Ponzu is a classic Japanese condiment that is both refreshing and versatile. Enjoy making this all-purpose, citrus-based sauce at home!
A classic Japanese condiment, Ponzu Sauce is a citrus-based sauce with a tart-tangy flavor similar to a vinaigrette. It contains a mix of ponzu (citrus juice of sudachi, yuzu, and kabosu and vinegar), soy sauce, sugar or mirin, and dashi.
Because of its versatility & refreshing flavor, you can use the sauce in many different ways. Enjoy ponzu as a dipping sauce for shabu-shabu or seafood, as a marinade for grilled meats and vegetables, or as dressing for salads or cold noodles.
How to Make Homemade Ponzu Sauce
To make a ‘quick’ version of ponzu at home, you just need to combine equal parts of soy sauce and fresh lemon juice as well as a bit of sweetness from mirin.
If you have more time, I highly recommend adding a strip of kombu and a handful of bonito flakes. You can add more katsuobushi for rich, smokey, umami-rich ponzu sauce. Umami from kombu and katsuobushi really make this homemade ponzu to the next level. You will get a more balanced and richer taste. Umami is hard to describe, but you know it’s there when you taste it.
This homemade ponzu can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month. I love this homemade ponzu sauce that I don’t buy bottled ponzu anymore.
Got Yuzu? Make Yuzu Ponzu!
If you’re lucky enough to get yuzu, definitely make Yuzu Ponzu (柚子ポン酢) or yuzu pon (柚子ポン)!
Delicious Recipes to Enjoy with Homemade Ponzu Sauce
- Tofu Salad with Sesame Ponzu Dressing
- Tuna Tataki
- Eggplant with Sesame Ponzu Sauce
- Pork Spring Rolls with Ponzu
- Grilled Oyster with Ponzu Sauce
- Shabu Shabu
I’ll be sharing more recipes using my homemade ponzu!
Homemade Ponzu Sauce
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup citrus juice (I recommend a mixture of lemon, orange, and/or grapefruit juices; I used 6 Tbsp lemon juice and 2 Tbsp orange juice)
- zest from one lemon
- 2 Tbsp mirin (or substitute with 2 tsp sugar + either 2 Tbsp sake or 2 Tbsp water)
- ½ cup katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) (packed; for vegan/vegetarian, omit or substitute it with 1-2 dried shiitake mushrooms)
- 1 piece kombu (dried kelp) (2 inches x 3 inches, 5 x 7.6 cm; 6 g)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Combine all the ingredients in a sterilized mason jar and mix well.
- Steep in the refrigerator overnight (minimum), for several days, or for up to a week. Some restaurants steep it for a month, especially if they make a big batch.
- After steeping, drain the mixture in a sieve to strain out the katsuobushi and kombu. You can use leftover the kombu and katsuobushi to make Homemade Furikake (Japanese rice seasoning).
- You can keep the homemade ponzu in the mason jar for up to 1 month (to be safe); however, if you substitute the mirin with water and sugar, please use it within a week. When you use the ponzu, make sure to use clean utensils to avoid cross-contamination. The sauce will keep 6 to 12 months if you sanitize and keep everything clean while making the ponzu.
Editor’s Note: The original post was published on May 26, 2013. The post has been updated with the new pictures and video and the recipe has been updated in October 2017.