Teriyaki Chicken Breasts

DinnerJapaneseGluten-FreeChicken Breast

Easy Teriyaki Chicken! How to make teriyaki chicken with skinless chicken breasts poached in homemade teriyaki sauce, served with toasted sesame seeds. Quick and easy 30-min recipe!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

One of the benefits of having a well-stocked pantry is that it gives you so much more flexibility when you want to get a meal out quickly. Case in point, this teriyaki chicken.

How to Make Teriyaki Chicken

Classic teriyaki sauce is made with soy sauce, mirin (a sweet rice wine), and sake. With these items in your pantry, you can make a simple but perfect and easy teriyaki sauce for teriyaki chicken, steak, or salmon.

In this version of teriyaki chicken, we first poach skinless, boneless chicken breasts in homemade teriyaki sauce. Then we boil the heck out of the sauce to reduce it to a syrupy glaze to pour back over the cooked chicken.

The result? Easy to make, low fat, perfectly tender teriyaki chicken breasts, every time.

Teriyaki Chicken Breasts Recipe

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  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce* (or mix tamari** and water in equal proportions to make 3/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup sake
  • 3/4 cup mirin
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • A 1-inch piece of ginger, grated fine
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds total (set out for 30 minutes to come to room temp)
  • 2-3 Tbsp sesame seeds

*Use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free version.
**If you are using tamari instead of soy sauce, use half as much, as tamari is more concentrated than soy sauce.

Method

1 Gently simmer chicken in sauce made with sake, mirin, soy sauce, sugar, ginger: Mix the grated ginger, sugar, soy sauce, sake and mirin in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the chicken breasts, return to a simmer, then lower the heat to the lowest possible setting (warm if you can), on your smallest burner, and cover.

The idea is to cook the chicken as gently as possible, below a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.

If you are working with somewhat large chicken breasts, you may need to cook them longer, or cut them in half before cooking.

2 Toast sesame seeds: While the chicken is poaching, toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan until they begin to brown. Move to a small bowl and set aside.

3 Set aside chicken, cover with foil: Remove the chicken breasts from the teriyaki sauce, set on a plate and wrap with foil.

4 Reduce sauce: Bring the sauce back to a boil and boil vigorously until the sauce is reduced to a syrup, about 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on the sauce, stirring it occasionally.

5 Slice chicken, cover with sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve: To serve, slice the chicken breasts, cover with the teriyaki sauce and sprinkle sesame seeds on them. Serve with plain white rice.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the Founder and President of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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20 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Lise

    This was fabulous. The genius is poaching the chicken in the Teriaki sauce. I served it with star anise scented rice and steamed broccoli spears dressed with ponzu.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Gracie

    I make this dish frequently, easy fast & delicious. I pair it with the Sesame Garlic Spinach & sometimes make Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowls. So good! Trader Joes carries a nice inexpensive sake as well as rice wine vinegar and/or Mirin

  • Finessa Lee

    Cani refrigerate the leftover sauce? We had a lot. Also I didn’t have sake, so I just doulbled the mirin. My husband loved it.

  • Molly

    Hi, I’m going to make this for dinner tonight and have never cooked with sake before, is there a certain kind I should get or one that is specific to cooking? Very excited to make my first Teriyaki Chicken! :)

    Great question. I think the sake I have I bought at Whole Foods in the wine department, for not a lot of money. Sake comes in all different quality levels. I don’t think you need a particularly good grade for this. ~Elise

  • Prince

    Wow!. it looks really delecious!
    Hi.. can i use beer?.. i want to try this but i dont have sake..

    No, no beer. This is a traditional teriyaki sauce. You can try looking around for another sauce online, or just buy some packaged sauce, thinned with water. ~Elise

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