Japanese Chicken Meatballs (Tsukune) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com


Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: chicken meatball, yakitori
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Total Time: 51 minutes
Servings: 14 skewers
Author: Nami
Ready for a summer cookout?  I highly recommend giving this Tsukune recipe a try. Drizzled with sweet soy sauce, these Japanese chicken meatball skewers are absolutely delicious. They are best on the grill but you can bake them in the oven too. 


  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (and more for coating your hands)
  • 1 Tbsp miso (I use awase miso, which is a combination of red and white miso)
  • 10 Shiso leaves (Ooba) (Perilla)
  • 4 green onions/scallions
  • salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)
  • ½ cup Yakitori Tare (See Notes for homemade recipe)



  1. Gather all the ingredients.

    Tsukune Ingredients
  2. Soak the bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes.
    Tsukune 1
  3. Pile and roll up the shiso leaves, then cut into thin julienne slices. Cut the scallion into thin slices.
    Tsukune 2
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. When it’s hot, add ⅓ of ground chicken and break it up into small pieces using a wooden spatula. Cook until no longer pink and transfer to a plate to let it cool.
    Tsukune 3
  5. Combine the cooked chicken and uncooked chicken in a large bowl and mix well with rubber spatula.
    Tsukune 4
  6. Add sesame oil and miso and mix well.
    Tsukune 5
  7. Add the scallions and shiso leaves and combine well with silicone spatula.
    Tsukune 6
  8. Now with your hand, knead 30 times clockwise. Then knead counterclockwise 30 times. The meat will become more pale in color and sticky. This part is very important for the meat to stay on stick so please do not skip this step.
    Tsukune 7
  9. Grease the grill rack with brush. I use a roasting pan and rack as it can support the skewers very well while the excess oil drips down to the bottom of roasting pan when cooking.
    Tsukune 8
  10. Lightly coat your hands with sesame oil to prevent the meat from sticking. Scoop a handful of the chicken mixture (1 ½ scoop for my hand using an OXO cookie scoop) and form into a round patty.
    Tsukune 9
  11. Toss the meat to left and right hands to release the air pockets and gently squeeze to form the meat into a long oval patty, about 3-4 inches in length. Insert the skewer on the prepared wire rack.
    Tsukune 10
  12. Lightly sprinkle salt over the chicken skewers.
    Tsukune 11
  13. Put aluminum foil around the skewers to prevent them from burning.
    Tsukune 12
  14. Preheat the oven to High Broil (550F) for 5 minutes. Boil in the middle rack, for 6 minutes. Then flip the skewers over and broil more for 4 minutes.
    Tsukune 13
  15. When both sides are cooked, brush the yakitori sauce on the meat and broil for another 30 seconds. Transfer the skewers to a serving plate and brush the extra sauce on the meat. Serve with Shichimi Togarashi.
    Tsukune 14

Recipe Notes

Yakitori Tare: Homemade recipe, click here.



Equipement you will need:



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 and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.