Healthy and satisfying, this quick and easy stir-fry is the best teriyaki chicken with a sweet and sticky homemade teriyaki sauce. You'll have a simple family dinner on the table in just 20 minutes.
Why you'll love this chicken teriyaki
- It's made with natural sweeteners, without cornstarch and without soy sauce.
- It's really easy to make in one pot and you'll have dinner on the table in 20 minutes. There's no marinating needed and it's the perfect twist on an authentic Japanese dish. It will quickly become your favorite homemade Asian 'take-out'.
- The sticky teriyaki sauce will make a delicious glaze on the chicken, perfect with every bite!
- The flavors are bold, sweet yet slightly sour, with a deep umami flavor and a sticky texture.
- Loaded with protein and flavor, this teriyaki recipe can easily be paired with brown rice or wild rice, broccoli, asparagus, snap peas or other greens and topped with green onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Try my sticky teriyaki sauce on any cooked protein or as a topping for roasted vegetables, rice or noodles. If you're looking for a great side, my roasted broccolini or roasted root vegetables work really well.
Noteworthy ingredients and substitutions
Chicken thighs: work really well in this recipe. Make sure they're skinless and boneless which is easier to work with. You can substitute chicken breast as well.
clean eating tip: when choosing chicken check the label to make sure a sodium-solution hasn't been added to enhance the chicken.
Tamari: is very similar to soy sauce but is often wheat-free (check the label for gluten-free). Choose low-sodium as regular tamari can be very salty. You can always increase the salt in the final dish with a pinch of sea salt if needed. Coconut aminos is a great substitute and will be slightly sweeter so you may need to adjust your natural sweetener in this dish.
Honey or maple syrup: are great natural sweeteners. You can slightly taste the honey in this recipe.
Apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar: adds a subtle tang and hint of acidity to balance the flavors.
Ginger and garlic: lend to the bold flavors of this recipe. They can be adjusted to your liking. A little more or a little less works well with this dish.
Arrowroot powder: is completely optional. You will find that the sauce reduces and thickens well without using a thickener. If you find it's a little thin, a quick slurry of equal parts arrowroot powder and water added at the end of cooking should do the trick.
see recipe card for all ingredients and quantities
How to make easy teriyaki chicken in 20 minutes
In a medium size bowl, combine water, tamari, honey, apple cider vinegar, ginger and garlic. Whisk well and set aside.
In a large, 12-inch skillet or wok warm oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced chicken, mix and space out evenly and allow to turn golden, about 1-2 minutes.
Whisk the sauce and add it to the skillet. Stir the sauce and chicken and simmer until sauce has thickened and reduced, about 4-5 minutes. The chicken will cook through (cut a piece in half to check for doneness) and the sauce will develop a glaze on the chicken.
Serve with a garnish of green onions and sesame seeds.
Tips, Tricks and Variations
- Make sure to cut chicken in evenly sized one-inch pieces to ensure they cook evenly. Feel free to use chicken breast if you prefer.
- Careful not to overcook the chicken. It needs a quick browning on all sides and will continue to cook internally when the teriyaki sauce is added. Cut a piece and check for doneness before you're ready to eat.
- This recipe works well as a rice bowl with broccoli and rice, over quinoa or gluten-free noodles or zoodles (zucchini noodles). Serve with matchstick carrots or poke in a few toothpicks and serve it as an appetizer.
- This gluten-free recipe is easily made Paleo by swapping in maple syrup, coconut aminos and apple cider vinegar.
The teriyaki sauce has a bold, sweet sticky and tangy umami flavor. It picks up hints of honey sweetness, tangy vinegar, salty tamari and an infusion of robust garlic and ginger. There is no spiciness added to the dish. If you enjoy a little heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the mix.
- 12-inch skillet or wok
Store in an airtight container, preferably glass, in the fridge for up to 4 days. It will thicken as it rests but should loosen when reheated. It can be frozen up to 3 months.
Simple Teriyaki Chicken
- 1 medium bowl
- 1 large skillet
Chicken Stir Fry
- 1.5 pounds (680 grams) boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- ⅔ cup (158 ml) filtered water
- ⅓ cup (79 ml) low-sodium tamari , coconut aminos, or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
- 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder mixed with 2 teaspoons water (optional)
- sliced green onion
- sesame seeds
- In a medium size bowl, combine water, tamari, honey, apple cider vinegar, ginger and garlic. Whisk well and set aside.
- In a large 12-inch skillet or wok warm oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced chicken, mix and space out evenly and allow to turn golden, about 1-2 minutes.
- Stir the chicken and cook other side until golden, about 1-2 minutes. Do not cook chicken through, just brown on all sides.
- Whisk the sauce and add to skillet. Stir and simmer until sauce has thickened and reduced, about 4-5 minutes. The chicken will cook through (cut a piece in half to check for doneness) and the sauce will develop a glaze on the chicken.
- Only if sauce does not thicken will you need a slurry of arrowroot powder mixed with equal parts water added at the end of cooking. Give everything a good mix and remove from heat.
- Serve with a garnish of green onions and sesame seeds.