Misoyaki Roast Chicken with Shoyu Onion Sauce

By • February 22, 2010 80 Comments

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Author Notes: Misoyaki means “miso – grill” in Japanese, and traditionally, this marinade is used on fish like salmon, cod, or mahi mahi, all equally delightful. I thought I’d try it out on roast chicken and it's actually quite nice. WuNotWoo

Food52 Review: Yes, timWuNotWoo shoots and edits our videos. Yes, he's a friend. And yes, he makes a mean roast chicken. In fact, we've never tasted chicken quite like this. The red miso and mirin marinade permeates the bird inside and out, giving it an addictive sweet and savory laquered skin. The simple onion sauce, which consists of butter, onions and garlic, soy sauce, mirin, miso and more butter, is an extra bonus, perfect for drizzling over the tender meat; it is salty, so you may want to use a lower sodium soy sauce and miso to taste. Do make sure to scrape off as much of the marinade as possible before you roast the chicken -- it will just blacken otherwise.The Editors

Serves 4

for the chicken

  • 3.5 pounds chicken
  • 1/2 cup red miso paste
  • 1/2 cup mirin

for the onion sauce

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup miced onion
  1. Mix the mirin into the miso paste to loosen it up until you get something like the consistency of a gravy or a fresh banana smoothie. Some miso pastes are thicker than others, so if it’s too thick, just add more mirin. Easy beans.
  2. Smother the chicken with the marinade all over, be especially sure you cover the inside cavity too. This way the marinade flavors the chicken from both the inside and out, huzzah.
  3. Put the chicken in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or if you have a Ziploc and/or Glad bag big enough for a whole chicken, that is most preferred. Park it all in the fridge and let sit for at least three hours, overnight would be nice.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  5. Take the chicken out of the fridge and take a spoon, fork, knife, dowel rod, comb, whatever your scraping tool of preference is, and wipe off the excess marinade, it’ll just burn~
  6. Don’t run the chicken under water or anything though, just make sure there aren’t large clumps of marinade plopped on the bird.
  7. Brush on some vegetable oil or melted butter over the chicken, nestle it in a roasting pan, and throw it in the oven.
  8. Roast at 450 degrees for 25 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350, and roast for an additional 40.
  10. In small sauce pan, sweat the ½ cup of minced onion in a bit of vegetable oil or butter.
  11. When they start to become translucent, add the water, mirin, soy sauce, and grated garlic.
  12. Bring to a simmer, turn the heat down to low and let bubble while the chicken cooks.
  13. 5 minutes before the chicken’s done, sprinkle on some mirin. It gives the bird a delightful shine and sweetness. When time's up, take it out of the oven, cover with a sheet of aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.
  14. IN THE MEANTIME, we finish the sauce.
  15. Melt in a tablespoon of butter, and take it off the heat.
  16. Mix in the tablespoon of miso. Miso actually loses its flavor the more it’s heated, so do this off the heat. There’s plenty of residual heat in the pan to melt down the miso paste.
  17. ALAS, Carve the chicken, serve atop a bed of fluffy white Japanese short grain rice, ladle on the onion sauce, and have a delightful evening~

More Great Recipes: Chicken|Entrees

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Comments (80) Questions (11)


6 months ago Suejette Travis

Very good, but not crazy awesome. I made as written with the onion sauce. No changes. Thank you for the recipe.


11 months ago Ashley Marie

Delish, delish, delish. Made it with white miso since I was out of red and served with a side of Jasmine rice and Sriracha-sesame carrots and it was divine! I watered down the onion sauce just a bit since it was a little salty, and it still packed a punch! Wonderful and easy! Will be making again and again!


about 1 year ago Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This chicken is so delicious. I cooked a bunch of legs and thighs since I prefer dark meat. It was fabulous. I'm having people over for dinner and some like white meat so I will roast 2 whole chickens for the wow factor. I may spatchcock them.


about 1 year ago Ben Jackson

I wouldn't recommend oven bags. The direct heat on the mirin and miso on the skin makes a nice carmelization. The oven bag would prevent that b


about 1 year ago drea

Would you recommend using an oven bag to make it even more juicy? Or would that lose the crispy skin? I'm new to oven bags... Chicken is marinating right now! Mmmmm <3


over 1 year ago Ben Jackson

Hey Cynthia, was your chicken completely thawed? Starting with a chicken close to room temperature helps ensure even cooking. In that case the total roasting time of 65 mins should do it. If you had an extra large chicken it may take a little longer.


