This yakitori-style grilled chicken is simply prepared and brings massive amounts of flavor. It's juicy, flavorful, and delicious with any easy grilled veggie sides and grains.
It has a basting sauce that will instantly make you fall in love with this chicken. This recipe is inspired by the yakitori restaurant I went to every week in Los Angeles when I lived there.
Why this Recipe Works
The chicken is cut into small pieces, and rotating them over an open flame helps cook them evenly while keeping it juicy and tender on the inside.
Whereas many sauces overpower or mask the flavors, this sauce is designed only to elevate the natural flavor of the chicken.
While yakitori is traditionally an expensive dish to enjoy at a restaurant, this recipe helps you recreate this special dish easily at home.
Ingredients & substitutions
Chicken thighs – This recipe is designed to work best with boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
Soy sauce – You can substitute with coconut aminos or liquid aminos in this recipe.
Bouillon cube – If you can't find the cubes, you can use a stock concentrate like Better than Bouillon.
Shichimi togarashi – If you can't find dried Shichimi togarashi, red pepper flakes work if you grind them using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
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How to make this recipe
Your sauce is first on the list – add the scallion greens, mirin, soy sauce, sake, bouillon, and brown sugar to a saucepan. Bring the sauce to a boil.
Once it has boiled, lower the heat down to a simmer. Simmer the sauce until it reduces down by about half. Strain out the scallions and set it aside until you're ready to grill the chicken.
If you're using wooden skewers, soak the skewers for 5 minutes in water.
Layer the chicken and scallions up on the skewer so they are alternating. Sprinkle the chicken and scallions with the shichimi togarashi or ground red pepper flakes.
To cook the chicken, grill the skewers for 10-12 minutes, making sure to flip them every 2-4 minutes and brush/baste them with the sauce every time you flip.
Note: If grilling vegetables to go with this recipe, you can use the same sauce to baste them.
Let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Yakitori refers to a Japanese style of cooking small, bite-sized pieces of meat on a skewer over an open flame. It's considered a great art to cook in this way, and takes years of training for professional yakitori chefs. For a more in-depth look at yakitori, check out this article by All Recipes.
The classic chicken and scallion yakitori chicken is made by alternating chicken thigh and scallion pieces. It is brushed with the classic yakitori sauce.
The sauce is made of mirin, soy sauce, sake, brown sugar, scallions, and chicken bones. It is usually cooked overnight. See this post for a shortcut.
Enjoy the versatility of chicken with these diverse and flavorful chicken recipes.
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Yakitori Style Grilled Chicken with Scallions
- 1 ½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 bunch of scallions cut in 1-inch chunks, greens and whites separated
- ½ cup mirin
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup sake
- 1-2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 bouillon cube or stock concentrate like Better than Bouillon
- shichimi togarashi or ground up red pepper flakes, to taste
- Add the scallion greens, mirin, soy sauce, sake, bouillon and brown sugar to a sauce pan. Bring to boil. Lower to simmer. Simmer until reduced by ½.
- If using wooden skewers, soak skewers for 5 minutes in water.
- Layer the chicken and scallions alternating on the skewers. Sprinkle with the shichimi togarashi or ground red pepper flakes.
- Grill for 10-12 minutes until cooked through, flipping every 2-4 minutes. Brush with the yakitori sauce every time you flip.
- Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.
This post was originally published in March of 2017 but was republished with new photos, step-by-step instructions, FAQs, and tips in October of 2022.