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Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Yakitori

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These Japanese inspired grilled chicken skewers are made with chicken thighs and zucchini, marinaded with yakitori sauce threaded onto bamboo sticks with green onions.

Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Yakitori – Japanese inspired grilled chicken and zucchini skewers marinated with yakitori sauce and threaded onto bamboo sticks with green onions. 

Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Yakitori

Chicken Yakitori reminds me of my college days in Soho living on a student budget. Me and my girlfriend met after class 3 to 4 times a week in this cute little Japanese restaurant in the Village where paper origami birds hung from the ceiling. I was broke, so I usually ordered the chicken yakitori off the appetizer menu which always came with a bowl of white rice. I recreated that dish, only I added some zucchini as well to add some veggies.

Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Yakitori – Japanese inspired grilled chicken and zucchini skewers marinated with yakitori sauce and threaded onto bamboo sticks with green onions. 

These Japanese-inspired grilled chicken skewers are made with boneless chicken thighs and zucchini. You can serve this as an appetizer or make it a meal with rice, salad or more vegetables.

Personally, I love having this for dinner like I did back in my college days. As for the chicken, I prefer dark meat to white so I use boneless skinless chicken thighs. You could use chicken breast if you prefer white meat instead.

Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Yakitori – Japanese inspired grilled chicken and zucchini skewers marinated with yakitori sauce and threaded onto bamboo sticks with green onions. 

Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Yakitori – Japanese inspired grilled chicken and zucchini skewers marinated with yakitori sauce and threaded onto bamboo sticks with green onions. 

More Chicken Skewer Recipe

Chicken and Zucchini Yakitori

5 from 1 vote
Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Yakitori – Japanese inspired grilled chicken and zucchini skewers marinated with yakitori sauce and threaded onto bamboo sticks with green onions.
Course: Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine: Chinese, Japanese
Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Yakitori – Japanese inspired grilled chicken and zucchini skewers marinated with yakitori sauce and threaded onto bamboo sticks with green onions. 
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Marinate Time: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 3 1/2 chicken skewers, 1 zucchini 


  • 2 tablespoons mirin sake
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce, for GF use low sodium Tamari
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, all fat trimmed (Purdue Fit & Easy)
  • 5 large green onions, cut 1-inch-long
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rings
  • 18 10 inch bamboo skewers


  • Bring mirin, low sodium soy sauce, honey and crushed garlic to a boil in a medium-sized sauce pan, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Set aside to cool.
  • Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces and place in a ziplock bag; pour half of the marinade over the chicken.
  • Place the zucchini in a second large ziplock bag and pour the remaining marinade over the zucchini.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, soak the skewers in water 30 minutes so they don't burn.
  • Thread the chicken onto skewers, alternating with green onion so that each stick has 3 cubes of chicken and two pieced of green onion, discarding the chicken marinade.
  • Thread the zucchini onto skewers, alternating with remaining green onion, reserving the marinade for basting.
  • Preheat the grill or a grill pan over medium-high heat.
  • When hot, spray with oil then reduced heat to medium; grill the zucchini and chicken skewers about 5 to 6 minutes on each side brushing both sides of the skewers with the yakitori sauce during the last few minutes of cooking time.

Last Step:

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Makes 14 chicken skewers, 4 zucchini skewers.
*Note: It's really hard to be accurate with the sodium here since
most of it is tossed, I calculated it with 2 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp
mirin, but it would actually be less.
Yakitori marinade recipe adapted from


Serving: 3 1/2 chicken skewers, 1 zucchini , Calories: 213.5 kcal, Carbohydrates: 14 g, Protein: 21 g, Fat: 8.5 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 72 mg, Sodium: 618.5 mg, Fiber: 1.5 g, Sugar: 10 g


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77 comments on “Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Yakitori”

  1. I make this all the time. My kids even love it. I usually don’t kabab the chicken and zucchini. That marinade is everything!

    1. I reduced the soy sauce by half. Check the label of the mirin you use as many brands have added salt. I couldn’t find one without added salt so I used a combination of white wine and unseasoned rice vinegar. Also make sure you’re buying chicken that doesn’t have added salt or is treated/injected with a sodium solution. Even with these changes we thought the recipe was delicious.

  2. I’m a busy mom of two under three who works full time and tries my best to cook every night for the family, which can be rough! I just finished prepping this and I still have plenty of time to spare to spend some time with the kiddos before dad comes home! I sincerely appreciate all of the quick and easy meals… And they are absolutely are all delicious and never disappoint! 

  3. This was delish. Needed a change in menu at my house and this was perfect. My boys ate it up. Absolutely a keeper 

  4. Very tasty! I substituted rice wine vinegar for the mirin sake, and added red bell peppers for extra veggies. Grilled up some Naan bread with it, and this was a fantastic, light dinner. I'm betting it the sauce would be excellent on shrimp as well…

  5. Is the sauce supposed to get thick? Last time I made it the sauce was thin. I loved the flavors I just wasn't sure I did it right.

  6. "Me and my BFF Gabbie used to meet 3 to 4 times a week"

    Correction: "My BFF and I used to meet 3 to 4 times a week"

  7. Perdue is better because generic chicken is pumped up with steroids and then injected with "chicken broth" which is mostly just salt and water. That makes it bigger and weigh more. It also is usually only trimmed on sides you'll see in the package.
    Generic chicken may be a little cheaper, but it is actually disgusting when you know why. Perdue chicken is fed better, has no steroids, and isn't injected full of "broth".

    I used to work at the meat counter at a popular grocery chain. And i would NEVER buy generic meats at any store.

