Homemade teriyaki sauce is so versatile and comes together in 10 minutes using just a handful of simple ingredients. This popular sweet and savory sauce is a recipe you’ll use over and over again as a dip, a glaze, a marinade, and in all your tasty stir-fries!
Stir Fry Sauce
I know you’re with me when I say there’s nothing better than a tasty condiment that goes with everything! Yum yum sauce and spicy BBQ sauce are two others, but there’s something extra versatile about a delicious homemade teriyaki sauce.
This Asian-inspired recipe has the sweet and savory elements we crave and the stickiness and sheen we love! It’s exactly like we get at our favorite Japanese take-out restaurants, only better!
Making it from scratch allows me to control what goes in and helps me to avoid crazy amounts of sugar and sodium that are found in store-bought jars. It’s easy to whip up whenever you need it.
No judgment here if you find yourself eating it by the spoonful!
Teriyaki sauce vs. soy sauce
Soy sauce is just one ingredient used in teriyaki sauce. Teriyaki sauce is made with a complex flavor profile made up of sweet, savory, and salty notes and the soy sauce is what delivers the umami flavor.
On its own, soy sauce can be used as a sauce for dipping and drizzling too!
Why you’ll love Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
Tasty – Sweet and savory, slightly salty with a side of sticky! Perfect for dipping into and drizzling over everything!
Budget-friendly – Everything in the ingredients list can most likely be found in your pantry.
Healthier – You control the ingredients. Use low-sodium soy sauce if preferred or swap the brown sugar for maple syrup, or pineapple juice. It not only tastes better when made from scratch, but it’s also better for you.
Easy – Homemade teriyaki sauce can be made in 15 minutes or less. Easily double or triple the recipe if you plan to use it for a few meals throughout the week.
Versatile – I’m talking stir fries, as a glaze or marinade for meat and seafood, drizzled over rice, coating for veggies, noodles, salad dressing, dipping sauce for egg rolls, and more. Once you make this you’ll be jumping on the homemade teriyaki sauce train.
Equipment you’ll need
- Small saucepan – Nothing fancy, just big enough to hold a few cups of liquid.
- Whisk – Great for mixing all kinds of sauces and gravies.
- Glass Jars – For storage. You don’t get any of that plastic taste in your food. Plus, they’re cute to label and give to someone as a gift.
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.
- SOY SAUCE – This is what gives us that umami flavor we love in so many Asian dishes. It’s salty and savory and it also darkens the mixture to a bold color. You can use low sodium soy sauce if that’s what you prefer.
- BROWN SUGAR – The sweet caramelized flavor that balances the savory and salty flavors. Use light or dark, whichever you prefer. Dark brown sugar will also add to the color.
- GROUND GINGER – I use ground ginger because I find it less potent than freshly grated ginger and it blends easier into the sauce (my kids aren’t a fan of the gritty bits).
- GARLIC POWDER – Same with the garlic powder. You can use fresh garlic, which is great, but again, it’s the smooth consistency I am aiming for. Sometimes it’s also just easier!
- HONEY – Not only for sweetness but it’s definitely what makes it sticky! It also helps to give the homemade teriyaki sauce a beautiful sheen.
- SESAME OIL – Helps to loosen up the condiment making it nice and pourable. The sesame adds an earthy nutty flavor also widely used in Chinese & Japanese cuisine.
- MIRIN – Mirin is a sweet rice wine used in Japanese cooking (you’ll find it used in kung pao chicken as well). If you don’t have any, you can use a cooking sherry in its place.
- WATER & CORNSTARCH – Together they make a cornstarch slurry which gets added at the end to help thicken the sauce. When using it as a marinade, you can omit the slurry.
How to make Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
- STEP ONE: In a small saucepan, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, ground ginger, garlic powder, honey, sesame oil, and mirin over medium heat.
- STEP TWO: Continue stirring until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy. This should take about 4 minutes.
- STEP THREE: In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the water to create a slurry. You want to mix it until the cornstarch has completely dissolved into the water before slowly adding it to the sauce mixture. That way you avoid cornstarch lumps.
- STEP FOUR: Continue to cook for 4 minutes until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. When you dip the spoon, run your finger down the back of it. If it separates in half, it’s thick enough! Remove from heat and allow to cool before pouring into jars and refrigerating.
How to use Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
As a dip
For glazing & marinating
It makes a delicious sauce for Instant Pot shredded chicken and slow cooker teriyaki meatballs. You can spread it on burgers, drizzle it in wraps, or use it as a marinade for chicken, salmon, and shrimp. If you’ve never tried grilled pineapple with a teriyaki glaze, now’s your chance. Also try my crockpot teriyaki chicken!
In stir fries
Use it in this quick and easy Chinese chicken and broccoli, and add some sweet and savory flavor to this easy chicken fried rice. Whenever you’re doing a quick stir-fry noodle dish toss it around in some for a teriyaki flavoring.
It’s also great in some teriyaki chicken rice bowls.
- To make a gluten-free teriyaki sauce, replace the soy sauce with tamari or coconut aminos. Both work as a replacement in many recipes but will alter the flavor slightly. It won’t have as much of an authentic flavor but close enough!
- Use fresh minced garlic and ginger in place of the powder. Keep in mind that minced garlic will deliver a stronger flavor than chopped garlic.
- To make this a vegan recipe, omit the honey or use maple syrup instead. You could also use pineapple juice for yummy flavor.
How to reheat and store Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
How to store leftovers
I like to keep them in glass mason jars sealed with a lid.
How long will teriyaki sauce last in the fridge?
When kept in an airtight container it will last up to 3 weeks in the fridge. You’ll use it up before then, I’m sure!
Can I freeze it?
I have never tried, so I’m not sure. I suppose you could, but it’s so simple to whip up on the spot, I would recommend making some fresh when you need it.
How to reheat teriyaki sauce
Generally, I use it at room temperature, or it’ll become a part of a recipe that gets cooked and heated through anyway, so I don’t often find myself reheating it on its own. However, if you need to, you can reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
How long does homemade teriyaki sauce last?
Up to 3 weeks in the fridge. Make sure to keep it in an airtight container like a glass jar for maximum freshness.
Is teriyaki sauce vegan?
No, not when it contains honey, which adds great flavor and texture. If you omit the honey or replace it with a vegan alternative, it can definitely be vegan-friendly.
How to thicken teriyaki sauce?
Cornstarch and water are how I thicken my sauce. You can replace the cornstarch with flour if you prefer. It does the same trick. Also, make sure you’re cooking it for long enough on the stovetop to reduce enough and thicken it as much as it can.
How much sauce does this recipe make?
You’ll end up with about 3/4 cup. Feel free to double or triple it as needed.
Need more flavorful sauce recipes? Try these:
Click here for my entire collection of sauces and seasonings.