8 Yakitori Recipes to Make at Home
In Japan, yakitori restaurants are brimming with beer, hot grills, and stacks of skewered chicken cuts. In fact, the word yakitori tells you exactly what this cooking technique does — yaki means "grilled" and tori means "chicken." While chicken may be traditional, other proteins can be cooked in the same technique — over searing-hot grills with a frequent baste of a flavorful sauce. Whether you're recreating the Japanese parlor experience at home or throwing a yakitori dinner party, these yakitori recipes pay homage to the classic grilled chicken technique.
This classic yakitori recipe is a good place to start if you've never made yakitori at home. A quick marinade in soy sauce, sake, sugar, garlic, and ginger renders flavor-packed skewers in just minutes. You don't need a grill for this one; the recipe creator designed it to be cooked under a broiler. Pour yourself a sake while you eat for a truly authentic yakitori experience.
Yakitori traditionally uses all parts of the chicken. Yes, that includes white and dark meat, but it also means organs, cartilage, and even the skin. This recipe for crispy chicken skin is designed for yakitori cooking. The result is crunchy, crispy, chewy skin that's savory and rich but light enough that you'll want at least one more. "Serve with yakitori, or tare, sauce," says recipe creator Buckwheat Queen.
Easy Chicken Yakitori
ChefJackie's yakitori recipe uses chicken thighs, a cut of chicken that tends to stay more moist during the high-temp grill than chicken breast. Instead of marinating, you'll baste the skewers with a mixture of sake, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar while they cook, which also helps keep moisture locked into the chicken bites.
Tsukune (Japanese Chicken Meatballs)
In addition to chicken meat, organs, and skin, chicken meatballs, or tsukune, are common in yakitori restaurants. Ground chicken is packed with flavor from green onions, miso, ginger, seaweed, sake, soy sauce, sugar, and paprika. They're rolled into palm-sized meatballs, and then grilled right along the other yakitori skewers. "I usually serve [them] on a bed of Japanese rice with a side salad or sautéed enoki mushrooms," says recipe creator garywhinton.
"One of the most popular Japanese dishes," says recipe creator Jana Marko. "The tasty ginger and rice wine marinade can be used for meat or fish. This recipe can also be made on the grill using the marinade as a basting sauce. Serve hot with rice or noodles."
Michelle's Chicken Yakitori
This chicken yakitori recipe calls for just six ingredients, which means the marinade is potent but simple. Marinate for several hours for the best flavor. "Made as written and these turned out good," says Soup Loving Nicole. "Simple and straight forward."
Yakitori might traditionally be chicken, but you'll find some yakitori restaurants offering beef and pork. The recipe creator, Rayna Jordan, says this marinade is good with pork and chicken, so you can use it for all the yakitori you're making in one night if you want. "You will need to adjust the cooking time depending upon the meat or poultry you use for the skewers," Rayna adds.
The original recipe calls for cooking in a wok or skillet, but you can turn this into traditional yakitori by cutting the salmon fillets into bite-sized pieces and skewering before your grill. Use the marinade and grill the fish as an alternative to typical chicken. "Serve with sesame noodles and baby sweet corn," recipe creator Sarah Davies suggests.