Oyakodon means “parent-child rice bowl”, referring to the two main ingredients: chicken and eggs. Boneless chicken chunks join onions to simmer in a sweet-savory sauce, followed by eggs that are cooked until tender and fluffy. Because it cooks in a snap, many Japanese households have oyakodon in their cooking rotation.
The trick to oyakodon is to cook the eggs in two layers. Add the egg whites first and let it meld with the broth. You want that first layer to simmer into an eggy, almost-custardy sauce. Next, the beaten yolks: drizzle them on top of the egg whites, and cook until just set. (Or fully cooked, if you prefer.)
This recipe makes one serving. To make oyakodon for the whole family, scale it up and cook everything in a large skillet. Use a large serving spoon to scoop up and plop individual portions—or second helpings!—over rice.
Japanese ingredients you’ll need for this recipe
You can find most of these Japanese ingredients in any major supermarket. Japanese groceries like New Hatchin will have everything, plus a wider range of brands for you to choose from.
The most crucial in this list are dashi and mirin. Make sure to get those! The rest won't ruin your oyakodon with their absence, but are nice to have:
- Sake: Japanese rice wine. An inexpensive brand will do. If you can’t find sake, feel free to skip it—this recipe uses just a half tablespoon.
- Dashi: An umami-packed stock made with fish and seaweed. You can get instant dashi powder in sachets and jars, ready to dissolve in water like a Knorr broth cube.
- Mirin: Sweet rice wine with a syrupy consistency. It tastes similar to sake, but with a higher sugar content.
- Shichimi togarashi: Japanese seven spice blend made with dried red chilies, dried orange peel, sansho pepper, ginger, dried seaweed, sesame seeds, and shiso. Use it like chili powder to add a bright, citrusy spiciness to your dishes. It comes in a red bottle.
- Sansho pepper: A Japanese relative of Sichuan peppercorns. It has the same tingly, tongue-numbing sensation paired with a citrusy, peppery flavor.
- 1 cup boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 ½–2 inch chunks
- ½ tbsp sake (optional)
- ¼ cup dashi
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 white onion, sliced into half moons
- 2–3 large eggs, separated to whites and yolks
- ⅛ cup minced green onions
- shichimi togarashi, to taste (optional)
- sansho pepper, to taste (optional)
Marinate chicken: Combine chicken thighs and sake in a bowl. Mix with your hands and let sit for 5 minutes. Skip this step if you don’t have sake.
Cook onions and chicken: In a separate bowl, combine dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and white sugar. Stir to combine. Add dashi mixture and white onions to a nonstick pan. Turn the heat up to medium-low until mixture comes to a simmer. Continue simmering the onions until almost soft and tender. Add chicken thighs and cook for about 2 minutes per side, until the center is no longer pink.
Cook eggs: While maintaining a simmer, slowly trickle beaten egg whites into the pan starting from the center, pouring your way to the outer edges of the pan. Continue to cook until egg whites are almost set. Repeat step with beaten egg yolks. Once egg yolks are set to your preference, sprinkle with minced green onions, turn the heat off, and cover the pan. Allow the eggs to cook further in the residual heat, 2–3 minutes.
Serve: Slide oyakodon over a hot bowl of rice. Finish with a sprinkle of Japanese spices, if using: shichimi togarashi for heat, and sansho pepper for pleasant citrus notes.