23 In Appetizer/ Chicken/ Main Dish/ Video

Yakitori Recipe

Yakitori is grilled skewered chicken dipped in a Teriyaki-like sauce.  It is a very popular appetizer at Yakitori bars and other bar-type restaurants in Japan.

Yakitori could be a dish at your dinner table, but it is more like the food you eat with drinks at bars.  A lot of Yakitori bars grill their chicken on a charcoal grill,  and the tasty smells of grilled meat and smoke come out to the street to attract customers.  People in Japan like to go out to drink after work, and Yakitori bars are one of the most popular places to have a drink.

Yakitori bars serve very basic type of Yakitori like ours, but also there are a wide variety of skewered items there.  They use every part of a chicken for Yakitori.  They not only use chicken breast and thighs, but skin, cartilage, hearts and … well, everything else.  Yakitori is often eaten with Tare (thick sweetened soy sauce), but simple Shio (salt) seasoned Yakitori is also very popular.

If you live in Japan and would like Yakitori at home for dinner, you may certainly make it; however, you can also easily get it at many places there.  Chicken butcher shops often have Yakitori to-go that is grilled right at a little corner of the shop.  Supermarket delis also have Yakitori on-the-go just like roasted and fried chicken at supermarkets in the US.  If that’s even too much trouble :-), you can stock up with canned Yakitori (not skewered) to satisfy your spontaneous Yakitori cravings.

Yakitori Recipe

Shio (salt)

Many of us live outside Japan but would like to eat Yakitori from time to time….  Make Yakitori on a barbeque grill if you can; that’s the best.  Charcoal grill especially gives it a wonderful flavor.  When you think It is a little too much work to start a fire for a weekday dinner or anytime at all, you’re in luck,  we made a recipe using a frying pan.  It is so easy to make!

We have 2 flavorings for Yakitori here: Shio (salt) and Tare (sauce).  We like both, and hope you do too!  Just make sure your beer is super cold before you finish making it.

Yakitori Recipe

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 9-10 skewers


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (120ml)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (50g)
  • 1/4 cup Sake (60ml)
  • 1/4 cup Mirin (60ml)
  • 1 lb chicken thighs (450g)
  • 2 long white onions (or 5-6 green onions)
  • salt
  • vegetable oil


  1. Soak bamboo skewers (6" long) in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Mix soy sauce, sugar, Sake, and Mirin in a small pot, and boil for 8-10 minutes until the sauce gets a little thick. Set aside.
  3. Cut chicken thighs into 1" cubes, and cut onions (white part) into 1" long pieces. Skewer chicken and onions alternately.
  4. In a heated frying pan, spread oil very thinly, and cook skewered meat at medium high heat for 5 minutes. Turn and cook another 5 minutes until browned and cooked through.
  5. Immediately dip chicken in the sauce, and serve.
  6. Yakitori with salt
  7. For Yakitori with salt, skewer just chicken pieces and sprinkle with salt. Cook in the same way as Yakitori with sauce (but don't dip in sauce).

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  • criz
    February 21, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Hi Im Criz and I am living here in Japan for almost 9 months. The first time I ate yakitori I was so shocked because of the great taste of it also with beer and I can’t go everyday at the yakitori bars because of my busy schedule. But now I can eat yakitori everyday. Thank you for your simple recipe.

    • Noriko
      February 23, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      Glad you liked the recipe!

  • エド
    April 20, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Hello! I made this recipe and it was great!

    • Noriko
      May 3, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      glad you liked the recipe! またね!

  • surabhi
    May 4, 2014 at 4:03 am

    Could you please mention which soy sauce to use ..there are hundreds variety in the market n they all have different taste.

    • Noriko
      May 6, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      Kikkoman is a quality one.

      • Ron
        January 7, 2016 at 1:28 pm

        No offense but my personal choice of soy sauce is Silver swan special..
        It has a much bolder/ deeper taste.. high in sodium but you dont need as much to get that great soy flavor..Just saying..

  • Junko Janeth
    June 3, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    tried it today my daughter loved it sooo much. thanks to you.

    • Noriko
      June 4, 2014 at 12:24 am

      glad your daughter liked Yakitori!

  • Mel
    June 19, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Does it has to have sake or is there something else you could use?

    • Noriko
      September 13, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      you could add more Mirin instead of Sake.

  • Walt D
    July 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm


    • Noriko
      September 13, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      hope so!

  • gray
    October 6, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Hii there..
    Im gonna ask about the sugar..should i have to use brown sugar or white sugar?
    Thanks for the recipe..i will try it immediately.hope like it..

    • Noriko
      October 11, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      they are interchangable in this recipe, and you can use brown sugar.

      • gray
        October 20, 2014 at 5:40 am

        thanks for the answer..
        1 more question..how to keep it?so the age of the sauce can be longer..and how long it is?
        thanks 🙂

        • Noriko
          October 24, 2014 at 9:06 pm

          you can keep the sauce in the fridge for a week or so.

  • Ms. Jody
    October 25, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    I made this with cubed super firm tofu instead of chicken and it came out great. The sauce is so very yummy! I had some sauce left over which I used on fried salted tilapia and rice.

    • Noriko
      October 26, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      Ms. Jody,
      you’re so creative!

  • Alifa
    March 8, 2016 at 2:25 am

    Is that okay if I do not use sake ingredient.
    Is it have different taste?.

  • ashima
    August 29, 2016 at 7:37 am

    can we use ready made teriyaki sauce instead of making that soy sauce recipe

  • Dan Miskelly
    October 14, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Hi! I lived and worked in Japan from 1978 to 2014 and yakitori was a staple in my diet. One of my best friends owned and operated a yakitori “restaurant” NOT a yakitori “bar”. Don’t think I ever saw a yakitori “bar” my entire time in Japan, although all yakitori “restaurants” in Japan do serve alcohol.

  • Ash
    November 1, 2016 at 12:27 am

    I had trouble with the sauce becoming thick. I used the same measurements and boiled it, but it never thickened up 🙁