Garlic Teriyaki Chicken Donburi is a delicious, comforting rice bowl dish that’s quick and easy to make! Made with juicy pan-fried chicken thigh cooked in a garlic-infused teriyaki sauce served over a bed of fluffy white rice and then topped with chopped green onion and a soft-boiled egg, what’s not to like?!
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What is Teriyaki Donburi?
“Teriyaki” refers to a Japanese cooking technique where ingredients are glazed and grilled or broiled in a mix of soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar. This combination creates a lustrous sheen on the food, hence the name “teriyaki,” which translates to “glossy grilled.” So technically, “teriyaki sauce” and “teriyaki” are slightly different.
If you’d like to delve deeper into the world of teriyaki, please check out my teriyaki chicken recipe for more details.
Meanwhile, “donburi” or “don” for short is the Japanese term for “rice bowl”. It denotes a meal where various ingredients are served over a bowl of white rice. So, when we talk about teriyaki chicken donburi, we’re referring to a bowl of rice topped with succulent, glossy teriyaki chicken. This combination creates a harmonious blend of flavors and textures, making it a beloved dish in Japanese cuisine.
In this recipe, we’re adding an extra kick with garlic-infused sauce. This robust twist complements the mellow rice perfectly, creating a beautifully balanced bite. Let’s start cooking!
Ingredients and Substitution
- Boneless chicken thigh (skin-on) – Skinless chicken thigh is also fine, but skin-on will be juicier and tastier. You can also substitute chicken breast, but I prefer chicken thighs for this dish.
- Salt and pepper – I use regular sea salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning.
- Potato starch– Potato starch is generally the starch of choice in Japanese kitchens and is valued for its light and crispy texture after frying. Cornstarch or tapioca starch will also work.
- Soy sauce – If you are looking for something reasonably priced, you can’t go wrong with Kikkoman soy sauce. I also recommend their organic marudaizu soy sauce, characterized by its mild flavor and depth.
- Sake – If you do not have it, substitute white wine or dry sherry. For teriyaki, it is important not to omit it completely.
- Mirin – When purchasing mirin, it is recommended to look for “hon mirin” (本みりん) for the best flavor. I recommend Hinode Hon Mirin as a high-quality and affordable option. See my 20 Most Useful Condiments and Seasonings for Japanese Cooking post for more recommendations.
- Sugar – The sugar you normally use is fine, but use light brown cane sugar for most of my cooking.
- Fresh garlic – Grating fresh garlic is recommended, but you can also use store-bought garlic paste.
- Freshly cooked Japanese short-grain rice – For more information on how to cook Japanese rice, please see my recipe.
- Soft-boiled eggs – I recommend a firmness of about 7 to 8 minutes of boiling.
- Chopped green onion – Optional, but it adds beautiful color to a teriyaki bowl.
- Kizami nori – Although optional, nori and teriyaki rice bowls go very well together.
- Shichimi togarashi – Optional, but it can add a bit of spiciness for the final touch.
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Here are my step-by-step instructions for how to make delicious garlic-infused Teriyaki Chicken Donburi. For ingredient quantities and simplified instructions, scroll down to see the printable recipe card.
Cut the chicken into bitesize pieces. Try and keep them uniform in size to promote even cooking.
Place the chicken in a bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper and potato starch.
Heat a frying pan on medium and add a drizzle of oil. Place the chicken in the pan with the skin-side facing down and fry for 4 minutes or until crispy and brown.
Turn the chicken over and fry on the other side for 2 minutes. It doesn’t need to be fully cooked at this point as we will continue to cook it in the teriyaki sauce.
Mix soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, grated garlic and dashi stock in a small bowl.
Pour the teriyaki sauce around the chicken.
Continue to cook until the sauce has thickened to a syrup-like consistency.
Mix the chicken around to ensure its evenly covered and remove the pan from the heat.
Arrange the rice into serving bowls. Make sure to leave enough space in the bowl for the toppings.
Make a layer of shredded cabbage.
Place the teriyaki chicken on top.
Garnish with toppings of your choice. I added Japanese mayonnaise, chopped green onion, shredded nori, chili threads, Japanese chili powder (shichimi togarashi) and soft boiled eggs.
If you find yourself with leftovers, it’s best not to store the chicken on top of the rice. If you need to, you can refrigerate it for a day or so and reheat in the microwave. But be warned—the texture and flavor of the rice may take a bit of a hit.
If you have leftover chicken only, you’re in luck! You can store it in the refrigerator for up to two days, or freeze it for an extended life of two weeks.
I hope you love this delicious garlic teriyaki chicken bowl! If you try the recipe, I would really appreciate it if you could take a moment to give it a review and star rating in the comments below. Did you get creative with toppings? Let us know your favorites! Thank you and enjoy!
