Our website is live, but some pages are undergoing maintenance for improvements. We appreciate your patience as we work to enhance your browsing experience.

Delicious Chicken Yakitori Recipe – Grilled Japanese Skewers

Chicken Yakitori

Are you a fan of Japanese cuisine? If you love the delicious flavors of tender and juicy grilled chicken combined with the subtle smokiness from the grill, then you’re in for a treat! In this article, we’ll explore the delectable world of Chicken Yakitori – a traditional Japanese dish that is easy to make and perfect for any occasion. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds as we walk you through the steps of preparing this mouthwatering Chicken Yakitori recipe.



The history of Chicken Yakitori dates back to Japan’s Edo period, which lasted from 1603 to 1868. During this time, the dish was known by different names and was considered a humble street food delicacy rather than a refined cuisine.

Yakitori’s roots can be traced to the yakiton (grilled pork) stalls that were popular in the bustling streets of Edo, the former name of Tokyo. These stalls were simple setups where vendors would grill skewered pieces of pork over charcoal fires, seasoned with salt or soy sauce.

As time passed, chicken began to replace pork due to its availability and affordability. The dish gradually evolved into “Yakitori,” which translates to “grilled chicken” in Japanese. It was at this point that the recipe started gaining popularity among the working-class population of Japan.

During the Meiji period (1868-1912), Japan underwent significant cultural and societal changes, including a shift towards modernization and Western influence. Yakitori’s status also changed during this period, as it began to be served in traditional Japanese pubs known as “Izakayas.” These Izakayas offered a relaxed environment for socializing over drinks and tasty skewered chicken.

In the post-war period, as Japan experienced economic growth, Yakitori started to transcend its working-class origins and became more widely available in various dining establishments, from street vendors to upscale restaurants. With its irresistible aroma and delicious flavor, the dish captured the hearts of people from all walks of life.

Today, Chicken Yakitori holds a special place in Japanese cuisine and culture. It is not only enjoyed in local eateries and Izakayas but has also spread to international markets, captivating the taste buds of food enthusiasts around the world.

The preparation of Yakitori has seen some modernization with the introduction of diverse sauces and seasonings, but the essence of the dish remains deeply rooted in tradition. Whether served as a casual street food or as an elegant delicacy, Chicken Yakitori continues to bring people together, offering a delightful combination of simplicity and rich flavor that stands the test of time.


StepTime Required
Marinating the Chicken1 hour
Preparing the Skewers15 minutes
Grilling the Yakitori10-15 minutes
Total Cooking TimeApproximately 25-30 minutes

Please note that the total cooking time may vary slightly depending on individual grilling equipment and the size of the chicken pieces. Always ensure the chicken is thoroughly cooked before serving to ensure it’s safe to eat. Enjoy your delicious Chicken Yakitori!


IngredientsQuantity (for 2 persons)
400g boneless, skinless chicken thighs400 grams
4 tablespoons soy sauce4 tablespoons
2 tablespoons mirin2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon sake1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon honey1 tablespoon
2 garlic cloves, minced2 cloves
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated1-inch piece
2-3 green onions (scallions)2-3 stalks
Bamboo skewers (pre-soaked in water)As needed
Sesame seeds (optional, for garnish)As needed

Adjust the quantities as per your taste preferences and enjoy your flavorful Chicken Yakitori meal for two!


Step 1: Marinating the Chicken

  1. Prepare the Marinade: In a mixing bowl, combine 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of mirin, 1 tablespoon of sake, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of honey, minced garlic, and grated fresh ginger. Mix the ingredients thoroughly to form a well-blended marinade.
  2. Cut the Chicken: Trim any excess fat from the boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, ensuring they are uniform in size for even cooking.
  3. Marinate the Chicken: Place the chicken pieces into the marinade bowl, ensuring they are completely coated with the flavorful mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, allowing the chicken to absorb the delicious flavors.

Step 2: Preparing the Skewers

  1. Soak the Bamboo Skewers: Before assembling the skewers, soak the bamboo skewers in water for about 15 minutes. This prevents them from burning during grilling.
  2. Assemble the Skewers: Take the marinated chicken pieces and thread them onto the soaked bamboo skewers. Leave a small space between each piece to ensure even cooking.

