Garlic Miso Chicken Breast

When I saw Nami’s Garlic Miso Chicken Wings on Just One Cookbook, I instantly felt it would become my staple. It called for my beloved miso, it was simple, light and, last but not least, it looked irresistible. Since, as usually, I had several chicken breasts in my fridge and absolutely no wings, I decided to adapt Nami’s recipe to suit them. Adding sake to the marinade and brushing the breast pieces with oil was sufficient to stop them from excess drying. The result was so good that I prepared this dish at least five times in the last couple of weeks. Its flavour is typical of the Japanese cuisine: complex and simple at the same time. It is also versatile enough to be served with hot, sweet or sour sauce (try it with ume plum paste!) and practically with every possible vegetable. Thank you, Nami! You have made me discover a wonderful dish that I feel I will never get tired of!

Skewers are not necessary of course, but they make the flipping over much easier. The meat can be marinated for a couple of hours, but the taste and texture seriously improve when it is left overnight in the fridge. If you use the skewers, make sure you soak them enough in the water. Otherwise (as you can see above) they will simply burn.

If you want to grill chicken wings, ignore the below instructions and click here to see Nami’s original Garlic Miso Chicken Wings recipe. Garlic miso wings are beautiful, crunchy (the thing I will never obtain with breasts) and luscious.

Before passing to the recipe, I would like to thank Ping (from Ping’s Pickings) for two flattering awards. I am very honoured to say I have received both the Interesting Blog Award and the Cherry on Top Award. Thank you so much, Ping!

Special equipment:

skewers (not necessary, but make the flipping over process easier)

Preparation: 10 minutes+ marinating time (at least 3 hours, but definitely better overnight)

Ingredients (serves 1 – 2):

1 big or two small chicken breasts

1 big clove garlic grated or squashed

1 teaspoon soy sauce (or 1 tablespoon if, like me, you use low-sodium soy sauce)

1 tablespoon miso (I used red miso)

1 teaspoon mirin

1 tablespoon sake

1 tablespoon oil to brush the meat before grilling


Cut the breast into bite-sized pieces.

Combine all the ingredients (apart from the oil) with the chicken and put into the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Preheat the oven grill/broiler.

Soak the skewers in water for at least 10 minutes so they don’t burn like mine.

Put the meat pieces on the skewers and place them on aluminium foil.

Brush the meat with the marinade (if there is some in the bowl) and finally with the oil.

Grill the meat until it becomes golden (about 10 minutes). Then flip over and grill for a couple more minutes.

(You may sprinkle the skewers with chopped chives. I have used Chinese chives here).

38 thoughts on “Garlic Miso Chicken Breast

  1. ping

    Hi Sissi. Thanks for the mention and the linkback. You really deserve those awards. It’s not much, just a little token.
    I love miso too and always have a container in the fridge so I definitely will try this out for sure. I’m a dark meat person so I will tweak your tweak from Nami 😀
    Checking out your mackerel in miso recipe now.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Ping. I also love chicken wings, which I consider as white meat + the “crunchy” bonus, but unfortunately it is a bit difficult to buy them of good quality here (free-range) unless I buy a whole chicken, so I use breasts most of the time. I definitely don’t like the chicken legs though: these are much too “dark meat” for me.
      Thank you once more for the awards!

  2. Mr. Three-Cookies

    This dish looks delicious, unfortunately I don’t have most of the ingredients. I love miso soup but have never tried a dish made from it. Since you cooked it 5 times in recent weeks it must be good – I will start making serious effort towards obtaining the ingredients required. Thats my new medium term project:)

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies. If you buy miso, soy sauce, mirin and cooking sake, you’ll be able to make many Japanese recipes. All these products keep very well for a long time (and only miso needs to be refrigerated), so it’s not a big risk to take. If you like miso soup, you would probably love this chicken dish.
      Only reading your comment I want to have this chicken for lunch! (I had it yesterday…).

  3. Linda

    If I read that you made this repeatedly it truly must be something to try! I do love the taste combination of miso, mirin and sake so I do believe this will be a winner for me too. The wings sound like a good idea too but having these chunks of chicken I can see leftovers for lunch!!

  4. ray

    Nice and perfectly done, Sissi. Although I must admit that I have never tried using Miso as marinade — shame on me. :) I like how you added the foil on the other end of the skewer to protect it from burning, no? Really delicious looking chicken.

    ~ ray ~

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Ray. You are right. Unfortunately, I haven’t protected the other end of the skewers. I really must be more patient in soaking them next time. Or buy the metal ones.

