This is the best recipe for Grilled Teriyaki Chicken! Chicken is marinated in a delicious homemade teriyaki sauce and then grilled to perfection, resulting in tender, juicy, flavorful chicken teriyaki you will want to make on repeat!
Fire up the grill and make one of the most flavorful versions of grilled chicken!
Marinated and then glazed in a homemade teriyaki sauce, Grilled Chicken Teriyaki is sweet, tangy, sticky, and one of my all-time favorite ways to prepare grilled chicken.
Instead of relying on a storebought teriyaki sauce that is filled with preservatives and high in sodium, this recipe for Chicken Teriyaki uses a homemade teriyaki sauce that is not only better for you, the flavor is superior.
Sweetened with pineapple juice and honey and flavored with fresh garlic and ginger, this sauce is nuanced, rich, and perfectly balanced. It is delicious on anything--but especially fabulous paired with chicken.
Given the ease and the flavor of this recipe for Chicken Teriyaki, this will be one recipe you will be making again and again!
Notes on Ingredients
This recipe for chicken teriyaki is made with a homemade, naturally sweetened teriyaki sauce and chicken of course.
- Chicken: Some will argue that Teriyaki Chicken must be made with chicken thighs. I personally think this recipe works equally well with either boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts. Use whatever you have on hand or prefer.
- Soy Sauce: Use reduced-sodium soy sauce to control the level of sodium. Alternatively, you can use Tamari or gluten-free soy sauce to keep this recipe gluten-free.
- Pineapple Juice: Pineapple juice will add so much flavor and natural sweetness to the teriyaki sauce. Be sure to use 100% pineapple juice for the best results.
- Honey: The honey will work with the pineapple sauce to naturally sweeten the teriyaki sauce and balance out the saltiness of the soy sauce. Feel free to use brown sugar in place of the honey.
- Mirin: Mirin is a sweet Japanese wine that will add acidity and sweetness to the sauce. If you don't have mirin on hand, feel free to use sweet Marsala or Sherry wine in its place. If you don't want to cook with alcohol, use additional rice wine vinegar along with an additional tablespoon of honey, to counteract the acidity of the vinegar.
- Gingerroot: Be sure to use grated fresh, peeled gingerroot, rather than dried ginger. The flavor is superior.
- Cornstarch: A bit of cornstarch will help to thicken up the teriyaki sauce. If you need this recipe to be corn-free, use an equal amount of arrowroot powder in place of the cornstarch.
How to Make Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
- Prepare the teriyaki marinade by combining the pineapple juice, soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, honey, garlic, and ginger together in a mixing bowl or large measuring cup.
- Remove ¾ cup of the teriyaki sauce and place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for later use. We are going to thicken this up and use it to glaze the chicken once grilled.
- Place the chicken into a large storage bag and pour the remaining teriyaki mixture over the chicken.
- Seal the bag and toss the chicken in the marinade to coat.
- Place the chicken into the refrigerator and allow it to marinate for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.
- After the chicken is marinated, remove it from the marinade and place the chicken onto a grill or grill pan that has been preheated to medium-high heat.
- DISCARD THE MARINADE!!! Remember that we reserved some marinade--we will use that to brush onto the chicken after it has grilled!
- Grill the chicken for 4-6 minutes per side, or until the center registers 165 degrees F.
- While the chicken is grilling, heat the reserved marinade in a small saucepan until simmering.
- Prepare a cornstarch slurry by mixing together cornstarch and water until the cornstarch is dissolved, and then whisk into the sauce.
- Let the teriyaki sauce cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, or until thickened. It forms a thick, rich glaze that will add so much flavor to the already marinated chicken.
- Remove the cooked chicken from the grill to a plate and generously brush it with the thickened teriyaki sauce.
- Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes to let the juices redistribute. If I have fresh pineapple, I use this time to lightly grill slices of fresh pineapple which pair beautifully with the Teriyaki Chicken.
- Serve the chicken with additional teriyaki sauce on the side and if desired, top with sesame seeds for a bit of crunch.
My absolute favorite way to serve this Grilled Chicken Teriyaki is to pair it with grilled pineapple slices, along with a side of pineapple rice. Because the teriyaki sauce is made with pineapple juice, pairing it with fresh pineapple and pineapple rice, really enhances the pineapple flavor.
To grill the pineapple, I suggest grilling over medium heat on a lightly greased grill. I do this while the chicken is resting. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side and then remove from the grill and glaze with the teriyaki sauce and serve with the chicken.
This grilled chicken also pairs well with Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice, Vegetable Fried Rice, or Stir-Fried Bok Choy. And don't forget to add in a Pina Colada Smoothie! Yum! It is like a trip to the tropics in your own backyard.
Leftover Chicken Teriyaki
If you happen to have any leftover chicken, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
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If you tried out this recipe for Grilled Teriyaki Chicken, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- ⅓ cup Mirin
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts
- Oil for grill
- green onions, fresh sliced pineapple, and sesame seeds for serving optional
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together pineapple juice, soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, honey, garlic, and ginger. Remove ¾ cup of the marinade and set it aside.
- Trim the chicken of any fat if needed and then place it into a large ziplock bag. Pour the remaining marinade over the chicken. Seal the bag and shake/rub the marinade over the chicken.
- Place the chicken and the reserved sauce into the refrigerator and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.
- When ready to cook, preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Brush the grates with oil.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, discard the marinade, and place the chicken onto the grill. Grill the chicken for 4-6 minutes, then flip and continue to cook for an additional 4 minutes, or until the center registers 165 degrees F. You will need to cook closer to 6-8 minutes per side for chicken thighs and 4-6 minutes per side for chicken breasts.
- While the chicken is grilling, heat the reserved marinade in a small saucepan until simmering. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes until beginning to thicken. Whisk together the cornstarch and water until well combined, then whisk into the sauce. Let cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, or until thickened. Turn off the heat.
- Remove the cooked chicken from the grill and brush with the teriyaki sauce.
- Serve with additional teriyaki sauce on the side and sliced green onions and sesame seeds.