Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

One of the simplest and, in my opinion, best Japanese culinary inventions is teriyaki sauce. It’s sweet and glossy and makes everything taste and look better. There are countless variations these days, and the basic concept of teriyaki is not just about the sauce, but also the technique. The word teriyaki comes from the Japanese word teri, referring to the shine or luster from the sugar content in the sauce, and yaki, referring to the cooking method of grilling or broiling. This recipe uses a stovetop method, which I find to be easier, though the sauce does not stray too far from the traditional version. Not only is this a delicious and easy dinner, but it makes for great leftovers which you’ll find useful if you bring your lunch to work. If you actually have any left over, that is!

Additions and Substitutions

You can use low sodium soy sauce, but you may find you need to add a dash of salt.

You can substitute beef or pork if you like, but stay away from lean cuts as they may dry out while reducing the sauce. I don’t recommend substituting chicken breast here for the same reason. However, if you really do want to use chicken breast I would suggest leaving it whole (or halve to make cutlets if the breast is thick) so that you can cook it long enough for the sauce to reduce properly, without overcooking the chicken.

Tofu should also work if you want to make this vegetarian; you shouldn’t need to adjust the cooking method but use your best judgement.

You can substitute your favorite steamed vegetable/s for the broccoli, or brown rice or even noodles for the rice, and change the ratios if you prefer. This is highly customizable; feel free to make it your own.

How to Make Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

Prepare Chicken

First, a note to remind you that unless you are using quick cooking rice, you should probably start cooking it before marinating the chicken, if you aren’t preparing it in advance. I use a rice cooker because it’s foolproof and that makes one less thing to worry about when cooking dinner, but you can steam on the stovetop if you prefer.

In a shall bowl, combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, mirin, sake, and garlic. Add the chicken thigh pieces and stir to make sure they are well-coated in the sauce. Set aside for about 15 minutes, up to a few hours if that suits you better (refrigerate if marinated for longer than 30 minutes). While the chicken is marinating I like to cut up the broccoli and make sure I’m prepared to start it cooking after the chicken. I use a microwave steamer which takes about 3 minutes. You can use whichever method you prefer.

Cook Chicken

Set a large skillet over medium high heat and add a little oil, swirling to coat. Using a slotted spoon, add the chicken, reserving the sauce in the bowl for the moment. Cook, stirring once or twice. for 4-5 minutes or until browned. Add the reserved sauce and continue to cook until reduce which will take about 6-8 minutes. The sauce should be bubbling the whole time, but not burning. Adjust the heat as needed. You’ll know when you’re done because the sauce will have become a thick syrup that coats the chicken pieces nicely.


Divide rice among four bowls and top with broccoli, chicken, and a sprinkle of green onions. Serve and enjoy!

Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

A quick and delicious teriyaki chicken meal. Customize with your choice of vegetables!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4


  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 3 tablespoons sake
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • peanut or vegetable oil for greasing
  • 4-5 cups cooked white rice
  • 4 cups steamed broccoli
  • 2 green onions finely chopped


  • In a shallow bowl, combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, mirin, sake and garlic. Add the chicken thighs and stir to coat in the sauce. Set aside for about 15 minutes or a few hours (refrigerate in this case).
  • Set a large skillet over medium high heat and add a little oil, swirling to coat. Use a slotted spoon to add the chicken, keeping the sauce in the bowl for the moment. Cook, stirring once or twice, for 4-5 minutes or until browned. Add the sauce and continue to cook until reduced, 6-8 minutes. The sauce should be bubbling; if it isn't, turn up the heat. If you are worried it's burning, turn it down a little.
  • Serve in bowls on white rice with broccoli, and sprinkle with green onions.

Did you make this recipe? If so, follow @theflavorvortex on Instagram and post a picture using #theflavorvortex as I would love to see it!

Join the Conversation

  1. Betty McMahon says:

    This recipe looks gorgeous, Rebecca. Healthy too, with all that lovely broccoli. Can’t wait to try it. But, what is mirin? I haven’t come across that before. (Sounds like an actress!)

    1. Hi Betty
      Mirin is a sweet sake. You can usually buy it in the Asian section at Coles or Woolworths. You could also use sweet sherry at a pinch.

    2. Basically what Maryann said! You could also probably just use more sake, as well as a little more sugar, like 1/2 a teaspoon maybe. But I think mirin is a good thing to have around, especially if you enjoy Asian food. I use it all the time.

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