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3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe

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The BEST easy teriyaki sauce recipe and it is made in just 10 minutes! It is so simple to make this homemade, you will wonder why you ever bought teriyaki sauce!

Photo of teriyaki sauce dripping off a spoon into a glass jar wit green onions and sesame seeds sprinkled on a brown placemat

Sometimes the cupboards are close to bare for a variety of reasons and you just have to get dinner on the table. At those times I turn to a small handful of standby recipes that I always have the ingredients for.

This easy teriyaki sauce recipe is one of them and my kids happily declare it is the best dinner ever on the regular. It’s delicious, super easy and way better for you than any store bought sauce filled with tons of sugar and corn syrup!

What Is Teriyaki Sauce Made Of?

Teriyaki sauce is popular all around the world with its savory-salty-sweet flavor with lots of umami undertones. 

Traditionally from Japan it’s main ingredients are soy sauce, mirin and sake with a few pinches of sugar and ginger in some cases.

But many people (in America especially) add a significant amount of brown sugar or honey, garlic, ginger, pineapple juice and sesame seeds to their teriyaki sauce.

This variation actually hails from Hawaii where Japanese immigrants introduced the concept, locals mixed in their local addition of pineapples and began using it as a marinade and sauce on chicken and pork especially.

basting brush with thick sticky teriyaki glaze in a small dish

What Is Teriyaki?

Teriyaki in it’s most classic form is actually describing the way the food is prepared, NOT the sauce.

It is used to describe grilling, broiling or pan frying a dish with a beautiful shining glaze. Using it to describe the sauce is a product of americanization of this dish and you will not find the teriyaki you are used to on a classic Japanese menu.

Traditionally, teriyaki sauce was used with fish. In Japanese cuisine, it is mainly used to top mackerel, salmon, marlin, trout, yellowtail and skipjack tuna.

In the west, the sauce is more popularly served with meat such as chicken, beef, and pork. Read more on the history of teriyaki here.

Ingredients You Need:

ingredient shot of water, cornstarch, soy sauce and honey to make a basic teriyaki sauce
The Most Basic Teriyaki Sauce
ingredient shot of water, sesame seeds, soy sauce, honey, cornstarch, rice wine vinegar, pineapple, pineapple juice, ginger and garlic to make a full flavored american style teriyaki sauce
Full Flavored Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

How To Customize Your Sauce:

Creating your own asian sauce from scratch is easy once you understand the types of ingredients you need. Once you understand this you can mix and match within reason with what you have on hand!

  • Salty base: soy sauce, tamari or liquid aminos. Thinned with water to tame the salt overwhelm.
  • Sweetness: traditionally mirin and sake but in our recipe we sweeten with honey and crushed pineapple. Substitute: white sugar, brown sugar, or a sweet wine.
  • Acidity: traditionally sake adds some acidity, but in our recipe rice wine vinegar and pineapple juice. Substitute: orange juice, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Even if you are making the base recipe it’s best to add the acidity in if you can in some fashion, it’s really not well balanced without it.
  • Thickener: you can boil it down to thicken or cornstarch creates a beautiful shiny glaze. Substitute: flour, potato starch or arrowroot powder.
  • Aromatics: ginger and garlic add amazing depth to the recipe. Substitute: finely minced shallots, finely minced onion, dried ginger and garlic powder (start with 1/2 teaspoon and increase to taste)
  • Garnish: sesame seeds add visual interest and a crunch that is delightful. A small dash of sesame seed oil is also lovely (be careful it is powerful!)

While each substitution is not perfect, the ratio and balance is super important to create something edible. Start with our ratios and then tweak to adjust with what you have on hand!

Step By Step Instructions

pouring water and soy sauce into a saucepan
Add soy sauce & water
pouring honey into a saucepan with soy sauce already in pan
Add honey
adding cornstarch to the teriyaki sauce
Add cornstarch
adding small container of crushed pineapple to the saucepan, add additional flavor boosters here!
Add any additional flavor boosters
whisking the sauce with a wire ballon whisk
Whisk to fully combine cornstarch
finished thick sticky teriyaki sauce being whisked with a balloon whisk in a saucepan with sesame seeds visible in the sauce
Cook on medium heat until thickened, whisking often

What’s the difference between soy sauce, teriyaki sauce and teriyaki marinade?

Soy sauce is an ingredient of teriyaki sauce made from a fermented paste of soybeans, roasted grain, brine, and Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae molds. It is the consistency of water and considered to contain a strong umami flavor. It is very salty so many people recommend low sodium soy sauce when making teriyaki sauce to help prevent the salt from overpowering the dish.

Teriyaki marinade is a thinner version of teriyaki sauce that marinade flavors chicken, beef and fish by slowly being slowly absorbed into the meat for several hours. It is kept thinner so the sauce can be absorbed more easily.

Teriyaki sauce (also called teriyaki glaze) is for instant cooking by brushing on meats before grilling, stir frying and as a dipping sauce. It tends to have more sugar and be thickened more, either by boiling it down or by adding cornstarch or other thickening agents.

Is Teriyaki Sauce Gluten Free?

Yes! So long as you use gluten free soy sauce and thicken with cornstarch. You can also use tamari or liquid aminos if you prefer though the flavor will be slightly different.

horizontal photo of teriyaki sauce dripping off a spoon

How Long Will It Keep?

