Easy teriyaki chicken skewers are a great recipe for grilling or making indoors. Marinated in a delicious homemade teriyaki sauce, the kabobs are cooked to tender, juicy perfection and provide the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors. Serve on wooden skewers garnished with sesame seeds and green onion.
Easy Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
As soon as the weather begins to turn warm, I get eager to fire up the outdoor grill for summer recipes like my Mediterranean salad with grilled chicken, chicken kabob marinade, and teriyaki chicken skewers. They’re all easy to make for a healthy dish that’s full of flavor. So, you really can’t go wrong.
While I love anything made on the grill, even if it’s cooked inside on a George Foreman, like I sometimes do with my Mexican marinated chicken, I have to admit that grilled chicken teriyaki is a personal favorite. You can use boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts and can even freeze marinated teriyaki chicken for later on.
There’s just something so satisfying about the delicious teriyaki flavor and the tenderness of the juicy chicken thighs that’s truly unbeatable. One bite and these skewers are sure to become a staple in your regular dinner rotation.
Pair the chicken pieces with your favorite side dishes and a variety of vegetables, and you’ve got yourself an easy meal you’ll look forward to eating all week. This is great news, because leftover chicken stores well when transferred to an airtight container. Then, it can easily be heated up for quick meals throughout the week. Honestly, you might want to just go ahead and make a double batch of these teriyaki chicken skewers. They tend to disappear fast!
Not only are these easy teriyaki chicken skewers a delicious recipe, but they also require simple ingredients and minimal prep work. Plus, you can use any leftover teriyaki marinade for salmon stir fry or easy teriyaki noodles, too. It’s a win-win all around! Here’s what you need to make it:
- Chicken – boneless skinless chicken thighs work best as their higher fat content will allow them to stay tender and juicy when cooked. However, boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders can be used, too, if preferred.
- Oil – this helps prevent the chicken from sticking to the grill. I use avocado oil for its neutral flavor, but any oil with a high smoke point will do. I’d avoid olive oil or other oils with a low smoke point.
- Garnishes – technically optional but highly recommended, sliced green onion and sesame seeds make a great addition to sprinkle on top for a boost of flavor and added crunch. If you love a bit of heat, try adding a dash of chili garlic sauce, Sriracha hot sauce, or red pepper flakes, too!
For the best teriyaki marinade
- Low-sodium soy sauce – this forms the base of the teriyaki marinade, amping up the savory, umami taste. you can swap tamari 1:1 for soy sauce to make it gluten free. Or, use coconut aminos instead, but if you do, you may want to season with additional salt since coconut aminos tends to be on the sweeter side.
- Rice vinegar – the acidity is necessary to help brighten the heavy flavors of the rest of the sauce. It isn’t preferable but you can sub in another type of vinegar if needed.
- Sugar – coconut sugar or brown sugar balances out the umami flavor, creating an irresistible sweet and tangy taste. I’ve made it with honey too which works fine, but the taste tends to be over powering and frankly, just isn’t as good in this recipe.
- Sesame oil – fragrant and nutty, this oil adds lots of flavor to the sauce! I used regular sesame oil, but using toasted sesame oil is a great way to add even more depth of flavor.
- Fresh garlic – you can use store-bought, pre-minced garlic to save time. Just make sure it’s fresh! Garlic powder won’t yield the same taste.
- Ginger – minced or grated fresh ginger adds a slightly spicy tang.
- Arrowroot starch – you’ll combine it with water, to form a slurry to thicken the teriyaki sauce, transforming it from a runny marinade into a denser teriyaki glaze. Substitute cornstarch if you don’t have arrowroot powder.
- Honey – a little goes a long way to balance out the savory ingredients, creating a sweet flavor and a sticky glaze.
