Beef Japanese Main Course Recipes

Teriyaki Beef Skewers

Tender beef in a Teriyaki marinade of soy, sugar, mirin, ginger, garlic and vinegar is grilled to perfection. The sauce is then thickened and used for dipping. | Share

Teriyaki is a popular Japanese cooking technique in which meat or fish is grilled, broiled or pan fried after being marinated in a sweet and savory sauce. The term teriyaki actually refers to the cooking method and not the sauce. It’s a combination of two Japanese words: teri (照り) meaning luster or shine, and yaki (焼き) meaning grilled.

Chureito Pagoda and Mount Fuji, Japan. Photo: David Edelstein

Teriyaki beef cooking tips

This teriyaki beef recipe can be adapted to frying the beef in a cast iron frying pan with a little vegetable oil. Another option, is to cook it in the oven under the broiler. However, using the grill adds subtle smoky and charred flavours to the meat. That’s something you only get when cooking over a flame.

For the marinade

The basic ingredients of teriyaki are soy sauce, and mirin (a sweet Japanese rice wine). This recipe is enhanced with some sugar, ginger and garlic. To help the marinating process, we’ll also add a little oil and vinegar. Use sesame oil or any light vegetable oil such as sunflower oil. Adding a little rice vinegar provides a bit of tang to this otherwise sweet sauce. If you don’t have rice wine, then try some apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar. 

The distinct Teriyaki flavour comes from the mirin. You’ll find it in various forms at most Asian grocers. With some searching, you will also find various Mirin flavoured seasonings. But using real wine is best. A decent substitute is a sweet wine like Marsala or sherry.

If you don’t have any fresh ginger or garlic on hand, you could substitute 1 tsp of garlic powder and 1 tsp of ginger powder. A nice variation is to add some chopped fresh Thai basil. Its rich aromas add an extra dimension yet blend well with the other ingredients.

For the dipping sauce

This is optional but a nice touch. Use the reserved marinade, simmer, then whisk in a slurry of cornstarch and water. Heat until thickened.

For the beef

For best results, use beef tenderloin, also known as filet mignon. This meat is the most tender cut of beef and has little fat or sinew. You can substitute a cut of top-grade grilling beef like striploin, sirloin or flank steak. Just trim off the sinews and excess fat. Cut the meat into roughly one-inch cubes before adding them to the marinade.

Add some vegetable skewers to the grill

Grilled vegies and beef
Yakitori Grilled Vegetables

Marinated, skewered mushrooms and vegetables are grilled to make the ideal sidedish for teriyaki beef or other grilled meats.

Teriyaki beef goes great with rice and some grilled vegetables. And to keep with the Japanese theme, try our Yakitori grilled vegetables recipe. Select from Japanese, Mediterranean or Western vegetable medleys or create your own.

Another way to grill vegetables is with a barbecue grilling rack or barbecue wok. No skewers required. Just cut up your vegies, then toss them in a little vegetable oil and seasoning of your choice. I like to use steak spice. Cook on the grill rack or wok for about 8 to 12 minutes or until tender.

teriyaki beef

Grilled Teriyaki Beef Skewers

Kevin Lamoureux
Cubes of tender beef are marinated in a delicious sweet and savory Teriyaki sauce. Skewer, grill and serve with a Teriyaki dipping sauce.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
marination 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 4
Calories 338 kcal


  • 4 bamboo skewers (12-inch)
  • 1 large shallow dish (for marinating)
  • 1 small sauce pan for cooking the dipping sauce
  • 1 gas or charcoal barbecue grill



  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup mirin Japanese rice wine
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Dipping Sauce (made with the marinade)

  • ¾ cup marinade (from above)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • ½ cup water

Meat & Garnish

  • 1 lb beef tenderloin cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 green onion chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds


  • Prepare the Marinade
    In a bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients. Place the beef in a shallow dish or a freezer bag. Pour about ⅔ of the marinade over the beef while reserving the other third for later to be used for the sauce. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Make the sauce
    Add the reserved marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. In a small glass, stir to dissolve the cornstarch in the water. For a thicker sauce use a little more cornstarch. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the simmering sauce until it thickens. Turn off the heart, cover and set aside. Reheat later when ready to serve.
  • Prepare the skewers
    Soak the wooden skewers in water while the beef marinates. After marinating, thread the beef cubes onto the skewers then set on a plate.
  • Prepare the grill
    Heat up the barbecue grill to high, about 450℉. Oil the grill or use a non-stick spray before putting the skewers on the grill.
  • Grill the beef skewers
    To cook to your desired doneness use these times as a guide: Rare 3-4 minutes; Medium 5-6 minutes; Well done 7-8 minutes. Turn to sear all sides during cooking.
  • Garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.


Grilling times should be similar to cooking a ¾-inch thick steak.
Serve with rice and grilled vegetables.
Per serving
Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 7g | Iron: 3mg
Keyword beef, Teriyaki

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