the domestic tales of four sisters

(Easy) Chicken Teriyaki

Truth Time: I LOVE Japanese, Chinese, and Korean Food. I love kimchi and sushi more than I love my first born. Okay, maybe not more than her. What’s worse is I even love the stuff that you can get at a buffet or for takeout. Greasy egg rolls? Give me two and make sure they come with the not-found-in-nature bright red sweet  & sour sauce. One thing I can always count on when going out to dinner with my brothers and dad? Greasy (American) Chinese food. And usually I don’t have to pay for it. (Thanks, Seth & Zach!) We didn’t eat take out very much growing up, so of course when I went to college and discovered the mass variety I fell in love. I particularly fell in love with this place called King’s Island in Lynchburg, Virginia. (If you live in Lynchburg and you haven’t been to King’s Island you aren’t living!) I would stuff my face with sushi and then follow it with chicken teriyaki or beef & broccoli – made spicy.

Oddly enough the Marine Corps has yet to station us near a truly amazing take-out restaurant and my heart has grown weary. While I can get the greasy egg rolls I cannot get the perfect rice and chicken teriyaki. So I’ve resorted to making my own.

Back when we were in high school and we thought going to Logan Valley Mall & walking around was cool (it isn’t) we would always stop at the food court and get fried rice and chicken teriyaki. Honestly, it’s not legit. It’s the super salty-sweet Americanized version.

And I ain’t mad.

That’s what I want in my chicken teriyaki. I’m sure the legit stuff is phenomenal, but until I find a nice Japanese chef to move into my home and make me delicious meals I have to settle for the mall stuff.

So I set out to find some recipe on Pinterest and found one that looked okay, but it still called for weird ingredients. These Pinterest Chefs trying to make things authentic. Get outta here! All I had on hand was soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, Marsala wine, brown sugar, and oyster sauce. Time to go all mad scientist.

I mixed a little of this and little of that, tasted here and there (gagged a few times), and then I landed on what is absolutely, without a doubt, my favorite meal of all time.





Get in my belly.

Even my 1 year old liked it. Now, she eats grilled ham & swiss sandwiches with brown mustard, but I’m willing to bet your littles will like this too.

I doused mine in sriracha because I have a problem with spicy food. That’s totally optional. My husband and daughter ate theirs without.



Most of the recipes I found call for sake and mirin. I keep neither on hand. The only reason I have marsala wine to substitute is because I had a hankering for chicken marsala a while back. To substitute the marsala (if you don’t have it) you can use chicken stock and about 1 tablespoon more of brown sugar. This will help add the sweetness and liquid that you would get from the wine if you were to use it. Have white wine? Use that!

There appears to be a lot of ingredients in this teriyaki sauce, but truthfully (aside from the oyster sauce) you will most likely have them on hand.

As always I do struggle to keep track of how much of what I put in when I cook. I’m really trying to get better about it since I do write for the blog now. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how successful this was going to be so I didn’t keep a close eye on it. Pay attention to the notes and tips in the recipe below. Remember – you can always adjust things to your liking by adding a dash of this or that. Just get creative!

This took about 20 minutes to throw together – including the fried rice that I made along with it – making it the perfect weeknight meal.



Chicken Teriyaki
*Will feed 4-5
* Please NOTE – These are rough estimates as I usually do not measure when I cook. If you prefer your teriyaki less sweet, adjust sweeteners. If you prefer it saltier, adjust soy sauce. Taste as you go!

2 chicken breasts, sliced thinly (*TIP* Cut your chicken breasts before they thaw entirely. It makes for nice, uniformed cuts and you can get them as thin as you’d like.)
5 tablespoons cornstarch (for coating chicken)
5 tablespoons soy sauce (low sodium recommended)
4 tablespoons marsala, chicken stock w/ 1 tablespoon brown sugar added, or white wine
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (can substitute with 1 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar or 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar)
4 tablespoons brown sugar (equivalent of 1/4 cup, packed)
2-3 tablespoons sugar (depending upon how sweet you like it)
2 tablespoons orange juice
garlic powder, to taste
sesame seeds; optional

1) Coat cut chicken in cornstarch, shake off excess. In warm pan with a dash of vegetable/canola/olive oil saute chicken until lightly browned and remove from heat.
2) Mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugars, and orange juice. Pour into separate saute pan and allow to cook down for 5-6 minutes. After 5-6 minutes add marsala wine (if using – if not use your chicken stock mixed with 1 tbsp brown sugar or white wine) and garlic powder. Mix well and allow alcohol (if using) to cook down. If your sauce appears to be too thick you can add a little water or chicken stock.
3) Pour sauce over browned chicken and allow to cook down and glaze chicken, sprinkle with sesame seeds if you choose.
4) Place on top of steamed or fried rice.

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4 thoughts on “(Easy) Chicken Teriyaki”

  • Okay, now I need your fried rice recipe. Google gives way too many options and I know Kelsea’s will be the best anyway. 😀

  • oKAY…I thank you very much. I found myself in the exact situation as you: I didn’t have Mirin, I didn’t have Sake, but I had a very nice bottle of Marsala that I will never use up until the year 3000….so, I did a quick search on Google to see if I could sub Marsala for the Mirin and the Sake. And I followed your instructions to the letter but added fresh garlic, fresh ginger and a little sesame oil and I broke into my father’s house while he was asleep to grab an old Mandarin orange he had dying in the refrigerator…to add to the mix…. I also added some dried RED chilI flakes…and, wow, this was THE BEST TERIYAKI SAUCE I HAVE EVER TASTED!!! So, you can definitely substitute Marsala for the Mirin and Sake…all they are is sweet and alcoholic…Marsala works…wonders…as a matter of fact! And I thank you. This is how I will make it going forward. It makes a Mean Teriyaki!

    • I’m so glad it worked out!!! I might have to try the fresh ginger, garlic, and mandarin orange!

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