Garlic Onion Chicken 鶏肉のガーリックオニオンソース

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  • Garlic Onion Chicken – Succulent pan-fried chicken smothered in a flavorful and robust garlic onion sauce, this is a weeknight winner! It’s quick and easy, and utterly satisfying. Since everything cooks in one pan, clean up is a breeze too.

    A large gray plate containing garlic onion chicken, green leaf salad, and steamed rice.

    Over the years, I’ve gathered enough recipes that are delicious yet simple enough to make any day of the week. These weeknight meals, my true heroes, nourish my family and allow us to have a special time together every night. I am thankful for them, and one of my recipe keepers is this one-pan Garlic Onion Chicken (鶏肉のガーリックオニオンソース). It’s our all-time favorite chicken dinner that boasts crispy skin, juicy meat, and an amazing sauce. I hope it will be your weeknight dinner superhero too!

    Everyone’s Favorite: Quick, Easy, Delicious!

    It’s quick! While the chicken marinates, you can make steamed rice or a quick side dish (I just tossed together a simple green salad with heirloom tomatoes). When everything else is ready, cook the chicken and serve.

    It’s easy! This is one of the first dishes that I learned when I started cooking. With very basic ingredients and minimal approach, it doesn’t get much easier. So yes, you can make it too.

    It’s delicious! The criteria for good weeknight recipes have to be more than just quick and easy. If the final dish is not satisfyingly tasty, there’s no reason to keep cooking it. That’s not the case with this Garlic Onion Chicken. It’s so good that I never cease making it for my family.

    A large gray plate containing garlic onion chicken, green leaf salad, and steamed rice.

    3 Tips to Make Perfect Garlic Onion Chicken

    I believe small care and attention to detail make a difference in the food you make. And it reflects your love in the most delicious way. Here are 3 tips that I recommend for making perfect garlic onion chicken!

    1. Prick Chicken Skin with Fork

    For this dish, I recommend using skin-on chicken thighs for better flavor and juicy meat. If you live in the US, skin-on thighs typically include bone. You can always ask the butcher to remove it for you (they debone so fast!).

    The skin, however, prevents the sauce from absorbing. So we help facilitate the marination by pricking the skin with a fork a few times.

    2. Save the marinade for later

    When I first started cooking on my own, I had a different assumption that the ingredient should be cooked together with the marinade so that it will become more flavorful. For some food, that may work, but not when you want to have a nicely seared meat.

    If you add the sauce to the frying pan together with the chicken, it ends up simmering the meat in the liquid. The chicken will never get crispy brown or any grill marks on the skin. Therefore, remove the marinate the best you could, pan-fry until golden brown, and then add the sauce to simmer down.

    3. Spoon the sauce over the chicken

    It is a basic tip, yet so easy to overlook. As the sauce simmers down and thicken, spoon it over the chicken several times. This allows the meat to absorb all the wonderful flavors.  Even if you’re just making dinner for yourself, put your heart and soul into making it. Small care makes a difference in the end!

    A large gray plate containing garlic onion chicken, green leaf salad, and steamed rice.

    The Luscious Garlic Onion Sauce

    If you have never grated onion for your marinade, you might be surprised by the power of this allium. It not only gives a refreshing taste, but it adds natural sweetness to the sauce.

    Here, I used four cloves of garlic, which may be a little unusual in Japanese recipes, but don’t be afraid to use them. Each chicken thigh gets one garlic clove, so it’s not too bad.

    We only marinate for 20-30 minutes and you may wonder if that’s enough. Don’t worry. You will be using the marinade to simmer down later and coat the chicken with this delicious sauce. The chicken will get plenty of flavor from cooking in the sauce, so you don’t need to marinate overnight. Your chicken may end up too salty, so be careful.

    A large gray plate containing garlic onion chicken, green leaf salad, and steamed rice.

    Other Quick, Easy, and Delicious Chicken Recipes:

    If you love Garlic Onion Chicken and want to try similar recipes, here are some of my recommendations. Enjoy!

    A large gray plate containing garlic onion chicken, green leaf salad, and steamed rice.

    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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    4.58 from 7 votes
    A large gray plate containing garlic onion chicken, green leaf salad, and steamed rice.
    Garlic Onion Chicken
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    15 mins
    Marinate Time
    20 mins
     

    Garlic Onion Chicken - Succulent pan-fried chicken smothered in a flavorful and robust garlic onion sauce, this is a weeknight winner! It's quick and easy, and utterly satisfying. Since everything cooks in one pan, clean up is a breeze too.

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: chicken
    Servings: 4
    Author: Nami
    Ingredients
    • 4 boneless skin-on chicken thighs
    • ½ tsp salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)
    • ½ tsp Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 Tbsp neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc)
    Garlic Onion Sauce:
    • ½ onion (150 g; don't cut off the root section)
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 4 Tbsp sake
    • 2 Tbsp mirin
    • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients.
      Garlic Onion Chicken Ingredients
    2. Slice the garlic and put it in a large container or bowl (I used an 8”x8” baking dish).
      Garlic Onion Chicken 1
    3. Peel the onion but don't cut off the root section as it's easier to grate when the layer is connected. Grate as much as you can, keeping the juice (I left 30% of it - it’s hard to grate everything).

      Garlic Onion Chicken 2
    4. Add the grated onion with juice, sake, and mirin.

      Garlic Onion Chicken 3
    5. Add the soy sauce and mix it all together.
      Garlic Onion Chicken 4
    6. If you use the skin-on chicken thighs, prick the skin with a fork. This will help absorb the marinade.
      Garlic Onion Chicken 5
    7. Season the chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper on the skin side.
      Garlic Onion Chicken 6
    8. And season the other side with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
      Garlic Onion Chicken 7
    9. Add the chicken and keep in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to marinate.
      Garlic Onion Chicken 8
    10. In a non-stick frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp oil on medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the chicken, skin side down. Make sure to leave the sauce behind; the sauce will burn quickly, so do not add at this time.
      Garlic Onion Chicken 9
    11. Don’t forget to add all the garlic.
      Garlic Onion Chicken 10
    12. Pan-fry the chicken until the skin side is nicely golden brown, about 3 minutes. Do not flip until then.

      Garlic Onion Chicken 11
    13. After you flip over the chicken, lower the heat to medium-low. Put the lid on, leaving slightly ajar, and cook for 7 minutes.

      Garlic Onion Chicken 12
    14. Remove the lid and see if the chicken is cooked through (the internal temperature should be 165 ºF or 74 ºC). If the chicken is done, wipe off the excess oil with a paper towel. Then add the reserved sauce into the pan.

      Garlic Onion Chicken 13
    15. Simmer on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes. Use a spoon to coat the chicken with sauce.

      Garlic Onion Chicken 14
    16. When the sauce has been reduced and thickens slightly, turn off the heat. Serve the chicken on a plate and pour the sauce over. Serve immediately.

      Garlic Onion Chicken 15
    Recipe Notes

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

    Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 2, 2011. The post has been updated with new images and content in November 2019.

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