Monday, October 18, 2010

Low-Sugar (or sugar-free) Teriyaki Chicken Recipe (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

I love this delicious Teriyaki Chicken recipe with just a little sugar.

Low-Sugar (or sugar-free) Teriyaki Chicken found on

When my friend Bonnie told me she made the Teriyaki Chicken from the blog for her family and they loved it I first thought "I'm glad they liked it," followed by "That recipe really needs new photos!" So over the weekend I made Teriyaki Chicken and took a trip down memory lane, remembering a friend who moved to Hawaii and introduced me to some interesting foods when she came back to Utah. This simple way of making Teriyaki Chicken was her recipe, and it's been so good that I've never imagined any other way of making this dish.

This recipe for Low-Sugar or Sugar-Free Teriyaki Chicken was updated and added to Recipe Favorites October 2010.) 

My cooking and recipe-writing skills have improved since I first posted this back in 2006, so I made a few small changes to the original recipe. First, I've become converted to the idea of using a very small amount of natural sugar when I use a sweetener like Stevia Granulated Sweetener or Splenda, so I added 1 T brown sugar. It's completely optional though (Bonnie didn't use it and if you're doing phase one this would be better without the brown sugar. You can also use regular white sugar instead of Stevia Granulated Sweetener or Splenda if you don't care about making this low-carb or South Beach Diet friendly.)

Second, when I made the chicken this time I definitely thought it was done after 50 minutes cooking time, so I made that change in the recipe. I also improved the directions a bit, but if you're someone who's been using this recipe through the years, you can still find the original recipe by clicking Printer Friendly Recipe.

Put the soy sauce, water, Stevia Granulated Sweetener or Splenda, brown sugar (if using), ginger puree, and garlic puree in a small pan and simmer over low heat about 15 minutes, or until reduced by 1/3 to 1/2.

Trim all the visible fat from chicken breasts or thighs, then make small slits down the length of each piece.

Use the smallest casserole dish you can and still fit the chicken in a single layer. Spray dish with non-stick spray, then lay chicken pieces in a single layer.

Pour about 1/3 of the sauce over the chicken.

Cover the dish tightly with foil, and bake 25 minutes, or until chicken is starting to feel nearly firm to the touch.

Remove foil and turn chicken pieces over. (Don't worry if they look a bit flat on the side that was down, because they'll spring back when they cook a little more.) Use a pastry brush to brush sauce all over the top side of the chicken. Put back in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes more, brushing with sauce about every 5 minutes.

Here's how the chicken looked when it was finished, completely cooked and well-glazed with the sauce. Serve hot. If you want to serve the juice and extra sauce over the top, I'd put it back on the stove and simmer it for a couple of minutes.

Low Sugar (or sugar-free) Teriyaki Chicken
(Makes 4 servings; recipe adapted from one I got years ago from a friend who lived in Hawaii.)

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (or 8 skinless, bone in chicken thighs, well trimmed)
1/2 cup soy sauce (Use Gluten-Free Soy Sauce if needed.)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup Stevia Granulated Sweetener or Splenda or sugar (or less, depending on how sweet you like it.  Use Stevia Granulated Sweetener or Splenda for the South Beach Diet)
1 T brown sugar (optional)
1 T ginger puree or fresh grated ginger root
1 T garlic puree or fresh garlic, finely diced

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.

Put soy sauce, water, Stevia Granulated Sweetener or Splenda, brown sugar (if using), ginger puree, and garlic puree in small saucepan and simmer about 15 minutes, until reduced by about 1/3 to 1/2.

Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken pieces, then make a row of shallow cuts in the top side of each piece. (This is to let the sauce penetrate the meat more.)

Choose the smallest size casserole dish that will fit all chicken in a single layer, then put chicken in dish, top side down. Pour about 1/3 of the sauce over the chicken, cover with foil, and bake 25 minutes, or until chicken is starting to feel firm to the touch.

After 25 minutes, remove foil and turn chicken pieces over. (Don't worry if the top side looks flat from being pressed in the pan; it will plump up when it cooks more.) Use a pastry brush to brush sauce all over the top side of the chicken. Continue to cook about 20-25 minutes more, basting with sauce every 5 minutes. Serve hot.

If you want to serve the juice and extra sauce over rice, I'd put it back in the saucepan and simmer for a few minutes.

