Found in the frozen section at Trader Joe’s near the other Asian cuisine-inspired meals, this BBQ Teriyaki Chicken is one of the most popular frozen meats available at TJ’s.
Take it from this Reddit user…
This marinated chicken dish is sold fully cooked and ready to heat and serve on its own or alongside some white rice or vegetables.
But how exactly should you prepare this frozen teriyaki chicken? Keep reading to find out the four most popular prep methods.
How Much Does It Cost?
You can find a 21-oz bag of this BBQ Teriyaki Chicken at Trader Joe’s for $5.99. It’s available all year long, although inventory and supplies may vary from store to store.
Ingredients & Nutrition
As you can see from the label, this chicken dish is made with boneless skinless chicken leg meat, water, sugar, soy sauce (contains wheat), dark soy sauce (contains wheat and mushroom extract), modified cornstarch, salt, lime juice concentrate, ginger, garlic, and green onion.
Interestingly, Trader Joe’s is known for proudly advertising their TJ’s-branded foods as free of genetically modified ingredients. However, this product clearly lists modified cornstarch as one of its ingredients, which is a genetically modified form of corn.
As far as nutrition goes, one frozen cup of this teriyaki chicken contains 240 calories from 9 grams of fat, 135 mg of cholesterol, 710 mg of sodium, 11 grams of carbs, 10 grams of sugar, and 31 grams of protein.
While this entree certainly packs an impressive amount of protein into each serving, it definitely should not be considered healthy aside from that. The high levels of cholesterol and sodium in each relatively small serving is concerning, not to mention the high levels of sugar. In general, if a product has more added refined sugar than fiber, it can’t be considered all that healthy.
So, while TJ’s BBQ Teriyaki Chicken is known for being super delicious, it shouldn’t be on anyone’s list as a meal to eat everyday.
An important thing to keep in mind here is that most of the unhealthy aspects of this entree come from the sauce, which is packaged separately. So, if you want to enjoy the chicken without adding the salty and sugary teriyaki sauce, you can do so and reduce the overall fat, cholesterol, sodium, carb, and sugar content significantly. However, the flavor of this dish comes primarily from the sauce, so there wouldn’t really be much of a point to buy this whole entree if your intention is to just eat the chicken.
4 Ways To Prepare Your TJ’s BBQ Teriyaki Chicken
According to the package, the two recommended ways to heat up your BBQ Teriyaki Chicken from Trader Joe’s are to use the microwave or a pan on the stove top. However, you can also prepare this chicken dish in the air fryer or in the oven, depending on your preference. Each method will yield a slightly different result, which we will discuss below.
Whichever method you choose, keep in mind that this chicken entree comes fully pre-cooked, so all you are really doing is reheating your chicken. Regardless, serving chicken under 165°F can lead to health issues such as food poisoning even if the chicken is fully cooked.
In the Microwave
Using the microwave is the quickest and easiest way to heat up your teriyaki chicken. So, if you’re in a hurry, stick with this method. However, it’s worth noting that microwaved chicken tends to be on the chewier or more rubbery side.
First, open up the bag and place your desired amount of chicken pieces into a microwave safe bowl (leave out the sauce for now). There is no need to thaw the chicken prior to heating it up, so you can simply take it straight from the freezer.
Next, use a small plate or microwave safe lid to cover the dish. Then, heat on high in the microwave for about 3 to 4 minutes. Heat times will vary depending on the power of your microwave.
Remove the dish from the microwave, take off the cover, and pour your desired amount of sauce onto the chicken, and then toss to coat.
Replace the cover, then place the dish back into the microwave and continue heating for about 1 to 2 minutes. Your chicken will now be ready to serve, but be careful as it will be quite hot!
On the Stove Top
To prepare your BBQ Teriyaki Chicken on the stove top, you will first need to heat about 1 tsp of cooking oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
Add your desired amount of chicken (no need to thaw prior to cooking) and stir fry until heated through (about 6 to 8 minutes according to the bag).
At this point, you can turn off the heat, but leave the pan on the stove top. Find the sauce packets in the bag and pour your desired amount of sauce onto the chicken while it’s still in the pan. Stir everything together and allow the entire dish to heat the rest of the way from the remaining heat in the pan. This should take only 1 or 2 minutes.
The benefit of preparing your chicken on the stove top is that you will get a slightly crispier result, rather than the moist and chewy result of microwaved chicken.
In the Oven
Although there are no official instructions provided by Trader Joe’s for heating up your BBQ Teriyaki Chicken in the oven, this is still a great option.
First, you will want to preheat your oven or toaster oven to 350°F. Once the oven is preheated, empty your desired amount of chicken pieces onto a lightly oiled baking tray (leave the sauce out for now).
Place the baking tray into the oven as close to the center as possible, and bake for about 20 minutes. To ensure an even bake, you might want to stir the chicken pieces around slightly at the 10 minute mark, but this is not necessary.
Once your chicken is fully heated, place it into a serving dish and cover with your desired amount of sauce. Stir everything together and allow the heat from the chicken to warm up the teriyaki sauce.
If you want, you can heat the sauce separately while the chicken is baking by placing it into a bowl of warm water. This is especially helpful if you are preparing it directly out of the freezer.
In the Air Fryer
Last but not least, let’s go over how to prepare your Trader Joe’s BBQ Teriyaki Chicken in the air fryer.
To make it easy, here is a simple recipe from Fork to Spoon explaining exactly how to air fry your BBQ chicken.
The method is super simple and involves preheating your air fryer to about 370°F and then cooking your chicken for about 7 minutes before adding your sauce.
Overall, Trader Joe’s BBQ Teriyaki Chicken receives rave reviews from customers and has been one of the most popular frozen meat entrees at TJ’s for many years.
Unfortunately, some Trader Joe’s shoppers have noted that the quality of this product has gone down in recent years, due to the declining quality of chicken in general…
That said, most shoppers are still super happy with this product, including Mrs Trader Joe’s, who gave it a 10 out of 10…