Supremely Easy Teriyaki Chicken

Sweet, salty, and sticky, teriyaki chicken is perfect for any weeknight dinner. The word teriyaki has Japanese origins and refers to grilled foods seasoned with soy sauce by way of a marinade or a basting or dipping sauce. Teriyaki as Americans know it has Japanese American roots and typically includes more sweetness from sugar or mirin, plus aromatics and occasionally fruit juice. For our homemade teriyaki sauce, we turn to fresh ginger, garlic, green onions (save the darkest parts for garnish!), soy sauce, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar to achieve that beloved flavor with a touch of tang. (If you don’t have low-sodium soy sauce on hand, reduce the amount of regular soy sauce to ⅓ cup.)

Thinly slicing skinless, boneless chicken thighs or skinless chicken breasts against the grain results in tender meat that cooks in a flash. Plus, there’s no need for marinating in advance, cutting down on prep time: Just stir-fry the meat and set it aside, then pour the sauce ingredients into the pan to deglaze, making sure to scrape up every bit of flavor. Once the sauce thickens, the cooked chicken pieces return to the pan to get coated and warmed through.

Complete the meal by serving this popular takeout staple with veggies like steamed broccoli, spinach ohitashi, or sweet potato and brussels sprout okonomiyaki, and white or brown rice on the side.

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4–6 servings


Tbsp. cornstarch




1″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated


garlic cloves, finely grated


cup low-sodium soy sauce


cup (packed) dark brown sugar


Tbsp. apple cider vinegar


Tbsp. vegetable oil

lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts, thinly sliced against the grain into bite-size strips

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Toasted sesame seeds and steamed white rice (for serving)


  1. Step 1

    Whisk 1 Tbsp. cornstarch and ⅓ cup water in a small bowl until cornstarch is dissolved. Set slurry aside. 

    Step 2

    Remove dark green parts from 2 scallions and thinly slice on a diagonal; set aside for serving. Thinly slice white and pale green parts of scallions and transfer to a medium bowl. Add one 1″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated, 5 garlic cloves, finely grated, ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce, ¼ cup (packed) dark brown sugar, and 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar and whisk to combine. Set sauce aside. 

    Step 3

    Heat 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add 1½ lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts, thinly sliced against the grain into bite-size strips, in an even layer and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook, undisturbed, until mostly cooked through and golden underneath, about 3 minutes. Toss and continue to cook until completely cooked through, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a plate. 

    Step 4

    Pour reserved sauce into same skillet and reduce heat to medium. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly and scraping up browned bits. Stir slurry to combine if it has separated and add to skillet. Cook, stirring often, until sauce is thick and glossy, about 3 minutes. Return chicken to pan and toss to coat. Remove pan from heat. Top chicken teriyaki with toasted sesame seeds and reserved scallion greens. Serve with steamed white rice

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