over 1 year ago Cynthia Lin

I had to roast this quite a bit longer than the indicated time. Is there something I'm missing? In any case, it was delicious, the flavors are amazing, and I'm excited for a new way to do chicken!


over 1 year ago WuNotWoo

Thanks Cynthia!! Yeah, what Ben said, make sure you let the chicken come to temperature a bit after wiping off the marinade~ Ovens always do vary though at the end of the day. Glad you liked it!


almost 2 years ago Ashley To Breen

I've added the juice, and the scraped off marinade fron the chicken to the onion sauce. It turned out to be amazing!
I also flipped the chicken twice - once when it's 450 degrees and once when it's 350 degrees. The chicken was not burned and the breast was juicy!!


over 2 years ago Chef Gwen

On the advice of Mrs. Wheelbarrow, I made this recipe in order to use up the miso paste I'd bought for another recipe that only called for 1 tablespoon. It is a FANTASTIC flavor bomb! I wiped what I thought was all of the marinade off with paper towels, and the skin still burned to a crisp in places during the first 450 degree roast (so I tented it for the remaining portion). The sauce is incredible, too. My miso (and the soy sauce for the sauce) are reduced sodium and it was still plenty salty and flavorful. Like Mrs. Wheelbarrow, this one will go into my roast chicken rotation. Thanks!


over 2 years ago Foodvergnugen

Holy. Cow. Batman. Make this. You don't even need to marinade it. Using a 4.25 lb chicken, I put the miso+mirin, including the soy/onion/mirin/garlic under the skin. Made the onion sauce as well. Roasted chicken covered for 50 minutes @ 400 fahrenheit. Uncovered 10 minutes. Flipped, then 10 more minutes. Then, you're ready to go. Served with side of jasmine rice, and "asian" flavored brussel sprouts. This is even better than Jacques Pepin's mustard garlic roasted chicken!!! Life is a miracle, people.


over 2 years ago Vivi B.

The leeks were really really good in the recipe and added an earthy element. I love the suggestion to add fried shallots on top. I am going to do that next time. I ran out of time so rather than toasting sesame seeds, I just put some Gomasio on the table. Delish! Just had some leftovers. Yum.


over 2 years ago Vivi B.

Also, when I do this, I use Alice Waters' method with the chicken and flip it upside down and back again during the roasting. It makes it even more juicy and helps keep it from burning.


over 2 years ago Vivi B.

Making this tonight for the umpteenth time. My standard go to when I need a relaxed, delicious crowd pleaser. I added leeks to the onions to the sauce this time. Will report. I like Michele's idea about the sesame oil. I am going to toast some sesame seeds to pass at the table.


over 2 years ago WuNotWoo

Ahh, thanks so much! Leeks and onions would be amazing. You could also sprinkle fried shallots on top~


over 3 years ago Michele Hays

I've made this twice to rave reviews from the family both times, but today I did something for TV night: I made it with chicken wings, and then added beer to thin out the onion sauce and blended it with the immersion blender to make it a dipping sauce (I also used sesame oil instead of butter.) MMMMmmmmmMMMmm


over 2 years ago culture_connoisseur

Sesame oil instead of butter. What a great idea! I think I will do half butter, half sesame. I have my baby chicken in the fridge, all nestled in delicious red miso since last evening, waiting to be put in the rotisserie.


over 3 years ago Jessie G

see my note below ... YES it DOES work to cook the night before you eat it ... you can heat in the oven for a few mins - or microwave. the skin doesn't stay so crispy, but it's still good. my kids LOVED it.


over 3 years ago Jessie G

Anyone cooked this the night before you have eaten it? I cooked tonight for tmrw night ... suggestions for best way to heat up? thanks!


over 3 years ago Midge

I made this last night after letting the chicken marinate overnight and wow, it was fantastic. Look forward to trying it on the grill next time. Thanks for an awesome recipe!


over 3 years ago lynnegreen

Made this last night, what a hit in my house. I am anxious to try it again but marinate the chicken longer. We served it with the Northern Spy's Kale Salad which was a great contrast in textures and tastes. This chicken recipe will be in our rotation of go to recipes for home and entertaining!


almost 4 years ago deabot

Fantastic, simply fantastic. Easy to make and super tasty. This reminds of me of an elegant take on the chinese dish 'soy sauce chicken'.


about 4 years ago student epicure

made this list night pre-hurricane and it was absolutely delicious! my new favorite way to roast chicken. a marinated the bird in the roasting pan and although i removed the marinade from the bird, i forgot to wipe out the roasting pan. this lead to some burning, but when i put in the bird in another pan, problem was solved.