Air Fryer Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
Pack more fun into your lunchtime routine with this air fryer teriyaki chicken skewers recipe! Deliciously flavorful, so much fun to eat, and super easy to prepare. I’ll show you how to cook air fryer chicken skewers in just 15 minutes—using either a homemade teriyaki marinade or your favorite store-bought brand.
Whether you’re looking for easy lunch ideas for kids or you’re just a food-on-a-stick fan yourself, these simple skewers are a must-try. You can make my homemade teriyaki marinade with just a few ingredients, and it’ll leave every bite bursting with irresistible salty-sweet flavor. Scrumptiously savory, umami goodness, mixed with a hint of sweet citrus and brown sugar.
To make the air fryer teriyaki chicken skewers themselves, simply marinate the skewered chicken for an hour or overnight, then cook them in the air fryer for 15 minutes. And that’s literally it! The result is perfectly juicy, tender teriyaki chicken that’s tasty enjoyed hot or cold—great for an on-the-go lunch. For maximum deliciousness, try rolling your chicken skewers in a crunchy sesame seed coating after cooking!
Preparing Air Fryer Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
Though these air fryer teriyaki chicken skewers are quick to cook, the longest part of this recipe is really prepping the skewers and waiting for them to marinate. So, plan ahead before you want to cook them! Give yourself at least an hour to marinate them, or prep them a day ahead of time so they can marinate in that tasty teriyaki goodness overnight.
Which cuts of chicken should I use for skewers?
Boneless skinless chicken thighs are my first choice personally, but you can use chicken breast as well. Thighs tend to be juicier because of their rich fat content, but chicken breast will still turn out juicy after soaking in your teriyaki marinade! Either will work just as well for this air fryer chicken skewers recipe, so use whichever cut you prefer.
How to cut chicken for skewers
The best way to cut chicken for skewers is into small, evenly sized cubes. For air fryer skewers, I recommend aiming for about 1-inch sized cubes. Don’t worry about making them perfect! Just keep in mind, larger cubes of meat will take longer to cook through than smaller cubes.
How long to marinate teriyaki chicken skewers
Marinate your air fryer teriyaki chicken skewers for at least one hour before cooking them. Better yet, marinate them overnight for maximum flavor and juiciness! You can whip up my easy homemade marinade with just soy sauce, broth, orange juice, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic. Or, use your favorite store-bought teriyaki marinade for convenience. (I like the Big Tree Farms coconut aminos based teriyaki marinade.)
Can you put raw chicken in the air fryer?
Yes, absolutely! Whether you’re cooking air fryer chicken skewers or whole cuts of chicken breast or thighs, it’s all safe to cook in the air fryer. Same goes for other animal proteins, like air fryer salmon filets, air fryer pork chops, or even whole steaks! Just be sure to wash your air fryer basket and drawer after cooking.
Can you put wood skewers in the air fryer?
Yes, wood skewers can go in the air fryer, just like you can use them in your oven or on the grill. However, since an air fryer basket is rather small, it’s best to use shorter wooden skewers (5-6 inches) or to cut longer skewers in half. I’ve also read that some folks use wooden coffee stir sticks as an alternative to skewers in the air fryer!
Also, keep in mind: you MUST soak wooden skewers before using them in any cooking apparatus, otherwise they may catch on fire. These air fryer teriyaki chicken skewers will soak in the marinade, so no need to worry about soaking the skewers. But, in other recipes that don’t involve soaking in a marinade, you’d need to soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before adding your meat and/or veggies and cooking them.
How to Cook Teriyaki Chicken Skewers in Air Fryer
How long do chicken skewers take to cook in the air fryer?
Generally, you can cook chicken skewers in the air fryer in 15 minutes, at 350°F (180°C). The exact time can vary depending on how large or small you cut your chicken cubes, so I recommend cooking for a range of 13-16 minutes. Also, make sure to preheat your air fryer as needed before cooking!
Can you stack chicken skewers in the air fryer?
No, it’s best to cook your air fryer teriyaki chicken skewers in a single layer, with a bit of room between them. This will allow the heat to circulate so all of the meat cooks through evenly, and so it gets a nice crispness around the edges! I recommend cooking these in 2 batches, with 8 chicken skewers in the air fryer at a time.
Do you need to flip chicken in the air fryer?
Most people will say yes, always flip halfway through so the food crisps and browns evenly! But I say: eh, it depends. When cooking these air fryer chicken skewers, no—there’s no need to flip them. You can flip them if you prefer, but I didn’t and they turned out great. I’ve found this is true with many smaller pieces of meat in the air fryer, like when I cooked breaded tilapia for my air fryer fish tacos recipe. Didn’t flip them, they turned out great!
More broadly, I’d say the times when you might want to consider flipping meats in the air fryer is when you’re cooking larger cuts, like an entire chicken breast or steak. However, cooking in the air fryer is basically like cooking on a wire rack in the oven—and one of the major benefits is that a wire rack lets the heat circulate so you don’t have to flip the food! (Case in point: these extra crispy baked potato chips that cook in the oven on a wire rack.)
How do you know when chicken skewers are done cooking?
The best way to definitively know that your air fryer teriyaki chicken skewers are completely cooked through is to check them with a meat thermometer. When the internal temperature reaches 165°F, they’re done. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, make sure your chicken is browned on the outside, and slice into it to be sure there’s no pink on the inside. As mentioned, 15 minutes at 350°F (180°C) should do the trick for these air fryer chicken skewers if the meat is cut into 1-inch cubes.
To see how this recipe is made, along with the rest of this bento lunch box, check out my Quick & Easy Bento Box Lunch Ideas video!
Air Fryer Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
Air Fryer Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed (about 1-inch)
- ¾–1 cup teriyaki marinade, to taste (homemade or store-bought)
- 16 small wooden skewers, ~5-6 inches
- optional: sesame seeds for rolling
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup broth of choice
- ½ orange, juiced (optional)
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- In a measuring cup, whisk everything together for marinade. Pour marinade into a zip-top bag or a flat dish with a lid. (Or use your favorite store-bought teriyaki sauce.)
- Add cubed chicken thighs onto skewers. Place skewers into bag or container with marinade, so meat is covered. Seal bag or cover dish with lid.
- Marinate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight in the fridge. (You can also skewer the meat after marinating it, if preferred—although this option will be messier!)
- Preheat air fryer to 350°F (180°C) as needed.
- Place one batch of marinated skewers into air fryer basket and cook for 13-16 minutes, until chicken is cooked through (to an internal temperature of 165°F or 74°C). The exact cook time will depend on how large your skewers and chunks of meat are.
- Don’t overcrowd the air fryer or overlap your skewers! I cooked mine in 2 batches, 8 small skewers at a time.
- Remove cooked skewers from air fryer, serve, and enjoy!
- Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container in the fridge. Lasts 5-7 days.
- Yields 16 skewers.