garlic ginger grilled chicken

Japanese garlic ginger grilled chicken brings the clean flavours of soy, sake and sugar to a backyard classic. A little bit of chili sauce adds a bit of bite to what should become a backyard classic.

There’s just something about grilled chicken that makes me smile. Not really sure why but I love it. I’m always looking for new ways to spice up the blank canvas that is chicken. Garlic ginger grilled chicken is the latest addition to my palette.

Garlic ginger grilled chicken is wonderful in it’s simplicity

This is a simple recipe. But sometimes simple is great. Japanese cooking in general is all about relatively simple ingredients and incredible attention to detail.

This is no different. There’s nowhere to hide. No sticky barbecue sauce to hide the fact you burned your chicken.

There’s nothing to it except your grilling skills. Mix up a marinade. Grill. Baste. Eat. But the flavours are anything but simple. Savoury, assertive, salty, delicious.

A few grilling tricks for success

Garlic ginger grilled chicken bursts with Japanese flavours but is adapted to western grilling techniques.

There’s sugar in the marinade. Sugar burns. That’s why putting barbecue sauce on early is pretty much a guarantee of golden black chicken. Add a few flare-ups and it’s cinder chicken. Nobody wants that.

Medium heat. Giving yourself a cooler safety zone to move the chicken out of harms way.   Close attention to what you are doing. These are the keys to success every time. Set things up so you have a medium zone and low zone.

Start the chicken skin side down over direct heat for the first two minutes to get a bit of colour and some grill marks. Then move it to the safe zone and cook it there. Maybe bring it back over the medium zone a couple times along the way but don’t leave it there to burn. Vigilance is key.

Garlic ginger grilled chicken is an easy way to bring the flavours of Japan to your backyard.


Garlic ginger grilled chicken bursts with Japanese flavours but is adapted to western grilling techniques.

Garlic ginger grilled chicken bursts with Japanese flavours but is adapted to western grilling techniques.
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5 from 5 votes

garlic ginger grilled chicken

The Japanese have been grilling chicken for centuries and this garlic ginger grilled chicken adapted from Tadashi Ono's recipe is a great way to experience it western style. Use a high quality Japanese soy sauce - and light soy (low sodium) is not a bad idea.
Course Main
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword garlic ginger grilled chicken, japanese chicken, japanese grilled chicken
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 524kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp sake
  • 2 Tbsp grated ginger - use a microplane
  • 3 cloves garlic - again a microplane works great
  • 2 tsp asian hot sauce - Korean gochujang or Sriracha
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 chicken cut into pieces - or halved - whatever you like


  • Combine all the ingredients except the chicken and stir well.
  • Place the chicken pieces on a baking sheet (something that can hold all the chicken in one layer) and pour the marinade over the chicken.
  • Flip the chicken every ten minutes. Do this 3 or 4 times.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan.
  • Carefully pour the marinade into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. You are sterilizing the marinade here so don't skip this step...
  • Prepare your grill. If using charcoal (that is way better) build a two stage fire. Medium on one half and low on the other. If using gas just use the knobs to set up the same idea. It won't be as tasty but it will still be good.
  • Grill the chicken over direct medium heat skin side down for about two minutes. There is sugar in the marinade so it will burn. Watch it closely.
  • Flip the chicken and move it to the low side of the grill. After 10 minutes baste the chicken with the boiled marinade. Repeat this again after another 10 minutes.
  • Cook until the internal temperature reaches 160F - somewhere around 25-35 minutes depending on the size of the chicken. Remove from the grill and let rest 5 minutes.
  • Carve if needed. Serve. Enjoy.


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 524kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 1838mg | Potassium: 496mg | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 305IU | Vitamin C: 5.9mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2.6mg


12 thoughts on “garlic ginger grilled chicken”

  1. 5 stars
    Dear Romain, browsing glebekitchen, I came along this recipe. I had originally planned to cook the rotisserie chicken, but I found this one so appealing that I chose to combine the two: garlic ginger rotisserie chicken. Firstly, I did not have any gochujang, so I used white miso with sriracha instead, as you suggested. Worked very well, super tasty! Secondly, I was worried about the sugar burning easily, so I first left it out in the marinade and basted the chicken on the rotisserie several times with it (of course after sterilizing). In the end I warmed up the marinade again, adding the sugar, to give the chicken a last baste for the final colour and taste. It worked very well, looked perfect and tasted amazing! The board juices went into the remaining marinade, to which I added some rice vinegar for the final touch. This was a perfect sauce, kind of board sauce actually. Intense flavours, fingerlicking good! Everyone was happy, kids loved it as well! Thank you again, Romain! Glebekitchen forever!

    • I’m sorry to take so long to respond. I’m on vacation:-) Delighted you found this one. I have access to a rotisserie where I am so perhaps this will be dinner tonight (I don’t have any gochujang here either!).

  2. This was fantastic! We really enjoyed it and it’s definitely worth doing on the charcoal grill. I had made a bunch of garlic ginger paste earlier in the week for cooking some of the Indian recipes from the site so I subbed that in and it worked perfectly. I used 2 Tbsp of the paste in place of the garlic and ginger and it seemed just about right.

    • Delighted to hear you enjoyed it. And good call on the garlic ginger paste. I do that sometimes as well.

  3. Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe!! I made this for yesterday’s dinner and it was so children loved it. I would definitely make this again and again.

    • I’ve never used coco amino. I see recommendations online that say use it just like soy though. Sorry I can’t be more help.

    • You are very welcome. I use gochujang for this recipe and offer Sriracha as an easier to find alternative. Sambal oelek might work but that’s getting pretty far from the recipe. White miso with an asian chili sauce might be closer.

5 from 5 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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