Paleo Chicken Yakitori aka Japanese Chicken Skewers (Whole30, Keto, AIP Option)

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!

paleo chicken yakitori recipe prepared on the grill and served with sauce

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.

Japanese chicken yakitori sauce getting brushed on chicken
paleo chicken yakitori - one of my favorite Whole30 chicken recipes!

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!

Japanese chicken skewers close up

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!
paleo chicken yakitori dipped in sauce

Other recipes you may love…

Paleo Chicken Yakitori aka Japanese Chicken Skewers (Whole30, Keto, AIP Option)

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!
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: aip grilling, asian chicken recipes, chicken skewers, grill chicken recipes, keto grill recipes, low carb grilling, whole30 chicken recipes, whole30 grilling
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 220kcal


  • 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

Yakitori Sauce

  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar use apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar for AIP
  • 1 pitted medjool date sub with 1-2 tbsp of honey if not Whole30
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove



  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
Paleo Chicken Yakitori aka Japanese Chicken Skewers (Whole30, Keto, AIP Option)
Amount Per Serving (1 serving – makes 6)
Calories 220 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 9%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 144mg 48%
Sodium 588mg 25%
Potassium 409mg 12%
Total Carbohydrates 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 3g
Protein 29g 58%
Vitamin A 1.5%
Vitamin C 1.1%
Calcium 1.9%
Iron 7.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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9 thoughts on “Paleo Chicken Yakitori aka Japanese Chicken Skewers (Whole30, Keto, AIP Option)

  1. Irena Macri

    Yakitori is one of my favourite Japanese dishes and I have fond memories of having them in Tokyo as well. I have never made them at home (only something similar) so I really appreciate this healthy recipe version. They are as good as I remember!

  2. Joni Gomes

    Omg yum! Love the use of medjool dates to sweetened the sauce! Will definitely give your recipe a try!

  3. Hope

    I love yakitori – and love this healthier version even better! Made this the other night and it was sooo good! Will be going on regular rotation in our house!


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