Homemade Teriyaki Sauce [Easy Japanese Recipe]

Teriyaki sauce is a classic Japanese sauce that is at the heart of so many of the best traditional Asian dishes. Discover how to make this sauce with our easy homemade teriyaki sauce recipe.

homemade teriyaki sauce recipe

What is Teriyaki Sauce?

Teriyaki sauce is a Japanese sauce that has four main parts to it. It features soy sauce, sake, sugar, and ginger. 

It’s an Asian sauce used in many dishes as a basic sauce and as a marinade. It serves both as a base and as a flavor enhancer. You can use it when cooking vegetables, meat, fish, or even tofu. It’s a versatile and flavorful sauce. It can also be used as a topping for different dishes or served on the side. 

It has a savory, sweet, and yet salty taste, making it a great match with many dishes. As such, it has spread its wings across different cuisines, despite its Asian roots. 

Serving Ideas

There are different ways to serve Teriyaki sauce since it is a versatile sauce. For example, teriyaki sauce can be served with grilled chicken as a sauce over it. This is one of the more common ways of using it. You can also add it to grilled chicken or beef steak, giving you a rich layer of sweet flavor.

You can also use it on vegetables and fish. It can also be used as a glaze for fish or seafood dishes, such as salmon.

Teriyaki sauce also pairs well with noodles and goes great with stir-fries. You can use it as your base sauce. You can also marinate meat in teriyaki sauce before grilling it. Baste skewers and kabobs with this sauce and enhance the flavor of the ingredients on it. Teriyaki sauce may also be used in place of barbecue sauce on burgers and ribs. Also, you can use it for recipes in the oven, broiler, or skillet.

Finally, you can turn it into teriyaki salad dressing by adding honey for added sweetness, as well as sesame oil and water to thin it out slightly.


There are a couple of ingredients that you will need for the basic sauce. First, you will need soy sauce which you will need to dilute with water. This will thin out the sauce. Soy sauce is made from fermented soybeans, amongst other ingredients. It has a distinct umami flavor, and this is one of the things that make it stand out. Soy sauce is salty, and this is the flavor it brings to the sauce. 

You will also need cornstarch as a thickening agent and sake or mirin or honey to add sweetness. For a good sake for cooking, we recommend using junmai grade sake. It’s lower in alcohol content than its contemporaries, but still provides the sweet, umami flavor we want.

However, there are additional ingredients that you can use to add flavoring to the sauce, such as rice vinegar, to taste, crushed pineapple, pineapple juice, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, and thinly sliced green onions


  • You can thicken teriyaki sauce by using cornstarch or flour. The other alternative that you have is to boil the sauce down.
  • If you keep the sauce in the fridge, it can remain fresh and usable for a couple of weeks. This means that you can make a lot in advance and use it for different recipes. 
  • If you want to make sure that the sauce is gluten-free, use gluten-free soy sauce. 
  • Add ginger and garlic to enhance the flavors.
  • You can sweeten with mirin or sake, or you can sweeten with honey and pineapple chunks. 

How to Make Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

For the basic homemade teriyaki sauce, you don’t need much. The first thing to do will be to mix the soy sauce, water, and cornstarch. Make sure they are whisked together thoroughly and adequately blended with no lumps. Then stir in the add-in ingredients that are meant to enhance flavors. Heat the mixture over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Make sure to stir and whisk the mix so that it doesn’t boil down. Also, the sauce will quickly thicken, so this is one pot that you will have to watch boil. 

As it boils, taste to make sure it has the elements that you want. If not, you can keep adding the flavor add-ins.

homemade teriyaki sauce recipe

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

This is a simple recipe with a few essential ingredients. However, since you’re making it yourself, you can add a few more ingredients that make it more customized and suit your preferred flavor.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Condiment, Marinade, Sauce
Cuisine Asian
Servings 8 servings


  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp honey


  • 2-4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 4 tbsp crushed pineapple
  • 2 tbsp pineapple juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp green onions


  • Mix soy sauce, water, cornstarch, and honey in a pot. Whisk until smooth.
  • Add the flavor add-in ingredients.
  • Boil the pot over medium heat for 8 minutes.
  • Taste to ensure that you have the right flavor as well as consistency
  • Adjust consistency by adding warm water.
  • The sauce thickens once it’s taken off the heat and allowed to cool down.


What’s the Difference Between Teriyaki Sauce and Teriyaki Glaze?

Teriyaki sauce is the umbrella term for seasoning. Teriyaki glaze is made especially to apply to food after it is cooked. Even though it is made in the same way as teriyaki sauce, it has some extra ingredients that make it great for glazing. The added ingredients often include something to make it stick better, such as honey. 

What’s the Difference Between Teriyaki Sauce and Marinade?

Teriyaki marinade is made thinner to soak into the meat easier and more effectively, thereby infusing the distinct teriyaki flavors. Also, teriyaki marinade will contain ingredients that can tenderize the meat and allow the flavors to soak better. 

Is Teriyaki Sauce Gluten-Free?

It is gluten-free as long as you use gluten-free ingredients such as cornstarch and gluten-free soy sauce. 

What Is the Difference Between Teriyaki Sauce and Soy Sauce?

Soy sauce is a seasoning method used in Chinese cooking, whereby the flavor of salt is extended. On the other hand, Teriyaki is a Japanese method of cooking that uses soy sauce as one of the ingredients. The main difference being that teriyaki sauce is a blend of ingredients with a sweet and tangy taste, while soy sauce is salty.