Marinated Hawaiian air fryer teriyaki chicken kabobs are made in an air fryer and served with a dark sweet and savory dipping sauce. Get the homemade yakitori experience with a fun juicy Hawaiian twist.
I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like teriyaki chicken. I gave this crowd-pleasing dish a summery re-interpretation with the addition of sweet and slightly sour pineapple. The sweet soy sauce, refreshing pineapple, and the earthiness of the ginger and garlic are a beautiful balance of flavors.
If you have seen my other recipes, you know that I am no stranger to preparing skewers inside an air fryer. No need to spend all that time getting the BBQ going with my trusted little machine.
Looking for a new recipe for air fryer chicken kabobs? Let’s get adventurous and try something new by combining different cuisines with this Hawaiian teriyaki chicken recipe.
What Is Teriyaki Chicken?
Teriyaki chicken is a much loved Japanese dish. The star is the teriyaki sauce itself because it can be prepared with many different proteins such as pork, salmon or tofu. The sauce can be used as a marinade, a dipping sauce or a glaze, depending on the dish.
If you are eager to try a copycat recipe of your favorite Japanese take-out and don’t quite want to make the leap to finicky sushi, teriyaki is an excellent place to start. Most recipes, including mine, only call for a handful of ingredients and don’t require any complicated cooking methods.
The basic traditional recipe only calls for 3-4 ingredients:
- Dark soy sauce
- Sake and/or mirin
I know that cooking sake and mirin (Japanese rice wine) are two ingredients you can’t always find in your local supermarket. That is why I have adapted the recipe slightly for more accessible ingredients.
Ingredients for Hawaiian Air Fryer Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
- Can of Pineapple Chunks in Pineapple Juice (Reserve juice for sauce)
- 8″ Skewers (Or whichever size fits in your air fryer)
- Sesame Seeds
- Soy Sauce
- Brown Sugar
- Pineapple Juice
- Minced Garlic
- Minced Ginger
- Cold Water
How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Teriyaki Kabobs
I have several recipes for air fryer shish kabobs on my blog so yes, it is definitely possible to get that grilled skewer flavor from an air fryer. My latest experiment is teriyaki chicken kabosb with pineapple and it turned out fantastic.
There are a few different components to pay attention to in this recipe. Of course, how you prepare the teriyaki sauce but also the skewers and the cut of chicken. Let me explain everything.
How to Make Teriyaki Sauce
This sweet teriyaki sauce with pineapple isn’t a traditional Japanese teriyaki sauce, I am fully aware. But I stand by the addition of pineapple because it makes the sauce that much more vibrant.
This recipe calls for dark salty soy sauce and is given the characteristic teriyaki sweetness with brown sugar. The pineapple juice balances it out but perhaps more importantly, it keeps the chicken breast soft and moist.
The most important thing when preparing the sauce is to not let it burn in the pan. It is better to let it reduce slowly than to have a burnt sugar taste. Trust me, it won’t taste like caramel.
The corn starch and water mixture are to thicken the sauce but it also helps to prevent burning. Don’t go overboard with the corn starch and be patient when waiting for it to thicken.
How to Make Skewers for Air Fryer Cooking
Bring out the measuring tape and check how large your air fryer basket is. The skewers should be just a 1-2 inches shorter than the basket’s diameter. This is to prevent scratching the sides and for easy turning of the skewers.
One of the questions homecooks often ask me is how long to soak wooden skewers before using them on a grill. Good news, you can skip this step when using an air fryer!
The soaking of wooden and bamboo skewers is to prevent them from burning on the grill. Despite the high heat inside the air fryer, there is a much smaller chance of them burning. Still, if you want to be on the safe side, you can soak the skewers for up to 10 minutes in cold water before stringing on the marinated chicken.
How to Choose the Right Cut of Chicken for Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs
Most of my recipes call for chicken breast because this is a leaner healthier protein. Another reason why chicken breast works especially well for this recipe is the marination. I advise you let it marinade in the fridge for at least 30 minutes but no more than 2 hours.
I marinate chicken in teriyaki sauce so that the garlic, ginger and pineapple create a softer texture. Chicken only needs a short marination time because it runs the risk of becoming slightly slimy if left too long. This is especially true of the dark cuts of meat on a chicken.
That being said, other cuts of boneless chicken will still taste delicious. In fact, tradition teriyaki chicken is often made with chicken thighs. However, with other cuts of chicken it is best not to let it marinade for more than 1 hour for this recipe.
What to Serve with Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
The flavor of these chicken skewers are an absolute dream without being overpowering so you want to pair it with the right side dishes. That is, if you don’t want to wolf them down all on their own.
This is a great dish for a family yakitori night. Yakitori is how the Japanese describe all kinds of skewers. It is often served as an accompaniment to a night of drinking.
For a full meal, serve with teppanyaki fried rice, steamed white rice, or brown rice. The soy flavor goes beautifully with leafy greens such as spinach salad with sesame sauce but also miso-glazed bok choy and a Japanese bean sprout salad.
There are many more air fryer skewer recipes to come but for now, I would love to see how this recipe turned out for you. Don’t forget to share your final dishes with me via Instagram. I love seeing them and am happy to help you troubleshoot, if necessary.
Air Fryer Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs
- 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
- 1-20 oz Can of Pineapple Chunks in Pineapple Juice, Reserve juice for sauce
- 8 ” Skewers, Or whichever size fits in your air fryer
- Sesame Seeds, for topping
- ½ cup Soy Sauce
- ¼ cup Brown Sugar
- 2 tablespoon Pineapple Juice
- 2 tablespoon Minced Garlic
- 2 teaspoon Minced Ginger
Slurry for Sauce
- 2 tablespoon Cold Water
- 2 tablespoon Cornstarch
- Slice chicken breasts into 1" cubes.
- In a saucepan, heat together teriyaki sauce ingredients. Reserve half of the marinade for sauce and pour the other half on the diced chicken. Allow chicken to marinate for 30 minutes.
- While it marinates, bring the remaining sauce in the pot to medium-high heat until it simmers. Mix together the cold water and cornstarch in a small dish and add to the saucepan. Whisk together and continue to simmer until it has thickened.
- Make the skewers by adding pineapple chunks and chicken.
- Spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil. Add a single layer of chicken skewers to the basket and set the temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the timer to 6 minutes, then flip, and cook for 4-6 more minutes until chicken is cooked through and the sauce has lightly caramelized on the outside.
- Use reserved sauce for topping chicken and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
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