Chicken Yakitori

Total Time

Takes: 30 min.


6 servings

Updated: Nov. 04, 2023
I grew up in Tokyo, and some of my favorite memories include eating street food like this dish with my friends. Although we now live thousands of miles apart, my friends and I still reminisce about our nights sharing secrets and bonding over delicious meals. This one is easy to re-create at home, which makes it perfect for when I'm feeling homesick. I like to serve it with rice. —Lindsay Howerton-Hastings, Greenville, South Carolina


  • 1/2 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 large sweet red peppers, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-1/2-in. pieces
  • 1 bunch green onions


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the first 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; set aside half the mixture for serving.
  2. Thread peppers onto 2 metal or soaked wooden skewers. Thread chicken onto 6 metal or soaked wooden skewers. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat until meat is cooked through, 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally and basting frequently with soy sauce mixture during the last 3 minutes. Grill peppers, covered, until tender, 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally. Grill onions, covered, until lightly charred, 1-2 minutes, turning occasionally. Serve chicken and vegetables with reserved sauce for dipping.

Chicken Yakitori Tips

What is yakitori sauce made of?

Individual yakitori sauces will vary, of course, based on the cook’s background and preferences (it’s a little like asking what’s in a barbecue sauce). A basic homemade yakitori sauce is made of soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar, but can also include sesame oil and spices such as garlic, ginger and a spicy pepper sauce like Sriracha. Commercially available yakitori sauces in the United States usually include soy sauce, spices, and a sweet syrup, such as corn syrup or molasses.

What are the best cuts of chicken for chicken yakitori?

In Japan, you’ll find all parts of the chicken used in yakitori, from thighs, breasts and tenders to the skin, tail and heart. For a basic homemade recipe, boneless, skinless chicken thighs are your best bet.

What should I pair with chicken yakitori?

Chicken yakitori is most often served in appetizer portions, and you can serve it alongside other small bites, like spicy edamame. You can also make it into a full meal by pairing it with rice (either plain sushi rice or rice cooked with minced ginger root and scallions) and a simple green vegetable. Mushrooms, quartered and sauteed in a light oil and finished with a dash of soy sauce would work well, too. Or, try pairing it with a cold side dish, like a noodle dish, too.

How do I store chicken yakitori?

When stored in a shallow, airtight container or tightly wrapped in foil, the cooked chicken skewers will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The sauce, on its own, can be kept in an airtight lidded jar for 2-3 months.

Hazel Wheaton, Taste of Home Books Editor

Nutrition Facts

4 ounces cooked chicken: 332 calories, 11g fat (3g saturated fat), 101mg cholesterol, 1316mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate (11g sugars, 1g fiber), 32g protein.