Yakitori (Grilled Skewers)

Yakitori is a Japanese dish of skewered and grilled chicken. It is a popular street food and an izakaya staple. Yakitori can be made with all different cuts of chicken, including the breast, thigh, and skin, and with or without the bone. The chicken is usually marinated in a sweet soy sauce before being grilled. Yakitori is typically served with scallions, salt, and tare sauce.


  • 1 lb chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • Tare sauce (optional)


1. In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours.

2. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Thread the chicken onto skewers, alternating with pieces of scallion. Season with salt.

3. Grill the yakitori, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and slightly charred, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with tare sauce, if desired.

Potential changes & improvements

Yakitori is typically made with chicken thighs, but chicken breasts can also be used. If using chicken breasts, cut them into 1-inch cubes to ensure they cook through. Yakitori can also be made with chicken skin and offal, such as liver and gizzard. These pieces should be cooked for a shorter time, as they will dry out quickly.

What other food it works well with

Yakitori goes well with rice and other grilled dishes. It can be served as an appetizer or main course.

Common Mistakes

One common mistake is to overcook the chicken. Chicken thighs should be cooked until they are slightly charred and cooked through, but not dry. Chicken breasts will dry out more quickly, so they should be cooked until they are just cooked through.

Nutritional Information

Yakitori is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate dish. One serving of yakitori (three skewers) has approximately 200 calories and 15 grams of protein.


Yakitori contains soy, wheat, and chicken. It may also contain traces of nuts, fish, and shellfish.

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