This Teriyaki Chicken recipe is going to knock your easy chicken dinner socks off! Chicken thighs are basted with the best sweet and savory homemade teriyaki sauce and baked to tender and juicy perfection. Serve with cooked coconut rice and a roasted green vegetable for a complete meal your family will request again and again.
Easy Baked Teriyaki Chicken
You know that teriyaki chicken you crave from your local Asian restaurant? This tastes just like it. Bone-in chicken thighs don’t even need to marinate first – instead they are simply basted with our fantastic and easy homemade teriyaki sauce a few times while baking, which permeates into the meat. The chicken cooks up moist and tender, while the exterior ends up with a crazy flavorful, dark and sticky glaze. It’s like nibbling on candy, without the guilt!
Teriyaki Chicken Recipe
There’s a reason Teriyaki chicken is one of the most popular chicken recipes in the world – it’s just so damn delicious. Here’s what you need to make our version:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
Homemade Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients
Skip the jarred sauce and make our Teriyaki Sauce from scratch. It’s SO simple requiring only a short list of ingredients and tastes infinitely better than anything you will buy pre-made.
- Water & Cornstarch: These two items are combined to create a slurry and thicken the sauce.
- Soy sauce: We use low-sodium soy sauce to cut back on the sodium levels, but if that’s not a concern for you, nothing can beat Chinese dark soy sauce, which is made with a bit of molasses. It tastes incredible, but definitely more salty.
- Sugar: Teriyaki sauce is supposed to be sweet and traditionally made with sugar. We include both brown sugar and granulated sugar. While you can replace some of the granulated sugar with honey, it’s not our preference for this recipe.
- Mirin: Mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine, which is similar to sake, but with less alcohol and more sugar. It’s available at all Asian markets and most common grocery stores with the other Asian sauces and spices. If you can’t find it, a good substitute would be dry sherry mixed with a bit of granulated sugar. (Avoid rice wine vinegar, which would give the sauce an acidic taste.)
- Sesame oil: A little sesame oil provides a unique, bold flavor and a key ingredient in Asian cooking. Don’t skip it.
- Ginger & Garlic: These provide wonderful flavor and aromatics. We highly recommend using fresh for best results.
Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
- Chicken thighs: We use bone-in chicken thighs and pull the skin off with paper towels. The flavor that’s part of the bone spreads throughout the meat as it cooks, which results in a deeper taste.
- Salt and pepper: To season the chicken, so the dish isn’t flat.
- Scallions: These peppery onions finish off the dish with added flavor and a pop of color.
Tips for Success
- Use chicken thighs: We highly recommend thighs over chicken breasts, since they are way juicier and more flavorful for Teriyaki. If you prefer boneless thighs over bone-in thighs, they also work well (keeping in mind they will take a little less time to cook.) A note about using chicken breasts: If you do use breasts, they cook quite a bit faster – usually only about 20-25 minutes (depending on the weight and thickness and individual ovens. Once they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, they are done. You really need to watch them so they don’t overcook, or they’ll end up so dry. This also means you’ll need to baste them more frequently to get a proper glaze.)
- Don’t skip the basting: This recipe calls for basting the sauce on the chicken in 10 minute intervals as the chicken bakes. Yes, you definitely can pour all of the sauce over the chicken pieces and just let it bake, but basting is what gives the chicken that gorgeous dark and delicious, rich sticky glaze.
- Keep the ratios as written or double everything: The ratio of sauce to chicken in our recipe is perfect. If you double the amount of chicken, you’ll want to double the amount of sauce, too, and cook in a larger baking dish so the chicken isn’t overcrowded. We often double the recipe because leftovers the next day are great.
How to Make Teriyaki Chicken
This recipe is so easy and delivers big flavor! Here’s a brief summary of how to make it:
(Don’t miss the video and printable recipe card below for details.)
- Make the sauce: First make the teriyaki sauce, by making a cornstarch slurry. Then combine the slurry and all the other sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer for several minutes, until thickened, stirring frequently.
- Prep the chicken: Line a 9×13 baking dish with foil and coat with nonstick spray; place the chicken thighs inside and season with salt and pepper. Baste chicken with the sauce. Turn thighs over, bone side up, and brush again.
- Bake and Baste: Transfer to a preheated 425 degree F oven; cook for 25 minutes, basting with the sauce every 8-10 minutes. Turn chicken pieces over, and bake an additional 25 minutes, basting every 8-10 minutes. (Chicken should no longer be pink, juices run clear, and an internal temperate of 165 degrees F is reached.)
Teriyaki Chicken Video
Make Ahead and Storing Leftovers
Make the sauce in advance: Our Teriyaki sauce literally comes together in minutes, but you can make it a week before using, if preferred. Allow to cool, then transfer to a jar, fasten the lid, and store in the fridge. Warm back up on the stovetop before basting the chicken.
Storing leftovers: If you’ve got leftover cooked Teriyaki chicken, allow to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To freeze: Allow chicken to cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe plastic bag or container. Store in the freezer for 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat to your liking.
What to Serve with Teriyaki Chicken
The best sides to serve with Teriyaki Chicken are cooked white rice, coconut rice, or fried rice, along with a roasted green vegetable, such as roasted broccoli or roasted snap peas. Drizzle the sauce over everything for the best flavor. Sesame noodles or a cool cucumber salad also pair well for balance. We guarantee everyone will be a member of the Clean Plate Club after this meal!
More Asian Chicken Recipes:
For the Teriyaki Sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons Mirin rice wine (see note)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger , grated or minced
- 1 clove garlic , grated or minced
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place chicken pieces in the baking dish. Season with a bit of salt and pepper on both sides, to taste.
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the water with the cornstarch until cornstarch is dissolved, to create a slurry. Whisk in all the remaining sauce ingredients until smooth and incorporated. Bring to a simmer, stirring it frequently to prevent overflow and scorching. Right when it boils, reduce heat to a low bubble for 3-4 minutes until the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove the sauce from the heat.
- Baste chicken thighs with the sauce. Turn thighs over, bone side up, and brush again.
- Transfer to the oven and cook for 25 minutes, uncovered, basting with the sauce every 8-10 minutes. Turn chicken pieces over, and bake an additional 25 minutes, uncovered, basting every 8-10 minutes. (Or until no longer pink, juices run clear, and an internal temperate of 165 degrees F is reached.)
- Thighs should have a gorgeous, glossy sticky amber-brown coating.
- Sprinkle with diced scallions and serve with some of the pan sauce over cooked white rice and roasted snap peas or broccoli on the side.
- NOTE: Mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine, which is similar to sake, but with less alcohol and more sugar. It's available at all Asian markets and most common grocery stores. If you can't find it, a good substitute would be dry sherry mixed with a bit of granulated sugar. (Avoid rice wine vinegar, which would give the sauce an acidic taste.)
- For information on using chicken breasts instead, helpful tips, and proper storage, please refer to the full article.