This homemade teriyaki chicken recipe is easy, tasty and sure beats takeout. Place the chicken in a casserole dish, pour homemade teriyaki over the top and bake for about 18 minutes. Serve with rice and veggies such as sugar snap peas or broccoli and you're set. All of the great flavors and none of the store-bought low quality ingredients you don't want.
Easy Teriyaki Chicken: Thighs or Breasts?
You can use either one, but boneless skinless chicken thighs are more tender, moist and flavorful when cooked or grilled than chicken breasts (and more economical). Boneless skinless chicken thighs might be the ugly ducklings of the butcher counter. While they don't look pretty going into the oven, they look great when they come out and they taste delicious.
Give them a try. For years I was a white-meat-only girl, but it was grilling and using boneless chicken thighs in recipes like these teriyaki chicken thighs that made me a believer.
Prefer grilled teriyaki chicken? Cut the thighs into large chunks, skewer and grill. I did this just last night and they come out great. While the chicken is baking, do a veggie side and rice.
Why Make Homemade Chicken Teriyaki Sauce
Store bought teriyaki sauce (and take out) is filled with unhealthy ingredients such as corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, mega sodium, sugar, MSG, GMO ingredients and preservatives. Another problem is soy sauce contains wheat, so it's not gluten-free.
My recipe switch is to use tamari which is wheat-free soy sauce. No gluten, no preservatives, lower sodium and all of the great flavor you're looking for.
Teriyaki Sauce Recipe Ingredients (Gluten-free)
Tips on what brands to buy are below.
- Low sodium tamari (wheat-free soy)
- Mirin, traditional Japanese rice cooking wine (see note below)
- Mild honey, coconut sugar or brown sugar
- Unseasoned rice vinegar
- Sesame oil (regular or toasted)
- Ginger (puree in a jar or finely grated fresh)
- Garlic (powder is fine)
Buy real Mirin not fake. The brand I buy is Eden Foods, traditionally made with organic short grain brown rice. No added sugar, glucose or corn syrup. The most common brand at the store is Kikkoman: avoid it. It's made with glucose syrup and corn syrup. It's fake mirin.
Shake and Bake
Shake teriyaki well in a jar or use a blender on low. Use it as a thin marinade or thicken it up for more of a glaze and sauce. To thicken, simmer briefly and thicken with a little cornstarch (or arrowroot) for using as sauce or glaze. For the photos I thickened my teriyaki. It sticks to the chicken better.
For another delicious chicken recipe using thighs try my Braised Italian Chicken Thighs.
Easy Sesame Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
Teriyaki Sauce Recipe (makes ¾ cup)
- ¼ cup low sodium tamari or low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Mirin
- 2 tablespoons mild honey or coconut sugar or golden brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry optional
- 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger or jar puree
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 2 teaspoons cold water
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon chopped green onions for garnsh
- Get the chicken out of the refrigerator. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Start by making teriyaki sauce.
- Combine tamari, mirin, honey, sherry, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic and sesame oil in a jar and shake until well combined. Add the corn starch and water to a separate small bowl and whisk or stir until smooth. This is called a slurry. Place teriyaki sauce liquid in a small (2 quart) pan and bring to almost a boil. Add slurry whisking fast until smooth. Cook for 1 minute to get rid of any starchy taste. If sauce is too thick, thin with a little water. If it is lumpy from the slurry, strain or puree the teriyaki sauce in a blender. Set aside to cool.
- Trim any excess fat from the chicken thighs. Spread the coconut oil over the bottom of a medium baking dish large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer. Place the chicken smooth side up and pour ½ cup of the teriyaki sauce over the top. Turn the thighs to coat the chicken. Bake with the smooth side up. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until thighs reach 165°F internally when measured with a digital thermometer. Serve with the sauce from the casserole, sprinkled with green onions. If you want, serve extra sauce on the side.