How to Make Teriyaki Chicken on a Stick
These teriyaki chicken kabobs are a great choice for summer grilling. These grilled teriyaki chicken skewers are still a tasty, easy recipe when baked in the oven, using an indoor grill, air fryer, skillet or whatever method you choose. No matter how you prepare it, the chicken pieces always turn out incredible. I cover the basic steps for grilling and oven baking below so you can be successful with whichever cooking method you choose.
- Soak the skewers. If you’re using wood skewers (bamboo skewers work great), submerge them in a large bowl or container of water, and let them soak while you prepare the rest of the teriyaki chicken.
- Prepare the teriyaki marinade. In a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce. Divide the mixture in half into two bowls, setting one aside for the teriyaki glaze. Use the other for a teriyaki marinade.
- Marinade the chicken. Pour half of the sauce over the chicken in a resealable food storage bag or a container with a lid. Let the pieces of chicken marinate on the counter for at least half an hour. If longer, refrigerate.
- Create the teriyaki glaze. Add the remaining sauce to a small saucepan over medium-low heat, and bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Make a slurry. In a separate small bowl (reuse the teriyaki bowl to reduce dishes!), whisk the arrowroot and water together until the mixture dissolves into a slurry. Pour it into the saucepan.
- Add a dash of honey. Let the sauce continue to cook and thicken before removing it from the heat.
- Grill the chicken. Preheat the grill, and clean and oil the grates. While the grill heats, pat the wooden skewers dry, and skewer the chicken pieces onto them. Place the teriyaki chicken kabobs on the grill until the chicken is cooked all the way through and beginning to brown, rotating every few minutes.
- Glaze the grilled chicken teriyaki. Transfer the teriyaki chicken skewers to a plate, and brush a little bit of the reserved teriyaki glaze evenly on top of each skewer. Sprinkle chopped green onion and sesame seeds on top for garnish, and serve immediately while your chicken is warm!
Not quite grilling weather outside? No worries! These grilled teriyaki chicken skewers are still a tasty, easy recipe if you make them in the oven instead.
To bake chicken teriyaki skewers in the oven, follow all the same instructions, marinating your chicken pieces, and preparing the glaze. Then, instead of firing up the grill, arrange the teriyaki chicken (with or without the skewers) in a greased baking dish. Cover it with foil, and bake at 400° Fahrenheit (205° C) for about 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Then, drain any excess liquid, brush your teriyaki glaze on top, add any additional garnishes, and serve your baked teriyaki chicken warm with all your favorite sides!
Notes and Expert Tips
- Use metal skewers. To save time and reduce waste, swap the wooden skewers for metal skewers. They work just as well, don’t have to be soaked, and can be washed and reused all summer long.
- Adjust the glaze. If the teriyaki glaze becomes too thick as it sits, whisk in a little more water to thin it out before brushing it over the chicken skewers.
- Marinate whole chicken tenders. To save time and reduce the amount of chopping, use whole chicken tenderloins instead of slicing your boneless skinless chicken thighs into pieces. Marinate them as usual, and skewer them lengthwise.
- Prepare ahead of time. For extra flavor, prepare your chicken up to a day in advance. Submerge it in the teriyaki marinade as usual. Then, transfer it to the fridge for up to 24 hours, letting it sit out and come to room temperature 30 minutes before grilling.
- Add a variety of vegetables and fruit. Transform this teriyaki chicken on a stick into a complete meal, and make fruit and veggie skewers, too! All you have to do is double the ingredients for the sauce and soak extra skewers. Then, submerge your favorite fresh fruit and summer vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms, red or green pepper, red onion, and pineapple in teriyaki sauce. Cook them on the grill right alongside your teriyaki chicken skewers, and enjoy.
- Store the teriyaki sauce. If you have leftover unused teriyaki sauce or want to make extra to have on hand, transfer it to a container. Cover it with a lid or plastic wrap. It will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Don’t glaze on the grill. You want to remove your skewers from the grill before adding the teriyaki glaze. Otherwise, the sugar will cook and caramelize on the grill and getting it off is just one extra chore.
