Miso Shrimp Yakitori (Grilled Skewer) Recipe

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  November 2, 2022

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Grilled foods, also known as Yakiniku, are extremely popular in Japan. Glazed miso shrimp skewers are a crowd-pleaser at pubs and restaurants.

Miso Shrimp Yakitori (Grilled Skewer) Recipe

These tasty grilled skewers are coated in a special miso glaze that has just the right amount of sweet and savory flavors. They’re perfect for a casual party or to just enjoy as a quick and easy weeknight dinner.

To make these delicious miso shrimp skewers, you will need need to combine seasonings and condiments and then grill your shrimp on a small Japanese tabletop grill known as Konro.

How to grill yakitori skewers at home

Favorite Asian Recipes
Favorite Asian Recipes

In this post, I’ll share my easy 30 minute grilled shrimp skewer recipe and show you how to cook it.

Traditional yakitori requires a special grilling device called a konro or yakiniku grill. But you can still use a regular grill for cooking the dish.

Don’t worry; you can grill the shrimp on any type of grill you have, so a Japanese tabletop grill isn’t a necessity, although it makes for a unique dining experience.

Miso Shrimp Yakitori (Grilled Skewer) Recipe

Miso Shrimp Skewers (Yakitori)

Joost Nusselder
The shrimp yakitori recipe comes alive with the flavors of sake, miso paste, and mirin. This makes a delicious marinade that adds extra richness to the shrimp.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

  • bamboo sticks for the skewer

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb jumbo shrimp peeled
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cups mirin
  • 3 tbsp miso paste white
  • cups rice vinegar
  • ¼ cups brown sugar
  • ¼ cups sake
  • ½ teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Instructions
 

  • Soak the bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes prior to grilling to prevent them from burning.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the glaze and boil it over medium heat.
  • Turn down the heat to low and simmer the glaze until it thickens. Set aside to cool.Marinate the shrimp with the glaze and leave them for 15 minutes.
  • Spear the shrimp into a skewer while preheating the grill.
  • Grill the shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Brush more glaze to the skewer and occasionally flip if the shrimp seems dry.

Notes

Note: You can add hot peppers or shishito peppers to the skewer to give the dish some extra zing.
Keyword Yakitori
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Grilling tips

Yakitori is usually cooked on a grilling device called a konro or yakiniku grill.

These are traditional Japanese tabletop grills made of ceramic or steel, and they usually use binchotan charcoal as the heat source.

You can get an authentic Japanese Konro grill to make Yakiniku at home on Amazon.

However, you can easily use a regular grill to cook the dish as well.

When grilling the shrimp yakitori, make sure to use high heat and avoid overcooking.

The shrimp can also be cooked on an indoor electric grill or an outdoor grill.

Just be sure to preheat the grill before adding your skewers and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, flipping gently and basting with additional glaze as needed.

Cooking tips

Important: Before threading the marinated prawns onto bamboo skewers, immerse the skewers in warm water for at least 30 minutes.

This keeps them from catching on your barbecue or underneath the hot grill.

This is not a concern when using metal skewers. I have a post of the best accessories to make yakitori at home with my favorite bamboo and metal skewers recommendation.

  • You can try using different types of rice wine in the marinade, like dry sake or nigori sake.
  • Instead of jumbo shrimp, you can also use smaller shrimp to save on cost. You can then add more shrimp in each skewer to make up for the difference.
  • To create a thicker glaze, mix together 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water and slowly stir into the mixture while it cooks. This will help reduce any excess liquid once the glaze is applied.
  • Add peppers, onion, or other vegetables to the skewer for extra flavor and texture. Make a larger batch of yakitori sauce to save time later. You can store it in a mason jar and keep it in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Shishito peppers are a great option if you want a hotter and spicier flavor. To make them, simply grill the peppers with the shrimp until they are soft, then remove them from the heat.

Substitutes and variations

Instead of shrimp, you can also use chicken or beef for this dish. However, shrimp yakitori is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or as an appetizer before your main meal.

Jumbo shrimp are meaty, succulent, and full of rich flavor, so they are a perfect choice for this yakitori recipe.

However, you can also experiment with different types of shrimp or even other seafood like squid and scallops.

If you don’t have mirin on hand, substitute it with white wine or apple cider vinegar.

Sake is an important flavoring ingredient, but you can use any rice wine, sherry, or dry vermouth in its place.

White miso paste is commonly used for this recipe, but you can also try red miso paste or yellow miso paste if you prefer a saltier and stronger (more pungent) flavor.

If you are looking for a more intense flavor, try adding some grated garlic to the marinade. You can also add cayenne pepper or red chili flakes for a spicier kick.

For an added crunch, try sprinkling some toasted sesame seeds or chopped scallions over the shrimp before serving.

How to serve and eat

Serve the shrimp yakitori with white rice or salad greens for a complete meal.

Popular salads that pair well with this dish include ginger carrot salad, marinated cucumber salad (sunomono), and butter lettuce salad.

You can also serve the yakitori skewers alongside other Japanese dishes, like miso soup, vegetable gyoza, or chicken katsu.

For a fun appetizer option, try serving them with vegetable tempura or crispy tofu. Don’t forget to add a bowl of pickled vegetables or spicy dipping sauce on the side.

Try drizzling a bit of yakitori sauce over the top for extra flavor. The shrimp’s sake and miso glaze is flavorful enough, but a bit of sauce can really enhance the meal.

At Izakayas or Japanese tapas restaurants, you can also pair the yakitori with cold beers or saké for a fun and casual dining experience.

How to store leftovers & reheat

This is one of those dishes best served hot. However, if you do have any leftovers, be sure to store them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Reheat the shrimp yakitori on the stove or in the oven at 350 degrees until they are warm and crispy. You may need to add a tablespoon or two of water if the glaze has become too sticky or thick.

To avoid drying out the shrimp, try adding a bit of extra marinade to them before reheating.

If you prefer, you can also serve the yakitori cold instead of heating it up. Just be sure to drizzle it with a bit of extra sauce or glaze to keep it moist.​

Similar dishes

One of the best things about yakitori is its versatility.

There are so many different toppings and seasonings you can use, depending on your taste preferences.

Some popular variations include chicken teriyaki yakitori, beef yakitori, yakiton (pork skewer), salmon yakitori, and tofu yakitori.

If you are feeling adventurous, you can even try experimenting with different types of seafood like octopus or scallops.

Other popular Japanese skewered foods include Kushikatsu (fried skewers), yakitori tacos, and kushiyaki (grilled meat or vegetables).

Shioyaki is salted and skewered fish, while yakidofu is grilled tofu.

Not all chicken yakitori is created equal eaither, learn about the 16 different types of yakitori!

Conclusion

If you are looking for a tasty and satisfying dish that is quick and easy to prepare, then shrimp yakitori is the perfect choice.

With its rich, savory glaze and tender, juicy shrimp, this dish is packed with delicious flavors that are sure to delight your taste buds.

The secret is the miso paste and sake glaze, which adds a powerful umami flavor to the marinated shrimp.

So why wait? Give this delicious recipe a try today and experience one of Japan’s favorite grilled shrimp foods.

If you are a shrimp fan (like me) you should definitely also try this Nilasing na Hipon (or Drunken Shrimp!) Recipe

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.