This healthy and low carb version of paleo chicken yakitori is super flavorful, while being easy to make. It’s the perfect Whole30 and keto summer grilling recipe!
We’ve been nonstop grilling these days and I’ve been loving it. Our meals have been quick, easy and flavorful for this reason and my husband and I are not complaining one bit. My recent creation is this paleo chicken yakitori, and I made it after recently going through photos of my trip to Japan last year. Not only did we have the most amazing sushi and raw fish, we had the yummiest and the most addicting grilled meats.
Paleo Chicken Yakitori Recipe
Traditionally, a Japanese chicken yakitori recipe uses sugar to give that sweet and smoky taste to the sauce. However, in this low carb and low sugar version, I use medjool dates and coconut aminos to create that natural sweetness without giving you that sugar hangover.
Not only is this paleo chicken yakitori recipe much healthier, you actually can’t notice much of the a difference from the traditional version! Of course, if you are not doing the Whole30 challenge, you can substitute medjool dates with honey and it’ll still be healthier than the traditional version.
What is Japanese Chicken Yakitori?
Yakitori is Japanese chicken skewers that’s seasoned with salt and/or sauce. When a sauce is used, it’s usually a flavor combination of salty and sweet, which makes it super addicting and delicious (like my version here!). It’s a popular street food in Japan, and typically enjoyed with an alcoholic beverage like sake or beer.
When I was in Japan with my parents, we ended up at a yakitori shop late at night where there were many young and old patrons enjoying these Japanese chicken skewers while continuously ordering drinks with friends. It was such a fun and lively atmosphere!
Tips for Making This Paleo Chicken Yakitori
These Japanese chicken skewers are easy and fun to make! It also cooks quickly so you’ll have it on the table in no time, perfect for weekday grilling. To make these extra delicious and flavorful, I do suggest the following.
- Use chicken thighs instead of breasts. They are juicier and more flavorful, and it’ll ensure that the meat doesn’t dry out.
- Cut the chicken into squares that are flat. This way, you only have to grill 2 sides of the chicken (and not 4) for it to fully cook through quickly.
- Do not leave out tapioca starch for the sauce. This helps the yakitori sauce thicken. You can also substitute with arrowroot starch if that’s what you have on hand.
- Don’t forget to season the grill with oil! Nothing ruins thin cut meats quicker on the grill than when they stick to the grill and fall apart.
- This Japanese chicken yakitori can easily be made AIP compliant with simple omissions and substitutions. This won’t change the flavor too much so I hope you try it out if you are on the autoimmune protocol!
Other recipes you may love…
- Grilled Lemon Curry Shrimp Skewers
- Grilled Salmon Skewers with Lemon Garlic Marinade
- Curry Chicken Skewers
- Paleo & Whole30 Sesame Chicken
Paleo Chicken Yakitori aka Japanese Chicken Skewers (Whole30, Keto, AIP Option)
- Bamboo or metal skewers
- 2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into flat 1-2 inch squares
- 1 bunch green onions cut into 1 inch pieces
- Salt and pepper to taste, omit pepper for AIP
- Toasted sesame seeds for garnish, omit for AIP
- If using bamboo skewers, soak them for 20 minutes.
- Place all ingredients for the yakitori sauce in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour into a small saucepan and heat over medium high heat. Let the mixture come to a boil for about 3 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat.
- Separate 1/2 cup of the sauce for basting the chicken, and set aside the rest for serving.
- Thread the chicken pieces and green onions on the skewers, alternating them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Generously grease the grill so the chicken won't stick, then heat the grill over medium high heat.
- Add the skewers on the grill, cover, and cook for 2 minutes. Flip the skewers and repeat.
- Brush the top layer of skewers with the prepared yakitori sauce, then cover and cook for 2 more minutes. Flip the chicken, and repeat by putting on another layer of the sauce on the other side and cooking for 2 more minutes.
- Serve immediately, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and with extra yakitori sauce.
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