Yakitori (Chicken Skewers) with Homemade Yakitori Sauce

10 servings


1 hour 15 minutes

total time


½ cup soy sauce

½ cup mirin

¼ cup sake

¼ cup water

2 tsp brown sugar (packed tightly and leveled off)

9 green onions/scallions

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (at room temperature)

neutral oil


Gather all the ingredients.

Soak about 10 to 12 5-inch bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes.

To Make the Yakitori Sauce (Tare)

In a small saucepan, add ½ cup soy sauce, ½ cup mirin, ¼ cup sake, ¼ cup water, 2 tsp brown sugar, and the green part of 1 of the 9 green onions/scallions. Bring it to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce reduces to one-third of its original volume. It will take about 30 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature before using. The sauce will thicken with a glossy shine as it cools. Tip: You can make the sauce ahead of time. To store, remove the green onion from the sauce and pour into a mason jar. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 2–3 months.

Reserve one-third of the sauce in a small bowl for final basting, just before serving. To prevent cross-contamination, use this reserved sauce with a clean brush only after the chicken is fully cooked.

To Prepare/Assemble the Yakitori

Cut the white and light green parts of the remaining green onions/scallions into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces.

Cut 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs into 1-inch (2.5-cm) squares.

On a flat work surface, fold each slice of chicken in half, insert a bamboo skewer into the chicken at a 45-degree angle, and press down on the skewer to pierce the meat through the center.

Next, add a piece of scallion perpendicular to the skewer. Continue to alternate chicken slices with pieces of scallion, ending with a piece of chicken. Each 5-inch skewer will hold about 4 chicken slices and 3 scallion pieces.

To Grill/Broil the Yakitori

Grease the grate of the broiler/wire rack (or oven-safe cooling rack) with neutral oil to keep the chicken from sticking to the grate. Place the skewers on top.

Set the broiler to High and wait until the heating elements are hot. Then, place the skewers under the broiler. Broil for 6 minutes.

After 6 minutes, brush the meat on both sides with the Yakitori Sauce. Continue to broil for 3–4 minutes to caramelize the sauce.

To Serve

Remove the skewers to a serving plate. With a clean brush, baste the top of the chicken skewers with the reserved sauce. Serve and enjoy! Tip: If you accidentally cross-contaminate the reserved sauce (by dipping the same brush you used on the uncooked chicken during cooking), you will have to boil the sauce again.

To Store

You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to a month.


Serving Size



70 kcal

Total Fat

2 g

Saturated Fat

1 g

Unsaturated Fat


Trans Fat

1 g


43 mg


234 mg

Total Carbohydrate

2 g

Dietary Fiber

1 g

Total Sugars

1 g


9 g

10 servings


1 hour 15 minutes

total time
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