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Kalyn's Kitchen

Low-Sugar (or sugar-free) Teriyaki Chicken

I love this delicious Teriyaki Chicken recipe with just a little brown sugar, but you can also use all sweetener and make it sugar-free and low-carb if you prefer. This tasty chicken is also low-glycemic and South Beach Diet friendly, and can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free soy sauce. Use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.

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

When my friend Bonnie told me she made Low-Sugar (or sugar-free) 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 this 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 Teriyaki Chicken was from her, and it’s been so good that I’ve never imagined any other way of making this dish.

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, 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 Low-Sugar (or sugar-free) Teriyaki 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, hope you enjoy!

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

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.

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

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.

Make it a Meal:

This Low-Sugar Teriyaki Chicken would be great with something like Roasted Broccoli with Soy Sauce and Sesame Seeds for  a phase one or low-carb meal.

More Chicken Dinners to Enjoy:

Slow Cooker or Pressure cooker ChickenIndex ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Baked Pesto Chicken from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Oven-Baked Chicken with Feta Cheese from Nami Nami
Chicken Stuffed with Green Chiles and Cheese from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Low Sugar (or Sugar-Free) Teriyaki Chicken


  • 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, see note.)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sweetener of your choice (use more or less, depending on how sweet you like it.)
  • 1 T brown sugar (optional, use more sweetener for sugar-free version)
  • 1 T ginger puree or fresh grated ginger root
  • 1 T garlic puree or fresh garlic, finely diced


  1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
  2. Put soy sauce, water, sweetener, 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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 15-20 minutes more, basting with sauce every 5 minutes. Serve hot.
  6. 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.


This recipe was adapted from one I got years ago from a friend who had lived in Hawaii.

To make this gluten-free, be sure to use Gluten-Free Soy Sauce. I like Stevia Granulated Sweetener for the sweetener, but use any sweetener you prefer.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
If you’re making Low-Sugar (or sugar-free) Teriyaki Chicken for the South Beach Diet, chicken breasts are definitely recommended over thighs for South Beach. Even with the 1 T of brown sugar I added to the recipe I would still consider this Low-Sugar Teriyaki Chicken to be low-carb or South Beach Phase One, because you’re only eating the small amount of sauce that clings to one piece of chicken, but use all sweetener if you prefer.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

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46 comments on “Low-Sugar (or sugar-free) Teriyaki Chicken”

  1. Just wondering if the T stands for TSP or TBSP. Thanks!

  2. I tried this recipe but instead of doing it in the oven i let the sauce cool off and used it as a marinade with my chicken for 3 hours then grilled it. Was surprised at how good this recipe was. I think its better than panda express

  3. Pingback: Seriously Crispy Baked Buffalo Drumsticks | All Day I Dream About Food

  4. Pingback: Homemade Teriyaki Sauce Recipe - Crunchy Creamy Sweet

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

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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. 🙂

  9. Bobbi, so glad you enjoyed it!

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

  15. 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.

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

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

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

  19. Love the ginger in this recipe.

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

  21. 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.

  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. 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!

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

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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!

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

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

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

  31. 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!

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

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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!

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

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

  40. 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.

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

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

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

  44. I like ginger alot!


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