Keep a jar of this homemade Teriyaki Sauce in your refrigerator, and your monthly food budget will thank you. It’s a delicious miracle worker on just about anything that could use a little sweet and spicy kick, and gives carryout a serious run for its money.
Drizzle teriyaki sauce over pork chops, chicken, and salmon—or use it as a marinade for next-level grilling. Trying to eat more vegetables? Let this gingery, garlicky Japanese teriyaki sauce recipe be your go-to; it makes broccoli, green beans, and asparagus absolutely addictive.
Best of all, this teriyaki sauce is a thick one, so it clings to every nook and cranny without ending up in the bottom of your bowl.
Making a larger batch of Teriyaki Sauce for a big family? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
What does teriyaki mean?
When food is prepared in “teriyaki” style, it is seasoned with soy sauce, sake, and mirin, which gives a silky, smooth lustre to the sauce. In the states, teriyaki is most often the name given to the sauce itself, which is found in bottles at the store. In Japan, everyone makes their own sauce at home—you can’t buy it. That’s how easy it is to make.
Is teriyaki sauce the same thing as soy sauce?
Teriyaki Sauce vs. soy sauce…what’s the difference? Teriyaki sauce is made with soy sauce, but it’s thicker, sweeter, and more complex. Soy sauce is a thin, salty sauce that is made from soybeans. Both are great, but they have their purpose.
Teriyaki Sauce ingredients:
Here’s what’s in the sauce, with lots of good ideas for substitutions, too:
- Soy sauce. (find a gluten free brand if you’re gluten intolerant.)
- Mirin. An easy to find Japanese sweetened cooking wine
- Grated ginger. Don’t use a lot of ginger? Good news, ginger root can be stored whole in the freezer, as-is. You can cut hunks off of the frozen ginger as you need it…genius, huh?
- Red pepper flakes.
- Corn starch.
How Teriyaki Sauce is made:
- You’re hardly going to believe how easy it is to do. Let’s make some sauce!
- 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.
- Then 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.
- 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.
How to make gluten-free Teriyaki Sauce:
Is Teriyaki Sauce gluten-free? Believe it or not, soy sauce is made from wheat, so the trick to making teriyaki sauce gf is finding a gluten free soy sauce.
Some store-bought gluten-free soy sauces include: San-J Organic Gluten and Wheat Free Tamari Soy Sauce, or Eden Organic Soy Sauce. But no matter what, read the labels carefully as formulations may change without warning.
Making Teriyaki Sauce without honey:
Easy! Just use agave syrup, or a tiny bit of extra sugar. Or, just leave it out.
Teriyaki Sauce with ground ginger:
Fresh zingy ginger is the way to go with this sauce, but a reader suggested that a little ground ginger and fresh lemon juice (to brighten the flavor) work just as well. 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger root is equal to 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger.
How to make a mirin substitute:
Technically, this isn’t mirin, but another clever reader suggested using white wine and a little sugar: 1 and 2 tablespoons of sugar to 1/2 cup of white wine. Leave a comment if you’ve tried it!
How to make teriyaki sauce without cornstarch:
To thicken teriyaki Sauce without cornstarch, you can add flour, or arrowroot powder to your mix to help thicken your teriyaki sauce. Follow the instructions in making a slurry and stir frequently so the thickener doesn’t clump.
Teriyaki is fabulous on:
- Salmon. Grilled salmon is wonderful when brushed with the sweet and spicy glaze.
- Beef. A quick beef and broccoli stir fry is so much healthier than delivery.
- Noodles. Veggie noodle bowls pack crazy flavor with teriyaki sauce drizzled on the top.
- Chicken. This is a no-brainer! Meal prep doesn’t have to be boring! Grill up some chicken breasts on Sunday for the week ahead. Teriyaki chicken salad for lunch.
- Meatballs. Plain old meatballs are anything but when simmered in teriyaki sauce.
- Pineapple. Grilled chunks of pineapple brushed with homemade Teriyaki glaze. Pineapple never had it so good.
How to Make Teriyaki Sauce
- 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
- In a small saucepan, combine soy sauce, sugar, water, mirin, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes (everything except corn starch and honey). 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.