How to Make Teriyaki Sauce

Add a little variety to your weekly meal plan with homemade Teriyaki Sauce. It adds a sweet and spicy kick to meats, veggies, noodles, and rice, and it’s ready in about 15 minutes.

Hibachi steak with grilled wasabi potatoes on a blue platter with teriyaki sauce being poured onto it.

Recipe ingredients:

The ingredients for teriyaki sauce arranged in bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Mirin: Japanese cooking wine. It’s widely available at grocery stores, Target, and Walmart.
  • Ginger: If you don’t use a lot of ginger, you can store the whole root in the freezer, as-is. You can also grate it and freeze it in ice cube trays. Some grocery stores also sell tubes of grated ginger in the produce area and tiny cubes of ginger in the freezer section.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. In a saucepan, mix together the soy sauce, sugar, water, mirin, ginger, and red pepper flakes and bring everything to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
    Teriyaki sauce cooking in a silver pot.
  2. Take out a couple tablespoons of the sauce and combine it in a small bowl with the cornstarch to make a slurry. This keeps the cornstarch from clumping and makes it easier to incorporate into the rest of the sauce. Pour the cornstarch slurry back into the sauce, stir well, and bring back up to a boil. Stir frequently until the teriyaki sauce thickens.
  3. Finally, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the honey. Let it cool to room temperature. Store in a jar and use within the week.
    Teriyaki sauce being poured from a silver pot into a clear bowl.

Recipe tips & substitutions:

  • Chicken marinade: Use 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce for 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds). Marinade at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 1 hour. Grill or sauté the chicken breasts and serve with extra teriyaki sauce on the side.
  • Gluten-free teriyaki: For a GF teriyaki sauce, just grab a gluten-free soy sauce.
  • Mirin substitute: Can’t find mirin? Mix 2 tbsp. dry white wine or rice vinegar+ 1 tsp. sugar.
  • Ground ginger: I’ve only tested the recipe with fresh ginger, but a reader suggested that a little ground ginger and fresh lemon juice work just as well. You could start with 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and add more until you like the flavor (add lemon juice to taste as well).
  • Without honey: You can use agave syrup or a tiny bit of extra sugar. Or, just leave it out.
  • Without cornstarch: Substitute flour or arrowroot powder.

Teriyaki is fabulous on:

Hibachi steak with grilled wasabi potatoes on a blue platter with teriyaki sauce being poured onto it.

How to Make Teriyaki Sauce

Add a little variety to your weekly meal plan with homemade Teriyaki Sauce. It adds a sweet and spicy kick to meats, veggies, noodles, and rice, and it's ready in about 15 minutes. Yield: 1 cup
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Course: Pantry
Cuisine: Asian
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 149kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger (from one 6-inch piece, peeled)
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, combine soy sauce, sugar, water, mirin, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer.
  • Remove 2 tablespoons sauce to a small bowl and whisk in cornstarch. Return to the saucepan and continue simmering until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, stir in honey, and cool to room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for up to one week. Bring to room temperature before using.

Video

Notes

  1. Chicken marinade: Use 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce for 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds). Marinade at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 1 hour. Grill or sauté the chicken breasts and serve with extra teriyaki sauce on the side.
  2. Gluten-free teriyaki: For a GF teriyaki sauce, just grab a gluten-free soy sauce.
  3. Mirin substitute: Can't find mirin? Mix 2 tbsp. dry white wine or rice vinegar+ 1 tsp. sugar. 
  4. Ground ginger: I've only tested the recipe with fresh ginger, but a reader suggested that a little ground ginger and fresh lemon juice work just as well. You could start with 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and add more until you like the flavor (add lemon juice to taste as well).
  5. Without honey: You can use agave syrup or a tiny bit of extra sugar. Or, just leave it out.
  6. Without cornstarch: Substitute flour or arrowroot powder.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 149kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1688mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 19IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

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  1. Candace

    Easy and Delicious! 5 stars

  2. natasha

    Im not sure how but it ended up being way too sweet and had to throw it out, maybe I measured the sugar wrong who knows. :( I gave it five stars because I didn’t want to mess up your rating.5 stars

  3. Ian MOSTOWY

    Prep time of 3 minutes including peeling and grating the ginger?? How fast are you??