Step 3: Grilling the Yakitori

  1. Preheat the Grill: Prepare your grill by preheating it to medium-high heat. If using a charcoal grill, wait until the coals are ash-gray before placing the skewers on the grill.
  2. Grill the Chicken: Place the chicken skewers on the grill and cook for approximately 5-7 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is fully cooked and has a slightly charred and caramelized appearance. Baste the skewers with any remaining marinade for extra flavor.

Step 4: Serving the Chicken Yakitori

  1. Garnish: Once the Chicken Yakitori is cooked to perfection, remove the skewers from the grill and place them on a serving platter. Optionally, sprinkle some sesame seeds over the skewers for an added touch of flavor and presentation.
  2. Serve Hot: Chicken Yakitori is best enjoyed hot off the grill. Serve the skewers immediately, and garnish with thinly sliced green onions (scallions) for a fresh and vibrant finish.

Step 5: Wine Pairing (Optional)

  1. Perfect Wine Pairing: For a delightful dining experience, consider pairing your Chicken Yakitori with a light and refreshing white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. The crispness and fruity notes of these wines complement the savory flavors of the dish.

Now, you’re all set to impress your guests or treat yourself to a delectable meal of homemade Chicken Yakitori. Enjoy the delightful combination of tender, grilled chicken infused with rich Japanese flavors!

Equipment Required

Nutrition Information

Nutrition InformationPer Serving (2 skewers)
Calories220 calories
Total Fat7g
– Saturated Fat1.5g
– Trans Fat0g
Total Carbohydrates7g
– Dietary Fiber0.5g
– Sugars5g

Please note that the nutritional values provided are approximate and may vary based on specific ingredients used and portion sizes. Additionally, any variations or substitutions made to the recipe may also impact the nutrition information. Remember to enjoy Chicken Yakitori in moderation as part of a balanced diet.


  1. Chicken Thighs: Opt for boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the best results. They are more flavorful and tender compared to chicken breasts, which can sometimes become dry during grilling.
  2. Marinating Time: To infuse the chicken with maximum flavor, marinate it for at least 1 hour. For even more intense flavors, you can marinate it overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Soaking Bamboo Skewers: Soak the bamboo skewers in water for about 15-30 minutes before threading the chicken. This prevents the skewers from burning during grilling.
  4. Grill Temperature: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat before placing the skewers on it. If using a charcoal grill, wait until the coals are ash-gray for even and consistent cooking.
  5. Basting the Skewers: While grilling, baste the Chicken Yakitori with any leftover marinade. This adds an extra layer of flavor and keeps the chicken moist.
  6. Don’t Overcook: Be mindful not to overcook the chicken. Yakitori tastes best when the chicken is tender and juicy. Keep a close eye on the skewers to avoid dryness.
  7. Serving Presentation: To elevate the presentation, garnish the Chicken Yakitori with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and finely sliced green onions (scallions). This adds visual appeal and a burst of freshness.
  8. Variations: While traditional Chicken Yakitori calls for soy sauce-based marinade, you can experiment with different marinades to suit your taste. Try adding a touch of chili paste for a spicy kick or a splash of citrus for a tangy twist.
  9. Vegetarian Option: If you prefer a vegetarian version, substitute the chicken with tofu or a mix of your favorite vegetables, such as bell peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini.
  10. Gluten-Free Option: To make the dish gluten-free, ensure you use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari in the marinade.
  11. Serving Ideas: Chicken Yakitori is versatile and can be served as a main course with steamed rice and a side of salad, or as an appetizer during gatherings or parties.
  12. Skewer Alternatives: If you don’t have bamboo skewers, you can use metal skewers or rosemary sprigs as a fragrant and edible alternative.
  13. Safety Precautions: When grilling, always follow proper food safety guidelines. Use separate utensils for raw and cooked chicken, and ensure the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Pros & Cons

✅ Delicious and Flavorful❌ Requires Marinating Time
✅ Easy to Make❌ Requires Grilling Equipment
✅ Versatile Dish❌ Skewers Need Pre-Soaking
✅ Perfect for Entertaining❌ Can Overcook Easily
✅ Offers a Unique Culinary Experience❌ High Sodium Content


In conclusion, Chicken Yakitori is a delectable Japanese dish that promises a tantalizing experience for your taste buds. With its flavorful marinade and tender grilled chicken, it offers a perfect balance of savory and sweet notes, making it a delightful choice for any occasion. The simplicity of preparation and the versatility of the recipe allow you to customize the flavors to suit your preferences, making it a dish that can cater to various tastes.

