Chicken Yakitori

Chicken Yakitori
Chicken Yakitori hana/imagenavi/Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Marinate: 60 mins
Total: 85 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
319 Calories
6g Fat
8g Carbs
51g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 319
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 128mg 43%
Sodium 2489mg 108%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 51g
Vitamin C 10mg 50%
Calcium 75mg 6%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 722mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Yakitori are a traditional style of Japanese kebabs. They're usually served by street vendors and accompanied by a nice cold beer after a long day at work. For a cookout, these grilled chicken and scallion kebabs make the perfect appetizer, though they also work as a main course, depending on your needs. Marinaded in a combination of soy sauce, sake, ginger, and chives, they're full of flavor, moist, and tender. They're particularly delicious when dipped in warm soy sauce.

Preparing the yakitori is quick and easy. You will need to allow about an hour for the chicken to marinade. At the same time, soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least one hour to prevent them from burning on the grill. This recipe should fill 10 bamboo skewers, though it's good to have a few extra ready.


  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) soy sauce, divided

  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) sake, or dry sherry

  • 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) white granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) gingerroot

  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) chives, chopped

  • 2 pounds (900 grams) chicken breast fillets, rimmed of fat and cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 12  scallions, white portions only, cut into large pieces

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup/120 milliliters soy sauce with the sake (or dry sherry), sugar, ginger, and chives. Mix well, ensuring the sugar is dissolved.

  3. Place chicken pieces and half of the marinade in a resealable plastic bag. Toss to coat and refrigerate for about 1 hour. Reserve the remaining marinade for grilling.

  4. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove chicken from the marinade and thread onto skewers, alternating the chicken with the scallions. Discard the marinade.

  5. Place the skewers on the hot grill. Brush with the reserved marinade during the first 2 to 4 minutes and grill for a total of about 6 to 8 minutes (internal temperature of 165 F), turning the skewers a few times.

  6. In a small saucepan, heat up the remaining 1/2 cup/120 mL of soy sauce to use for dipping.

  7. Serve and enjoy.


  • Always discard the marinade that the raw chicken was soaking in to avoid bacterial contamination.
  • The kebabs can be assembled the day before. Keep them refrigerated and in a large pan that will catch the dripping marinade.
  • The cooked chicken should be golden brown. To keep them authentic, avoid charring as it's not desired in Japanese cooking.

Recipe Variations

  • Use other vegetables in place of (or along with) the scallions. Leeks are equally popular for yakitori, though other onions, eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, and squash can be added to kebabs.
  • In a similar chicken yakitori recipe, the marinade's chives and white sugar are replaced with mirin and brown sugar. Making both varieties can add interest to your cookout without extra work.