamed broccoli.
Servings 5 thighs
Prep 10 mins
Cook 15 mins
Marinate 30 mins
Total 55 mins

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce ($0.24)
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.12)
  • 1 Tbsp water ($0.00)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced ($0.08)
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger ($0.10)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil, divided ($0.08)
  • 1.75 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs ($5.72)

Instructions 

  • 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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Nutrition

Serving: 1thighCalories: 274kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 32gFat: 12gSodium: 792mgFiber: 1g
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Side view of sliced teriyaki chicken on a bed of rice with broccoli on the side.

How to Make Teriyaki Chicken – Step by Step Photos

Teriyaki marinade in a bowl with a fork.

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.

boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a shallow dish with marinade.

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.

Raw marinated chicken thighs in a skillet.

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.

Cooked teriyaki chicken in the skillet.

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.

Finished teriyaki chicken thighs on a cutting board.

Transfer the cooked teriyaki chicken to a cutting board to rest for about five minutes before slicing and serving.

Sliced teriyaki chicken thighs on a black ceramic platter.

This teriyaki chicken is so extremely juicy and delicious. You’re going to love it!

Sliced teriyaki chicken on a bed of rice next to steamed broccoli.
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  1. I followed the recipe exactly. My dish was restaurant quality and restaurant taste! My husband loved it, as did I. Easy-peazy dish!

  2. Made this and tasted better than any takeout! Only alterations I made were. Used olive to cook since I was out of vegetable oil. I thinly sliced the garlic and ginger and swapped soy sauce for coconut aminos. Marinated overnight then dumped all the marinade and garlic and ginger in to cook with chicken. The caramelized garlic and ginger was so so good so don’t toss it eat it with your rice you won’t regret it!

  3. Easy and really delicious recipe, this will be going into my week night dinner rotation, follow the steps in the recipe exactly and it will be amazing!

  4. I made this recipe…And my family loved it….Best part no left overs….

  5. Great recipe! My picky husband loved it and he doesn’t usually eat chicken thighs. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him! Doubled the recipe because I used 2x the thighs. I was surprised at how easy it was to cook with the sauce without it burning. This is a keeper for sure!

  6. I made this for dinner tonight and my picky 26y/o daughter loved it. That says a lot. Trust me on that. I served it with mixed vegetables and rice (use chicken broth instead of water. I just tastes better that way. I’ll be making this again and again. Thank you