Teriyaki chicken donburi with chopsticks and sesame seeds

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Did you know that it is considered rude to leave food on your plate in Japan? Well, the good news is that after making this delicious Teriyaki Chicken Donburi you’re sure to have no leftovers in sight. Combining tender chicken with a sweet and sticky sauce and fluffy sushi rice. This is a nutritious and flavoursome rice bowl that is great for a mid-week pick-me-up!

What is it?

Originating from Japan, this popular dish can be made with almost any mixture of ingredients – from fish to beef, and with an array of toppings and sauces.

Donburi literally means ‘bowl’ in Japanese. It is commonly used as the catch-all phrase for a bowl with rice and other ingredients. You might also see this occasionally on some menus as just ‘Don’.

When it comes to the teriyaki part of this recipe, this is a beautifully rich and sticky sauce that is made from cooking food in a combination of soy sauce, mirin (Japanese sweet wine) and sugar. It’s typically then used to glaze or coat meat, fish or veg before and during cooking.

Can I make donburi with normal rice?

Naturally, as this recipe is from Japan, it is traditionally made with sushi rice, which is a staple in most Japanese rice dishes. However, since the rice in this dish simply makes up the base of the dish and isn’t required to add structure (as it would in sushi) then you can swap it for any rice variety of your choosing.

Sushi rice has a short grain and is stickier than most other rice varieties as it contains more starch. The texture will be quite different. Therefore, it’s really up to you if you prefer the stickiness of sushi rice with the rich teriyaki sauce.

If you want to avoid sushi rice because you don’t like the flavour, then likely this is because of the addition to rice vinegar which is typically used to season sushi rice. Therefore, you could skip the vinegar rather than changing the rice. Conversely, if you can only find long grain rice and want to make it taste like sushi rice then you can simply add the vinegar.

Teriyaki Chicken Donburi in a bowl with chopsticks

Can I make it in advance?

This recipe is undoubtedly at its best when eaten freshly made. However, you can keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days before reheating. Add a few drops of water to the rice before reheating to stop it from drying out and make sure the rice is steaming hot before serving. 

Freezing is not recommended for the rice, although you can technically safely do so if frozen soon after cooking and reheated properly. However, the texture will not be the same and it may lose its stickiness. The teriyaki chicken can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before reheating.

Ingredients & substitutions

The main ingredients for this donburi are below. For a full list with weights and measurements jump to the printable recipe card.

As with most Japanese dishes, make sure to cut everything into bite-sized pieces, ideal for eating with chopsticks.

For the bowl

Teriyaki Chicken Donburi Ingredients
  • Sushi rice – while sushi rice is authentic, you can swap this for another type of rice if you prefer (or if you don’t have any sushi rice)
  • Chicken breast – breast meat is leaner and lighter in calories and fat, however you can also use thigh meat which is more succulent
  • Red onion, sliced
  • Cornflour/cornstarch
  • Broccoli, cut into small bite-sized flourets – you can also swap this for green beans, pak choy or mangetout/snow peas.
  • Sesame oil – if you don’t have any then walnut oil also adds great flavour, or in a pinch you can add olive oil although it won’t add the same rich taste
  • Rice vinegar – in a pinch you can substitute this for apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Carrot, sliced julienne (into very thin strips) – you can achieve this with a peeler with a julienne slicer such as this one, or you can alternatively peel it thinly,.
  • Spring onion/scallion, sliced thinly
  • Sesame seeds, toasted

For the teriyaki sauce

Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients
  • Soy sauce – use standard sauce, not dark
  • Soft brown sugar
  • Ginger paste
  • Garlic, minced or crushed
  • Honey
  • Mirin – if you can’t find Mirin then you can substitute for saki or dry sherry. If you don’t have these to hand then you can also use white wine vinegar with a little sugar mixed in (Mirin is a sweet wine). You can also buy non-alcoholic mirin from supermarkets if you don’t like to cook with alcohol.

How to make it

For detailed instructions and recipe tips jump to the printable recipe card.

Recipe Steps 1-5
  1. Wash the sushi rice well and then bring to a boil in a pan before reducing the heat and cooking for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add a lid to the pan and leave for a further 10 minutes.
  2. Fry the chicken and onion until the chicken is browned. Add the teriyaki sauce and cornflour mixed with water. Cook for around 10 minutes until thickened and sticky.
  3. Steam the broccoli and then drizzle over the sesame oil.
  4. Stir rice vinegar through the rice and then spoon into a bowl. Top with the teriyaki chicken, carrot and broccoli before scattering over the spring onion and sesame seeds.

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Teriyaki chicken donburi with chopsticks and sesame seeds

Teriyaki Chicken Donburi

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x


Combining tender chicken with a sweet and sticky sauce and fluffy sushi rice. This Teriyaki Chicken Donburi is a nutritious and flavoursome dish.

The default recipe serves 2


  • 150g / 2/3 cup sushi rice (see note 1)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium chicken breasts (around 120g/4.5oz each), chopped into small pieces (see note 2)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch, mixed with 2 tbsp cold water
  • 80g / 2.8oz broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 carrot, sliced julienne
  • 1 spring onion/scallion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

For the Teriyaki Sauce:

  • 60ml / 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1.5 tsp honey
  • 1.5 tbsp mirin (see note 3)


  1. Mix all the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce together in a bowl 
  2. Place the sushi rice in a bowl and pour in a little cold water (see note 4). Use your fingers to swill the water around the rice well until the water turns a light milky white colour. Drain the water and then fill and drain the bowl a couple of times until the water runs clear. 
  3. Add 200ml (100ml per portion) of cold water to a pan and add the rice. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to the minimum and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and place a lid on the pan and leave for a further 10 minutes. 
  4. While the rice is cooking heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the chicken and red onion. Cook for around 5 minutes until the chicken is browned all over. 
  5. Pour the teriyaki sauce over the chicken and then stir in the cornflour/cornstarch and water mixture. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Steam or boil the broccoli in a small pan until tender and then drizzle over the sesame oil.
  7. Stir the rice vinegar into the rice and spoon into a bowl. Arrange the teriyaki chicken mixture on top with the broccoli and carrots. Sprinkle over the spring onion and sesame seeds.


  1. While sushi rice is the traditional option to use in donburi, you can swap this for any other kind of rice.
  2. Chicken breasts are leaner and reduce the calories and fat in the dish, however, you can use chicken thigh meat instead, which is more tender.
  3. If you don’t have any mirin you can substitute this for sake or dry sherry. You can alternatively use white wine vinegar mixed with a little sugar.
  4. Make sure you wash the rice thoroughly or it will be less fluffy and more sticky. For best results soak for 10-20 minutes after washing. 
  5. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge and reheated. You may need to add a few drops of water to the rice before reheating to prevent it from drying out. 
  6. The teriyaki chicken can be frozen for up to 3 months. The rice can be frozen but I recommend against this as it will adversely affect the texture.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Hob / Stove
  • Cuisine: Japanese


  • Serving Size: 2
  • Calories: 650
  • Fat: 11g
  • Carbohydrates: 100g
  • Protein: 42g

Keywords: japanese, dinner, easy, rice, chicken, sauce

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