Make your own homemade Teriyaki Sauce with this easy and healthy recipe. Simple ingredients like soy sauce, vinegar, honey, and garlic are combined to create the best flavors, with a gluten-free option! Use this sweet and tangy sauce in stir-fries or marinades for chicken, beef, shrimp, or veggies.
Whether you need a stir-fry sauce, or want a sticky marinade for chicken, this teriyaki sauce recipe does 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.
It is typically used in chicken stir-fries or beef teriyaki recipes. However, 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!
The ingredients you need to make this homemade teriyaki sauce include:
- 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 are not gluten-free. For a gluten-free teriyaki sauce, 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 wonderful floral undertone to the sauce. If you’re vegan you can also sweeten the sauce with pure maple syrup or agave nectar.
- Garlic. Fresh garlic cloves that have been finely minced is key. Garlic powder is not recommended.
- Ginger. Much like the garlic, it’s best if you use fresh instead of ground. Ginger paste is a quick way to add fresh ginger to this sauce without peeling and mincing an entire ginger root.
- Vinegar. Rice vinegar, not rice wine vinegar, adds a hint of acidity that helps balance out the sweetness of the other ingredients. If you have trouble finding rice vinegar, white wine vinegar or even lime juice are alternative options.
- 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 give a lovely rich note to the sauce. Make sure you choose a 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 Teriyaki Sauce
The basic steps for making teriyaki sauce are simple to follow. Please see the recipe card below for more detailed ingredient amounts.
Mix soy sauce, water, vinegar, sugar, honey, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and Sriracha in a medium-sized saucepan over high heat.
Bring to Boil and Simmer
Heat the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1-2 minutes or until the sugar begins to dissolve.
Make a starch slurry by whisking together corn starch and water in a small bowl until smooth. Arrowroot or tapioca starch may also be used. Add in the slurry to the saucepan, this will thicken the sauce.
Whisk Until Thickened
Stir the sauce for 2-3 minutes over low heat until it is thickened to your desired consistency. Note that the sauce will thicken even more once it cools.
Meal Prep and Storage
- To Prep-Ahead: This recipe yields 1 cup of teriyaki sauce, perfect to make in advance and use throughout the week. Two tablespoons equals one serving size.
- To Store: This sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks in an airtight container.
- To Freeze: It is not recommended to freeze this sauce.
- To Reheat: Return to a saucepan over low heat, or pop in the microwave until heated through.
If your homemade teriyaki sauce is 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.
Most teriyaki sauce recipes are vegan, but some will contain honey which is technically an animal product. To make a vegan sauce, substitute honey with equal amounts of pure maple syrup, agave nectar, or sugar.
They key offender in teriyaki sauce that makes it unsafe for Celiacs is the soy sauce. For a gluten-free teriyaki sauce either use a gluten-free soy sauce, Tamari sauce, or coconut liquid aminos. You can substitute these alternatives in a one-to-one ratio.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Don’t skip the sugar. The brown sugar and honey will crystallize with the other ingredients and helps the sauce to thicken up.
- Take the time to reduce. Simmering ingredients evaporates any additional water, thus thickening the liquid. (Much like when making a balsamic reduction.)
- Slurry the starch. 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.
- Cool off. 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.
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.