  8. Any idea what I can sub for the honey? We are doing low carb and I'd rather not use it. I do have seasoned rice vinegar, which has a small amount of sugar. Think it would be ok if I just used that and the soy sauce?

  9. Actually, mirin and sake are not the same thing. Mirin can be found by the rice wine vinegar in the asian section of most grocery stores and is a sweet japanese cooking wine with seasonings. Sake is the generic term for rice wine.

  10. Avatar photo
    Stringham Family

    So excited to try this for tomorrow nights dinner! I had planned on finding something that I could throw in the crockpot so that dinner would be ready when I came home from work, but this looks so simple, healthy, and so AMAZING all together that I just can't pass up the opportunity to make these! Thanks once again for a fantastic recipe! Can't wait to try it!

  11. Today I had a time crunch so couldn't skewer & grill. Instead I used a grill pan on the stovetop and got it done really quickly. I had added yellow bell pepper chunks to the veggies, and I also substituted ginger syrup (my current obsession) for the honey. Served over steamed white rice. Very simple, easy and tasty. Will make again and already planning to serve mini skewers of this recipe at a poolside cocktail party this summer. Thanks Gina!

  12. Made this and loved it! It was delish and my 14 month old gobbled it up! Another winner that will be on the rotation this summer.

  13. I love zucchini! This was a really great pairing. I don't really do the skewer thing, so I just made this as a meal in a bowl. It was fantastic. My boyfriend loved it, too. We're going to make it again this week!

  14. Made this for dinner tonight & my 4yo twins LOVED it, as did the hubby. It was so delicious. I will definitely be making it again soon.

    1. Avatar photo
      Skinnytaste Gina

      It doesn't matter what brand you use, as long as the fat is all trimmed off. Basically they sell it very trim and lean.

  15. This looks amazing. Is it like Korean BBQ or Bulgogi? Because that would be amazing. There are so many veggies you could sub in and out too. So exciting.

  16. Great recipe. I made this last night and it was delicious. I used chicken breasts (could not find thighs) and I cooked it in a cast iron skillet (no grill). Came out great. Thanks!

  17. This was delicious. We made them tonight and loved every bite! I added pineapple to the chicken kabobs and mushrooms to the zucchini. Thanks for all of the great (and easy) recipes!

  18. Avatar photo
    Sheryl Rauscher

    What is mirin sake and where do ib find it? When I google it it lists mirin and sake as two separate things. Thanks!!!

  19. Gina, I put this in my WW recipe builder and got 9 WW+ points/serving for 4 servings (34 points total). For some reason all of your recipes with boneless, skinless chicken thighs come out higher than listed. Are you weighing them again after cutting off the fat?

    1. Avatar photo
      Skinnytaste Gina

      I calculated on Recipe builder with Purdue Fit & Easy which is trimmed of all fat. I'm not sure that the generic chicken thigh is for a thigh that is trimmed of fat, it doesn't say. I noticed Bare chicken thighs are also the same as Purdue. Also, I noted that I tossed most of the marinade, which may effect the points.

    2. Thanks! It seems like the Perdue and "Just Bare" brands are lower in points than standard boneless, skinless thighs according to the recipe builder. Not sure why, but good to know for the future.

  20. I've never had yakatori sauce but that's about the last time I'll say that! Looks great and I have to try it. Thanks for posting the recipe.

  21. Made this tonight, it was yummy yummy! Even my 4 y/o picky eating twins loved it. I had to make adaptions. I can't have alcohol, so I used vegetable broth in it's place. I am allergic to soy, so I use coconut aminos instead. It was still super yummy. I didn't have skewers, so I just grilled it on my foreman grill and made some rice (more broth and aminos) and mixed it with some vegetables. mmmmm

  22. Avatar photo
    Whitney English, To Live and Diet in L.A.

    This looks delicious! Think I'm going to have to make these for my BBQ this weekend. I love skewers in the summertime 🙂

  23. Avatar photo

    I love grilled zucchini. This chicken and zucchini looks great. Looking at Jessica's comment mushrooms sound really good too!

  24. Avatar photo
    Maureen Fiorellini

    These will work on an indoor grill or even a pannini press if you have one. Can't wait to make these,yum!

  25. These sound delicious, and I am determined to make them, but can't have a grill at my condo, does anyone know if you can cook skewers on a george foreman grill? Probably a silly question, but I have only cooked plain meat on it so far.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Avatar photo

      If it's because of the alcohol, I'd use rice wine vinegar. If you don't mind using alcohol, you could substitute with white wine.

  26. I need alternative cooking directions.. no grill. How can I make these?!? (Yes on the mushrooms! cherry tomatoes, squash, green beans rather then onion, bell peppers, this is awesome)

  27. Avatar photo
    Nigel Klaus Chiu

    The blog is awesome! Thanks for sharing all these healthy and tasty food for us. It is so amazing of how attractive the food looks like that only 213.5 Calories. This is going into my diet plan!

  28. Avatar photo
    Naurin Gilger

    Gina, what of grill do you use? I use my indoor grill but think I need to invest in a new one.

  29. These are going on my menu for tomorrow! I think I'll add some mushrooms to the zucchini skewers, yum!

  30. The shocking thing is, I actually have all of these ingredients… including the Mirin. Yay me! LOL We'll be giving these a try (with breasts). I'm all over anything that involves zucchini, especially grilled zucchini!

  31. Avatar photo

    Oh gosh those look so good! I'm half Japanese and love Yakitori and anything asian flavored!

    Such a perfect main part of a meal for a day after lifting too. Hooray for protein!

  32. Avatar photo
    Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking

    I love the sweet & salty flavors you used in these skewers, Gina! They look like they'd make for a delicious low-carb meal or BBQ party food!