This is how I make delicious chicken with 3 ingredients + recipe suggestions

  • This three-ingredient teriyaki chicken recipe calls for meat, light brown sugar, and soy sauce.
  • It omits several common teriyaki ingredients, like sake, which makes the recipe easier.
  • The sauce was very tasty but the chicken was extremely dry so I would whistle it next time.

I love a great plate of teriyaki chicken and was excited to find an easy recipe that only requires three main ingredients.

It mostly includes pantry staples and leaves out some typical additions, like sake.

So I tested the recipe myself.


I started by drying the chicken

Chicken breast arranged on a wooden cutting board

I dried and salted the raw chicken breasts.

Kayla Yu


It is important to dry your chicken before you cook it in a pan to get a nice browning. Otherwise it will steam.

The recipe recommends removing all the fat, but I left it in as that’s where a lot of the flavor comes from.

It also doesn’t specify how much salt to use, but I added a generous amount.

Once I had chopped the chicken into bite-sized pieces, I turned on the heat

Minced chicken in an oiled frying pan

I fried the chicken in some vegetable oil.

Kayla Yu

I heated the pan over medium heat for a minute before adding the vegetable oil. After another minute I diced the chicken.

I turned the meat a few times until it was nicely browned and cut one of the pieces to make sure it was white inside.

Although the instructions say to cook the chicken for 12 minutes, I only did it for nine as I didn’t want to overcook it.

I put the meat aside in a bowl and left the burner on.

Conveniently, the sauce goes directly into the same pan, which saved me dirty dishes

Soy sauce and brown sugar on the pan

I added light brown sugar and soy sauce in the same pot.

Kayla Yu

First I added the light brown sugar, then the soy sauce. I constantly stirred the mixture over medium heat until it began bubbling furiously.

Then I kept stirring for about two and a half minutes until the sauce thickened and reduced.

The recipe says to blend for five minutes, but the sauce looked done and I didn’t want to reduce it too much.

chicken pieces cooked in teriyaki sauce on the pan

The rest of the meal came together pretty quickly.

Kayla Yu

Adding the chicken back into the pan, I stirred it in until it was thoroughly coated. It looked and smelled so delicious that I wanted to eat it right then and there.

I poured the chicken into a bowl and garnished it with sesame seeds that I happened to have in my pantry. I forgot to buy green onion for garnish, but I didn’t miss it.

I served the final product with rice and steamed vegetables.

Although the sauce was great, the chicken didn’t turn out great

Teriyaki chicken in white bowl with vegetables and rice

I served the teriyaki chicken with rice and vegetables.

Kayla Yu

The sauce was tasty and delicious. I poured my rice into it and could eat that combination alone as a meal.

Unfortunately, the chicken was super dry and seemed almost inedible, even though I cooked it for less time than directed.

Teriyaki chicken is a Japanese recipe, but I’d recommend velveting the meat – a quick Chinese technique where you marinate your meat in egg white and cornstarch before cooking it in oil to make it super tender.

I’d also leave the skin on because it’s tastier and helps the meat retain its moisture, and swap chicken breast – which tends to be drier – for thigh.

Overall, I would totally make this sauce again, but I will try a different strategy for the chicken.