Garlic Teriyaki Chicken Donburi (Rice Bowl)
- 500 g boneless chicken thigh(s) preferably skin-on
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 pinches salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp potato starch or cornstarch/tapioca starch
- 2 portions cooked Japanese short-grain rice
Garlic Teriyaki Sauce
- 100 g green cabbage shredded
- finely chopped green onion(s)
- Japanese mayonnaise
- shredded sushi nori seaweed "kizami nori"
- chili threads
- 2 soft-boiled egg(s) boiled for 6½-8 minutes depending on preferred doneness.
- Heat a frying pan on medium and once hot, add 1 tbsp cooking oil.
- Cut 500 g boneless chicken thigh(s) into bitesize pieces.
- Place them in a bowl and sprinkle with 2 pinches salt and pepper and 1 tbsp potato starch. Mix thoroughly until evenly coated.
- Once hot, place the chicken thigh in the pan with the skin facing down. Fry for about 4 minutes or until crispy and golden.
- Once the skin is browned and crispy, flip the chicken over and fry on the other side for 2 minutes. (Since it will continue to cook in the sauce, the chicken doesn't need to be completely cooked through at this point.)
- Mix 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp sake, 2 tbsp mirin, 2 tsp sugar, ½ tbsp grated garlic, and 2 tbsp dashi stock in a small bowl and then pour it into the pan.
- Continue to cook until the sauce is thickened to a syrup-like consistency. Mix the chicken to ensure it's fully coated.
- Prepare 2 portions cooked Japanese short-grain rice in serving bowls, make sure to leave enough space for chicken.
- Top with shredded cabbage.
- Place the chicken on top of the cabbage.
- Garnish with your choice of toppings. I used finely chopped green onion(s), Japanese mayonnaise, shredded sushi nori seaweed "kizami nori", chili threads and 2 soft-boiled egg(s)s!
Other Chicken Donburi Recipes You Can Make at Home
In Japan, “donburi” dishes—fluffy rice bowls crowned with flavorful toppings—are a hit. The list of variations is practically endless, each bowl offering its unique blend of delicious elements. For our final journey today, let’s spotlight three standout donburi creations that deserve your culinary attention. Buckle up for this flavor-filled ride!
Oyakodon (Chicken and Egg Bowl)
Oyakodon, a time-honored and universally loved Japanese classic, hails from the Meiji period (1868-1912) or perhaps even earlier, securing its status as one of the oldest donburi (rice bowl) recipes, second only to Gyudon.
This recipe, a harmonious blend of flavors and textures, centers on the succulent chicken thigh, tender onions, and a cloud-like steamed egg nestled atop perfectly cooked Japanese rice.
Karaage Don (Japanese Fried Chicken Rice Bowl)
For all Karaage lovers, we present Karaage Don, a dish that perfectly encapsulates the tantalizing textures and flavors of Japanese cuisine. This recipe features crisply fried Japanese-style chicken atop crunchy cabbage and white rice.
Adding a drizzle of creamy mayonnaise, a tangy squeeze of lemon, and a fresh green onion takes this dish to the next level, making it an irresistible meal for anyone passionate about Japan’s iconic Karaage.
Chicken Soboro Don (Sanshoku Donburi)
Welcome the vibrant colors and flavors of the classic “Sanshoku Donburi” into your kitchen! With “sanshoku” (三色) translating to “three colors,” this dish proudly showcases its three primary ingredients – chicken, egg, and spinach – each adding its unique hue and flavor to the bowl.
Sanshoku Donburi, with its appealing visuals and nutrient-rich ingredients, is not just a satisfying meal but also a popular choice for bento boxes. You may even spot this wholesome trio in bento boxes at Japanese convenience stores!
If you’re interested in more than chicken rice bowls, check out my roundup article on donburi recipes.
“Teriyaki” is a Japanese cooking method involving glazing and grilling ingredients in soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar, resulting in a glossy finish. At the same time “donburi” refers to a rice bowl meal with various toppings. Teriyaki chicken donburi, therefore, is a popular Japanese dish featuring a rice bowl topped with glossy, succulent teriyaki chicken.
In the context of Japanese food, “don (丼)” is an abbreviation for “donburi,” meaning a “rice bowl.” Donburi dishes are characterized by various ingredients, such as cooked or raw seafood, meat, vegetables, or eggs, presented over a bed of rice. Common types of these dishes include “gyudon” (a bowl with beef), “oyakodon” (a bowl with chicken and egg), and “unadon” (a bowl with eel).
The terms “teriyaki chicken” and “chicken teriyaki” are often used interchangeably in English, particularly outside of Japan, but they are the same. In Japanese, the right order is teriyaki chicken.