Make Ahead

Misoyaki Roast Chicken with Shoyu Onion Sauce

February 22, 2010
8 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Prep time 12 hours 35 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Serves 4
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • for the chicken
  • 3 1/2 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~
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Suejette Travis
    Suejette Travis
  • Ashley Marie
    Ashley Marie
  • Susan W
    Susan W
  • Ashley To Breen
    Ashley To Breen
  • Chef Gwen
    Chef Gwen

88 Reviews

Peter D. April 16, 2023
This recipe is delicious but flawed. The ingredients don't quite tie to the instructions. You will need extra mirin for the chicken to splash on it. You will need an additional 1 T of butter and 1 T of miso for the onion sauce.

I STRONGLY recommend that you line your pan with aluminum foil. Whatever is left of the miso/mirin paste will burn.

I spatchcocked the chicken prior to slathering on the miso/mirin paste. Love this technique when roasting in the oven.

Give 5 stars for flavor in spite of the recipe flaws.
Ja October 31, 2017
Could you suggest time and heat instructions if I used chicken on the bone pieces?
Ben J. October 31, 2017
I used bone in chicken thighs and the time/temp listed in the recipe worked perfectly
Ja November 3, 2017
Chris G. November 29, 2016
It's too bad it costs you so much to run your operation, (Food52)! YOU have so many interative advertisements on your web page now that it is no longer of use to me!
It just locks up my computer and I hate to say good-by, but I can no longer stand the frustration of
waiting all the time!
Chris Glenn
Kyra-Ann S. December 5, 2016
Why not just use an adblocker like Adblock or Ublock Origin (Ublock is for advanced user though, be warned), or a simple pop-up blocker like Popup Blocker Pro?
Ja September 27, 2015
Took forever to cook for some reason. Had to cut chicken in parts after 90 minutes and put it back in for another 20. Taste good though and looks pretty. Will cut chicken in parts from now on and will try recipe again.
Served with butter lettuce, avocado, cucumber with carrot ginger Japanese dressing. jasmine rice, broccoli with roasted sesame sauce. Sauce recipe is a must.
Ben J. September 28, 2015
That sounds unusual. You might want to have your oven thermostat checked.
Suejette T. March 5, 2015
Very good, but not crazy awesome. I made as written with the onion sauce. No changes. Thank you for the recipe.
Ashley M. September 25, 2014
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!
Susan W. July 21, 2014
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.
Ben J. June 21, 2014
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
drea June 21, 2014
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
Ben J. March 16, 2014
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.
Cynthia L. March 16, 2014
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!
WuNotWoo March 16, 2014
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!
Ashley T. October 27, 2013
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!!
Chef G. April 10, 2013
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!
Foodvergnugen February 19, 2013
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.
Vivi B. February 3, 2013
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.
Vivi B. February 2, 2013
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.
Vivi B. February 2, 2013
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.
WuNotWoo February 2, 2013
Ahh, thanks so much! Leeks and onions would be amazing. You could also sprinkle fried shallots on top~
Michele H. May 26, 2012
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
culture_connoisseur February 2, 2013
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.
Jessie G. March 11, 2012
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.
Jessie G. January 23, 2012
Anyone cooked this the night before you have eaten it? I cooked tonight for tmrw night ... suggestions for best way to heat up? thanks!