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Sweet + sour teriyaki chicken whips up in minutes for the perfect take-out-inspired dinner any night of the week!

Teriyaki chicken is better-than-takeout, and a family favorite! It tastes delicious with a side of Cream Cheese Rangoons, Egg Rolls, or our tasty Wontons.

Close up of Teriyaki Chicken served with rice and broccoli.

teriyaki chicken 101

Teriyaki originated from Japan and traveled to America by way of Hawaii. It’s used to flavor beef, fish, and for this dish – poultry. We used chicken thighs, but you can easily use chicken breasts instead. 

This teriyaki chicken is simple to whip up, and tastes just as good as your favorite local spot…maybe even better!

This fabulous dinner cooks up in a flash and is great served with fresh veggies and steamed white rice, or Cauliflower Rice. The homemade teriyaki sauce is hands-down delicious!

Teriyaki sauce mixed in a glass mason jar.

How do You Make Teriyaki Chicken

This teriyaki chicken recipe is simple, delicious, and just as good at take-out!

PREP. Add oil to a large skillet and cook on medium heat.

CHICKEN. Add cubed chicken thighs and cook until heated through, browned, and a little crisp.

SAUCE. Make teriyaki sauce while the chicken is cooking. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of water with soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and pineapple juice to a medium bowl and whisk until combined. Cook over medium heat.

In a small bowl, add cornstarch to water and whisk together until combined, and then add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce. Heat the sauce until it thickens to your desired thickness.

COMBINE. Pour the sauce mixture into the skillet with the chicken and simmer until the sauce is thickened.

SERVE. Serve this teriyaki chicken bowl with rice, noodles, and/or steamed vegetables.

Alternative Cooking Methods

Skillet teriyaki chicken is easy to make, but this tasty dish can be made in the slow cooker as well, or even grilled!

Slow cooker teriyaki chicken. Place the chicken in the crock pot. In a separate bowl mix the water, soy sauce, honey, pineapple juice, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger. Pour it over the chicken and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours. 

When the chicken is cooked remove it from the pot. Place a mesh strainer over a saucepan and pour all the juices from the crock pot through the sieve. Bring the liquid to a boil. Whisk cornstarch-water slurry until dissolved, add it to the sauce, and simmer until thickened about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over the shredded chicken. 

Grilled teriyaki chicken. Make the marinade by combining the water, soy sauce, honey, pineapple juice, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger and place it in a large Ziploc. Add the chicken pieces and let them marinate for a few hours. When done, pour the marinade into a saucepan and set aside. Use a meat mallet to gently tenderize the chicken pieces and form them into an even thickness throughout. Grill.

Once cooked let them stand for a few minutes while you make the sauce. Bring the liquid to a boil. Whisk cornstarch-water slurry until dissolved, add it to the sauce, and simmer until thickened about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over the grilled chicken.

Garlic noodles served in a white bowl.

serving suggestions

Serve this easy teriyaki chicken recipe with steamed rice and mixed veggies such as sauteed or steamed broccoli, carrots, snap peas, bell peppers, and asparagus. Other favorite sides include:

Cubed chicken frying in a skillet.

Ingredient Tips

If you are not used to cooking Japanese cuisine, then you’ll need to add a few key ingredients to your shopping list. Once these ingredients are purchased, you can use them to not only make this traditional teriyaki sauce but many other Asian dishes as well.

If you need to, make adjustments and use some substitutes:

  • Sesame oil can be substituted with peanut oil.
  • Rice vinegar can be substituted with apple cider vinegar.
  • Seasoning. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.

Additions. Add some of your favorite veggies to the mix along with the chicken in step 2. Broccoli florets, snap peas, bell peppers, and asparagus are all great additions that add flavor and nutrition.

Garnish with sesame seeds or sliced green onions.

Teriyaki chicken cooking in sauce in a skillet.

recipe tips

Get the perfect flavor for your homemade teriyaki chicken with these simple tips.

