Savory and versatile, Teriyaki sauce has becoming the mainstay seasoning outside of Japan. Learn how to make delicious and easy homemade teriyaki sauce in this recipe.
I’ve received many requests from readers over the years who wanted to make their own homemade teriyaki sauce. It’s actually really easy. If you aren’t aware, Teriyaki (照り焼き) in Japanese actually describes a cooking method. In Japanese, “teri” (照り) means luster and “yaki” (焼き) means grilled/broiled/pan-fried. It’s not the sauce we refer to, but rather how the food is prepared (the shiny food being grilled/broiled/pan-fried).
Fun Fact: Grocery stores in Japan don’t carry bottled Teriyaki Sauce (unless they are imported).
When the food is prepared in “teriyaki” style, we use soy sauce, sake, mirin (and sometimes sugar) to season. Mirin (sweet cooking rice wine) gives the food a nice luster and it’s an important ingredient for teriyaki style cooking. Since the meaning of ‘teriyaki’ has been deviated by simply referring to a Japanese sauce outside of Japan, I’d just refer it as a sauce in this post.
How to Make Authentic Teriyaki Sauce
To make a basic teriyaki sauce, you just need to remember the main 4 components: combine equal parts of soy sauce, sake, mirin and then add sugar to your liking.
Each time you make the sauce, the teriyaki flavor could be a little different depending on the ingredients you are using. For example, you might add grated/minced ginger or garlic to the sauce to produce a slightly different flavor.
Two ways to thicken teriyaki sauce:
- You can thicken it with corn starch mixture so that the food is coated well with the sauce.
- You can also bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce it by coating the food with the sauce while cooking. This allows the sauce to become a bit thicker to your desired consistency. I only use corn starch mixture when the sauce needs to be very thick (like the typical store-bought teriyaki sauce).
Remember, there is no “perfect” teriyaki sauce that fits to all kinds of food. That means you can make it differently each time you make a teriyaki recipe. Homemade teriyaki sauce is healthier than store bought ones since it does not contain any addictive.
For the teriyaki sauce below, I omitted sake completely from the recipe because I know sometimes it’s not easy finding sake everywhere or you prefer not to use alcohol in cooking. Mirin may be hard to find in some parts of the world so in that case, you can substitute it with sugar.
From teriyaki chicken, teriyaki salmon to beef teriyaki, teriyaki sauce is versatile and can be used as a marinade, seasoning or a glaze over a dish. Once you start experiment with your own teriyaki sauce, you will have fun dishing out different delicious recipes with this all-purpose seasoning.
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Gather all the ingredients.
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar, mirin, and soy sauce and bring to a boil.
- In a small bowl, combine corn starch with water and whisk it all together. Add the mixture in the sauce.
- Quickly whisk the sauce to evenly distribute the corn starch mixture.
- Stir the sauce while it's being reduced to the consistency you like.
This recipe is modified to make it more like American store-bought teriyaki sauce. My authentic teriyaki sauce is to combine equal parts of soy sauce, sake, and mirin and then add sugar to your liking. Add grated/minced ginger or garlic to the sauce depending on the food you are cooking.
Subsitute for 4 Tbsp Mirin:
- If you have sake: 2 Tbsp sake + 2 Tbsp water + 1½ tsp sugar
- If you don't have sake: 4 Tbsp water + 1½ tsp sugar
Don't forget 2 Tbsp sugar in the recipe as well!
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.