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!
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.
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:
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
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.
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
Tropical Jerk Chicken Rice Bowl
3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce 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.
45 thoughts on “3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe”
Excellent! I used all the add ons, doubled the recipe. Will never use store bought again!!
Thank you for this. Everyone I’ve have made this for has loved it. The More Full Flavored Sauce version is amazing.
Are there good alternatives for honey?
Good alternatives for honey are brown or white sugar.
What a great idea! Love this. I’m sure this is incredibly delicious!
Always amazingly easy and a family favorite!!
Awesome recipe. Really easy, and that’s coming from someone who loves food but isn’t a great cook.
That is a really good recipe!
Brief but very precise info… Thanks for sharing this one.
A must read post!
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.
Best teriyaki sauce I have ever tried!!!! I put it on grilled burgers, with grilled pineapple and swiss cheese. Delicious!
That sounds SO good!
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.
Great sauce!! Thanks for sharing!!!
Love that this is free of junk!
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!
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.
Yes it definitely is difficult! This one is a great option for that 🙂
Have a lovely night!
So its 1 tsp of cornflour?
1 tablespoon of corn starch as the recipe is written is correct. Thanks!
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.
Thanks so much for leaving this review Bailey! Thank you for sharing it means so much to us.
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!
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.
Yum! That sounds incredible! Thanks for the great comment 🙂
Just wondering if this can be made and then stored in the fridge for future use?
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!
Thank you!! I am trying to reduce the amount of sugar in my family’s diet and I am so excited to try this!!
Hello. Are you sure you didn’t mean to write 2 teaspoons corn starch. It was crazy thick and un-useable after 30 seconds on the stove. yikes! Thanks for double checking!
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!
I retested this yesterday and updated the recipe with additional notes and a reduction in the cornstarch. Thanks so much for your note!
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.
Looks like a perfect teriyaki sauce that’s easy to make at home. Yummed and Stumbled your post. 🙂