Beef and Green Onion Yakitori Recipe

Delicious and exotic, this Japanese small plate is a highlight of any Yakitori dining adventure.

Think of Yakitori as a kind of Japanese small plate, featuring a huge variety of meat, seafood, and vegetarian selections grilled over a special Yakitori grill which has no grates. You can mimic this experience in your kitchen if you have an indoor grill, and it's a ton of fun for company, as you serve them one small plate after another, hot off the grill. That's why I consider Yakitori a true dining adventure. See here for more information on the overall Yakitori experience.

Beef with green onions is one of the more popular yakitori dishes. What sets it apart from just-plain-steak is the marinade, the glaze/sauce, cooking it in cubes for more caramelized surface area, and serving each bite with cooked green onion. I tend to add togarashi spice and lemon as well, though it's not needed due to the rich flavors already present. The recipe below is adapted from 

You can substitute any beef for ribeye. We like ribeye because it's fattier and crisps up nicely on the grill.

If you're entertaining and some of your guests are less adventurous than others, this is a very safe dish that any meat-eater will love.


  • Prep:         20 min
  • Marinate:   30 min
  • Cook:        10 min

YIELD:   10 Skewers

LEVEL:  Medium



Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

Cut the steak into 1 or 1.5 inch cubes. First trim any excess fat away. Note:  1 lb ribeye cuts neatly into 15 cubes (3 wide x 5 deep), so 2 ribeyes are enough for 10 skewers with 3 cubes each.

Marinate the steak. Add marinade ingredients into a ziploc bag, add the steak, toss to coat, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and ideally 2 hours.

Make the sauce. Bring sauce ingredients to a boil in a small pot over medium-high heat, then reduce heat until sauce is simmering. Simmer 5 - 8 minutes until the sauce is reduced enough to become slightly syrupy. Pour the sauce into 2 dishes: 1 for glazing the beef while cooking, and 1 to use as a sauce when serving.

Chop the onions. Wash them, cut the root end off and also the very green leafy parts. Save the white and light green (firmer) parts, then cut them into 1 or 1.5 inch pieces.

Toss the green onion pieces in sesame oil, and sprinkle with salt.

Skewer the beef and green onions, separating each piece of beef with an onion or two. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

Grill on medium-high or high heat, turning as soon as each side is slightly browned.  Note: place the skewers on the grill with the ends sticking off the end of the grill so that you can use them to turn the meat.

Brush the sauce onto all sides of the beef and finish cooking, until the internal temperature is about 135 degrees (medium-rare).  Add additional glaze during cooking, if desired.

Serve the skewers individually, brushing with clean sauce from the 2nd dish (not the sauce used during cooking). Serve with lemon wedges and togarashi spice if desired. Squirt lemon over the beef, and dip it in spice to eat.


  • 2 lb Ribeye steak (2 steaks), cut into cubes
  • 10 - 12 bamboo skewers
  • 5 or more green onions (scallions)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Salt
  • Marinade:
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon mirin
    • 1 tablespoon sake
  • Sauce:
    • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 3 tablespoons mirin
    • 1 tablespoon sake
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Lemon (optional)
  • Togarashi spice (optional)

More Photos

Ready for action:)

Soak the bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes or so. You can buy 'em on Amazon or at Asian markets.

Simmer the sauce until it becomes syrupy and delicious. 

A typical ribeye is about 1 pound. Trim away excess fat, then slice it lengthwise, then crosswise to cube it.

Here's the math:)  1 ribeye = 15 cubes = 5 skewers.

Marinate the steak. Ziplocs work great for this.

Clean and chop the onions. Discard the green leafy portion - it wilts too much if you grill it.

Toss the onions in sesame oil and sprinkle with salt.

Skewer and grill!

Once browned on each side, it's time to apply the sauce.

After grilling, add more sauce. The flavor is very rich - you don't really need the lemon or togarashi.