Savory and versatile, Teriyaki Sauce has been becoming the mainstay seasoning outside of Japan. Learn how to make delicious and easy homemade teriyaki sauce in this recipe.
Over the years I’ve received many requests from readers who wanted to make their own homemade Teriyaki Sauce (照り焼きのたれ). The good news is teriyaki sauce is actually very easy to make, and this recipe shows you how we make it in Japan.
What is Teriyaki?
First of all, if you aren’t aware, Teriyaki (照り焼き) in Japanese actually describes a cooking method. “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. So teriyaki essentially refers to any grilled/broiled/pan-fried food with shining glaze.
Watch How to Make TERIYAKI SAUCE
All Teriyaki Sauce in Japan is Homemade
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 season the food with soy sauce, sake, and mirin (and sometimes sugar). Mirin 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 my basic teriyaki sauce, you just need to combine equal parts of soy sauce, sake, mirin and then add sugar to your liking. The easiest way? Have this formula memorized:
2 Tbsp soy sauce : 2 Tbsp sake : 2 Tbsp mirin : 1 Tbsp sugar
Americanized teriyaki sauce always include grated or minced ginger and garlic to produce a slightly different teriyaki flavor. You can add them if you like. It is a good variation of teriyaki sauce.
How to Thicken Teriyaki Sauce
Americanized teriyaki sauce is very thick and syrupy compared to the teriyaki sauce in Japan. Japanese teriyaki sauce is reduced in the pan until it becomes thicker consistency.
You can make a thick sauce by adding a mixture of 2 Tbsp water and 1 Tbsp corn or potato starch.
Remember, there is no “perfect” teriyaki sauce that fits to all kinds of recipes. Adjust the ratio of ingredients each time you make a teriyaki recipe. Homemade teriyaki sauce is healthier than store bought ones since it does not contain any additive.
The wonderful thing about teriyaki sauce is its versatility, and you can make many favorite family dishes like teriyaki chicken, teriyaki salmon to beef teriyaki. Once you start experiment with your own teriyaki sauce, you will have fun dishing out different delicious recipes with this all-purpose seasoning.
Don’t want to miss a recipe? Sign up for the FREE Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch with me on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram for all the latest updates.
Gather all the ingredients. See Notes for half portion ingredients or substitute info on sake and mirin.
In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients. Add sake and mirin.
Add soy sauce and sugar.
Bring the mixture to a boil and continuously stir the sauce until sugar is dissolved. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium low. Cook on simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce is thicken.
When you mix the sauce or tilt the saucepan, small bubbles start to rise/appear. When this happens, the sauce is ready to use. Pour the sauce to a sterilized jar and keep the jar open until cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks.
Teriyaki Salmon: Season the salmon with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lightly coat the salmon with all-purpose flour. Heat the cooking oil or butter in the frying pan and cook the salmon one side for 3 minutes. Once nicely brown, flip the salmon. Add 1 Tbsp sake and cover to cook for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and pour the Teriyaki Sauce. Spoon the sauce over the salmon to coat well.
Teriyaki Chicken: Season the skin-on chicken thigh (or chicken breast if you prefer) with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lightly coat the chicken with all-purpose flour. Heat the cooking oil or butter in the frying pan and cook the chicken one side. Flip and cover to cook until it's cooked through. Wipe off the frying pan with paper towel. Pour the Teriyaki Sauce and coat the chicken well with the sauce.
Teriyaki Tofu: Drain the firm tofu well (pressing it or microwaving it for 1 minute). Cut the tofu into smaller pieces (slabs) and lightly coat them with all-purpose flour. Heat the cooking oil in the frying pan and cook the tofu on both sides. Pour the Teriyaki Sauce and coat with the tofu.
You can also pour additional Teriyaki Sauce on the finish dish.
Substitute for ½ cup Sake:
- If you can take alcohol: Use ½ cup dry sherry or Chinese rice wine
- If you can't take alcohol: Use ½ cup water
Substitute for ½ cup Mirin:
- If you have sake: ¼ cup sake + ¼ cup water + 3 Tbsp sugar
- If you don't have sake: ½ cup water + 3 Tbsp sugar
You can make half portion with ¼ cup (4 Tbsp) sake, ¼ cup (4 Tbsp) mirin, ¼ cup (4 Tbsp) soy sauce, 1/8 cup (2 Tbsp) sugar.
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.
Other Teriyaki Recipes:
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Jun 12, 2013. It’s been updated with new video, images, and content in January 2018.