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

Garlic Onion Chicken

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: chicken
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Marinate Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Nami

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.



  • 4 boneless skin-on chicken thighs
  • ½ tsp kosher/sea salt (use half for 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


  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.