Grilled Chicken Teriyaki Skewers

If you’re anything like me, you know that “grilled chicken teriyaki skewers” isn’t just a dish; it’s a mouthwatering adventure on a stick. We’re talking about succulent cubes of chicken thigh, each piece soaked in a homemade teriyaki marinade that’s the perfect balance of sweet, savory, and a hint of tang.

Grilled chicken teriyaki on a dark plate on a dark surface.
Serve with white rice (or your favorite side) for a complete meal!

Imagine those little morsels getting that gorgeous char on the grill, their edges caramelized to perfection with a glaze that’s sticky, glossy, and packed with the kind of flavor that has you closing your eyes to savor every bite.

Keep your forks in the drawer, folks – we’re going skewer-style for the ultimate hand-held treat that’s sure to be the MVP of your next backyard bash! Who can turn down chicken on a stick!?

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Alright, let’s get into why you’re going to fall head over heels for this recipe. First off, it’s ridiculously easy to make. You mix, marinate, skewer, and grill. That’s it. No culinary degree required. Plus, you’re working with chicken thighs here – they’re forgiving, full of flavor, and practically impossible to dry out. We’re talking juicy bites every time.

The marinade? Oh, it’s not just a marinade, it’s liquid gold. Made from pantry staples like soy sauce, honey, and brown sugar, along with fresh kicks from minced garlic and ginger, it doubles as your basting glaze, giving you that double-whammy of flavor infusion. The result is a sweet, glossy finish that will have you licking your fingers and maybe even your plate (no judgment here).

And let’s not forget the overnight soak. This isn’t just a flavor fling; it’s a committed relationship between the chicken and that umami-packed marinade. While you’re off in dreamland, those thighs are absorbing all the goodness, ensuring every skewer is loaded with taste.

To top it all off, the sprinkle of fresh green onions adds a pop of texture and a burst of color that will make your taste buds dance. You’ll love how something so simple can be so spectacular.


Scouting for ingredients shouldn’t feel like a treasure hunt, and guess what? For these killer grilled chicken teriyaki skewers, every single item on the list is a breeze to find. You’ll probably spot most of them hanging out in your pantry or chilling in your fridge already.

Ingredients needed to make chicken teriyaki on a dark background.

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And even if you don’t, a quick dash to your local grocery store will have you geared up and ready to marinate in no time. Here’s what you’ll need to bring the magic together and why each player is key in this culinary symphony:

For the Chicken:

  • Chicken Thighs (cut into 1-inch cubes): The star of the show. Chicken thighs stay moist and tender on the grill, promising a juicy bite every time. We used boneless skinless chicken thighs.

For the Marinade & Basting Glaze:

  • Water: The base of your marinade, ensuring everything mixes well without overpowering the flavors.
  • Cornstarch: A little bit goes a long way to thicken the marinade, giving it that clingy texture that’ll stick to your chicken like a best friend.
  • Brown Sugar: It’s all about that molasses-kissed sweetness that caramelizes beautifully for a char that’s out of this world.
  • Soy Sauce: Salty and robust, soy sauce is the umami backbone of your marinade. Low sodium soy sauce is fine if you’re worried about it.
  • Minced Garlic and Ginger: This dynamic duo brings a zesty, spicy warmth that’s the secret behind that crave-worthy depth of flavor. Use fresh ginger and fresh garlic!
  • Rice Vinegar: A splash adds a tangy zing that cuts through the sweetness and balances the dish. Also known as rice wine vinegar.
  • Honey: For that sticky sweetness that will caramelize on the grill, giving you those tempting, glossy skewers.
  • Sesame Oil: It’s nutty, it’s rich, and it’s going to carry all those flavors into every nook and cranny of the chicken.

For the Garnish:

  • Chopped Green Onion: The sharp, fresh bite gives a color pop and a zesty edge that’ll make all the other flavors sing.
  • Sesame Seeds: (optional) Adds a subtle crunch and a nutty finish that’s as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the palate.

So, get your shopping list ready, and let’s turn these everyday ingredients into something extraordinary!

How To Make Grilled Chicken Teriyaki Skewers

Embarking on your Grilled Chicken Teriyaki Skewers journey begins with the simple task of preparing the chicken.

