Easy Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

Easy Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

Chicken breasts are fun and all, but let’s say it aloud — chicken thighs are juicier and more flavorful, especially when glossy and tastefully charred on the grill. 

Let’s make teriyaki chicken thighs on the grill, fast and easy. These are wonderful pieces of poultry to give variety to your grilling parties. There’s more than beef to keep your friends and family satisfied. The secret behind a successful grilling party is offering something for everyone, and don’t we all love chicken?

What is teriyaki, anyway? 

Teriyaki is more than a sauce; it’s a traditional Japanese cooking method. You glaze meat, chicken or any other protein or grill it, roast it or braise it. The glaze naturally elevates the meat thanks to its sticky, sweet and savory personality.

A classic teriyaki glaze, one you can make at home, includes soy sauce, mirin (rice wine) and sugar. Of course, there are many ready-made teriyaki sauces out there, so there’s no need to make yours unless you want to go traditional.

What makes teriyaki beautiful are the umami flavors in soy sauce and the sugar, which caramelizes nicely on the grill. The sauce helps keep the protein moist as well, and it gives it a wonderfully sticky feel. 

So, what else do you need? Chicken thighs, teriyaki sauce, salt and pepper — that’s it. The best things in life are never too complicated. Of course, the recipe below applies to any other grilled meat; pork chops, ribs, you name it. Teriyaki is terrific, even in burgers! 

Let’s learn how to make teriyaki sauce and use it to grill the nicest chicken thighs. These are crowd-pleasers, by the way, so make sure you make enough of these. 

Easy Teriyaki Chicken Thighs Recipe

Servings: 4

Prep time: 40

Cooking time: 15

Total time: 25


For the chicken:

  • 4 chicken thighs (more if needed)
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the teriyaki sauce: 

  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. To make the teriyaki sauce, combine the water, soy sauce, brown sugar and garlic powder. Heat over a low flame while stirring often until steaming but not boiling. 
  2. Hydrate the cornstarch in water and incorporate it into the rest of the ingredients. Continue cooking until reduced. 
  3. Marinate the chicken thighs in buttermilk, seasoned with salt and pepper for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, light up the grill to 400-450°F.
  4. Drain and bring the chicken thighs to room temperature. 
  5. Grill over a medium flame skin side down for 3-5 minutes, flip and cook through for 5-8 more minutes. Ensure the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Glaze with teriyaki sauce in the last 2 minutes. Flip again once to caramelize the glaze. 
  7. Serve the chicken thighs with a side of extra teriyaki sauce.