Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

published Jan 21, 2022
Teriyaki Sauce Recipe

Teriyaki sauce can be drizzled over meats and veggies or served on the side as a dipping sauce.

Makes1/2 cup

Prep1 minute

Cook15 minutes

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Teriyaki sauce in a small glass ramekin with a spoon picking up some of the sauce and letting it drip back into the ramekin.
Credit: Perry Santanachote

The “teri” in teriyaki means “shine” in Japanese and is the essence of this world-famous sauce. The soy-based glaze makes meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables shimmer and taste irresistibly sweet and savory. Many supermarket teriyaki sauces lean on corn syrup and starches for viscosity and shelf life, which is why homemade teriyaki is superior. Plus, it’s so easy to whip up.

Teriyaki sauce can be used as a marinade, drizzled over meats and veggies, or served on the side for dipping. You can also cook meat in the sauce as it reduces for the most glorious sheen. Just make sure the pan can snugly fit the meat — a big pan won’t allow the sauce to properly coat and glaze it.

What Is in Teriyaki Sauce?

Teriyaki sauce is equal parts soy sauce, sake, and mirin, plus a little sugar. For a fragrant or spicy twist, add fresh lime or ginger. ​​Japanese tamari is the preferred type of soy sauce and you’ll notice a difference if you substitute Chinese soy sauce — especially because it makes up a third of the recipe. Tamari is thick and dark with a rich, nuanced soy flavor (it has more soybeans than wheat grains), while Chinese soy sauce tends to be thin, light, and saltier.

Credit: Perry Santanachote

What to Serve with Teriyaki Sauce

The “yaki” in teriyaki refers to grilling, so this glaze is meant for grilled foods, such as chicken and fish, but the lustrous umami sauce is also a natural pairing with the following:

  • Roasted chicken
  • Roasted salmon
  • Roasted or steamed vegetables
  • Pan-fried tofu cutlets
  • Sushi rice

How Long Will it Keep in the Fridge?

Keep teriyaki sauce covered in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

Teriyaki Sauce Recipe

Teriyaki sauce can be drizzled over meats and veggies or served on the side as a dipping sauce.

Prep time 1 minute

Cook time 15 minutes

Makes 1/2 cup

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup

    tamari or soy sauce

  • 1/3 cup

    mirin with no added sugar, such as Eden brand

  • 1/3 cup

    sake

  • 2 tablespoons

    packed light brown sugar, plus more as needed

Instructions

  1. Place 1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce, 1/3 cup mirin, 1/3 cup sake, and 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce is reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Taste and stir in more light brown sugar if needed. Use immediately or let cool to room temperature (it will thicken as it cools).

Recipe Notes

Tamari: Tamari has a more distinct roasted flavor. Soy sauce such as Kikkoman can be used in place of tamari but is much more salty. Adjust the level of sugar according to taste.

Storage: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.