South Beach Diet / Low-Carb Diet Suggestions:
If you're making this recipe for the South Beach Diet, chicken breasts are definitely better than thighs. I wouldn't worry about the 1 T of brown sugar I added to the recipe, because you're only eating the small amount of sauce that clings to one piece of chicken, but the recipe without the brown sugar would be better for phase one or other strict low-carb plans. This recipe would be great with something like Roasted Broccoli with Soy Sauce and Sesame Seeds for  a phase one or low-carb meal. For phase 2 or 3, I'd eat it with a rice dish like Brown Rice with Cashews and Herbs or Georgette's Really Lemony Greek Pilafi.

More Baked Chicken Dishes You Might Like:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Baked Pesto Chicken from Kalyn's Kitchen

Chicken Stuffed with Green Chiles and Cheese from Kalyn's Kitchen

Forbidden City Chicken from Kalyn's Kitchen

Chicken Nuggets with Almond Meal from Kalyn's Kitchen

Panko-Crusted Baked Chicken from The Perfect Pantry

Breaded and Baked Chicken Drumsticks from Simply Recipes

Baked Chicken Drumsticks with Dijon Mustard and Ancho Chile Pepper Sauce from Cookin' Canuck

Crispy Baked Chicken from Vintage Victuals

Crisp Baked Chicken Strips from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Oven-Baked Chicken with Feta Cheese from Nami Nami

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
Low-Sugar (or Sugar-Free) Teriyaki Chicken found on

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More to Chew On:


  1. Me too Paz! When I have sushi I love to eat the pickled ginger.

  2. i am a fan of ginger too. try stir frying chredded ginger with some pork.

  3. I will immediately put my fresh ginger in the freezer! Thanks Kalyn for the tip!

  4. I adore ginger. I typically make a ginger tea at night as it is good for getting rid of "wind" and helps detox the body. You just cut thick slices of ginger and boil it with your tea. BTW, did you manage to find the lotus seeds and kai lan?

    Sorry I could not participate in the Herb Blogging this week as I've had no time to cook but I will definitely try to post something for next week.

  5. Ginger is one of my fav herbs .. your post is great,Kalyn.

  6. Kalyn, ginger is one of my favorite things to cook with and eat. It adds so much flavor to any dish - pickled ginger on a chicken sandwich, grated ginger in stir fries and salad dressings, ground ginger sprinkled on a roasting chicken...and my very favorite - dark chocolate coated crystalized ginger...yum.

    Thanks for sharing and making me think about using some this week.

  7. It sounds like everyone loves ginger! It's such an interesting flavor. Stephanie, I have to confess, I got carried away shopping at another store, so I only had time to go to the small Asian market closest to my house. They didn't have lotus seeds, and I wonder if they had Kai Lan but they didn't recognize the name. The people who run this store seem to me to be Japanese, so maybe it's called something else there. Anyway, I still have them on my ongoing list of food items to look for, so when I make it to the other market (far from my house) I will look there.

  8. Love ginger. So good for you and so flavoursome. Teriyaki has a great flavour too. I always go for the bottled one though. Sorry, been missing a few herb weekend. Must get myself together. I don't know why, since i've been using herbs recently aswell.

  9. I've never cooked with ginger but have enjoyed it in dishes others have made. Thanks for the tip. Say, I'm thinking about remodeling my kitchen so it's more functional. Have any of you guys done this from a cook's point of view? The home centers and kitchen showrooms are all about show, which is fine, but I need the kitchen to work, too. I know that storage is a big deal, as it the layout for spices, pots and pans, etc. Are the roll out drawers worth the extra money? Let me know your thoughts!

  10. Ah, pity about that Kalyn. Well, my offer still holds if you can't find the lotus seeds. Kai lan is quite similar to kohlrabi leaves. When I was in Germany and did not know where the Asian markets were yet, I used to substitute with kohlrabi leaves.

  11. I rarely bake chicken (I prefer to grill) but this was a really quick/easy recipe. I've never done the slits in the breasts before when baking (which seems obvious thing to do since I do that before marinading). It was very flavorful.

  12. Glad you liked it. (And oh boy do I ever want to take new photos for this recipe!)

  13. Your photos of the finished product looked a lot better than mine did, so I'm not sure you need new photos, but mine tasted great nevertheless!

