Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe โ€” Sweet Umami

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Homemade teriyaki sauce is one of my family’s favorite sauces. We use it on grilled chicken and whenever we make Chicken Teriyaki Bowls. Of course, you could always buy a store-bought sauce, but why?! You can make the best teriyaki sauce at right at home.

easy teriyaki sauce in a carafe on a plate

When I was in college, I used to buy to those teriyaki chicken and rice bowls that they had in the freezer section. They were good enough back then. If I had known how to make teriyaki sauce earlier, my tastebuds would have been a lot happier!

Plus, now that I’m an official grown-up who has to adult all the time, I like to make sure I’m eating healthfully and feeding my family whole food as much as I can. We use this great recipe on everything from stir fry to pork chops!

You can find this sweet, umami-packed sauce in our fridge pretty much perpetually. This easy teriyaki sauce recipe is super delicious and will keep for about three weeks in the fridge.

And one of my absolute favorite ways to serve this is in a teriyaki chicken burrito. If you’ve been hanging with me for a while, you already know I can turn any meal into a burrito. It’s a gift!

What You’ll Love About This Recipe

  • Easy: This recipe takes less than 10 minutes.
  • Fantastic and Flexible: This is the absolute best chicken teriyaki sauce! But I’ve used it on grilled beef teriyaki as well. It even makes simple steamed veggies delicious.
  • Healthy: Teriyaki sauce isn’t always the healthiest thing on the menu at a restaurant, but this version has less sugar and zero preservatives.

Recipe Notes

This sauce does double duty as teriyaki marinade when I’m making teriyaki chicken. To make the marinade, simply take out a portion of the sauce (about 1/3 cup) before you cook it and dilute it with about a cup of water. If you want to make a Hawaiian teriyaki sauce marinade, you can use pineapple juice in place of the water.

What you’ll need

teriyaki sauce ingredients in bowls
  • Soy Sauce: Traditionally, soy sauce is used in teriyaki sauce. If you need to make a gluten free teriyaki sauce, you can use tamari. I have also used liquid aminos as a substitute for the soy sauce.
  • Rice Wine Vinegar: Rice wine vinegar adds an acidic note to the teriyaki sauce. It helps to balance the sweetness of the sauce.
  • Mirin: Mirin has a smooth, sake-like note to its flavor. It adds a subtle, rounded flavor to the sauce.
  • Garlic: You can use fresh minced garlic, jarred garlic, or even dried garlic.
  • Ginger: Use fresh ginger, jarred ginger, or powdered ginger.
  • Brown Sugar: Brown sugar adds a little bit of sweetness. You can also use honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar.
  • Sesame Seeds: Sesame seeds add a little texture to the teriyaki sauce. I also love the look of them in the brown shiny sauce.
  • Crushed Red Pepper: If you like things a little spicy, you can add red pepper flakes. Of course, they are totally optional.
  • Water: I typically use water to dilute this sauce. I have also used pineapple juice many times. Orange juice is also fantastic. Just be sure to adjust the brown sugar accordingly.
  • Thickener: To make a thicker sauce, you will also need either cornstarch or arrowroot starch to make a thickening slurry.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Making homemade teriyaki sauce is so easy! Basically, you just add all of the ingredients to a saucepan and bring them to a boil. If you want a thicker sauce, you can use a slurry made of cornstarch and water as you see below, but this step is optional.

Step 1: Add all of the teriyaki sauce ingredients to a small saucepan. Start with the soy sauce.

add the soy sauce to the saucepan

Step 2: Add the garlic, ginger, and red chili flakes.

teriyaki sauce in a small sauce pan. step 5 add the crushed red pepper

Step 4: Add the brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, and mirin.

adding the rice wine vinegar to teriyaki sauce in a small saucepan

Step 5: Add the water.

Ad the water to the teriyaki sauce

Step 6: Bring all of the ingredients to a simmer.

teriyaki sauce simmering on the stove

Step 7: Add the cornstarch slurry.

addin cornstarch slurry to simmering teriyaki sauce

Step 8: Bring the sauce to a boil while whisking continously as the sauce begins to thicken.

teriyaki sauce, whisk continuously while the sauce thickens

PRO-TIP: The sauce should coat the spoon. It will be the consistency of warm maple syrup.

testing the thickness of teriyaki sauce after boiling for 30 seconds

Step 9: Add sesame seeds, if you are using them.

ading sesame seeds to the teriyaki sauce

How to serve teriyaki sauce

Once the teriyaki sauce has cooled slightly, add it to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

teriyaki sauce in a carafe on a plate

My favorite way to eat this teriyaki sauce is on a satisfying Chicken Teriyaki Bowl,

adding teriyaki sauce to the teriyaki chicken bowl

FAQs and Expert Tips

How to store teriyaki sauce.

Homemade teriyaki sauce can be stored in an airtight container, in the freidge for several weeks.

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easy teriyaki sauce in a carafe on a plate

Teriyaki Sauce

Homemade teriyaki sauce is one of my family's favorite sauces. We use it on grilled chicken, and whenever we make Chicken Teriyaki Bowls. Of course, you can always buy a store-bought sauce, but why!? When you can make the best teriyaki sauce at right at home.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Servings 8
Calories 68 kcal



Teriyaki Sauce and Marinade


Making the Teriyaki Sauce

  • Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan.
  • Place the saucepan on medium-high heat and bring the teriyaki sauce to a simmer.
  • While the teriyaki sauce is heating, mix up the thickening slurry and and set it aside.
  • Once the sauce is simmering, add the slurry to the pan and whisk. Continue cooking, while stirring continuously until the sauce is thickened, about 30 seconds.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside. You will have extra.*


Laura’s Tips + Notes

GLUTEN-FREE: Use tamari instead of the soy sauce. You can also use coconut aminos. 
VEGAN: Use maple syrup or brown sugar. Marinate slices of extra firm tofu OR just serve the teriyaki sauce with steamed veggies and rice. YUM!
HOW TO STORE: Store any leftover teriyaki sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three weeks. 


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Serving: 4ozCalories: 68kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 2gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 1272mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mg
Keyword freezer freindly
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