  • Start by trimming your chicken thighs into 1-inch cubes, leaving a touch of fat for that extra flavor boost. Set the chicken aside as you make up the marinade.
Cubed chicken thighs in a stainless steel bowl on a dark surface.
  • Add the cornstarch and water to a bowl and whisk until no lumps remain, making a cornstarch slurry. This mixture ensures the marinade will cling lovingly to your chicken. Incorporate the soy sauce for depth, brown sugar and honey for sweetness, minced garlic and ginger for a kick, rice vinegar for a punchy note, and sesame oil to meld the flavors beautifully.
Water and cornstarch slurry in an aluminum bowl on a dark surface.
Chicken teriyaki marinade in an aluminium bowl on a dark surface.
  • Heat the combined ingredients gently over medium-high heat, just until the mixture begins to thicken. Allow it to cool to room temperature or hasten the cooling in the fridge if needed.
Chicken teriyaki marinade heating up in a sauce pan.
This teriyaki chicken marinade is FANTASTIC!
  • Once cooled, take half of the marinade and set it aside for later — this will be your basting liquid. The other half is destined for greatness as it marinates the chicken. Place the chicken in a sealable bag or container, pour the marinade over it, ensuring every cube is coated. Seal and refrigerate, letting the marinade work its magic for at least 4 hours, though letting it sit overnight is ideal for maximum flavor.
Chicken teriyaki marinating in a ziplock bag.
  • Before you’re ready to grill, don’t forget to soak your skewers in water for a few hours to prevent them from burning. After the chicken has marinated and the skewers have soaked, it’s time to thread those flavorful chicken cubes onto the skewers.
Bamboo skewers soaking in a water bath.
Chicken thighs skewered onto bamboo skewers.
  • With your grill preheated to medium heat, lay out your skewered chicken. The grill is where the magic happens — cook the skewers, turning them periodically to achieve an even char all around.
Chicken thigh skewers just added to a Weber grill.
Grilling them in line with the grill grates works great!
Chicken skewers starting to get some color on a Weber grill.
We use charcoal, but this works great on a gas grill just as well.
  • When they start to brown and caramelize, baste them with the reserved marinade every five minutes. Keep at this process until each skewer’s contents reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure doneness.
Basting chicken teriyaki skewers on a Weber grill.
Basting on that beautiful teriyaki glaze!
Chicken teriyaki skewers on a Weber grill.
Grilling chicken is a breeze. Just turn often to get that gorgeous color!
  • Your skewers are now ready for their final flourish. Garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds (optional) for a burst of freshness and contrast that’s as aesthetically pleasing as it is delicious. Serve these savory skewers with your choice of sides, and watch them be the highlight of the meal.
Grilled chicken teriyaki on a dark plate on a dark surface.
The whole family will love this easy teriyaki chicken recipe!

Ditch the takeout menus because these Grilled Chicken Teriyaki Skewers bring all the flavor of your favorite Asian eatery right to your backyard! With their easy prep and even simpler grilling method, you’ll be whipping up a gourmet feast in no time.

Get ready for a delicious homemade twist on a classic that’s guaranteed to make your regular takeout spot (take that, Panda Express) a thing of the past. And that homemade teriyaki sauce is worth bottling!


A Small Side Of Flavor: Hold back a couple of tablespoons of the reserved marinade for those who want a little extra tasty goodness in dipping form!

Marinate with Patience: The longer the chicken bathes in the teriyaki marinade, the more intense and deep the flavors will be. If you can, give the marinade a full night to do its work. This slow merge of savory, sweet, and aromatic ingredients into the chicken ensures that every bite is packed with that classic teriyaki taste.

Control the Heat: Managing your grill temperature is key. You want to cook the chicken through without burning the sweet marinade. A medium heat allows the chicken to cook evenly and gives you those perfect grill marks without charring the sugars too quickly. If you’re using a charcoal grill, remember to set up a cooler zone where you can move skewers that cook faster than others.

Keep the Baste Coming: Regular basting with the reserved marinade will not only boost the flavor but also provide a sticky, caramelized exterior that’s utterly irresistible. However, to avoid any cross-contamination, make sure to stop basting a few minutes before the chicken is fully cooked, as the basting brush has been in contact with raw chicken juices. This ensures you’re serving up skewers that are as safe as they are scrumptious.

With these tips in hand, you’re well on your way to mastering the art of the perfect teriyaki skewer. Happy grilling!


