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Best Teriyaki Sauce

Sweet and sticky homemade Teriyaki Sauce is absolutely delicious when used in stir fry recipes or even as a marinade. It only requires a few ingredients and can be ready in minutes!

white bowl with spoonful of teriyaki sauce on wooden board

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love stir-fries. They are so easy to pull together for dinner, and I’m able to use up any vegetables in my refrigerator that need to go quickly.

Serve them over rice, noodles, or other whole grains like quinoa or bulgur. And, there are so many different sauce options to choose from, the possibilities are nearly endless!

One of my very favorite sauces is this teriyaki sauce that can be made in only about 15 minutes and can be used as a baste, marinade, dipping sauce, or stir-fry sauce.

overhead shot of white bowl of teriyaki sauce, honey, green onions, garlic, and ginger with chopsticks

What is in teriyaki sauce?

Some people think that teriyaki sauce is just another type of soy sauce, but that is not the case. Soy sauce which is very salty is actually used to make teriyaki sauce along with other ingredients which cause it to be a thicker sweeter sauce than just plain soy sauce. Teriyaki sauce ingredients include:

wood cutting board with grated ginger, honey, and soy sauce
  • Soy sauce- Gives it a salty flavor. To make it gluten-free, tamari can be used as a substitute.
  • Honey- Other sweetener options such as bee-free honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup can be used to make vegan.
  • Brown sugar- Adds more sweetness but can be left out if desired.
  • Rice vingar- Provides a bit of tangy or sour element to the sauce.
  • Ginger- Use freshly grated ginger for a robust flavor, but dry ginger can be substituted.
  • Garlic- Minced fresh garlic or from a jar.
  • Sesame seeds- Toasted sesame seeds give the sauce a warm nutty flavor.
  • Thickener- Either cornstarch or arrowroot powder made into a slurry using water thickens the sauce up nicely for stir fries. Leave out the thickener to use as a marinade instead.
bowl filled with rice and tofu teriyaki with broccoli and chopsticks

How to make teriyaki sauce

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

Begin by peeling and grating the fresh ginger. Dry ground ginger can be used as a substitution, but I really prefer fresh for a robust flavor.

Oftentimes, for the garlic, I will use the minced type in a jar. If you’re using fresh garlic, go ahead and mince or press it.

stainless saucepan with toasted sesame seeds

In a dry pan, roast approximately 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds until they begin to turn light brown and pop. Remove from the heat or they will burn quickly. Pour them into a cup or bowl and set to the side.

stainless saucepan with teriyaki sauce and whisk and bowl of thickener

Next, place all the sauce ingredients–soy sauce, water, honey, brown sugar, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and toasted sesame seeds–in the saucepan. EXCEPT, don’t add the thickener yet (cornstarch or arrowroot powder). Heat to medium and whisk together well until it begins to simmer nicely.

In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder or cornstarch, plus 1 tablespoon water to create a slurry thickener. Add it to the saucepan with other ingredients and whisk as it begins to thicken.

Once it thickens to the desired consistency, remove it from the heat to stop the thickening process. Serve in stir-fries like this Tofu Teriyaki with Broccoli. Or use as a dipping sauce or for basting.

small white bowl of teriyaki sauce with plate of stir fry and chopsticks

Pro tips & variations

  • Marinade- To use this sauce as a marinade, simply skip the thickener and use it in its thinner form.
  • Gluten-free- Soy sauce has gluten, so substitute tamari for the soy sauce to make it GF.
  • Vegan- Substitutions for the honey can include Bee-Free Honee, agave nectar, or maple syrup.
  • Salty- Use low sodium soy sauce to reduce the sodium content.
  • Sweetener- The brown sugar can be left out completely if desired.
  • Ginger- I personally like to use fresh grated ginger, but dry ground ginger can be substituted.
  • Garlic- Fresh or from a jar gives the best flavor, but ground garlic can be used if desired.
white bowl filled with vegan teriyaki sauce on wooden table with green onions and ginger

More Asian stir-fry sauces

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white bowl with spoonful of teriyaki sauce on wooden board

Best Teriyaki Sauce

Yield: 1 cup+
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Sweet and sticky homemade Teriyaki Sauce is absolutely delicious when used in stir fry recipes or even as a marinade. It only requires a few ingredients and can be ready in minutes!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Begin by peeling and grating the fresh ginger. Dry ground ginger can be used as a substitution, but I really prefer fresh for a robust flavor.
  2. Oftentimes, for the garlic, I will use the minced type in a jar. If you’re using fresh garlic, go ahead and mince or press it.
  3. In a dry pan, roast approximately 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds until they begin to turn light brown and pop. Remove from the heat or they will burn quickly. Pour them into a cup or bowl and set to the side.
  4. Next, place all the sauce ingredients–soy sauce, water, honey, brown sugar, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and toasted sesame seeds–in the saucepan. EXCEPT, don’t add the thickener yet (cornstarch or arrowroot powder). Heat to medium and whisk together well until it begins to simmer nicely.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder or cornstarch, plus 1 tablespoon water to create a slurry thickener. Add it to the saucepan with other ingredients and whisk as it begins to thicken.
  6. Once it thickens to the desired consistency, remove it from the heat to stop the thickening process. Serve in stir-fries like this Tofu Teriyaki with Broccoli. Or use as a dipping sauce or for basting.

Notes

Pro tips & variations

  • Marinade- To use this sauce as a marinade, simply skip the thickener and use it in its thinner form.
  • Gluten-free- Soy sauce has gluten, so substitute tamari for the soy sauce to make it GF.
  • Vegan- Substitutions for the honey can include Bee-Free Honee, agave nectar, or maple syrup.
  • Salty- Use low sodium soy sauce to reduce the sodium content.
  • Sweetener- The brown sugar can be left out completely if desired.
  • Ginger- I personally like to use freshly grated ginger, but dry ground ginger can be substituted.
  • Garlic- Fresh or from a jar gives the best flavor, but ground garlic can be used if desired.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 30Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 288mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 1g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate and leave a comment because I love hearing from you. Remember SHARING IS CARING!

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