Sesame-Ginger Grilled Chicken Breasts

Sesame-Ginger Grilled Chicken Breasts

The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 12 mins
Marinating time: 60 mins
Total: 82 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
276 Calories
13g Fat
24g Carbs
17g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 276
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 36mg 12%
Sodium 1914mg 83%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 17g
Calcium 103mg 8%
*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.)

This grilled chicken recipe combines sweet, salty, and aromatic flavors into a simple but sophisticated Asian-inspired dish. The fresh ginger gives it a little kick, while the sesame and honey help to mellow it out. After a few hours in the marinade, the chicken is put on the grill for just a few minutes a side, making this the ideal dish for a busy weeknight but delicious enough for sharing with guests.

Serve simply with grilled vegetables and rice or slice over a bed of noodles and ​julienned vegetables tossed in a little bit of the marinade.


  • 4 (4 to 6 ounces each) boneless (skinless chicken breasts)
  • For the Marinade:
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves (peeled and crushed)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root (peeled and grated)
  • 4 medium green onions (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted  sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • Garnish: 2 tablespoons whole fresh cilantro leaves

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Sesame-Ginger Grilled Chicken Breasts ingredients

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  2. To make the marinade, in a large plastic zip top bag, combine the soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, honey, ginger, onions, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. 

    combine the soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, honey, ginger, onions, sesame oil, and sesame seeds in a plastic bag

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  3. Add the chicken breasts, squeeze any excess air out of the bag and seal tightly. Transfer the bag to the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes.

    chicken and marinade in a plastic bag

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  4. Remove chicken from the fridge 20 minutes before you're going to start cooking.  Prepare a grill or grill pan by coating it with a bit of cooking oil; heat to high.

    oiled grill pan

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  5. Remove chicken from the marinade. Grill 6 minutes per side, until tender and fully cooked. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.​

    Sesame-Ginger Grilled Chicken Breasts cooking on a grill pan

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo


  • You can grate the ginger on a box grater using the small holes, or a Microplane works very well. You can even use the tines of a fork if you don’t have the other tools.
  • It is important that you use seasoned rice vinegar, not the unseasoned kind, for this recipe.
  • If you would like to use the leftover marinating liquid as a sauce for noodles or rice, or to accompany the chicken, you need to heat it to a boil it first for at least 30 seconds. This will kill any harmful bacteria left over from the uncooked chicken juices.
  • If you are still concerned, a better idea would probably be to make up an extra batch of the marinade that you don't use for the raw chicken and just heat that up in a small saucepan before serving. If you choose to do this, you could even sweat the onions, garlic and ginger in a little vegetable oil for a few minutes and then add the vinegar, soy sauce, honey and sesame oil and simmer for a minute to heat it through before serving.

Recipe Variations

  • Since not everyone is a fan of cilantro, flat-leaf parsley would be a reasonable substitute. You can also substitute gluten-free tamari for the soy sauce if you wish.
  • You could use this marinade recipe for preparing pork chops, steaks, and even fish or shrimp. Thin cuts of beef like skirt steak or flank steak would also work. But even with beef, marinating for more than an hour is unnecessary and can degrade the texture of the meat.