Restaurant-Style Japanese Sesame Chicken

4.77 from 21 votes
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A simple five-ingredient sesame soy glaze adds bold, authentic flavors to this restaurant-style to homemade grilled Japanese sesame chicken dish!

Bowl of japanese-style sesame chicken

Whenever my family goes out for a Japanese dinner, there’s one thing we always order besides fresh sushi. Sesame chicken! It’s very similar to the flavor of teriyaki sauce. However, the flavor from the sesame seeds adds subtle roasted nutty notes which we usually devour in an instant. The chicken is also lightly marinated in the sauce before grilling for added flavor.

You’re going to love how easy this recipe is. The sauce is just five simple ingredients. This is the perfect meal if you’re looking for an easy way to bring the flavors of your favorite Japanese restaurant right into your kitchen.

Bowl of sliced sesame chicken with snap peas and cucumbers

Authentic Japanese ingredients like mirin (sweet cooking rice wine), rice vinegar and soy sauce make the flavors pop. The addition of sesame oil adds delicious toasted aromas to the savory sauce. To balance everything, honey adds the sweetness to compliment the vinegar.

The chicken gets marinated in some of the sauce with chopped garlic. If you can marinate overnight, that’s even better, but not necessary since you’re basting with the sauce after cooking. The five-ingredient sauce mixture simmers and gets concentrated down to a sticky glaze that clings perfectly to tender pieces of sliced chicken.

Slices of grilled chicken topped with sesame seeds

To make the sesame chicken flavors even more intense, a chive, lemon zest, and sesame sprinkles are added on top right before serving. There are a little bit of spicy red pepper flakes included in the mixture, for those who like just a touch of heat.

To make this a complete meal, you can add quinoa, soba noodles, brown rice, and some fresh vegetables to your bowl. For my bowl. I even added some quick pickled cucumbers for a lovely sweet and tangy flavor. What vegetables will you serve with this yummy Asian dish?

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How do you create a thick sesame soy glaze without thickening ingredients?

If you are looking to create a delicious, sticky glaze to drizzle on top of your chicken there are 2 ways you can do this. If you need a really quick solution, a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch and water mixed together) is your solution. It takes about 2 minutes to thicken once the sauce boils, then it will thicken almost instantly. If you don’t want to add a thickener, using the concentration technique works great. When you bring the sauce to a low boil so that the water in the sauce can evaporate, the solids in the mixture from the honey becomes concentrated and naturally thickens. I cook until the sauce can lightly coat the back of a spoon and is not runny, similar to the thickness of pure maple syrup.

Restaurant-Style Japanese Sesame Chicken

Grilled Japanese sesame chicken recipe is a quick restaurant-style meal. A simple five ingredient sesame soy glaze adds bold, authentic flavors to the dish!
4.77 from 21 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Japanese


  • ¼ cup honey, plus 1 tablespoon
  • cup mirin rice wine
  • cup soy sauce, low sodium, or tamari
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 4 chicken breasts, thinly sliced or flattened to ½-inch thick
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chives, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • zest of one lemon
  • vegetable oil, for grill


  • In a medium-sized bowl whisk sauce ingredients together; honey, mirin, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil.
  • Add chicken to a large resealable plastic bag. Add minced garlic and ¼ cup of the sauce mix. Seal bag, removing excess air.
  • Use your hands to distribute the sauce and garlic evenly around the chicken. Leave at room temperature on the counter to marinate while making the sauce. If you're not going to cook the chicken right away, transfer to the refrigerator for up to 1 day for marination.
  • Add remaining sauce to a medium-sized skillet.
  • Turn heat to medium-high and allow to cook and reduce by half until slightly thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes. About just over ⅓ cup sauce remaining. You want the sauce to be thick enough to glaze and stick to the chicken and not be runny. Set aside.
  • Heat grill over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of vegetable oil on a folded piece of paper towel, and then carefully grease the grill grates.
  • Once the grill is nice and hot, add the chicken pieces. Cook uncovered on each side until no longer pink (160-165°F), about 4-6 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
  • Flip over and baste the chicken with sauce. At the end of cooking brush with more sauce before serving.
  • In a small bowl mix sesame seeds, chives, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest. Sprinkle on top of chicken. Serve with lemon wedges if desired.


  • Chicken thighs can be substituted for chicken breasts. Cook about 5 minutes on each side, or until internal temperature reaches (160-165°F).
  • You can cook the chicken in a large saute pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon heated olive oil if you do not have a grill.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 368kcal (18%)Carbohydrates 32g (11%)Protein 37g (74%)Fat 9g (14%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat 3gMonounsaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0.03gCholesterol 87mg (29%)Sodium 999mg (42%)Potassium 407mg (12%)Fiber 0.2g (1%)Sugar 23g (26%)Vitamin A 200IU (4%)Vitamin C 6.6mg (8%)Calcium 10mg (1%)Iron 1.1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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4.77 from 21 votes (17 ratings without comment)

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10 Comments Leave a comment or review

    • Jessica Gavin says

      What kind of pan did you use? You can always adjust the heat level, as all of our stoves vary. The goal is to create a sticky glaze, about 1/3 cup after reducing.

  1. Christine Wyatt says

    I have marinated the meat the night before and used quick Rice and some Steamed Vegg to make a very quick dinner and it was SO delicious! I had never cooked anything Japanese before , nor succesffully marinated chicken to be honest. This was a hit and I will do it again with some variations, with seafood maybe. Thank you!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you for your feedback! That’s so great that you were able to make a quick and easy Japanese dinner. I would love to hear how it tastes with other proteins and seafood.

  2. Millie says

    So good! Made this for my family for dinner tonight’s when was a hit- along with chicken, we had rice, pickled ginger, some yaki nori, cucumber, match stick carrots, boiled salted green beans, bean sprouts and shallots.
    Had to add some cornstarch to sauce but didn’t thicken up too much, it was quite runny (but delicious drizzled over everything!)
    Would 100% recommend ☺️

  3. Mark Wilson says

    I’m curious to know what kind of grill you are using. Is it a pan, or some specialty item that you put over a heat source?

    Thanks, Mark

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Mark- I typically use a gas grill. But if you have a grill pan or like to use charcoal that will work too.