HOME Authentic Teriyaki Sauce Recipe: Making Japanese Restaurant-Style Flavor At Home
Authentic Teriyaki Sauce Recipe: Making Japanese Restaurant-Style Flavor At Home

Authentic Teriyaki Sauce Recipe: Making Japanese Restaurant-Style Flavor At Home

Date published: 7 April 2021

Teriyaki sauce, which originated in Japan, is popular in the United States and many other foreign countries. The combination of fragrant soy sauce and thick mirin, a sweet rice wine, is exquisite. It is an essential Japanese condiment used for both meat and fish dishes.

Have you ever wondered how this popular sauce is made? Here we will introduce an easy-to-follow teriyaki sauce recipe that will give you the taste of Japan right at home!

Table of Contents
  1. What is teriyaki sauce made of?
  2. Authentic Japanese-style Teriyaki Sauce Recipe
  3. Teriyaki Dishes You Want to Try When in Japan
  4. ① Teriyaki Burger
  5. ② Teriyaki Hamburger Steak
  6. ③ Teriyaki Chicken
  7. ④ Yakitori (with sauce)
  8. ⑤ Pork Bowl
  9. ⑥ Eel Bowl
  10. ⑦ Yellowtail Teriyaki
  11. Give teriyaki a try next time you're in Japan!

What is teriyaki sauce made of?

Sheila Fitzgerald / Shutterstock.com
Sheila Fitzgerald / Shutterstock.com

What do you imagine when you hear the word teriyaki?

In actuality, there are some differences in the taste and how you enjoy the Japanese cooking method of teriyaki versus teriyaki sauce as it is known in the United States and other foreign countries.

Japanese teriyaki sauce consists of using soy sauce, sugar, and a sweet rice wine known as mirin. Mirin is a unique Japanese condiment made by fermenting steamed glutinous rice and a distilled alcoholic beverage.

Sometimes, mirin-like condiments are used (cheaper, fermented condiments with less than 1% alcohol can be used in the place of mirin).

When mixed, these ingredients make a sweet sauce used to glaze meat or fish while it’s being grilled. This cooking method was given its name due to the final product of meat or vegetables producing a shine, or in Japanese a teri, from being coated in the sauce

On the other hand, teriyaki sauce abroad is made from its own original recipe. It’s used for soaking meat or as a finishing sauce on already grilled meat.

In addition to soy sauce, sugar, and mirin (mirin-like condiments), ingredients such as garlic, foreign liquors, and spices can be found in the teriyaki sauce sold in foreign countries. This differs from the original Japanese condiment.

A popular soy sauce in both Japan and foreign countries. Hadrian / Shutterstock.com
A popular soy sauce in both Japan and foreign countries. Hadrian / Shutterstock.com

The reason for the difference in the sauces lies in Kikkoman, a Japanese soy sauce brand, making its way to the United States.

After the war, in the 1950s, Japan began to export soy sauce again. Given this opportunity, Kikkoman had a strong desire to share the deliciousness of their soy sauce with Americans. This led to the invention and experimentation of using soy sauce to accent everyday American cuisine. Slowly but surely, dishes using soy sauce became popular.

In the midst of this, Japanese cuisine started gaining attention due to a boom in Japan’s popularity starting in 1958. Many Americans began to use soy sauce while eating BBQ and called it teriyaki. Due to this, Kikkoman produced a BBQ sauce called Teriyaki Marinade that became widely popular throughout the United States.

PangJee_S / Shutterstock.com
PangJee_S / Shutterstock.com

Teriyaki sauce is a standard condiment easily found in the States. However, this heavily spiced American-style teriyaki sauce hasn’t made its way to Japan and can rarely be found in Japanese supermarkets.

What can be found are ready-made sauces for cooking teriyaki dishes. What’s more, the sauce for teriyaki dishes is also easy to make at home. We will be introducing the way to do it, Japanese-style!

Authentic Japanese-style Teriyaki Sauce Recipe

Authentic Japanese-style Teriyaki Sauce Recipe

・Soy sauce - Two tablespoons
・Mirin (or mirin-like condiments) - Two tablespoons
・Rice wine - Two tablespoons
・Sugar - One tablespoon

① Prepare the ingredients.
② Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly.

That’s it! It’s very simple.
The sauce should not be had on its own. It should be heated by soaking ingredients in the sauce and cooking them or using it as a glaze while grilling something.

It can be used very easily. You can grill chicken, pork, or a fatty fish, wipe off the excess oil, and add teriyaki sauce. By glazing the meat in the sauce while grilling it, you will end up with a delicious teriyaki dish.

What about when you don’t have any mirin (mirin-like condiments) or rice wine?

In order to create a shiny finish to the dish, mirin is oft considered necessary. However, it is often the case that mirin is not sold in foreign countries.

