Homemade Unagi Sauce ウナギのたれ

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  • Sweet, savory, and full of flavor, this delicious Homemade Unagi Sauce or Eel Sauce is the dream sauce for unagi and BBQ dishes!

    Homemade unagi sauce in a glass jar.

    Have you tried grilled unagi (eel) or unagi sushi before? What is that caramelized sweet, salty sauce that goes with the unagi? Well, the irresistible golden brown sauce is basically called the Unagi Sauce (うなぎのたれ).

    What is Unagi Sauce?

    Unagi Sauce or Unagi no Tare (うなぎのたれ) is a special type of thick and sweetened soy sauce.

    Traditionally, it is commonly used on grilled eel or different dishes that feature grilled eel such as unagi don (Unadon/Unaju) or unagi sushi. Although there are many commercial brands of the sauce available in the market, the best eel sauce is the one you make at home.

    Unagi over rice.

    Unadon (Unagi Donburi)/Unaju

    How to Make Unagi Sauce At Home

    To make this sauce at home is as simple as one can imagine. You only need 4 ingredients – sake, mirin, sugar, and soy sauce – to create a rich, umami-packed eel sauce. Combine the mixture in a small pot and let it simmer over the stove until the sauce caramelizes and thickens to your desired richness.

    The great thing about making the sauce at home instead of buying the pre-made stuff is you can decide on the sweetness and saltiness level. And there are no additives in the ingredients.

    Can Unagi Sauce Be Gluten Free?

    Yes! Use Gluten Free Soy Sauce to make the gluten-free version of the sauce!

    Yaki Onigiri | Grilled Rice Ball | JustOneCookbook.com

    What is Unagi Sauce Used for?

    Aside from regular unagi dishes, unagi sauce is finger-licking delicious on any BBQ dishes. Think grilled meat, grilled fish, grilled tofu, grilled mushrooms, and grilled rice ball (Yaki Onigiri). All you need is a light brush or a drizzle of this sweet-savory sauce to heighten the flavor of the dish. In addition, you can use the eel sauce as a marinade for meats or as a dressing for freshly cooked noodles.

    If you’re looking for a new flavor to add to your grill menus this year, you want to try out this recipe! It is absolutely one of my favorite sauces to make in the summer.

    Unagi Sauce

    Where to Buy Unagi Sauce (Eel Sauce)

    If you want to skip making homemade sauce, you can purchase the bottled one at the condiment section of Japanese grocery stores. You may also find it in well-stocked Asian grocery stores. If that’s not an option, get on Amazon.

    Homemade unagi sauce in a glass jar.
    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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    4.31 from 26 votes
    Homemade unagi sauce in a glass jar.
    Unagi Sauce
    Cook Time
    20 mins
    Total Time
    20 mins

    Sweet, savory, and full of flavor, this delicious Homemade Unagi Sauce is the dream sauce for eel and BBQ dishes!

    Course: Condiments, How to
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: eel, unagi
    Servings: 100 ml (a bit less than ½ cup)
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Unagi Sauce Ingredients
    2. In a small saucepan, add mirin, sake, sugar. Turn on the heat to medium heat and whisk all the mixture.

      Unagi Sauce 1
    3. Then add soy sauce and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to the low heat and continue simmering for 20 minutes. Toward the end of cooking, you will see more bubbles.

      Unagi Sauce 2
    4. Turn off the heat and let cool. The sauce will thicken more as it cools. You can store the sauce in an airtight jar and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

      Unagi Sauce 3
    Recipe Notes

    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.

    Editor’s Note: The post is originally published on May 6, 2013. The new images have been added to the post in May 2019.

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