Honey Glazed Yakitori

In a few short weeks, I’ll be the owner of my very own outdoor grill! There are an endless number of things that you (all of a sudden) think that you need when you move into a new home. New couch, high-def TV, drought-resistant lawn…I don’t really care about any of those, I just need to get rolling with that new grill!

Just in time for summer, one of the first recipes I’ll be breaking in the new BBQ with is this very simple and tasty one for Honey Glazed Yakitori. These meaty little skewers are the perfect summer food, low-carb and ideal for casual get togethers.

Instead of sugar, I like to make these yakitori with honey. The syrupy goodness of honey adds a natural sweetness and bakes up to create a lacquer-like, glossy finish. The sticky surface of the cooked meat acts like a magnet for the sliced green onions and sesame seeds that come later.

You can use chicken breast here too, but I prefer to use chicken thigh, trimmed of any visible fat. The meat is more juicy and holds up to high heat grilling better. Make sure to soak the skewers so that the meat comes off easily when eating time comes.

You’ll see yakitori commonly enjoyed with sake, but since I rarely drink straight booze, I prefer these with a cup of Japanese tea instead. The stronger, savory notes of Houjicha, Genmaicha, or caffeine-free Soba Cha are all great for standing up to the slight char on these yummy bites. Happy summer grilling!

Honey Glazed Yakitori

Makes 8-6″ skewers.


{Honey Soy Glaze}

3/4 cup mirin or sherry

1 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup sake

1/4 cup honey

1″ x 2″ nub of ginger, peeled and thickly sliced

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed open

3 large green onions, chopped into 3″ pieces

1/2 tsp ground black pepper


5 chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2″ square pieces

1 bunch green onions, white parts, cut into 1″ pieces

2 Tbsp vegetable oil


thinly sliced green onions, green parts

roasted sesame seeds


medium pot

pastry brush

large rimmed baking sheet fitted with foil

skewers, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes then drained


1.  Place all the glaze ingredients together in the pot. Bring the ingredients to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer the sauce on low for 30 minutes to reduce to a thick, syrupy consistency. Discard the ginger, green onions, and garlic.

2.  Alternate the chicken and green onion pieces on the skewers. Brush the surface of the chicken and onions lightly with vegetable oil. Set aside.

3.  Skewers can be cooked on a grill over medium heat or broiled in the oven. If using a grill, cook for about 10-12 minutes over medium heat, turning and glazing every few minutes until the chicken is cooked through. If using an oven, set the heat to broil. When the oven comes to temperature, place the prepared skewers on the foil lined baking sheet. Again, cook for about 10-12 minutes over medium heat, turning and glazing every few minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

4.  While the skewers are cooking, bring any remaining sauce to a simmer again over the stove top. To serve, give the finished yakitori a final generous glazing with the sauce. Scatter the yakitori with chopped green onions and roasted sesame seeds to finish. Serve with any remaining sauce on the side.