For a teriyaki sauce recipe without mirin, you can substitute by using two teaspoons of honey or a starch syrup. When you can’t find rice wine, you can use a dry white wine instead.

Teriyaki Dishes You Want to Try When in Japan

While being a popular dish in home-style cooking, many teriyaki dishes can also be found in restaurants and izakaya - Japanese drinking restaurants.

The glossy appearance, along with the sweet and spicy flavors of these teriyaki dishes, will have you coming back for more! Please try some when visiting Japan.

① Teriyaki Burger

① Teriyaki Burger

Loved by children and adults alike, the representative burger of Japan is the teriyaki burger. Several burger shops in Japan, including McDonald's, Mos Burger, and Freshness Burger, serve this dish.

The burger takes on the flavors of the sweet and spicy teriyaki sauce. This is done by glazing the patty after it’s grilled or grilling the patty with the sauce. Try the rich deliciousness of this burger that combines sweet and spicy sauce, fresh and crispy lettuce, and slightly acidic mayo.

② Teriyaki Hamburger Steak

② Teriyaki Hamburger Steak

Hamburger steaks are usually made by grilling round patties of ground beef on a hot griddle. It is generally thicker than a burger patty, giving it some heaviness that’s popular among foreign tourists that visit Japan.

Hamburger steaks are usually had with different sauces poured on top or on the side. The teriyaki hamburger steak is no exception. Just like the burger patty for the teriyaki burger, it is glazed with the sauce and grilled. The flavor of soy sauce and sugar melts into the fat of the meat, making it a dish especially popular with children.

③ Teriyaki Chicken

③ Teriyaki Chicken

The simple taste of chicken goes perfectly with sweet and spicy teriyaki. Teriyaki chicken is made by glazing a chicken steak with the sauce as a finishing touch. The flavors in this dish are out of this world. You can easily find teriyaki chicken at many family restaurants and elsewhere, so please be sure to try it.

④ Yakitori (with sauce)

④ Yakitori (with sauce)

A standard yakitori is a grilled chicken skewer flavored with salt or a sauce. The sauce used is actually a traditional Japanese-style teriyaki sauce. This dish is made by dipping the chicken skewer into the sauce and roasting it on a charcoal grill. The sauce’s ingredients and their ratio differ upon the shop, so why not enjoy comparing the many flavors until you find your favorite?

⑤ Pork Bowl

⑤ Pork Bowl

Along with the beef bowl, a standard Japanese fast-food dish is the pork bowl. Thinly sliced pieces of pork and onion are soaked in a teriyaki sauce until it’s fully taken on the flavor.

Then, all of the ingredients, including the sauce, are grilled on high heat. It is a very flavorful and savory dish, so it’s best-matched with some white rice!

In addition, if you add grated or thinly-sliced ginger to the teriyaki sauce when grilling pork, the outcome will be another well-known dish called ginger pork. This combination of the sweet and spicy sauce with refreshing ginger makes for a very popular dish.

⑥ Eel Bowl

⑥ Eel Bowl

The plump texture combined with the sweet and spicy sauce makes this eel bowl hard to resist. Using the same method as yakitori, the eel is dipped into a sauce and grilled into a flavorful dish. Because it’s boiled until it has a thick consistency, this sauce is slightly different from the original Japanese-style teriyaki sauce.

The thickness allows the eel to hold more of the sauce, enhancing the delicious taste. The unique Japanese spice sansho (Japanese pepper) is used as a topping to bring an extraordinary kick. Please enjoy this dish and all it has to offer.

⑦ Yellowtail Teriyaki

⑦ Yellowtail Teriyaki

Yellowtail teriyaki is a standard fish dish that uses Japanese-style teriyaki sauce. Because yellowtail is a fatty fish, it goes very well when made teriyaki-style. This is done by grilling a piece of potato or corn starch-covered fish and adding Japanese-style teriyaki sauce until it has a glossy finish. You can easily try this dish at traditional Japanese restaurants, teishokuya - Japanese restaurants that only serve set meals, or family restaurants.

Give teriyaki a try next time you're in Japan!

Teriyaki dishes can be made easily and tastily just by grilling meat or fish and adding Japanese-style teriyaki sauce. This is one of the reasons why it’s known and loved as the taste of home-style cooking. Teriyaki chicken is a dish especially recommended for beginner cooks! If you can find some soy sauce or sugar, why not try making this Japanese-style teriyaki sauce recipe at home?

Supervisor: Cafe & Restaurant Grand Terre Representative, Ms. Emi Matsuoka
Works on developing side dishes and processed foods inspired by French cuisine

Written by:



Kiko Matsuda, Keiko Kimura, Risa Tsuji, and a team of female writers familiar with Kansai. We love eating, drinking and traveling! We share fun information based on our experiences.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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