Whether you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner or a crowd-pleasing appetizer for gatherings, Chicken Yakitori fits the bill perfectly. The process of marinating and grilling the skewers not only infuses the chicken with mouthwatering flavors but also creates a delightful aroma that will surely entice your senses.

While the recipe may require a bit of patience in marinating the chicken and pre-soaking the skewers, the end result is undoubtedly worth the effort. The succulent and savory chicken, paired with the slight char from the grill, guarantees a memorable culinary experience.

So, if you’re ready to embark on a flavorful journey and savor the authentic taste of Japanese cuisine, give Chicken Yakitori a try. Gather your ingredients, fire up the grill, and let the delightful aroma of grilled chicken fill the air. Whether you’re sharing it with friends and family or enjoying it as a special treat for yourself, Chicken Yakitori is sure to become a favorite on your dining table.

Take a step into the world of Japanese flavors, and let Chicken Yakitori transport you to a place of culinary bliss. Don’t hesitate—get grilling and relish in the pleasure of this mouthwatering dish. Bon appétit!


  • Fact 1: A Dish with Humble Origins 🍢🎎
    • The history of Chicken Yakitori can be traced back to Japan’s Edo period, where it started as a street food delicacy known as “yakiton” (grilled pork). Over time, chicken replaced pork due to its availability and affordability, and the dish evolved into the beloved “Yakitori” we know today.
  • Fact 2: Grilled with Precision 🍢🔥
    • The term “Yakitori” translates to “grilled chicken” in Japanese, and the preparation process requires meticulous attention. Skewering the chicken and grilling it to perfection involves an artful balance of heat and timing, ensuring each bite is tender and bursting with flavor.
  • Fact 3: A Popular Izakaya Delight 🍢🍻
    • In Japan, Chicken Yakitori is not only a favorite at restaurants but also holds a special place in “Izakayas,” traditional Japanese pubs. Pairing Yakitori with a cold beer or sake is a classic way to enjoy this delicious dish and savor the camaraderie with friends.
  • Fact 4: A Global Gastronomic Sensation 🍢🌏
    • While Chicken Yakitori originated in Japan, its delectable taste and easy preparation have made it a global hit. From New York to London, you can find Yakitori eateries offering their unique twists on this delightful grilled chicken skewer.
  • Fact 5: Yakitori-Style Innovations 🍢🍍
    • Modern chefs have creatively expanded the Yakitori concept by experimenting with different ingredients. Apart from the traditional chicken, you might find Yakitori-style skewers with beef, seafood, or even exotic fruits like pineapple, adding an exciting twist to the classic dish.


Can I use chicken breast instead of chicken thighs for Chicken Yakitori?

Yes, you can use chicken breast, but keep in mind that chicken thighs are more tender and flavorful. If using chicken breast, be careful not to overcook them to prevent dryness.

How long should I soak the bamboo skewers before using them?

Soak the bamboo skewers in water for about 15-30 minutes before threading the chicken. This prevents them from burning during grilling.

Can I make Chicken Yakitori in the oven instead of grilling?

Yes, you can bake the skewers in a preheated oven at 425°F (220°C) for about 20-25 minutes, turning them halfway through the cooking time.

Is there a vegetarian version of Yakitori?

Absolutely! You can make a vegetarian version by substituting the chicken with tofu or a mix of your favorite vegetables, such as bell peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini.

What is the ideal serving size for a person?

A typical serving size is 2 skewers per person. However, you can adjust the portion based on individual appetites.

Can I prepare the marinade in advance and store it?

Yes, you can make the marinade ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Is it necessary to baste the chicken while grilling?

Basting the chicken with the leftover marinade during grilling enhances the flavor and keeps the meat moist, but it’s optional.

How do I know when the Chicken Yakitori is fully cooked?

The chicken should be cooked through with no pink in the center. It’s safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).

Can I freeze leftover Chicken Yakitori?

While it’s best enjoyed fresh, you can freeze leftover Yakitori in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Reheat them in the oven before serving.

What wine pairs well with Chicken Yakitori?

For a delightful combination, consider pairing your Chicken Yakitori with a light and refreshing white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. Their crispness complements the dish’s flavors.