Negima Yakitori

Introducing my Negima Yakitori, a traditional Japanese chicken skewers recipe that’s easy to make and absolutely irresistible! If you’re looking for a flavorful dish that combines tender thigh meat and fresh green onions, this is it. The secret sauce, yakitori tare, adds a sweet and savory umami essence, making it a must-try for anyone craving authentic Japanese flavors!

Japanese grilled chicken skewers yakitori negima served on a black plate garnished with toasted sesame seeds.

Why I Love This Recipe

What sets my Negima Yakitori recipe apart is its authentic Japanese charm! This classic dish showcases succulent chicken thighs, threaded with crisp green onions, and expertly grilled to perfection. It mirrors my Air Fryer Chicken Yakitori recipe but adds a delightful smoky grilled twist to the flavors. Whether as an appetizer or a main course, it captures the essence of Japanese cuisine, featuring a savory and subtly sweet flavor profile

My authentic recipe is your ticket to savoring authentic Japanese yakitori right in your own backyard, in the company of other classic Japanese grilling skewers like Pork Belly Yakiton and Beef Kushuyaki. It’s a taste of Japan that anyone can enjoy, and its simplicity ensures a delicious outcome every time!



  • Chicken – boneless and skinless chicken thigh.
  • Green Onion – finely chopped green onion scallions.
  • Wooden Skewer– grilling skewers. If using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them for at least 10 minutes so they don’t burn on the grill.
  • 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– freshly diced garlic.

🍗 Chicken Ingredient Note

Traditional chicken thigh are used in yakitori. However, if you prefer, you can also opt for Chicken Breast as a suitable 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, allowing you to savor the authentic flavors of tare even when mirin is not at hand.

Japanese grilled chicken skewers yakitori negima served on a black plate garnished with toasted sesame seeds.

Essential Kitchen Equipment

🍢 Skewer Pro Tip

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


🍖 Brining Pro Tip

To achieve Juicy Yakitori, take the extra step to brine them in a solution of 2 Cups of Water with 2 Tablespoons of Salt for 30-45 Minutes. However, it’s crucial to avoid over-brining, as this can result in overly salty and mushy chicken.

Step 1 Prepare the tare sauce by combining Japanese sake, soy sauce, sweetener, bonito flakes or hondashi, grated garlic, and water in a saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced. Strain the sauce, divide the sauce into two bowls, one for basting and the other for drizzling before serving.

Yakitori tare sauce in a pot.

⚡ 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 pre-soaked wooden/bamboo skewers with cubed chicken pieces and green onions.

Chicken skewered with green onions.

Step 3 Grill on a BBQ at 350°F, covered, for 8-10 minutes, rotating and basting every 2 minutes.

Chicken grilled on BBQ

🌡 Internal Temperature Check

Grill your yakitori to a safe internal temperature of 165°F for perfectly cooked and safe-to-eat chicken skewers.

Step 4 Drizzle reserved sauce, sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and optional togarashi or ground red pepper on top before serving.

Yakitori served on a plate.

Recipe Variations

If you choose to skip the negi or green onions in your Negima Yakitori, you’ll be creating a delightful classic variation of ‘Tare Yakitori’. This version focuses on the rich flavors of the savory tare sauce and tender chicken without the added green onion crunch.

Paring Recommendations

While you’re enjoying the grill, consider adding a variety of other yakitori skewers to your menu. You can savor the smoky goodness of Bacon Wrapped Enoki, the delightful flavor of Bacon Wrapped Quail Eggs, or the savory Tsukune Chicken Meatballs. To complement these savory delights, serve up a refreshing Japanese style Wafu Salad.

Japanese grilled chicken skewers yakitori negima being picked up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find bonito flakes or Hondashi for the tare sauce if I don't have access to a Japanese store?

You can find both bonito flakes and Hondashi on Amazon. These products are often available for purchase online, making it convenient to access them even if you don't have a nearby Japanese store.

What is the recommended grill temperature for cooking Negima Yakitori?

The recommended grill temperature for cooking yakitori is 350°F with the cover closed.

Can I marinate the chicken in the tare sauce before skewering it?

Traditionally, yakitori is not marinated in the tare sauce before skewering. Instead, the tare sauce is used for basting during and after cooking to infuse the skewers with its savory flavors.

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.

Other Recipes You Might Like

BEST 25 EASY & HEALTHY Recipes Sent Directly to Your Inbox RIGHT NOW!

Plus Monthly NEW RECIPES Exclusively from LCA!

By subscribing you agree to receive our promotional marketing materials and agree with our Privacy Policy.

Watch How To Make It

Japanese grilled chicken skewers yakitori negima served on a black plate garnished with toasted sesame seeds.

Negima Yakitori

Enjoy the authentic taste of Negima Yakitori, Japanese chicken skewers that are irresistibly delicious.
4.50 from 14 votes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Japanese chicken skewers, Negima Yakitori, yakatori recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 3 Skewers
Print Recipe
Calories: 313kcal



  • 1/2 lb Chicken Thigh
  • 3 Stalk Green Onions
  • 3-6 Wooden Skewers
  • 1/8 tsp Toasted Sesame Seed optional

Yakitori Tare

  • 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 1/8 tsp of hondashi
  • 1 Clove Garlic


  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Ingredients for yakitori.
  • Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 10 minutes.
    Skewers in water.
  • Finely dice garlic and set aside.
    Diced 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 tare sauce in a pot.
  • In the meantime, cut green onions into 1 inch pieces and set aside.
    Chopped green onions.
  • Cut 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.
    Chicken skewered with green onions.
  • Preheat grill to 350F. Once grill is preheated, reduce heat to medium-low and place skewers on the grill. Using a basting brush, generously brush marinade on each skewer and close lid. Rotate skewers every 2 minutes basting on each rotation and until done - should take around 8-10 minutes or once internal temp reaches 165F. Transfer to serving plate and sprinkle optional Toasted Sesame Seed. Note - drizzle reserve sauce on prior to serving.
    Chicken grilled on BBQ


Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 538mg | Vitamin A: 179IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg
*Values Based Per Serving
Looking for Other Recipes?Sign Up to Get RECIPES Sent Directly to Your Inbox!



  1. Melina Nancy

    Delicious recipe.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *