This air fryer teriyaki chicken recipe is a quick and simple way to prepare delicious teriyaki chicken that always turns out amazing! The final result is juicy and crispy chicken thighs covered in a sweet and umami-rich teriyaki glaze that is just as delicious as the restaurant version.
This air fryer teriyaki chicken recipe is perfect for anyone who is looking for a fuss-free way to prepare delicious and flavorful teriyaki chicken! It uses juicy chicken thighs and a homemade teriyaki sauce that is super simple to prepare.
Since buying an air fryer, it has become one of my favorite tools to prepare chicken as it always turns out super crispy on the outside yet juicy and soft on the inside. So I've decided to share how I like to make teriyaki chicken using my air fryer. It's super easy and perfect for making the most delicious teriyaki chicken!
And if you are interested in trying other chicken recipes in your air fryer, feel free to check out my air fryer cajun wings recipe and air fryer chicken breast recipe. They are family favorites and super easy to make!
Air Fryer Teriyaki Chicken Ingredients
To make air fryer teriyaki chicken you'll need the following ingredients:
- Chicken thighs: You'll need boneless skin-on chicken thighs to make authentic teriyaki chicken. The skin gets super crispy while the chicken stays juicy and soft. But if you prefer chicken breast, feel free to use it. Just make sure to not overcook it.
- Low-sodium soy sauce: For the sauce, you'll need low-sodium soy sauce or regular Japanese soy sauce thinned with water. If you use regular soy sauce, the teriyaki glaze will be too salty and very deep in flavor. That's why I'd recommend buying a bottle of the low-sodium version that yields a lighter and more balanced teriyaki glaze. I like to use Kikkoman for both types of soy sauce.
- Mirin: Mirin is a sweet cooking wine that is available in any Asian grocery store and online. It's used for a variety of recipes, so if you like Asian recipes you'll definitely be able to reuse it!
- Sake: Sake is another ingredient in traditional teriyaki sauce. I'd only recommend skipping it if you can't use any alcohol when cooking.
- Brown sugar: Brown sugar, white sugar, and honey are all great sweeteners to make teriyaki sauce. I often use either honey or brown sugar. Just pick the one you prefer or have on hand.
How to make air fryer teriyaki chicken
Season the chicken thighs. Pat the chicken thighs dry and season them with salt and pepper from both sides.
Air fry the chicken. Place the chicken thighs in your preheated air fryer and air fry them for 15-20 minutes at 390 °F (200 °C) until crispy and golden brown.
Prepare the teriyaki sauce. While the chicken thighs are in the air fryer, add all teriyaki sauce ingredients to a pan. Bring the sauce to a very light and gentle simmer and let it cook until it has thickened to your liking.
Cover the chicken thighs in sauce. Next, place the air-fried chicken thighs in the thickened teriyaki sauce and cover them in the sauce.
Garnish and serve. Garnish the teriyaki chicken with sesame seeds and serve them with your favorite side dishes. Enjoy!
Tips & Notes
- Use low-sodium soy sauce or regular Japanese soy sauce thinned with water. Otherwise, the sauce will be overly salty and less balanced. I always keep a bottle of low-sodium soy sauce in my pantry in case I need it for sauces that need to be lighter in flavor and less salty, such as teriyaki chicken or Mongolian chicken.
- Place the chicken thighs skin side up in the air fryer basket and don't flip them. This way, they turn out perfectly crispy and delicious.
- Use low to medium-low heat to thicken the teriyaki sauce. Teriyaki sauce burns quickly when the heat is too high, so be patient and give the sauce time to turn into a glaze. I also like to cover the pan partially with a lid to make it thicken more quickly.
- If the sauce doesn't thicken, use a cornstarch slurry using equal parts of water and cornstarch. Having cornstarch on hand is great in case your sauce doesn't thicken the way you want it to. You can add a cornstarch slurry to the sauce and let it thicken. To thin it, use some water.
- Ginger: If you love ginger, feel free to use some for the sauce. Just mince or grate it and let it simmer with your teriyaki sauce.
- Garlic: You could also use garlic to add some extra flavor to the sauce.
- Chili: Chili flakes or fresh chili peppers are great if you love a bit of spice. They aren't part of traditional teriyaki sauce but make for a delicious variation!
How to serve air fryer teriyaki chicken
- Prepare some short-grain white rice. White rice is a classic Japanese side dish that is part of most meals. I recommend using short-grain white rice but feel free to use another type of rice.
- Chop some vegetables for a simple side salad. For the dressing, I recommend using Japanese sesame dressing. It's super delicious and can be bought in most Asian grocery stores. It perfectly complements the rice and teriyaki chicken.
- Air fry or steam some vegetables. Broccoli, bell pepper, and so many other vegetables taste great when they are air-fried, sautéed, or steamed. They make your meal more balanced and are easy to prepare.
- Prepare miso soup as a side dish. Miso soup is a healthy and delicious addition to any Japanese meal. Plus, it's actually very simple to make at home.
Frequently Asked Questions
This recipe uses all ingredients that traditional and authentic teriyaki chicken uses. The main difference is that the chicken thighs are prepared using an air fryer instead of a pan and stovetop.
You can find the ingredients in any Asian grocery store or online. They are very commonly used ingredients, so you should be able to find them.
If you want to make this recipe simpler or don't want to buy the ingredients needed to make homemade teriyaki sauce you can use store-bought sauce. I just prefer to make it at home so that I can adjust the flavor to my taste.
The sauce thickens by itself when it is heated in a pan. If you have trouble thickening the sauce this way, you can use a cornstarch slurry. Check out the notes section in the recipe box for more information.
One method I like to use when I am making a single serving and don't want to use the stovetop is heating the sauce in the microwave. Just whisk together all ingredients in a bowl and heat it in a microwave until it thickens.
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-4 days.
More simple and delicious chicken recipes
If you love East Asian chicken dishes that are simple to make, I recommend checking out the following recipes. They taste amazing and are very easy to make!
Air Fryer Teriyaki Chicken
- 4 boneless chicken thighs
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons mirin
- 3 tablespoons sake
- 3 tablespoons (brown) sugar or honey
- First, preheat your air fryer to 390 °F (200 °C).
- In the meantime, season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper from both sides.4 boneless chicken thighs, salt and pepper
- Place the chicken thighs in the air fryer basket and air fry them for 15-20 minutes until the skin is golden brown and crispy.
- While the chicken thighs are in the air fryer, add all teriyaki sauce ingredients to a pan and stir. Heat the sauce and let it simmer very gently until it thickens to your liking. Make sure to stir the sauce occasionally and don't let it burn.3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 3 tablespoons mirin, 3 tablespoons sake, 3 tablespoons (brown) sugar or honey
- When the chicken thighs are done, place them in the pan and cover them in teriyaki sauce from both sides.
- Cut the teriyaki chicken thighs into slices or cubes (optional) and serve it alongside white rice and other side dishes of your choice. Enjoy!
- Be sure to use low-sodium soy sauce or thin regular soy sauce with water. Otherwise, the teriyaki sauce will have a very deep and quite salty taste.
- When you feel like the sauce doesn't thicken, you can use a cornstarch slurry. Just mix equal parts of water and cornstarch and add the slurry to the sauce. Let it simmer and thicken. You can always thin it with some water.
- I like to keep the heat low and cover the pan partially with a lid. In my experience, it helps speed up the process of thickening the teriyaki sauce.