Teriyaki Chicken Breasts

Chicken Teriyaki made with boneless, skinless chicken breasts poached in homemade teriyaki sauce, served with toasted sesame seeds. Quick and easy!

  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 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.


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.

Click on the comments you'd like to print with your recipe. Grayed out comments will not print.


  • 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.


  • 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.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Finessa, I don’t see why you couldn’t refrigerate the leftover sauce. So glad you and your husband liked it!

  • Emma

    This was delicious. I substituted shao-xing rice wine for the sake which worked very well. Changed the recipe, I guess, but it worked!

  • 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

  • Liz

    You can also heat equal parts of soysauce and sugar(white for thinner sauce, brown for thicker, honey for super thick sauce) with a piece or two or garlic and ginger to taste. In a pinch powders or both. You can use the marinade on any type of meat or fish. Let it marinade at least a few hours and broil untilc cooked in the oven. You can heat the marinade that is left over when you broil the meat and use it as a sauce when you finish.

  • Heather Shapo

    You can also use equal parts soy sauce and honey for the same teriyaki taste. When I make it like that I like to fry it with ginger and turmeric, I know it’s not as “authentic” but it tastes great and is easy to make!

  • Josh Baugher

    I made this for dinner tonight. It was delicious!


    I used your revised cooking tips, with it set on the very lowest heat on an electric burner and it turned out perfect. (I sliced the breasts in half crosswise before putting them in.)


  • Sonia (Restaurant Baby's sister)

    Yay, I finally had time to make this yesterday, and it took no time at all! Now reading the comments above, I think I actually overcooked one of my chicken breasts with the extra boil/simmer time — but I also wasn’t paying full close attention to when the fluids came back to a full boil after the chicken was placed. I think I’ll try this with dark meat next time . . . because dark meat is sooooo much better than white meat.
    I loved the sauce; didn’t have sake so I used non-specific “cooking wine” from a Chinese brand. Thanks, Elise! Love your site!

  • Marissa

    I tried this recipe last week and it was delicious! I did slice my chicken breasts in half however so they would cook better on my shallow cooking pan. Also the sauce at the end didn’t turn out quite as syrupy (maybe if I let it simmer longer but we were starving.) Overall a hit and will try it again. Thank you!

  • Vicki

    Sounds delicious! How do I adjust cooking time and quantity if I want to use skinless, boneless chicken thighs instead?

    Hi Vicki, I don’t think you will need to adjust the time or quantity if using chicken thighs, but you’ll just have to try it. Dark meat usually does take longer to cook than white meat. Try it at 20 minutes, if it isn’t cooked through, just put it back in the poaching liquid. ~Elise

  • Amanda

    This recipe looks delicious. Would it work for salmon as well? How would I need to change it if I were using, say, frozen salmon fillets about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick?

    Well, first I would let the salmon fillets defrost in the refrigerator. Then salmon doesn’t take as long to cook as chicken. In our standard poached salmon recipe typically it only takes 5 minutes. So I would start with 5 minutes and then add more time if the salmon doesn’t cook through. ~Elise

  • Granny Smith

    Just a couple of questions – is there any substitute for the sake, just this once? I’ve already settled in for the upcoming snow storm, but I’d love to make this tonight. Vodka? Bourbon? Whiskey? I’ve got all the other ingredients. Second, I assume you r referring to bonelss chicken breast, right?

    Sorry, I’ve had plenty of sake and plenty of other liqueurs and there is no substitute for the sake. Definitely not vodka, bourbon or whiskey. ~Elise

  • Betsy

    This sounds great. I am wondering, though, where I can buy the mirin or what you might recommend in lieu of it, if I can’t find it…

    Do you think I could add more sugar and use a cup of sake instead?

    Hmm, you should be able to get mirin at a grocery store that has an international foods section, especially if it carries sake. If not, yes, substitute with sake and add more sugar. ~Elise

  • Kimberly

    This looks great! Any way I could substitute honey instead of the sugar? Or would that not be a good idea?

    Sure, use a one to one substitution. Note that the resulting sauce will be darker. ~Elise

  • Bela

    Who has Mirin and Sake in their pantry?

    I do, actually. So I can make teriyaki sauce, and other Asian dishes that require them. The point is that if you have a well-stocked pantry, you have the flexibility to easily put together interesting dishes. ~Elise

  • Thom

    From your mirin link, I learned that there are 3 different types. Are they interchangeable; do they taste the same? I’m excited by the thought of making my own teriyaki . . . I can’t stand the grocery store concoctions. Thank you.

    At my local grocery store I’ve only been able to find one type of mirin. The label says “Mirin, rice cooking wine”. ~Elise

  • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    There’s a whole section of my pantry that resembles a shelf in an Asian grocery store. Having authentic Asian condiments on hand makes it easy to add a simple protein (chicken, beef, tofu) and some vegetables and create a quick and easy dish that tastes like something you’d order in a restaurant.