Teriyaki Chicken Wings (gluten and refined sugar free)

This family favorite recipe is something I like to pull out whenever there are chicken wings (sometimes called “party wings”) on sale at our local store of choice, New Seasons Market. This generally happens when there is a big football game in the near future. Salty, sweet, and just a little tangy, these flavorful wings are a great addition to a game day, party or just as part of dinner. I asked my family what words they thought described this recipe; they came up with “sweet”, “mild”, “yummy”, and “good”. Needless to say, they were well received as usual.

This recipe has been morphed from a recipe we used growing up, and one from a friend. Easy to remember and easy to make, we have turned to it over and over again. While a very simple recipe, when I took a cooking class from an Asian chef at a local restaurant, she told me that the teriyaki sauce that she uses is simply condensed soy sauce (or tamari) with brown sugar. How different from the elaborate American versions you see online! This one is a good middle ground version.

I was talking to my mom on the phone this morning about this recipe (I wanted to make sure I was doing it right), she was telling me that she often liked to pour the sauce over chicken legs and then freeze them for an easy freezer meal. Something to keep in mind!

Tell me what you think of the new recipe format I am trying out today! Let me know if you have any trouble using it. And notice the print option in the right hand corner too!

Teriyaki Chicken Wings (gluten and refined sugar free)
Serves: 4
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Fresh ginger is a little more tangy and spicy then powdered. While I usually use fresh ginger when making Asian food, I use powdered most of the time in this recipe simply because it reminds me of my childhood (plus, I think my children enjoy it more with the powdered!). This recipe is easy to double or triple for a party. It serves about 4 people when serving it as the protein as part of a meal.
  • 2 pounds of chicken wings (drumsticks work as well)
  • ½ cup organic tamari sauce or soy sauce (tamari for gluten-free)
  • ½ cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup whole cane sugar (such as sucanat or rapadura) or coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger, or 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced (garlic lovers – use three)
  1. Combine the tamari, vinegar, sugar, and ginger and garlic. Whisk to combine. The sugar won’t dissolve completely, but that is okay.
  2. Place the chicken and sauce in a freezer bag, marinating container, or large casserole dish. Give a good mix or shake to make sure that the sauce is covering the chicken well.
  3. Let marinate for 1 to 3 hours in the refrigerator.
  4. Preheat oven to 375F.
  5. Place chicken pieces on a sheet pan, with a little room in between each piece and place in the middle of the oven.
  6. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crispy. If it is cooked through, but you want the skin a little more crispy, put underneath the broiler for just a couple of minutes.
  7. Serve while warm and enjoy!


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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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    • KimiHarris says

      I am sure it would work. Does Dr. Neumann recommend it? I noticed that he had it in his office – I know a lot of Weston A Price people don’t recommend it, so I found that interesting. 😉

  1. Shawna says

    Just wondering, is that 1/2 cup of sugar??? I’m hoping it’s 1/2 tsp but that doesn’t seem to make sense! 🙂

    • KimiHarris says

      Oops! Sorry about that. Equal amounts of sugar as the soy sauce/tamari and vinegar. I have used 1/4 cup before with good success, but it is on the tangy side. I’ve fixed the recipe. 🙂

  2. Meghan says

    I hosted a Japanese exchange student last year and she made one meal, teriyaki chicken. It was so super easy and tasted so good. She brought her supplies with her from Japan but it was equal amounts of mirin sauce and soy sauce – mirin is a sweet rice wine – cooked in a fry pan. It was the BEST teriyaki I’d ever had (and I’m usually a BIG fan of garlic and complexity). I made it myself using a mirin I bought online for $7 per bottle and tamari but it just wasn’t as good as the stuff she brought from Japan. I’ve seen sites that say to just use a white vinegar and sweeten it but I’m going to play with rice vinegar and stevia… For sure, I want that particular flavor again! I will try this recipe my next time and then try the rice vinegar and non-chemical sweetener the time after that…

    • KimiHarris says

      Thanks for linking, Karen! I’ve read Ramiel’s and Wise Traditions’ thoughts on this topic before, and it has made me more cautious in regard to xylitol. I allow it in very small amounts in toothpaste, which I am fine with for now, but we don’t use it in cooking or as a sugar replacement. Just for full disclosure, whether it is safe or not is a good question, however you do have to go elsewhere to get more information about the studies regarding cavities (which were very interesting). But you will notice that I never use it in my recipes here.

  3. Ellen says

    Lovely! My husband will be thrilled when I make this.

    Wondering if it would work to use maple syrup or honey as the sweetener? What do you think?

    • KimiHarris says


      I think so! Back in the dark ages before I knew better, I used agave syrup with good success. 🙂 If using honey, you could definitely cut back on the amount (I would start with 1/4 cup). Maybe the same with the maple syrup. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!

  4. says

    LOVE me some chicken wings. esp when they’re gluten-refined-sugar free. stay tuned kimi, i’m partnering with a lovely lady on Youtube to do a gluten-refined-sugar-free chocolate chip cookie that’ll knock your socks off! the texture is phenomenal.

  5. says

    We LOVE making chicken wings and chips. I rarely do it anymore because we stopped buying conventional chicken. The Tyson wings were soooo affordable. The farm sells wings but they are pricey and always in short supply. I might have to try this with ribs or pork chops!

  6. Sheryl says

    I was a little skeptical about this homemade teriyaki sauce, but it was a hit! Thanks for the recipe. I decided to add approx. 2 T (for a double recipe) organic (non-gmo) corn starch to give it a little more texture, since I baked some of the marinade with the chicken. I also soaked/dissolved the rapadura in a bit of water to help with the graininess. Served it with veggie fried brown rice…Yum! My family really enjoyed this one, and I look forward to making it again!

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