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Summer Grilling! Home Izakaya Recipe; Japanese Yakitori Chicken

Japanese Izakaya recipe, Japanese food, Yakitori, grilled skewered chicken, Food & Recipes

Japanese traditional and soul food, yakitori. It’s a staple nibble. There are many specialty Izakaya restaurants in Japan and attract international visitors. You may already have known its meaning, Yakitori is grilled skewered chicken. Yet, they are also called “Yakitori” although skewered pork, beef, lambs, and so on.

Many people want to know professional yakitori tips. From how to skewer and grill, I will tell you that you can make Yakitori chicken at home.

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A Grill

The first thing you need for yakitori is a “grill”. An oven, frying pan, and electric griddle can be used even if you don’t have a BBQ grill.

Recently, it’s easy to get a home-use Yakitori grill online at a reasonable price, you can check it out.

Make Authentic Teriyaki (Yakitori ) Sauce The Night Before

Teriyaki sauce

When you decide to grill Yakitori chicken, you need to make my authentic Teriyaki (Yakitori) sauce at least the night before.

Skewer Tips For Yakitori Chicken

  1. Use wooden paddle picks
  2. Soak skewers in water
  3. Wrap the end with aluminum foil
  4. Gently press chicken skewered from the above to make them flat

Better to use wooded paddle picks than round shapes. The flat shape can hold chicken firmly and also come off easily when you eat.
Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes so they won’t burn during grilling.

After soaking them in water, wrap the ends in pieces of foil to avoid burnt ends.

After finishing to skewer chicken pieces, gently press the skewered meat from above to make the thickness even.

When using a special grill for Yakitori, start to skewer smaller chicken pieces and skewer larger pieces in the middle. It is because the center part of the grill gets higher heat than the end of the grill.

Preparing Chicken

If you have time, marinate chicken through my tenderizing method the night before. Especially, chicken breast will be tender and moist.

Cut chicken thighs and breasts into the same size, about 1.5 inches each.

Cutting the chicken into the same size pieces is the key to grilling skewered chicken. Use a sharp knife and try to cut the same size because it makes flat (same thickness) when pieces skewered on the stick.

Remove white fatty parts, tendons, blood vessels if needed.

You can leave skins if desired. Don’t Skewer the skin. Make sure the skin is not stacked between the meat. Also, make sure all skins are on the same side.


Yakitori chicken, Japanese food, Japanese home cooking recipe

Yakitori Chicken With Authentic Teriyaki Sauce

Rico McConnellRico McConnell
Grilled glazed Japanese chicken Yakitori with authentic sweet and savory Teriyaki sauce.
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Japanese


  • Wooden skewers soaked in the water for 30 minutes


  • 4-5 Chicken thighs


  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Sake or white wine
  • 1 tbsp Sugar


  • Authentic Teriyaki sauce *See my recipe


  • Make Teriyaki (Yakitori) sauce the night before.
  • *Tenderize chicken in advance for juicy and tender Yakitori chicken. (How to tenderize meat.)
  • Cut chicken into about 1.5-inch pieces, season them, and leave them for 15 minutes.
  • Thread chicken pieces on skewers. If you find tiny pieces sticking out, cut off them or push them into larger pieces to not stick out. (The tiny piece is easily burnt.)
  • Preheat a grill over medium-high heat.
    First, grill skewered chicken until cooking about 20% done.
  • It is important to grill skewers without basting sauce first.
    Otherwise, the sauce will burn before the meat is cooked.
  • Flip skewer over, baste with teriyaki sauce and continue cooking for few minutes.
  • Flip skewer over, baste with sauce, and cook another few minutes.
  • Repeat flipping and basting sauce if needed until chicken will be cooked through.
Keyword Chicken, Sauce

When You Want To Make Yakitori Chicken Indoor

When you cook Yakitori chicken on the skillet grill in the kitchen, watch out getting smoky and BBQ odor for the whole night.

Teriyaki (Yakitori) sauce contains sugar and soy sauce, these ingredients are great for caramelized but also it gets easily burnt ane makes whole-house smoky and stinky.

(I hate cooking smell remain the whole night. )

How To Cook Yakitori Chicken In An Oven

skewered chicken, fry-pan, yakitori

  1. Preheat an oven at 400F or a broil.
  2. When using the rack, place it on a baking sheet. Lightly spray rack with cooking oil spray.
  3. If you don’t want to use the rack, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or with oil-applied aluminum foil.
  4. Grill chicken for about 6 minutes. Breast meat for about 4 minutes, remove chicken from oven and baste with sauce.
  5. Return to oven and broil for another 2 minutes and remove chicken from oven.
  6. Flip skewer over and baste with sauce. Turn oven down to 350F and return to the oven. Broil until done.
  7. Remove from oven, baste with sauce, and place them on a serving plate.

How To Cook Yakitori Chicken In A Frying Pan

skewered chicken, fry-pan, yakitori, 2

  1. Apply cooking oil on the pan.
  2. Place skewered chicken and cook for 3 minutes on medium heat. Cook skins first if you have.
  3. Flip over skewers, cook another 5-7 minutes on low heat covered.
  4. Remove the lid, remove excess oil and juice with kitchen paper if needed. The chicken juice and fat have a habit and also dilute the taste of the sauce.
  5. Baste with the sauce on both sides of skewers, continue cooking until chicken gets done.

However, you know what? Maybe I shouldn’t say this…but without skewers is much easier to make chicken Yakitori on the pan.

How To Freeze Yakitori Chicken

When freezing yakitori, use plastic wrap and a frozen storage bag. First, wait for the chicken to cool down. Wrap them each separately, and put them flat in a storage bag so that the skewers do not overlap. Put it in. Double wrapping with plastic wrap and a storage bag can more effectively block oxidizing the meat.

You can leave chicken skewered or remove skewers if desired.

Don’t Waste Leftovers!

Do not waste Chicken Yakitori leftovers in your fridge. Here are Japanese home cooking recipes to got to use them!

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