    Once brought to a boil even simmering hence will hold the heat. There is no way it will take as long as 10 minutes for it to thicken once the cornstarch mixture is added back in. It will thicken within 4-5 minutes. Allowing it to simmer for the extra 5-6 minutes however will allow the flavours to incorporate and mingle.

    I love the recipe. The use of mirin is a nice touch. On that note though you’re not doing the average home cook any favours by getting them to find mirin and then misleading them with the timings. Also it is pretty important to constantly stir the sauce while simmering in order to incorporate the cornstarch and keep your teriyaki from burning. This is a sweet sauce and is very prone to burning especially at the bottom of the pan and if left simmering for 10 minutes unattended. After the 4-5 minutes it will start to bubble and boil again too but keep the heat where it is and continue stirring.

    Admittedly I am writing this note before actually trying your method. So I will try what you have suggested and see if my 25 years as a chef have somehow failed me.

    I know my comments might come off as being a bit harsh but it is the truth. I’m just either the first person to read this recipe that has extensive knowledge or the first of a bunch to say something.

    1. Denita

      Meggan, I am curious to know if you have tried your recipe with Ian’s changes. I also saw where someone used ground ginger instead of fresh and was wondering what the difference will be and how much ground I should use. I just don’t have a real need to keep fresh ginger on hand as I don’t use it often. I LOVE Teriyaki but the store bought one that’s thick enough to my liking always seems too spicy for my teenage children (although, I enjoy it)

    2. meggan

      Hi Ian! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Honestly I think your job as a chef is one of the hardest and under-appreciated in the world… although I hope that hasn’t been your experience. Regarding the ginger, I would remove the peel with a spoon and have it done in 30 seconds or less, and then grating 2 teaspoons on a microplane should take 2 minutes tops. But, maybe I’m just fast and I will definitely adjust the prep time. I appreciate the feedback! I am going to make the sauce again following the timing you have suggested and see what happens. Whenever I get questions like yours (or requests for substitutions or changes) I like to test the recipes again. By doing this, I find mistakes and other areas where recipes could benefit from more details or clarification. I’m sure you’re right about the timing on the sauce and I know for sure at least one time I burned it… but I left it unattended for 30 minutes boiling while something happened with one of my kids. But either way, I think the timing is more nuanced than I describe in the recipe. And you’re right, I need to pass this along to the readers. You aren’t harsh… let’s say refreshingly honest! Because you are a chef I love it. If you were some random person on the street arguing with me about food safety it’s just boring, but you obviously know what’s going on. So thank you. I will definitely work on the recipe (testing it out and explaining more details about the process). I’m so grateful to you, you have no idea. Thank you so much!

  4. Cassie

    Super delicious, I didn’t have mirin or fresh ginger so I substituted lemon juice and ground ginger. I kept everything else the same and it came out fabulous. I used it to make a creamy teriyaki salad dressing 5 stars

  5. casnavy

    If you don’t have “Mirin” (Japanese sweet cooking wine) you can substitute White Wine and Sugar:

    1 and 2 tablespoons of sugar to 1/2 cup of white wine.5 stars

    1. Curious

      1 and 2 tablespoons? What? Do you mean 1 cup and 2 tablespoons? I’m confused.

    2. meggan

      I think this person meant 1 OR 2 tablespoons of sugar to 1/2 cup white wine, vermouth, or dry sherry. The reason the exact amount of sugar isn’t specified is because it depends on the sweetness of the wine you’re cooking with. If you’ve had Mirin in the past and know what it tastes like, it’ll be easier for you to know much sugar to add. I would start with 1 tablespoon, and you can always add more if your teriyaki sauce isn’t sweet enough. I hope this helps! Thanks! Sorry for the confusion. -Meggan

    3. meggan

      This is an awesome subsitution!!! Thank you so much. I’ve always wondered if there was something we could use instead. I will add it to this post and any others with Mirin. Thank you again!

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