Chicken Teriyaki Bowl (照り焼き丼)
Teriyaki is a simple preparation method of grilling a protein and glazing it with a sweet and savory sauce. It’s a delicious way to prepare whole cuts of chicken, but you can also turn it into a chicken teriyaki bowl by making it with bite-sized pieces of chicken and serving it over a bowl of rice with an assortment of veggies. It’s a quick and easy way to make a 1-bowl meal that’s also perfect for packing into a bento box lunch.
Why This Recipe Works?
- Using skin-on chicken helps protect the meat from getting dried out and tough while adding a ton of flavor.
- Although chicken teriyaki is traditionally made with whole boneless chicken thighs, cutting it into bite-sized pieces makes the chicken cook faster while making it easier to eat.
- Traditional teriyaki sauce only includes three ingredients, yet it’s thick and flavorful, thanks to the caramelization of the ingredients.
Ingredients for Chicken Teriyaki Bowl
- Chicken – I like using boneless skin-on chicken thighs for this as they’re going to be the juiciest and most flavorful, but skin-on chicken breast will work too. I know not everyone is a fan of chicken skin, but it is fairly lean and full of flavor if you prepare it right. Aside from reducing food waste, using skin-on chicken protects the meat from the hot pan, preventing the surface from getting dried out and tough. It also renders out most of the fat from the skin, which is a much more flavorful oil for frying the chicken. Finally, the crisped skin absorbs the teriyaki sauce like a sponge. If you are using skinless chicken, you’ll need to add some oil to the pan, and you’ll also want to preheat it before adding the chicken.
- Sake – Sake is added to teriyaki sauce for flavor and umami. The alcohol in it burns off as you caramelize the sauce. Normally I use equal parts sake, soy sauce, and sugar for my teriyaki sauce, but you’ll want extra sauce to drizzle over the rice and veggies for teriyaki bowls. That’s why I use double the amount of sake for this. You can watch this video to learn more about why sake is used in Japanese cuisine. If you’re wondering about mirin, it can be added, but in my experience, most mirin found outside of Japan is fake (mixture of alcohol, sugar, and flavor-enhancers). Since sake is easier to find than real mirin and tastes better than the fake stuff, it makes for a good substitute. If you find real brewed mirin (be sure it does not include salt), you can substitute it for the sake and cut the amount of sugar in half.
- Soy sauce – Any Japanese soy sauce will work. I used a brand called Marunaka, which is included in my Japanese ingredient box.
- Sugar – The sugar balances out the saltiness of the soy sauce and creates the trademark sweet and savory taste of teriyaki sauce. I like to use evaporated cane sugar, but any natural sugar will work. If you are using an artificial sweetener, you’ll need to adjust the amount based on the sweetness of the product you use. Also, keep in mind that many sugar substitutes don’t caramelize the same way that sugar does, so the texture and taste of your teriyaki sauce may not turn out the same.
- Garnishes – I like to garnish my teriyaki bowls with black sesame seeds, but chopped scallions or grated ginger are other flavorful options.
- Rice – To turn the teriyaki chicken into a rice bowl, you need some cooked rice. Whatever grain/seed you usually use will work, but I used Japanese short-grain rice.
- Veggies – I like to cover half of my teriyaki bowl with veggies to balance out the meat. I used carrots and broccoli today, but you can use whatever veggies you have on hand. Be sure to reserve some teriyaki sauce for drizzling on top.
How to Make Chicken Teriyaki Bowl
The first thing you want to do is make two servings of the grain or seed of your choice to serve the teriyaki chicken on.
Then you can cut and boil your choice of veggies to serve with the chicken. I like to use an equal amount of veggies to chicken, and depending on what you’re making; you’ll want to add them to the boiling water at different times to ensure you don’t over/undercook something. For example, if you’re using carrots and broccoli, like me, boil the carrots for 7-10 minutes and then add the broccoli to the water after the carrots are tender. Broccoli cooks very quickly, so returning the water to a boil after adding the broccoli is usually enough to cook it through. When the veggies are done, drain them and set them aside.
