Air Fryer Chicken Yakitori

Introducing my Air Fryer Chicken Yakitori recipe, a taste of classic Japanese yakitori made effortlessly in your own kitchen! No need for grilling – simply air fry these delicious skewers to perfection. Get ready for an explosion of flavors, tender chicken, and that authentic yakitori experience right at home. It’s the easiest way to enjoy this Japanese favorite, and you won’t want to miss it!

Japanese chicken yakitori made in the air fryer on a skewer.

Why I Love This Recipe

If you’re a fan of the classic Negima Yakitori, you’re in for a treat with my recipe! Imagine the same mouthwatering, savory-sweet tare sauce coating succulent chicken skewers, but with the convenience of your air fryer. It’s the taste of authentic Japanese yakitori, packed with juicy protein, and made effortlessly in your own kitchen!

Whether it’s lunch or dinner, this dish captures the essence of Japan and is simply irresistible. Plus, you’ll love that my homemade tare sauce is crafted with real ingredients and matches the same authentic flavor you find in other beloved yakitori dishes, like my Tsukune Chicken Meatball. Get ready to savor the umami-packed goodness of these juicy chicken skewers – it’s a must-try for anyone craving the real taste of Japanese yakitori!



  • Chicken – boneless and skinless chicken thigh. Can substitute with chicken breast if preferred.
  • Green Onions – fresh chopped green onion scallions.
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds – optional garnish.
  • Soy Sauce – low-sodium Soy Sauce preferred. Can also use tamari for gluten-free.
  • Japanese Sake – typically will come in a large bottle labeled junmai sake. Can also substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine, found at local grocery stores or Asian markets. 
  • Sweetener use your preferred sweetener. 
  • Bonito Flakes – made from shaved Dried Bonito fish. Commonly used to make broth and responsible for giving Japanese cuisine that signature umami flavor. Can replace with Hondashi.
  • Garlic Clove – freshly grated or pressed garlic.

🍗 Chicken Ingredient Note

Traditional yakitori typically calls for the use of chicken thigh, but if you prefer, Chicken Breast is also a viable alternative.

🍶 Mirin Ingredient Note

While mirin is traditionally used to make the tare sauce, we’ve considered that mirin might not be readily available in all areas. To accommodate this, the recipe modifies the ratio of Japanese sake and sweetener.

Yakitori sauce being made.

Essential Kitchen Equipment

🍢 Skewer Pro Tip

Opting for Metal Skewers offers a hassle-free experience, as they eliminate concerns about the skewers catching on fire.


🍖 Brining Pro Tip

For Juicy Yakitori, brine the chicken thigh in a solution of 2 Cups of Water with 2 Tablespoons of Salt for 30-45 Minutes, but avoid over-brining to prevent excessive saltiness.

Step 1 Prepare the yakitori sauce by combining soy sauce, water, sweetener, bonito flakes or hondashi, and grated garlic in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then let it simmer for 5 minutes until slightly reduced. If using bonito flakes, strain the sauce and set it aside in two bowls.

Yakitori sauce in a bowl.

⚡ Tare Shortcut Pro Tip

For a shortcut when preparing your tare sauce, opt for Hondashi instead of bonito flakes. This substitution eliminates the need to strain the tare sauce.

Step 2 Skewer the chicken pieces and alternating green onion pieces onto pre-soaked skewers. Brush the sauce onto the skewers, then air fry at 400F for 6-8 minutes, re-basting halfway through.

Yakitori being basted with tare.

🌡 Internal Temperature Check

Your yakitori should reach a safe internal temperature of 165°F for perfectly cooked and safe-to-eat chicken skewers.

Step 3 Finally, drizzle the reserved sauce over the yakitori before serving.

Yakitori on a skewer served on a wooden plate.

Recipe Variations

Skipping the negi or green onions in your yakitori creates a classic ‘Tare’ variation, emphasizing the rich flavors of the savory tare sauce and tender chicken.

For a ‘Shio’ version, simply season the chicken skewers with salt and white pepper, and a drizzle of lemon before serving adds a refreshing twist to the traditional yakitori experience.

Pairing Recommendations

Complement your yakitori with other yakitori options like Bacon Wrapped Enoki, Bacon Wrapped Quail Eggs, or Yakiton for a diverse range of flavors and textures. Serve them alongside steamed vegetables with Miso Mayo Dipping Sauce to enhance your meal with a variety of savory and delicious accompaniments.

Air fryer chicken yakitori being basted with yakitori sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it necessary to marinate the chicken in tare sauce before skewering and air frying?

No, marinating the chicken in tare sauce before skewering and air frying is not necessary for this yakitori recipe. The key flavors in this recipe primarily come from the tare sauce itself. However, for tender and juicy chicken, it's recommended to brine the chicken in a saltwater solution.

Can I make this dish in advance for a party or gathering?Can I make this dish in advance for a party or gathering?

Yes, you can prepare this dish in advance for a party or gathering. To do so, simply refrain from drizzling the reserved tare sauce onto the yakitori until you're ready to serve. When it's time to serve, you can easily warm them up in the microwave.


Japanese chicken yakitori made in the air fryer on a skewer, top down shot.

Storage Tips

To store leftovers, place them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5-7 days. When you’re ready to enjoy them again, simply reheat in the microwave.

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Watch How To Make It

Japanese chicken yakitori made in the air fryer on a skewer.

Air Fryer Chicken Yakitori

Discover the mouthwatering world of Air Fryer Chicken Yakitori, a delightful fusion of juicy chicken skewers and the convenience of air frying. Perfect for a quick, authentic, and satisfying meal.
4.84 from 6 votes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Japanese
Keyword: air fryer chicken yakitori, chicken skewer air fryer
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 Skewers
Print Recipe
Calories: 240kcal


Chicken Skewer

  • 1/2 lb Chicken Thigh can sub with chicken breast
  • 3 Stalk Green Onions
  • 1/8 tsp Toasted Sesame Seed optional


  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 3 tbsp Japanese Sake can substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Sweetener your preferred sweetener
  • 1/2 Cup Bonito Flakes can sub with 1/4 tsp of hondashi
  • 1 Clove Garlic


  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Ingredients for air fry yakitori.
  • Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 5 minutes.
    Skewers being soaked water.
  • Grate garlic and set aside.
    Grated garlic.
  • Combine Soy Sauce, Japanese sake, water, sweetener, Bonito Flakes, and diced garlic in a sauce pan. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes until it slightly reduces.Strain the sauce through a strainer, making sure to press out any extra sauce from the bonito flakes. Split the tare into 2 bowl, one for basting and other for dipping. Note – no need to strain if using hondashi.
    Yakitori sauce in a sauce pan.
  • Cut green onions into 1 inch pieces and set aside.
    Chopped green onions.
  • Cut chicken into 1/2 x 1/2 cube size bites and set aside.
    Cubed chicken.
  • Skewer chicken loosely (do not pack in tight). Use 2-3 pieces of chicken for every piece of green onion as picture shown.
    Yakitori on a skewer.
  • Generously baste yakitori chicken skewer with sauce and transfer to an Air Fryer. Cook for 4-5 minutes @ 400F, rotate the skewers and generously baste skewers again. Cook for another 6-8 minutes @ 400F until browned and internal temp reaches 165F. Once done, transfer to a serving plate, sprinkle optional Toasted Sesame Seed, and drizzle reserved sauce.
    Yakitori in an air fry tray.


Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 2377mg | Potassium: 418mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 134IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg
*Values Based Per Serving
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