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Grilled Chili Sesame Chicken Breast Recipe

Grilled Chili Sesame Chicken

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Chef Tylun Pang
  • Total Time: 40 minutes plus overnight marinating
  • Yield: Serves 6-8 1x


Sweet, umami-loaded chicken is marinated overnight, then gently grilled and crowned by a succulent sauce and toasted sesame seeds. 


Units Scale

For the Chicken:

  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (1.36 kg)

For the Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup finely sliced green onions (25g)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (15g)
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and minced ginger (15g)
  • 1 cup soy sauce (240ml)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (200g)
  • 1 cup water (240ml)
  • 1 cup mirin (240ml)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (30ml)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tablespoon dried chili flakes (1.5 to 3g, adjust for heat preference)

For the Sauce:

  • Reserved 1 cup marinade
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (9g)

For Garnishing:

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (9g)
  • 1/4 cup chopped spring onion


Prepare the Marinade

  • Mix Marinade Ingredients:
    • In a large container with a lid, combine green onions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, light brown sugar, water, mirin, sesame oil, and chili flakes.
  • Reserve Some Marinade:
    • Before adding the chicken, reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade to use as a sauce later. Set aside.

Marinate the Chicken

  • Marinate:
    • Add the chicken thighs to the container with the remaining marinade. Mix well to ensure the chicken is evenly coated.
    • Cover the container and refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally for even marination.

Prepare the Sauce

  • Make the Sauce:
    • In a small saucepan, bring the reserved 1/2 cup of marinade to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5-7 minutes until slightly thickened.
    • Toast 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until golden brown. Add to the sauce and set aside.

Grill the Chicken

  • Grill Chicken:
    • Preheat the grill to medium heat. If using a charcoal grill, prepare a moderate kiawe (mesquite) charcoal fire.
    • Grill the chicken thighs for about 6-7 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C) and the chicken is nicely charred and cooked through.
    • If you don’t have a grill, you can cook the chicken under your oven broiler.


  • Garnish and Serve:
    • Arrange the grilled chicken on a platter or individual plates.
    • Drizzle the prepared sesame sauce over the chicken.
    • Garnish with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and additional spring onions.
    • Serve immediately.


  • Marinade: Make sure to reserve some of the marinade before adding the chicken to avoid contamination.
  • Mirin Substitute: If you don’t have mirin, you can substitute it with a mix of rice vinegar and sugar (1 tablespoon of rice vinegar + 1 tablespoon of sugar = 2 tablespoons of mirin).
  • Grill Alternatives: If you don’t have a grill, an oven broiler or stovetop grill pan can be used.
  • Spice Level: Adjust the amount of chili flakes to your heat preference.
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Marinating Time: 12 hours
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Asian American


  • Serving Size: 5oz (150g)
  • Calories: 290
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Sodium: 920mg
  • Fat: 16g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 11g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 11g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 25g
  • Cholesterol: 110gm
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