Air Fryer Teriyaki chicken is one of the easiest, most flavorful ways to prepare chicken, and with tamari, it is gluten-free. With only seven basic ingredients, this chicken dish can be on the table in 20 minutes. Paleo and Whole 30 options included.
I was fortunate to work with products provided by San-J, the maker of one of my most-used gluten-free ingredients, Reduced-Sodium Tamari. With this tamari I was able to make a beautiful, flavorful and easy gluten-free sauce. I only work with high-quality products that I love.
Though I was gifted this product, I use it all the time, and all opinions are my own.
This air fryer teriyaki chicken – gluten-free recipe is my take on the recipe posted by the Hawaiian Electric Company. It’s still on their website here.
During the first part of the 30 years I lived on O‘ahu, we’d get a paper bill that included a local recipe. Including recipes in the billing was part of a home economics program the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) started in 1926! I still have quite a few of those in my recipe binder, though they’ve gotten a little worn with use.
Of course everyone had their own version of this quintessential Japanese recipe, local-style! Lighter, sweeter, more or less ginger, you name it.
I love the San–J Gluten Free Organic Reduced Sodium Tamari soy sauce for these recipes, not just because San–J Tamari Soy Sauces are all verified NON-GMO, certified Gluten Free by the GFCO, Kosher certified, Vegan, FODMAP-friendly, and made with the best quality ingredients.
I also use it because it has such a smooth and rich flavor that all eaters enjoy it, regardless of dietary needs.
Benefits of reduced-sodium tamari
The reduced-sodium tamari solved two problems in our household.
First, we need a gluten-free sauce! Soy sauce is brewed from soy and wheat – about 40-60% wheat, in fact, according to the San-J company. Tamari is brewed from soy only.
Second, a family member has become quite sensitive to salt – everything tastes saltier to her than to everyone else. That would normally make it a challenge to get the delicious flavor of my favorite teriyaki recipe – I’d have to reduce the tamari, but now I don’t have to.
What are the ingredients in Hawaiian Electric’s basic recipe for teriyaki sauce?
- Tamari (originally shoyu or soy sauce)
- Pressed garlic
- Ginger, grated
- 1 Hawaiian chili pepper, seeded and minced
- Dash of sesame oil
How can I customize this teriyaki sauce?
Soy sauce: Use gluten-free tamari (I strongly recommend this San-J product), or regular soy sauce; either can be found reduced-sodium. For anyone intolerant of soy, or for a Paleo option, coconut aminos will give a similar flavor.
Sugar: We typically use cane sugar because it has a neutral flavor. For a Paleo option, use coconut sugar. We’ve reduced the original amount from 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup; I’ve seen recipes calling for 1/2 cup, which would be really sweet! Coconut sugar will give a slight caramel flavor but it’s masked by the tamari and sesame oil.
Garlic: You can omit it for low-FODMAP and use a pinch of asafetida instead. We like lots; you can mince it if you don’t have a press.
Ginger: It’s considered optional in the HECO recipe but we love ginger in teriyaki; I use my zester to grate it rather than mincing it, when you risk little chunks that remain even through the cooking process.
Hawaiian chili pepper: Needless to say, when I’m in Denver I don’t have these chili peppers handy. Sriracha is a simple substitute in this sauce. Adjust the amount to your heat preference; sriracha will give the teriyaki a reddish tone.
Sesame oil: use the dark, roasted type. We love the flavor, but you can reduce the amount or leave it out if you find it strong or if a family member can’t eat sesame.
I use the same teriyaki sauce for salmon as I do for chicken. The salmon marinates more quickly, in about 30 minutes.
Can I make teriyaki chicken without an air fryer?
Of course – you can cook this chicken in the oven, slow-cook it in the crock-pot, or grill it.
Conventional oven: I include baking instructions in case you don’t have an air fryer.
Crock pot: You can easily cook this chicken in the crock pot, though the sauce will be diluted by juices that come out of the breast meat. The juices flow out of the chicken because the salt in the sauce draws it out by osmosis. The Chicken is still delicious, but you may wish to simmer the sauce after removing the chicken from the slow cooker. In my slow-cooker, the chicken takes 2 1/2 hours on the Medium setting to cook; 6 or so hours on Low.
Grill: Follow your favorite directions for grilling chicken breasts. Be sure to simmer the marinade after you’ve removed the chicken pieces from it, if you want to drizzle it on as a sauce after you grill the meat.
What can I serve with Teriyaki Chicken or Salmon?
Plain Rice (or Cauliflower rice for a grain-free option)
Other chicken recipes you may enjoy
If you make this or any of the recipes on A Meal In Mind, please let me know! Or if you like the recipe, leave a comment, rate it, post pictures on Facebook or Twitter. Hashtag a photo #amealinmind on Instagram. I’d love to see what you come up with. Thank you so much!!
Air Fryer Teriyaki Chicken - Gluten-Free
- Air fryer
- Santoku knives
- Meat thermometer
- 1 pound chicken breasts boneless and skinless
- ½ cup tamari for Whole 30, use coconut aminos
- ¼ to ⅓ cup sugar we use 1/4 cup; for Whole 30, use 2 dates, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic pressed or minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger grated
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
- 1-2 teaspoons of sesame oil dark roasted
- 1 tablespoon green onions for garnish
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds optional, for garnish
- Prepare ingredients.
- Combine all ingredients except for meat and garnishes in a small bowl.
- Place the chicken or other meat into a flat pan (Pyrex baking pan if you are going to bake it) large enough to spread it in a single layer. Marinate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the air fryer to 360 degrees F.
- When the air fryer is preheated, spray the cooking chamber with cooking spray (I use avocado oil spray).
- Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade with tongs and place them in a single layer in the fryer basket. Cook at 360 F for 8-10 minutes. You can flip the pieces partway through, but depending on your air fryer they may cook evenly enough that you won't need to.
- The chicken will be more tender at the shorter time - check at 8 minutes using an instant-read meat thermometer to be sure the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. In my experience, the chicken is likely to reach that temperature very quickly and the risk is of overcooking the tender breast meat!
- Conventional oven:
- Place the pan with the marinated chicken breasts (smooth side up) and the sauce into the oven. Baste with a little sauce just before placing in the oven. Bake uncovered at 350°F (177˚C) for 25 to 30 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature is 165˚F (74˚C). Cover with foil for the last 10 minutes if the chicken seems to be drying out on top.
- Crock pot:
- In the crock pot, the sauce will be diluted by juices that come out of the breast meat. The juices flow out of the chicken because the salt in the sauce draws them out by osmosis. The chicken is still delicious and can be more tender than in baking or air frying, but you may wish to simmer the sauce after removing the chicken from the slow cooker. In my slow-cooker, the chicken takes 2 1/2 hours on the Medium setting to cook; 6 or so hours on Low.
Nutrition information can’t be guaranteed accurate, as it may represent information entered as approximations into the nutrition calculator, which doesn’t contain all food items. It can, however, give you a rough estimate of the nutritional values.
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