Gluten free and soy free teriyaki chicken recipe! This easy recipe for teriyaki style marinade is perfect for making grilled teriyaki chicken at home. Best of all the marinade is excellent with any protein from tofu to steaks.
Changing your diet can dramatically improve your health. Improved health leads to more energy, elimination of brain-fog, and improved quality of life. But, it can also mean letting go of some familiar pleasures - like meals from your favorite restaurant.
A few years ago I went through an elimination diet that meant giving up my favorite inexpensive restaurant meal.
Until I discovered an ingredient that changed everything...
Good-bye favorite food
I was surprised to learn the first ingredient in regular old soy sauce is wheat gluten. For better or worse we had fallen into a routine of grabbing dinner from a local teriyaki restaurant at least once a week. It is our go-to inexpensive meal for the nights I would like a break from cooking. It is also a quintessentially Seattle fast food staple. In 2010 The New York Times even published a piece on Seattle's passionate love of the stuff.
The elimination diet excluded gluten making our usual Teriyaki spots off limits. Living near Seattle I felt confident I could find a few restaurants using gluten free, Tamari, soy sauce. I could keep those mind for special occasions and ultimately benefit from eating out a little less.
This plan changed a few weeks later when I also removed soy from my diet. Total game changer. No soy meant no teriyaki - at all.
I was not a happy camper.
Find a way or make one
So, like a squirrel after a nut I stopped being flexible and dusted off my favorite motivational saying, "find a way or make one.”
Standing defiantly in front of Whole Foods selection of soy sauces my eyes fell upon a bottle labeled Coconut Secret - Coconut Aminos (affiliate link). The ingredient list was short, only coconut and mineral sea salt, most importantly it was free of gluten and soy. I greedily dropped a bottle into my basket.
What are Coconut Aminos?
Coconut Aminos have a sweet and smooth taste. Fresh ginger and lime gave the marinade a summery lightness. A couple extra pinches of salt and a hit of hot sauce further enhanced the flavors, and the char from the grill finished the dish with a flair. That evening there were smiles around the table as we dug into our sorely missed favorite food.
Soy Free Teriyaki Chicken FTW!
A few days later our family sat down to a meal of grilled soy free teriyaki chicken any fast food restaurant would be hard pressed to recreate.
I will miss the convenience of our teriyaki nights. Thankfully, when the next craving strikes I'm glad to have a not so secret weapon for soy free teriyaki chicken that beats the fast food version by a mile.
Soy Free Teriyaki Chicken Marinade, gluten free
Don't need an allergy friendly recipe? Substitute low sodium soy sauce for the coconut aminos.
- ½ cup Coconut Aminos
- ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
- 5 ¼ inch slices of ginger root
- juice of ½ a lime plus the zest
- 2 pinches sea salt
- 2-3 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Combine the marinade ingredients in a large shallow dish or a gallon size zip top bag. Add chicken (or other protein) and cover. If using a zip top bag gently squeeze out any air before sealing. Refrigerate for an hour rearranging meat once or twice to achieve even coverage.
- Remove from marinade and grill or bake chicken until fully cooked.
To use the marinade as a sauce:
- Strain the remaining marinade into a small sauce pan. Whisk in 2 teaspoons of cornstarch. Slowly bring the marinade to a boil on medium high heat. Hold at a boil for 5 full minutes stirring frequently. Any marinade that has come into contact with raw meat must be boiled for at least 5 minutes to kill any harmful bacteria. After boiling you may store the teriyaki sauce in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
Originally published October 2012, updated August 2017
Please include all ingredients in the future!! I did not notice that it called for cornstarch until I was needing to start cooking it.
Hi Kara thanks for your note. The cornstarch is included in a modification of the recipe - turning the marinade into a sauce. I'm so glad you decided to try this and I hope you enjoyed it despite the frustration. Be well :)
Sara @my less serious life
i recently had to remove all soy from my diet and it is hard! i can really relate to this. coconut aminos (which i just recently discovered as well) is a life saver. great recipe!
Thanks Sara - Saying removing soy is hard is a major understatement! Nice to know another coconut amino fan. :)
Conscious Consumer (@korkin14)
"Call the East India Trading Company I'm ready to invest!"
That made me smile. I love your enthusiasm for your writing and new lifestyle. I haven't tried the coconut aminos, but I do like the Bragg's Liquid Aminos as well. I even think it has more pungeunt flavor than soy sauce. Now that I know 93% of soy is GMO, I will likely avoid it as well.
I looked at all the bottles of Bragg's and I didn't see any that weren't soy. Do you know if they have a soy free product?
Christie Ellis (@pepperlynnblog)
My mouth is watering after reading this, Rose! We love teriyaki in our house, too, and I've been wanting to try making it at home, so we'll definitely be giving this a whirl. Also - I normally don't care for iceberg lettuce, but I love the little salads that are served alongside teriyaki. Have you ever tried recreating the dressing? I'm guessing it's probably just mayo, vinegar, salt, and sugar?
Thanks Christie. I haven't tried recreating the salad dressing but I think you are on the right track. Grab a bottle of seasoned rice vinegar and give it a try. I'd love to hear the results. :)