  • Salty sauce. If the sauce turns out too salty, add a bit of brown sugar or honey. The sweetness will counteract the salty flavor. Slowly add a little more water and cornstarch. You can also use low-sodium soy sauce instead of regular.
  • Chicken cubes. Be sure to cut the chicken into evenly sized cubes. The best way I have found to make even cuts is to partially freeze the chicken, then cut it. 
  • Don’t overcook the chicken. If I’m not sure the chicken has been cooked all the way, I use kitchen scissors to cut the largest piece in half. If it is still pink, I’ll cook the chicken longer.
Sauce covered chicken in a skillet.

storing info

Make ahead of time. Mix up the main sauce ingredients (soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic) and cube the chicken the day before. Keep them in separate containers in the fridge until you’re ready to make the meal.

Another meal prep option is to place the chicken in a freezer bag and the main sauce ingredients in a freezer bag. Then place both bags in a freezer-safe container. Thaw before cooking. 

Note: Don’t prepare the cornstarch and water until you are ready to make the meal.

STORE. Be sure not to leave the chicken out for more than two hours. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

FREEZE in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave or in a skillet on the stove.

White bowl filled with teriyaki chicken, rice, and broccoli.

Recipe FAQ

What cut of chicken to use for teriyaki chicken?

I used boneless skinless chicken thighs because the extra fat helps them cook up nice and tender. You can also use about 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts. They cook a little faster than thighs do.

Can I make teriyaki chicken in a crockpot?

Absolutely! The chicken will be a pulled chicken rather than cubed, but with the same great taste. You can find the instructions in the post above. You will also find instructions on how to grill it.

What is the best way to cube chicken to make teriyaki chicken?

When cooking chicken cubes be sure they are all about the same size so that they cook at the same rate. I like to partially freeze the chicken thighs (or breasts) because they will hold a nice firm shape when you cut through them with a sharp kitchen knife.

for More Asian Dinner Recipes, Try:

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5 from 8 votes

Teriyaki Chicken Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
Sweet + sour teriyaki chicken whips up in minutes for the perfect take-out-inspired dinner any night of the week!
Servings: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 –5 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed

Teriyaki Sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon pineapple juice optional
  • cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with ⅓ cup cold water
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Instructions 

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add cubed chicken and cook, stirring, for 7–8 minutes, until no longer pink, browned, and a little crisped.
  • Meanwhile, make teriyaki sauce. Combine water, soy sauce, honey, pineapple juice, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Whisk cornstarch-water slurry until dissolved and add to the sauce.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until sauce thickens. If the sauce becomes too thick, add more water to thin it out.

Video

Notes

Additions. Add some of your favorite veggies to the mix along with the chicken in Step 2. Broccoli florets, snap peas, bell peppers, and asparagus are all great additions that add flavor and nutrition.
Make ahead of time. Mix up the main sauce ingredients (soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic) and cube the chicken the day before. Keep them in separate containers in the fridge until you’re ready to make the meal.
Store. Be sure not to leave the chicken out for more than two hours. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Freeze. in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave or in a skillet on the stove.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup, Calories: 295kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 107mg, Sodium: 920mg, Potassium: 349mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 27g, Vitamin A: 27IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. Kara says:

    5 stars
    Served it with rice and broccoli just like you pictured. It was a hit with the whole family, and so easy!

  2. jess says:

    5 stars
    yes, yes yes! this chicken dish is everything I needed it to be and more, thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe!

  3. Allyson Zea says:

    5 stars
    This has all my favorite flavors and was SOOOO easy to make! Thank you!!!

  4. Sue says:

    5 stars
    I love this recipe. I make it once a month and serve it with ice and then the extras go in the freezer to be used to make street tacos with other left over chicken.

  5. Olivia says:

    5 stars
    My husband loves teriyaki chicken. Happy I found this recipe so I can make this at home. Chinese is a favorite in our home!

  6. Joy says:

    5 stars
    My husband could eat teriyaki chicken daily!! I hadn’t found a recipe that we both loved, until I came across this. Super yummy!