Paleo Teriyaki Chicken (Soy-free!)

This delicious teriyaki is so flavorful - and without soy sauce or any soy products!

With a punch of flavor from fresh ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper, this delicious teriyaki chicken is soy-free, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly too. We were pleasantly surprised to find that even without our beloved soy sauce or tamari, you can make a lovely teriyaki chicken! I like to pound the chicken flat, and then pan fry it, so that it cooks up very quickly and also gets a lovely browned crust on it. Yum!

Coconut Aminos and why you shouldn’t substitute it one-for-one for soy sauce

The secret to making a teriyaki chicken without soy is using Coconut Aminos. Coconut Aminos is made out of the coconut sap from coconut blossoms. This product is kept raw, and mixed with salt after it’s been aged. It is not the same as soy sauce or tamari, but makes a good base for teriyaki. We really love tamari (the gluten-free soy sauce), and wouldn’t consider it at all a one-to-one substitution. However, I kept having people suggest swapping out Coconut Aminos for the tamari in my teriyaki recipes (We love teriyaki, as demonstrated in this Easy 3 ingredient Teriyaki Chicken Recipe, Chicken Wings, and this lovely Gluten-Free Teriyaki Sauce). This is something I would NOT encourage. Why? Coconut Aminos is already sweet, and has a very different flavor profile.

Because of that, I decided to create a recipe just using the Coconut Aminos, so that everyone who needs a soy-free recipe can have the best recipe possible.

Notice that this recipe doesn’t contain any added sweetener. That’s because Coconut Aminos is already sweet in flavor. Also notice that I’ve really ramped up the flavor with ginger, garlic, and even toasted sesame oil. While you can make a delicious gluten-free sauce using only a couple of ingredients when using tamari, we feel that coconut amino based teriyaki really benefits from the addition of ginger and garlic. The end product is quite delicious!

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Notes on ingredients:

Here is the Coconut Aminos we used.
Here is a delicious example of Toasted Sesame Oil
To pound out your chicken, use something like this .

Paleo Teriyaki Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of chicken thighs (or breasts, we used thighs)
  • ½ cup of coconut aminos
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of finely grated ginger
  • 1-3 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of fat of choice (coconut oil, tallow, avocado oil, etc.)

Method:
Flattened, Pan-Cooked Teriyaki

1. Place a chicken thigh between two pieces of parchment or wax paper, and pound methodically, and evenly to ½ inch thick. Repeat with the rest of the thighs.

2. Combine the rest of the ingredients, EXCEPT for the fat of choice (taste-test, and adjust as needed, before pouring over chicken). Pour over chicken, and let marinate for about 20-30 minutes.

3. Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat until hot, and add fat of choice. Add the thighs to the pan, and cook until you can see that the sides of the chicken is cooked, and the bottom of the chicken is browned. Flip over and cook the other side, until the chicken is cooked through.
Enjoy!

No-Pound Baking Method:
1. Place the chicken thighs and the marinade ingredients together in a baking pan. Toss to coat the chicken, and then let marinate for 20-30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 375F. Make sure that the chicken is not touching each other, and place in the oven, and cook for about 35 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Enjoy!

Paleo Teriyaki Chicken (Soy-free!)
 
Serves: 4
 
This delicious teriyaki chicken recipe contains no soy, but is full of flavor! Even my soy sauce loving kids enjoyed it a lot.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of chicken thighs (or breasts, we used thighs)
  • ½ cup of coconut aminos
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of finely grated ginger
  • 1-3 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of fat of choice (coconut oil, tallow, avocado oil, etc.)
Instructions
  1. Place a chicken thigh between two pieces of parchment or wax paper, and pound methodically, and evenly to ½ inch thick. Repeat with the rest of the thighs.
  2. Combine the rest of the ingredients, EXCEPT for the fat of choice (taste-test, and adjust as needed, before pouring over chicken). Pour over chicken, and let marinate for about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat until hot, and add fat of choice. Add the thighs to the pan, and cook until you can see that the sides of the chicken is cooked, and the bottom of the chicken is browned. Flip over and cook the other side, until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. Enjoy!

Paleo Teriyaki Chicken (Soy-free!)
 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of chicken thighs (or breasts, we used thighs)
  • ½ cup of coconut aminos
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of finely grated ginger
  • 1-3 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of fat of choice (coconut oil, tallow, avocado oil, etc.)
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken thighs and the marinade ingredients together in a baking pan. Toss to coat the chicken, and then let marinate for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375F. Make sure that the chicken is not touching each other, and place in the oven, and cook for about 35 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

 

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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!

Comments

  1. Lisa imerman says

    We use Gluten free Tamari a lot. I have coconut amigos but have not used them. I would love to make this for my nephew with soy allergy. I wonder if it would be good without the sesame oil as my nephew also has sesame allergy.

    I may try it and see, or find a flavorful substitute that isn’t sesame, soy, legume or nut based.

  2. Lisa imerman says

    We use Gluten free Tamari a lot. I have coconut aminis, but have not used them. I would love to make this for my nephew with soy allergy. I wonder if it would be good without the sesame oil as my nephew also has sesame allergy.

    I may try it and see, or find a flavorful substitute that isn’t sesame, soy, legume or nut based.

  3. says

    Do you have any secrets for pounding chicken without making a mess? Everyone I know covers it with plastic wrap to contain the chicken during the pounding process. Do you have a method that works without the disposable plastic wrap?

    • says

      Esther,

      I HAVE pounded it inside of freezer baggies before, but I couldn’t really handle the plastic, so I switched to using wax paper like above. It actually does work well for me, but sometimes I have to replace the top layer of wax paper before I’m done. I’ve also used thin linen kitchen towels. Just wrap the chicken thigh in it, and then pound away. You’ll just need to wash the towel right away. 😉

  4. Sara says

    Doubled the recipe to make 2 lbs of chicken wings. Baked 30 min at 400 flipped then baked another 15 min. Pure perfection. Great flavor! Thank you!

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