This sauce keeps well in the fridge for several weeks, so I will often whip up a double batch at the start of the week so we can use it in multiple recipes. It’s perfect for meal prepping on the weekends!

Ways to Use This Homemade Teriyaki Sauce:

We love to make noodle stir fry, teriyaki chicken over rice and we use this all the time to brush on meats to toss on the grill quickly. It is completely addicting and I know it will become a pantry staple in your house too!

Try these recipes:

Almond Chicken Stir Fry
Teriyaki Chicken
Tropical Jerk Chicken Rice Bowl

Rate & Review It

3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe

The BEST easy teriyaki sauce recipe and it is made in just 10 minutes! It is so simple to make this homemade, you will wonder why you ever bought teriyaki sauce!
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Print Pin Recipe


Basic Easy Teriyaki Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, I like reduced sodium
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4-5 tablespoons honey, to taste

Flavor Add Ins

  • 2-4 tablespoons rice vinegar, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons crushed pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon green onions


  • In a small pot whisk soy sauce, water, cornstarch and honey together until smooth. Add any of the optional additional ingredients you are using (vinegar, garlic, ginger, etc) .
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and whisk constantly until desired thickness is reached, about 8-10 minutes. Do not leave unattended it thickens quickly once it gets boiling and will rapidly burn. It will continue to thicken as it cools so remove it before it looks to the consistency you are after.
  • Taste and adjust as desired. If too thick, thin with additional water to desired consistency.


Sauce will thicken as it stands. If too thick simply whisk in a few tablespoons of warm water at a time until desired consistency is reached.


Serving: 1/8th of recipe | Calories: 57kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 439mg | Sugar: 12g
Author: Dani Meyer
Course : Entree
Cuisine : Chinese, Japanese, American
3 ingredient recipe, teriyaki sauce recipe, homemade teriyaki sauce, teriyaki stir fry, teriyaki chicken, teriyaki sauce, dinner, easy recipe, healthy, chicken, stir fry, sauce

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About Dani Meyer

Hi, I’m Dani! I’m most importantly mama to 3 wild little dudes. I spend my days cooking, photographing and exploring the Pacific Northwest. I'm a full time food blogger and online business coach.

I’m the author of Stress Free Camping, a 120+ page guide on making epic food in the woods. I’m also the founder of Food Blogger Entrepreneurs, the leading online academy and private community for food bloggers. → More About Dani

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41 thoughts on “3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe”

  1. 5 stars
    This sauce is delicious! The basic ingredients are a perfect blend. I added garlic/ juice from an orange/ ginger! Looking forward to teriyaki chicken and rice at Sunday football halftime! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’ve made this recipe a few times & am just barely looking at the comments. Now I’m curious is it 2tsp of cornstarch or 1tbsp? I’ve always done 1tbsp & it’s always been so good!

  3. 5 stars
    AMAZING! I use this all the time to marinade, dip, barbecue or drizzle over a stir fry. Its so versatile, so easy to make and SO much better than the packet or bottle stuff. Thank you for sharing.

  4. 5 stars
    This worked great! We made this for an at-home-Chinease-dinner, and it worked great! It tasted just like (and smelled like it too) teriyaki sauce from any gourmet Asian restaurant.

  5. 5 stars
    This was AMAZING! It tasted just like the local Japanese place, which allowed me to make beef bowls at less than HALF the price!! I am SO GLAD I found this and gave it a try!

  6. 5 stars
    I love that I can make this GF easily as its really hard to find Gluten Free Teriyaki sauce when I need it (only certain stores carry it and I can never remember which ones!) . great quick recipe. this will be a keeper for sure.

  7. It was delicious… only ingredient that I did not use is pineapple juice but I did use fresh pineapple chucks that I cut up until they looked like crushed pineapple. I put in a bit more water as sauce thickened which compensated for lost of pineapple juice. I also put in a bit more ginger than 1 tsp since I tried to estimate cutting up 1 tsp but was a bit over so I threw it in anyway. It was a lot of ginger but I love ginger so no problem. I look forward to trying other recipes and shared your site w/ my friends.

  8. great to have a homemade teriyaki sauce as easy as this simple recipe or even with the more flavorful version without too many more ingredients, thank you for both of these!

  9. 5 stars
    I made the Teriyaki sauce recipe with all the ingredients doubled, with all ingredients listed in a double boiler…added brown sugar and pepper flakes, used fresh pineapple, too. It is so good! I will marinate pork, let it drain, place on skewers with veggies, and place on a charcoal grill. Probably will cook the marinade to use as a dipping sauce, too.

    • Hi Sarah!

      Yes it can but may separate a bit. Just reheat and give it a whisk and it should come back together. I’ve never kept longer than a week but I imagine it should keep quite a while.

      Hope that helps!


    • Hey Natasha!

      Oh goodness I think you are correct! I’m going to update it to that and retest it this morning just to be sure. I do know that I often add up to 1/4 cup of water to this sauce as I’m whisking it which I mentioned in the notes in the recipe.

      But that is normally after several minutes and the proper ratio is 1 tablespoon cornstarch to 1 cup liquid so it really must be teaspoons. So sorry about that!


      • This recipe is AMAZING, but it was better with less corn starch. Also, adding about 2 tsp of sesame oil really brings all of the flavor a together.


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