  5. Kelly

    Congratulations on your awards Sissi! well deserved. You know, I’m a big chicken fan (concentrated forms of animal protein seem to work very well for me health/mood wise), and when you find a way of preparing it so that it retains moisture and taste, it’s really hard to beat. This recipe sounds like just that – flavour, moisture, health-building ingredients and deliciousness. I tend to use miso quite a bit in soups but hadn’t thought of using it in a marinade – this is a wonderful idea. Lovely recipe Sissi.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Kelly. You are very kind :-) Miso is a wonderful marinade ingredient: it made the marinated meat’s flavour really interesting. It also makes the chicken more filling (without additional fat or other calories).

  6. Jeno @ Week Nite Meals

    Hey Sissi! What a great way to adapt Nami’s recipe! I also took notice of her Garlic Miso Chicken Wings post a few weeks ago, but like you, there are never any wings in the house! The chicken skewers in your photo look wonderful, I gotta give this recipe a try very soon!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Jeno. I am very happy my experiment worked (and more than once!) because some modifications of great recipes are a complete failure.

  7. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    Sissi, your chicken looks really good and it’s a great idea to use sake and oil to prevent from drying the chicken breast. It’s funny that we have wings in freezer (at least one – stock for teba shio in case I’m super busy), but we don’t have chicken breasts…completely opposite. LOL. I sometimes make this dish with chicken thigh and I’m going to use skewer method – it’s a lot easier to handle in the oven. I usually use tongs to flip around, but skewer seems much clever idea. Thank you again for making this dish 5 times already. You made me so happy~~! :-)

    1. Sissi Post author

      Nami, it is you who makes me happy with such delightful discoveries! Every time I made these chicken breasts I was thinking about you :-) I love wings, but frankly it’s extremely difficult to buy free-range chicken wings separately (and I haven’t bought battery chickens for many years…). The only time I can have them is when I buy a whole chicken, but then usually I roast it or do something else with the whole bird. Guess what? I have just had another dish from your blog 😉 I have even taken some photos… Thank you for constant inspiration and teaching me how to cook Japanese!

        1. Sissi Post author

          I will post it of course! But it’s a big surprise 😉 I am sure your lunches are always delicious!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Greg. Once I have even forgotten the whole marinade for 48 hours and then it was really excellent! (But usually I am not able to wait so long).

  8. Stefanie

    Delicious! I used to have miso in my frig all the time… looks like I need to go get more to try this! Thanks for adapting it for chicken breasts. That’s what I always have in my freezer, too! And I love the addition of sake too. Great idea and great addition of flavor :)

  9. Charles

    Hi Sissi – I’ll admit that I went off miso a bit after an ex-girlfriend used to store a giant tub of the stuff in my refrigerator and dispense it to me at every opportunity, but it’s true that I never tried it as a marinade or rub. As I’ve said before on my own site – “there nothing better than meat on sticks!” – beautiful looking dish and I love the touch of green from the chives at the end! :)

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi Charles, thank you for the kind words. Actually I have added chives only because it looked too sad. It’s funny, because the first time I bought miso I felt like eating the whole tub at once! I had this impression that miso was a concentration of all the most fabulous flavours in the world. I also admit that apart from miso soup I didn’t know really how to use it for quite a long time (it was before I met Nami, Hiroyuki, Robert-Gilles and before I bought Japanese Cooking by Shizuo Tsuji).

  10. Jenna

    Yum!! Your picture is amazing, and my mouth is totally watering right now . . . and it’s not even close to lunchtime! I think I need to pick up some miso asap at our Asian grocery.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Jenna. If you don’t know miso yet, give it a try! It’s very versatile and can be put in many dishes.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Martyna! Actually I think I have never had miso-glazed fish, only miso-simmered. I still have to learn so much about the Japanese cuisine…

  11. chopinandmysaucepan

    Miso is a great ingredient to cook with and your chicken looks beautiful. I find breast meat to be a little too dry even though it’s baste with oil and I much prefer thigh fillets which have a more succulent and tender texture. You may enjoy this recipe for Malaysian chicken satays too :)

    We were at a Japanese restaurant last night and had grilled miso cod ala Nobu’s signature dish. I think these 2 ingredients together have really found their match!!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you! I must admit that I only like breasts and wings. I am not a big fan of thighs. It’s not a question of texture, but of taste.
      Thank you for the link! It looks luscious. I have published once a satay recipe I have found in my Indonesian-Malaysian book, but it looks different from yours (, which means I must absolutely try your recipe now!
      I should also try miso glazed grilled fish! (I still haven’t).

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Robert-Gilles. You are too kind! These are only my humble copies of Japanese delicacies.

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