Marinated in a homemade all-purpose miso sauce and pan-fried till crispy, this Miso Chicken is very moist, flavorful, and delicious. Serve over steamed rice and drizzle extra miso sauce on top!
When you need a little break from the classic Chicken Teriyaki, try this Miso Chicken (鶏肉の甘辛味噌焼き). Marinated in a sweet and savory umami-packed miso sauce, this Miso Chicken yields plenty of flavors.
The best part? It’s so easy to pull together and goes well with steamed rice. Because it’s best when you prep ahead, this delicious chicken dish might become a regular on your midweek dinners.
Use of All-Purpose Miso Sauce
This recipe uses my favorite All-Purpose Miso Sauce recipe. A versatile sauce that takes just a short time to make and can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 months.
From marinade to stir-fry to dressing, you’ll be surprised how this secret sauce can change how the food tastes. I shared the All-Purpose Miso Sauce recipe and tips in details on this post.
Experiment with Different Types of Miso
For this Miso Chicken recipe, I used Hikari Miso® Organic Miso – Red Miso. It is made of 100% USDA Certified Organic rice and soybeans and is additive-free. It has a dark brown color original to Shinshu-style miso. A high volume of rice koji produces its mild taste and smooth texture.
If you’re interested to try it out, you can purchase Hikari Miso® organic miso from most of the Japanese/Asian grocery stores or on Amazon. Hikari Miso® is my favorite brand of miso paste and I’ve been using it for over a decade.
There is also a variety of miso, each with a different flavor you can use for various purposes. When you make All-Purpose Miso Sauce, you can choose any type of miso you like. Each miso has its own unique flavors that you can experiment with and enjoy.
3 Tips for Cooking Miso Chicken
1. Use Skin-on Chicken Thighs
Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are a budget-friendly cut, but they are also more flavorful and delicious.
You must sear the thighs skin-side down in a hot frying pan undisturbed until the skin is well-browned and crispy, which typically takes about 7 minutes. Fat (healthy unsaturated fats) will slowly render, and the skin will become browned and crisp – the perfectly cooked chicken thigh.
In the U.S., boneless skin-on thighs are not common. You can purchase bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and remove the bones yourself, or ask the butcher to remove them for you (but you are paying for the total weight with bones).
2. Marinate for 24 hours
For the best result, I suggest marinating the chicken in All-Purpose Miso Sauce for 24 hours. I personally think chicken should not be marinated for more than 24 hours because it can get too salty. I’ve tried marinating for 1 hour and for several hours, but the flavor seems to be still on the lighter side.
3. Remove Miso Sauce COMPLETELY
Miso burns easily and fast, so do your best to remove the Miso Sauce with a paper towel before you cook the chicken. Don’t worry about the flavors. Marinating the chicken for one day gives plenty of flavors to soak into the chicken. If you like to drizzle additional sauce, then combine the All-Purpose Miso Sauce and a little bit of water in the pan to make a quick sauce.
When you are removing the Miso Sauce with a paper towel, thoroughly pat the skin dry. When the skin is moist or wet, it’s more likely to stick to the pan, and therefore won’t crisp up quite as nicely.
The cooking part is fairly straightforward and the key is to leave the chicken undisturbed when you pan fry it in a hot pan.
Serve this Miso Chicken with a side vegetable or over steamed rice, and miso soup, you’ll be rewarded with a wholesome meal that wins over a takeout anytime. Oh, and the leftovers are perfect to pack up for your bento lunch too.
Other recipes with Miso:
For Drizzling Sauce (for one chicken thigh)
- 1 Tbsp all-purpose miso sauce
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds
- 1 green onion/scallion (chopped)
- Gather all the ingredients.
The 24 hours Before Cooking
- Using the tip of the knife, prick the chicken skin so the fat can render more easily. Thoroughly pat the chicken dry and place it in the plastic bag.
- Add the all-purpose miso sauce, remove the air, and zip up the plastic bag.
- Rub the chicken well from outside the bag so the miso sauce is distributed evenly. Store in the refrigerator for 24 hours (but no more than that, as the chicken gets salty). Do you plan to freeze them? See below for storing information.
To Cook the Chicken
- Take out the chicken from the plastic wrap (I’ll be cooking two), removing the miso sauce as much as possible with your hands (and discard this miso sauce). Using a paper towel, remove the miso as much as possible and make sure the chicken is completely dry. Set aside.
- In a large frying pan, add 1 Tbsp oil and distribute evenly. Don’t turn on the heat yet.
- Place the chicken skin-side down. Do not crowd the pan, and make sure there is some space in between so the chicken won’t end up being steamed.
- Turn on the heat to medium-low to medium heat. Slowly cook the skin so the fat will render. DO NOT TOUCH the chicken for the next 7 minutes, except for occasionally pressing down with a spatula. Do not cover with a lid, but you can use a mesh splatter guard to avoid oil splatter.
- Slowly peek to see the skin is nicely browned and the edges of the chicken turn opaque. If so, flip and continue to cook the other side, for about 5 minutes. If not, continue to cook undisturbed for a little longer until well-browned. You can wipe off the oil that is rendered from the skin. Continue to press down occasionally to get the surface nicely seared.
- Once both sides are nicely browned, remove from the pan and place the chicken on the cutting board until slightly cool for you to handle. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the safe temperature for chicken 165ºF (74ºC).
- To make the Drizzling Sauce, quickly wipe off the oil in the frying pan with a paper towel and add the miso sauce. For 1 chicken thigh, you need 1 Tbsp all-purpose miso sauce and 1 Tbsp water. Bring the sauce to simmer and once thicken, turn off the heat.
- Cut into ½-inch strips (as we eat with chopsticks). Serve on a plate or over the steamed rice (in this recipe) and drizzle the sauce over.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds and chopped green onion. Serve warm.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the fridge for a month. You can also store uncooked chicken for 2-3 weeks. Make sure to remove miso completely so the chicken doesn't get too salty.