Tropical Teriyaki Skewers: Swap out the water in your marinade for fresh pineapple juice to infuse a tropical sweetness and a bit of tang that compliments the savory notes of the soy and the richness of the chicken. The enzymes in the pineapple juice also act as tenderizers, ensuring your chicken is exceptionally tender. This variation is like a mini Hawaiian vacation on a skewer.

Spicy Sriracha Teriyaki Skewers: For those who like a little heat with their sweet, adding a generous squirt of Sriracha sauce to the marinade will provide a spicy kick. Start with a teaspoon or two, depending on your heat tolerance, and increase if you dare. The Sriracha not only brings heat but also adds a complex layer of flavors that will make your taste buds sing.

Ginger-Sesame Teriyaki Skewers: Enhance the ginger profile in your teriyaki marinade by adding extra freshly grated ginger, and introduce a handful of sesame seeds directly into the mix. The warmth and spice of the ginger will be more pronounced, and the sesame seeds will toast beautifully as the chicken grills, giving a nutty, crunchy texture to each bite.

Each of these variations can add an exciting twist to your grilled skewers, making them a new favorite every time you fire up the grill.


Can I use chicken breasts instead of thighs for this recipe?

Absolutely! Chicken breast can be a leaner alternative to thighs, though they tend to be less moist. Just keep a close eye on the grill as breasts cook faster and can dry out if overcooked. You may want to shorten the marinating time as well since chicken breast can take on flavors more quickly.

What can I use if I don’t have rice wine vinegar for the marinade?

If rice wine vinegar isn’t available, a good substitute would be apple cider vinegar or even a light white wine vinegar. The goal is to have a bit of acidity to balance the sweetness, so any mild vinegar should do the trick. Just be cautious with stronger vinegars like balsamic, which can overpower the other flavors.

How do I prevent the skewers from burning on the grill?

To prevent your skewers from turning into charcoal, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before threading the chicken onto them. This helps to hydrate the wood, reducing the risk of burning. For a little extra insurance, you can wrap the exposed ends of the skewers with aluminum foil to shield them from the flames.

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Grilled chicken teriyaki on a dark plate on a dark surface.

Grilled Chicken Teriyaki Skewers

These easy, flavorful Grilled Chicken Teriyaki Skewers are perfect for BBQs or family dinners. Homemade taste beats takeout every time!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Asian, BBQ, Grilling
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Marinade: 4 hours
Servings: 4
Calories: 621kcal


  • 2 lbs Chicken Thighs cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 2 tsp Minced Ginger
  • 1 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil

Garnish (optional)

  • Chopped Green Onion for garnish
  • Sesame Seeds for garnish


  • Cut chicken thighs into 1-inch cubes, discarding large pieces of fat.
    2 lbs Chicken Thighs
  • In a bowl, combine cornstarch and water; whisk until smooth.
    1 cup Water, 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • Add brown sugar, soy sauce, minced garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, honey, and sesame oil to the bowl. Whisk to combine.
    1/3 cup Brown Sugar, 1/3 cup Soy Sauce, 1 tsp Minced Garlic, 2 tsp Minced Ginger, 1 tbsp Rice Vinegar, 1 tbsp Honey, 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • Heat the marinade over medium heat until it slightly thickens. Let it cool to room temperature.
  • Divide the marinade in half. Use one half for marinating the chicken and the other half for basting.
  • Marinate the chicken in a sealed container or zip lock bag with half of the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Soak skewers in water a few hours before grilling.
  • Thread the marinated chicken onto the skewers.
  • Preheat the grill to medium heat. Grill the skewers, turning often.
  • Once the chicken starts to brown, baste with the reserved marinade every 5 minutes.
  • Grill until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Garnish with chopped green onion before serving.
    Chopped Green Onion


Please note that the nutritional information will be slightly off as some of the marinade does get discarded. 
Storing Leftovers:
Cool Down: Allow any leftover skewers to cool to room temperature before storing.
Remove from Skewers: For easier storage, it’s a good idea to remove the chicken from the skewers.
Airtight Container: Place the leftover chicken in an airtight container.
Refrigerate: Store in the refrigerator, where they will be good for up to 3-4 days.


Calories: 621kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 222mg | Sodium: 1264mg | Potassium: 540mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 177IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg

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