This easy teriyaki sauce recipe makes for a tasty sweet and savory flavor booster! It’s a combination of soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, rice wine, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil thickened with cornstarch.
A classic Japanese-style teriyaki sauce can be swiftly made right at home in just five minutes. Balancing just the right ratio of savory, sweet and pungent ingredients elevates the umami flavors. Cornstarch helps to create a luxurious glaze that thickens in just seconds when heated.
This quick and easy sauce clings nicely to slices of meat, tofu, steamed vegetables, and tiny rice granules. This condiment is versatile to add flavor as a stir fry sauce when making wok-fired dishes or as a dipping sauce.
The main ingredients
Teriyaki sauce is composed of soy sauce, water, rice wine, rice vinegar, and a sweetener like honey, maple syrup or brown sugar as the base ingredients. These provide a balance of savory, sweet, and tangy notes.
To add more depth and appetizing aromatics, I use freshly minced garlic, minced ginger, and sesame oil. You can substitute ¼ teaspoon garlic powder and ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger for fresh as a convenient swap. Dried seasonings are more intense in flavor so less is needed.
How to make teriyaki sauce
- Whisk together water, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, wine, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil.
- In a small bowl whisk together cornstarch and water.
- Simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Whisk in cornstarch slurry and cook until it thickens.
Thicken the sauce
Using a thickening agent like cornstarch is essential to create a shiny glaze that sticks to the food. It’s best to disperse the starch in water first before heating up the sauce. Adding the cool cornstarch slurry to the hot liquid prevents the sauce from clumping.
Make sure to constantly whisk the sauce as the slurry is added so the starch granules stay separate, swell, and effectively thicken.
Perfect for stir-fry cooking
This teriyaki sauce recipe works well when making a stir-fry in a large wok or pan. Move the protein or vegetables away from the center, creating a well-shape then add the sauce mixture towards the end of the cooking process.
Let it bubble and simmer over medium-high heat for 1 minute, then add in the cornstarch slurry, continuously stirring until the sauce thickens up. Toss the ingredients with the sauce and serve immediately.
How long will it last?
It’s best to use the teriyaki sauce the same day for the best consistency. Cornstarch loses its thickening power when it’s reheated and thin out. The sauce base can be mixed together and stored in an airtight container or jar up to 3 days in advance. Then add the slurry when heating the sauce so that it stays nice and thick.
Ways to use teriyaki sauce
- Drizzle over baked tofu
- Serve with steamed broccoli or asparagus
- Pour over cauliflower rice or broccoli rice
Substituting the cornstarch
Arrowroot powder is a comparable substitute for cornstarch, keeping the sauce translucent. Use 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder dissolved in 4 tablespoons water. Although flour is an effective thickener, it will turn the sauce opaque and murky in appearance, which is great for gravy but not teriyaki sauce.
Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
- ¾ cup (180 ml) water
- ⅓ cup (79 ml) soy sauce
- 6 tablespoons (90 ml) honey, maple syrup or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) mirin rice wine
- 1 ½ teaspoon (6 g) minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon (3 g) minced ginger
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons (12 g) cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water, to add to cornstarch slurry
- In a medium bowl whisk together ¾ cup water, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, rice wine, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil.
- In a small bowl mix together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water.
- Add the sauce mixture to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, once the liquid begins to simmer, cook for 1 minute.
- Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce, and whisk to combine.
- Continuously whisk the sauce until it thickens and lightly coats the back of a spoon, 30 to 60 seconds. The sauce will thicken more as it cools.
- If desired, strain the sauce to remove the garlic and ginger.
- Serve the sauce warm with desired food.
- Mixing Bowl
- Makes: 1 ⅓ cup (315ml) teriyaki sauce
- Serving size: 1 tablespoon (15ml) - 21 servings
- Substitute ¼ teaspoon garlic powder for minced garlic.
- Substitute ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger for minced ginger.
- Substitute 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder dissolved in 4 tablespoons water for cornstarch slurry.
- Substitute coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari for soy sauce.