You can start on the teriyaki chicken while you wait for the vegetables to boil. If you are using skin-on chicken, you’ll want to place them skin-side down in a non-stick frying pan off the heat. Then you can put them over medium-low heat to render out the fat from the skin. If you are using skinless chicken, you’ll want to preheat the pan and add a splash of vegetable oil before adding the chicken.
Once the chicken is cooked two-thirds of the way up (you’ll see it go from translucent pink to opaque beige), flip the chicken over and continue frying it on the second side until it is cooked through. The chicken will get cooked some more as it is glazed, so don’t overcook it. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and then use paper towels to wipe out the oil and browned bits from the pan, as these will cloud your teriyaki sauce.
Once the pan is cleaned out, add the sake, soy sauce, and sugar and turn up the heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Boil the teriyaki sauce until it’s forming big bubbles, and it’s the consistency of maple syrup.
Put the chicken back in the pan and then toss or stir it together with the sauce to glaze each piece evenly.
Assemble your chicken teriyaki bowls by placing a serving of rice (or your chosen grain/seed) in the bottom of a large bowl and then top half of it with chicken. Next, arrange the vegetables on the other half and finish the rice bowls by drizzling the remaining teriyaki sauce all over the chicken and veggies.
Other Rice Bowl Recipes
- Oyakodon (chicken and egg)
- Chicken Katsudon (chicken cutlet and egg)
- Gyudon (beef bowl)
- Butadon (pork bowl)
Teriyaki bowl is the English translation of Teriyaki Donburi (照り焼き丼). Donburi literally means bowl, but it’s also used to describe a class of dishes, and it’s often shortened to just “don.” Teriyakidon can be made with any protein that’s been glazed with teriyaki sauce served over a bowl of rice.
te like ten
ri the “ri” sound does not exist in the English language, and the best way to make it is to say the word “ream” with the tip of your tongue at the front of your mouth.
ya like yacht
ki like key
do like don’t
n like night
The word “healthy” is relative to your own beliefs, so I don’t like to use the word to describe food. That being said, you can check out the nutrition information and calories in the recipe card below and come to your own decision about whether it fits into your diet or not. Personally, I like the balance of vegetables, protein, and carbs this meal provides, but it is not something I would eat every day due to the large amount of sugar in the sauce.
Teriyaki sauce will make just about anything taste delicious, so you can just substitute the chicken for some other source of protein such as tofu, TVP, or tempeh. Then, just pan-fry bite-sized pieces of your choice of plant-based protein with some vegetable oil. Then you can follow the rest of the directions to glaze it with the teriyaki sauce.
- 1 small head broccoli (cut into florets)
- 1 small carrot (peeled and sliced)
- 450 grams skin-on boneless chicken thighs (cut into bite-sized pieces)
- 1/4 cup sake
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 servings cooked rice
- 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the carrots for 7-10 minutes or until they’re tender. When the carrots are tender, add the broccoli. When the water returns to a full boil, drain the vegetables.
- While the carrots cook, place the pieces of chicken skin-side down in a cold non-stick frying pan. Turn the heat on to medium-low and let the fat slowly render out of the skin.
- When the chicken is cooked 2/3 of the way through, flip the pieces over and let them fry until the chicken is just barely cooked through.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and use paper towels to wipe out the pan.
- Add the sake, soy sauce, and sugar to the clean pan and turn up the heat to boil the teriyaki sauce until thick and syrupy.
- Return the chicken to the pan and toss to glaze each piece of chicken evenly with the sauce.
- To assemble the chicken teriyaki bowl, split two servings of rice between two bowls and then top half of the rice in each bowl with the chicken. Next, add the vegetables to the other half and then drizzle the chicken and veggies with the remaining teriyaki sauce.