Homemade Teriyaki Sauce is a sticky sweet and savory sauce that is so easy to make at home. This thick sauce is made from soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger that can be used as a marinade or drizzled on your favorite chicken, beef, or shrimp recipes. Learn how to make it healthier and gluten-free, too, with just a few simple ingredient swaps!
Homemade Teriyaki Sauce Recipe
Whether you need a sauce to add to a stir-fry or want a sticky marinade for chicken, this teriyaki sauce recipe can do it all!
It has a wonderfully savory umami flavor with a subtle hint of sweetness from the sugar and honey.
Plus, if you add in a bit of Sriracha sauce it will even have a nice spicy kick!
Making your own healthier version at home is actually so simple to do, too.
You’ll only need a few ingredients and less than 10 minutes to cook up this easy Asian sauce.
What is Teriyaki Sauce?
Teriyaki Sauce is a thick, rich, sweet, and savory sauce that is traditionally found in the Asian cuisine. Soy sauce makes up the bulk of the recipe with garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, and a bit of honey or sugar.
While it’s typically used in chicken stir-fries or beef teriyaki recipes, it also tastes incredible on fish, shrimp, and even vegetables. You can also use it as a marinade to help tenderize meats and infuse them with a ton of flavor!
Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients you will need for this teriyaki sauce recipe as well as some healthier substitutions you can make:
- Soy sauce – This salty sauce makes up a large majority of the flavor profile. Since soy sauce is typically made from soy beans and wheat, most teriyaki sauces at restaurants and at the grocery store are not gluten-free. If you would like to make gluten-free teriyaki sauce, you can substitute the soy sauce for a gluten-free kind, Tamari or even coconut liquid aminos.
- Sugar – Brown sugar or coconut sugar can both be used interchangeably in this recipe.
- Honey – A little bit of honey gives a lovely floral undertone to the sauce. If you’re vegan you can also substitute with pure maple syrup or agave nectar.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic cloves that have been crushed or finely minced is key. Using garlic powder is not recommended.
- Ginger – Much like the garlic, it’s best if you use fresh ginger instead of ground. Ginger paste is a quick way to add fresh ginger to this sauce without too much work peeling and mincing an entire ginger root.
- Vinegar – Rice vinegar, and not rice wine vinegar, adds a hint of acidity that helps to balance out the sweetness of the other ingredients. If you have trouble finding rice vinegar, white wine vinegar or even lime juice may also be used.
- Sesame Oil – It may seem like this ingredient wouldn’t matter very much, but it definitely does! Even just a teaspoon of this flavorful oil will add a lovely rich note to the sauce that you do not want to miss. Make sure you use toasted sesame oil.
- Sriracha – This spicy addition is optional and can be left out if you prefer a more sweet and not spicy sauce.
- Starch Slurry – A combination of water and cornstarch or tapioca starch that is whisked together. Read more below about this thickening agent.
How to Make
The process of making homemade teriyaki sauce is actually quite simple. You’ll have it ready to enjoy in less than 10 minutes!
Add soy sauce, water, vinegar, sugar, honey, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and Sriracha sauce to a medium-sized saucepan over high heat. (step 1 above)
Bring sauce to a boil and then reduce heat to low.
Simmer for 1-2 minutes or until sugar begins to dissolve.
Make a starch slurry by whisking together starch and water in a small bowl until smooth. (step 2 above)
Add starch slurry to the saucepan. (step 3 above)
Whisk sauce for 2-3 minutes over low heat until it is thickened to your desired consistency. (Sauce will thicken even more once it cools.) (step 4 above)
Serving and Storing
This recipe yields 1 cup of teriyaki sauce. Two tablespoons equals one serving size.
Sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freezing is not recommended.
Thick & Sticky
There are a few ways to get a thick and sticky teriyaki sauce and avoid a watery and runny one.
- Sugar – The brown sugar and honey will crystallize with the other ingredients and begin sticking together.
- Reducing – Simmering ingredients evaporates off any additional water, thus thickening the liquid. (Much like when making a balsamic reduction.)
- Starch Slurry – A mixture of cornstarch and water is whisked together and THEN added into the sauce. Do not try and add the starch directly into the sauce without first mixing it together with water. If you do this you’ll end up with clumps of starch throughout the sauce.
- Cooling – Once the sauce is completely cooked and looks to be CLOSE to your desired thickness, let it cool to room temperature. The simple act of cooling allows it to naturally thicken up as the sugar crystalizes and solidifies in the sauce.
My sauce is runny! How can I thicken it up?
If you’ve made your own teriyaki sauce at home and it’s not as thick as you’d like, there are a few things you can do.
Add a little more sugar. Make sure you do this over heat so the sugar can easily dissolve!
Simmer it over medium-low heat. This helps to cook off some of the extra liquid.
Whisk in more starch slurry. Add in no more than 1 tablespoon of starch and 1 tablespoon of water at a time.
Is it vegan?
Most teriyaki sauce recipes are vegan, but some will contain honey which is technically an animal product.
To make a homemade sauce that is vegan you’ll want to substitute honey with equal amounts of pure maple syrup, agave nectar, or sugar.
Can I make it gluten-free?
They key offender in teriyaki sauce that makes it unsafe for Celiacs is the soy sauce.
To make a gluten-free teriyaki sauce at home you’ll need to either use a gluten-free soy sauce, Tamari sauce, or coconut liquid aminos. You can substitute these alternatives in a one-to-one ratio.
Recipes to Try
Once you’ve made your homemade sauce, there are so many different recipes you can use it in!
Homemade Teriyaki Sauce Recipe
Make your own homemade Teriyaki Sauce with this easy and healthy recipe. Use this sweet and tangy sauce in stir-fries or marinades for chicken, beef, shrimp, or veggies.
- ⅓ cup soy sauce gluten-free, or Tamari sauce
- 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. sugar brown or coconut sugar
- 2 Tbsp. honey or pure maple syrup
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tsp. ginger paste or minced ginger
- 1 tsp. sesame oil toasted
- 1 tsp. Sriracha sauce optional
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch or tapioca starch
- ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp. water divided
Add all of the ingredients except for the starch and 2 tablespoons of water to a medium-sized saucepan over high heat.
Bring sauce to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1-2 minutes or until sugar begins to dissolve.
Make a starch slurry by whisking together starch and water in a small bowl until smooth. Add starch slurry to the saucepan.
Whisk sauce for 2-3 minutes over low heat until it is thickened to your desired consistency. (Sauce will thicken even more once it cools.)
Use teriyaki sauce on chicken, salmon, or in some beef teriyaki foil packets.
- This recipe yields 1 cup of teriyaki sauce.
- Two tablespoons equals one serving size.
- To Store: This sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container.