  14. Bonnie, you are too kind, but I'm definitely happier with the new photos! Thanks for the nudge to get that done.

  15. a yummy and tasty recipe, I love it
    you have a beautiful space here and lovely pictures too

  16. I like the slits in the chicken. Seems like that would help the meat absorb more flavor and it looks cool too.

  17. Never thought of making my own teriyake marinade at home. Never thought it would be so easy. And maybe I will accompany it with the roasted broccoli and garlic!

  18. Delphine, thank you. Glad you're enjoying the blog.

    Paula, I don't even remember if making those slits in the chicken breasts was my idea or if I saw it somewhere, but I've been doing it that way for years!

    Nuts about food, I promise you'll like this better than any bottled Teriyaki sauce!

  19. Kalyn, this recipe is a great example of how easily a sauce can be made from scratch, rather than purchased in a bottle. Not only does it sound (and look - always love your photos) tasty, but it is so much healthier than what can be found at the store.

  20. I've got this in the oven right now! It smells yummy.

  21. Dara, agreed, so easy to make it from scratch! And even if you used all white sugar, I'm betting it's still better than the ones in a bottle.

    Jan I do love that ginger-garlic smell. Hope you like it!

  22. Hi, lover of teriyaki here. I do suggest using real ginger..grated is good,or minced. One suggestion is to use either thinner pieces of chicken,or pounding the chicken,so it's not so fat especially on one end...that way the sauce/marinade has a better chanch of getting through. Also,not sure if Kalyen added chopped green onions,but they add alot of taste to the dish,and I recommend it. Aloha,and enjoy;o)

  23. Easy to see why this has been a favorite for so many years. It's such a great idea to put slits in the chicken to allow the marinade to penetrate. Thanks for the tip.

  24. It was excellent Kalyn! Mmmmm....Thank you for posting it.

  25. Love the ginger in this recipe.

  26. Thanks Maria, me too. I think ginger is one of my favorite flavors.

  27. Love Teriyaki chicken. Your teriyaki sounds pretty simple and the chicken looks delicious. I prefer brown sugar any day over white sugar!

  28. Kulsum, thanks! You could definitely make this with all brown sugar if you wanted as well.

  29. Fort Lauderdale CateringOctober 21, 2010 at 7:33 AM

    The recipe you posted here sure looks very promising. The ginger is a great way to add zest to it! Aside from that, it is really good for one's health. This is one great dish to serve to guests.

  30. Looks lovely. I posted recently (penultimate post) on teryaki salmon.

  31. Debs, Teriyaki Salmon sounds delicious! I think you'd need to start with the Teriyaki sauce a bit thicker because of the shorter cooking time of the salmon.

  32. I made this last night and the chicken turned out really tasty and moist. However, the juice left over on the dish where I cooked the chicken and the sauce leftover in the sauce pan where SUPER salty. I was looking forward to adding some of this sauce to my rice, but it just wasn't possible because of the saltiness. What did I do wrong? I used all your listed ingredients. Do you use reduced-sodium soy sauce? I used regular. Or perhaps I reduced the sauce too much on the stove? Any input would be greatly appreciated. I would really like to make this again. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes. I have been making 6 or more of your recipes every week, and I have been pretty happy with the results.

  33. Elena, I do sometimes use reduced sodium soy sauce, but I don't think I did for this. It might be the brand of soy sauce (I like Kikkoman.) And if you reduced it a lot more on the stove, that would also make it saltier. Try it again with the low sodium soy sauce and don't reduce quite as much.

  34. Thanks so much for posting. Loved this recipe.

  35. Bobbi, so glad you enjoyed it!

  36. I will try this recipe soon. I wonder how Agave would be in place of the Splenda and brown sugar? I didn't read all the comments so forgive me if it was already discussed. :)

  37. Mel I haven't tried it with Agave, but I'm guessing it would work.

  38. Gabriela de TejadaApril 27, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Dear Kalyn:
    thanks to you I learned a taste for the kitchen, you're great in every recipe you make, as flavorful, healthy dishes. I'm doing the South Beach diet also, and I feel incredibly well, thanks for sharing your talent in the kitchen, thank you very much! AND I SEND GREETINGS from Guadalajara, Mexico.

  39. Gabriela, you're so welcome. Very glad you are enjoying the blog!


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