Miso-Butter Chicken with Garlic Pan Sauce

Simple but incredibly delicious, this sweet and savory chicken is coated in a mix of miso paste, maple syrup and butter then baked until golden brown. Ginger, garlic and a splash of vinegar make an outrageous tasty pan sauce.
Miso Garlic Butter Chicken
Miso Butter Chicken with Garlic Pan Sauce

If you’ve never cooked with miso before, this is the perfect recipe to start with. If you love it and cook with it all the time, this is probably going to end up on your monthly recipe rotation. It definitely has for us.

There’s very little work involved so when you pull it out of the oven and find perfect, crispy bronzed chicken skin, tender meat and a delicious sauce, it almost feels like cheating. “Did I really do that,” you might be tempted to ask yourself. Yes, you did. Now go eat your dinner before any goblins attracted by the glorious smell of chicken, miso and garlic steal it from you.

Miso Garlic Butter Chicken
Miso. ginger, garlic, butter, maple syrup and scallions.

Years ago, I read an article on miso by Mark Bittman in the New York Times where he says that David Chang, of Momofuku showed him how to make a miso compound butter.

The recipe is basically this: mix four tablespoons miso into two tablespoons unsalted butter. Add some cracked pepper.

It’s so simple but completely genius and it changed the way I cook. I use variations of it on everything. Grilled shrimp, sautéed spinach, charred green beans, baked tofu.

And this magical chicken.

Miso Garlic Butter Chicken
Miso Garlic Butter Chicken

In this version I’ve added some extra flavorings like garlic and ginger. A little sweet and sour from maple syrup and rice vinegar. Once you mix it all together, you want to rub it all over the chicken and also get a little of it under the skin. Be gentle. You don’t want to pull the skin off, just lift up a corner and tuck some under.

If the meat is cooked before the skin is brown enough, place it under the broiler for a minute or two but watch it carefully. The sugar in the marinade can burn easily.

Miso Butter Chicken with Garlic Pan Sauce

Nerd Tips:

  • We served this with brown rice and these dead-simple Quick-Pickled Cucumbers.
  • This Teriyaki Brown Rice Salad would also be a great side.
  • A large cast iron pan is great for a dish like this. Whatever pan you use, make sure it’s oven safe and has a heavy bottom so the sauce doesn’t scorch.
  • If gluten is an issue for you, make sure you use gluten free miso. Our Asian Pantry Basics page lists some GF options as well as our favorite brands.
  • Chicken breasts work perfectly well this way too, just be careful not to overcook them. Start checking them for doneness after 20 minutes or so.
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3.48 from 17 votes

Miso-Butter Chicken with Garlic Pan Sauce

Simple but incredibly delicious, this sweet and savory chicken is coated in a mix of miso paste, maple syrup and butter then baked until golden brown. Ginger, garlic and a splash of vinegar make an outrageous tasty pan sauce.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings: 4 -6
Author: Emily Clifton - Nerds with Knives


  • 8 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs, approximately 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup white miso
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 inch piece ginger grated
  • 8 garlic cloves unpeeled but lightly smashed
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 scallions finely sliced, for garnish
  • 2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds for garnish


  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine butter, miso, maple syrup, rice vinegar, ginger and black pepper in a large bowl and mix until well combined.
  • Add chicken to the bowl and massage the miso-butter mixture all over it. Gently lift up the skin of each piece and, using your fingers, rub some miso butter under the skin. Place the chicken in a single layer in a roasting pan or heavy oven-proof skillet, add the garlic cloves and place it in the oven. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, basting the chicken once or twice, until the skin is golden brown and crisp, and the internal temperature of the meat is 160 to 165 degrees. If the chicken is cooked before it’s brown enough, place it under the broiler for a minute or two. Watch carefully or it can burn.
  • Remove the garlic skins and mash them into the pan drippings. Sprinkle chicken with sesame seeds and scallions and a spoonful or two of the garlic pan sauce.
Tried this recipe?Mention @NerdsWithKnives or tag #nerdswithknives!
Miso Butter Chicken with Garlic Pan Sauce
Miso Butter Chicken with Garlic Pan Sauce

26 thoughts on “Miso-Butter Chicken with Garlic Pan Sauce”

  1. Hello from Brazil! I made your recipe and the sauce was really good(I used molasses instead of the maple syrup, which I couldn’t here), but the meat got very bland, almost without salt and flavor ( I did rub the paste under the skin as written). Do you think that marinating it a couple hours before would help? Thanks!

    • Hello! The miso should be very salty on its own though maybe the variety you have is milder? You could season the chicken itself if you felt it needed more salt. Marinating for a few hours would certainly help impart more flavor into the meat. Glad to hear molasses worked well. Honey is also a good substitute for maple syrup. 🙂

  2. I made this for dinner tonight. IT’S AMAZING!! A perfect balance of salty, sweet and umami, and the touch of vinegar just balances it perfectly. The sauce is to die for, even before cooking. You could use this on anything, I think… Seafood, veggies, what ever. Heck, I’d just dip veggies in there and eat them, just because I could.

  3. Made this for dinner tonight. It was delicious! I didn’t add the maple syrup because I didn’t have any, but it was still amazing. Might add even more garlic next time.

  4. A very tasty recipe. I added mushrooms the second time I made it (and more garlic because I love garlic) and it put a new dimension to the chicken. Mmmmm

  5. In Mark Bittman’s article (in the New York Times) the ratio of butter to miso was different – 4 tablespoons of butter to 2 tablespoons of miso.



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