- Make teriyaki chicken appetizers. This recipe makes for a great party appetizer, too! Use mini skewers, dice the chicken smaller, and cook them for less time on the grill. It’ll make for a high-protein, bite-sized snack even the pickiest of guests will love.
As mentioned, I like to serve this teriyaki chicken skewers recipe with vegetable skewers for a complete meal. However, it pairs well with all your favorite sides! Some pairing options include:
- Rice such as white rice, brown rice, coconut rice, cauliflower rice, or Thai fried rice, or Korean fried rice
- Miso noodles
- Teriyaki noodles
- A variety of vegetables like air fryer broccoli, grilled zucchini, and tomato avocado cucumber salad
- Fries or potato wedges
- Watermelon mint salad
- Hawaiian macaroni salad
- Topping teriyaki rice bowls
How to Store and Reheat
This teriyaki chicken on a stick is best right away while it’s still warm from the grill. However, if you have leftovers or want to prepare it in advance, you can transfer the chicken to an airtight container once it is completely cool. I recommend removing it from the skewers first!
Teriyaki chicken skewers will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Or, transfer them to the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, let frozen chicken thaw in the fridge overnight, and warm it in the oven at 400° Fahrenheit (205° C) or in a skillet over medium heat. If you have it, I recommend adding extra teriyaki sauce to prevent the chicken from drying out.
You’ll know your chicken is done when you no longer see any pink and the internal temperature reaches 165º Fahrenheit.
Although they are used interchangeably, there is a slight difference between the two. Teriyaki chicken is a chicken recipe cooked using the Japanese teriyaki cooking technique. Meanwhile, chicken teriyaki is a teriyaki dish that uses specifically chicken meat. In the USA though, it really means the same thing.
Yes but many store bought teriyaki sauces are difficult to turn into a thicker glaze so understand the consistency and overall end results will differ. Also this recipe has less sugar than most bottled teriyaki sauces.
Absolutely! Feel free to omit the skewers, and cook this teriyaki chicken recipe on the grill, on an indoor grill, in the oven, or in a skillet instead.
- 6 kabob skewers or 12 smaller skewers
- 1 Small bowl
- 1 medium bowl with lid or bag for marinating
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari or coconut aminos
- 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced or grated ginger
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder see notes for substituting cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts cut into 1” pieces
- avocado oil
- sliced green onion
- Sesame seeds
- Place wood skewers in a container of water and let soak to prevent burning while you prepare the recipe. You can use metal skewers instead if you prefer.
- In a medium bowl whisk together tamari or soy sauce, rice vinegar, coconut sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Divide in half, setting half aside for the teriyaki glaze and using half for the marinade.
- Place chicken and half of the sauce together in a bowl with a lid or a tightly sealing plastic bag (reusable bags work great). Let marinade on the counter top for half an hour while you prepare the sauce. If preparing for later, let marinade in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, removing half hour before cook time to allow the meat to come to room temperature.
- While chicken is marinading, add remaining reserved sauce to a small sauce pan over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer.
- While sauce is heating, whisk arrowroot and water together until dissolved (use the bowl that the sauce was in to minimize dishes). Pour into the saucepan.
- Add 2 teaspoons honey to sauce as well an let cook for a few more minutes until sauce has lightly thickened. Remove from burner and set aside while cooking chicken.
- Preheat your grill and clean and oil the grill grates. Or, you can cook on an indoor electric grill, in an oiled skillet, the oven, air fryer or however you prefer (see notes).
- While grill is heating, remove skewers from water and pat dry. Skewer chicken pieces onto the skewers.
- Grill the chicken skewers over high heat, rotating every few minutes until they are beginning to brown and chicken is cooked through (8-10 minutes depending on grill temperature)
- Immediately place the chicken skewers on the serving plate and use a grill brush to baste the teriyaki glaze evenly over each skewer.
- Sprinkle with green onion and sesame seeds and serve immediately.
To make it spicy: add 1-2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or sriracha.