4 Ingredient Teriyaki Sauce
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This Teriyaki Sauce is the sticky, sweet and savory sauce that’s authentically Japanese and totally irresistible. Use it for a variety of dishes including teriyaki shrimp, teriyaki chicken and more. It’s easy to make and tastes so much better than bottled, store-bought sauce. Plus video tutorial!
I have to share my favorite teriyaki sauce and you will agree it’s the best recipe out there! I learned to perfect teriyaki recipes while living in Tokyo. There are a few secret ingredients and small tricks that set it apart from all the rest. I recently made Teriyaki Chicken for a dinner party and it was a huge hit!
This teriyaki sauce (照り焼きのたれ) is thick and sticky and the flavor is out of this world. It uses only 4 ingredients and takes about 10 minutes to make at home with restaurant quality! It has the balanced combination between sweet and savory accents, and I use this versatile recipe on almost everything: chicken, salmon, shrimp, beef, tofu, meatballs, salad and even appetizers.
My family and friends always rave about this teriyaki sauce whenever I make it! Delicious, versatile, quick and easy… you can’t beat it!
How to Make Teriyaki Sauce
There are only 2 easy steps and 4 simple ingredients to make Teriyaki Sauce. It is made of soy sauce, sake (or white wine), Mirin and sugar. First, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well, then bring it to a simmer in a saucepan. You are done!
Simply use 1-1-1 ratio rules for the first 3 ingredients: soy sauce, mirin and sake (or white wine). For example, if you add ½ cup soy sauce, then you will need ½ cup mirin and ½ cup sake or white wine. Then you add in sugar to taste. That’s it! Easy to remember too!
Ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes are optional.
After you add the mixture to a saucepan, first bring to boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently.
The sauce will start to thicken as it simmers. If you want the sauce to coat your food, it will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes, whereas some people prefer a more liquid sauce that only takes 5 minutes. Remember NOT to over-thicken it as the sauce will become thicker as it cools.
Remove from heat, and you can use immediately or refrigerate it and use it later.
Note: It’s important to stir constantly while the sauce is simmering to prevent your teriyaki sauce from burning.
If you are in a rush and need the sauce to be ready right away, simply mix 1 tbsp cornstarch with 2 tbsp COLD water and then add to your sauce. Stir it in and allow to boil for 30-60 seconds and it will have thickened.
Here is a process demo and you will see how easy it is to make this recipe.
Teriyaki sauce is easy to make ahead, and you can keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Simply double or triple the recipe, and use a larger saucepan for quick boiling.
Tips and Secrets for Making the Best Teriyaki Sauce
- Use high-quality soy sauce. It is the magic for the best teriyaki sauce. You can choose low-sodium soy sauce if you want to lower your salt intake.
- After you bring the mixed liquid to a boil, you need to reduce the heat to medium-low and stir constantly to prevent the sauce from burning. DO NOT leave it unattended.
- Ginger and garlic are optional for Teriyaki Sauce. If you choose to add them, slice them into big pieces, and strain the sauce to remove them before you use the sauce.
- To achieve the best results, it’s better to let the sauce to boil down and you will get that sticky and shinny look. Adding cornstarch and water mixture will make your sauce cloudy.
- Don’t boil down the sauce too much as it will thicken when cools down.
How to Use Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki Sauce is a very versatile sauce and you can use it on different food, with different equipment. It’s the sauce that you can always rely on to create an amazing meal!
The Best Food with Teriyaki Sauce
Here is a complete guide on how to use teriyaki sauce on different food:
Teriyaki Chicken (15 minutes): This is the most popular teriyaki recipe. Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, and then place the cubed chicken in the pan and cook 2-3 minutes per side, just enough to lightly brown the pieces. Then add the Teriyaki Sauce. Once the chicken is coated with the sauce evenly, immediately remove the pan from the heat.
Teriyaki Salmon (20 minutes): First season the salmon with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the oil in a large pan or skillet over medium heat. Add salmon with skin-side facing down. Cover the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until the skin turns golden brown. Remove the lid and flip the salmon, pour the teriyaki sauce. Turn the heat to high, let the sauce boil. In the mean time, spooning the sauce onto the salmon to coat evenly. It will take another 3-4 minutes for the salmon to be cooked through.
Teriyaki Shrimp (15 minutes): Place a skillet over medium-high heat and add oil, then add defrosted shrimp in the pan and cook uncovered for about 2 minutes per side, which is a general guide for sautéing shrimp. Pour the Teriyaki Sauce into the pan and cook for 2-3 more minutes, using a spoon to baste the shrimp with the sauce. Remove the shrimp to a plate and drizzle thickened sauce on top of shrimp.
Vegetarian Teriyaki Tofu (15 minutes) : Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, and then place the tofu cubes in the pan and cook them on both sides for a few minutes. Then add the Teriyaki Sauce. Once the tofu is coated with the sauce evenly, immediately remove the pan from the heat.
Teriyaki Beef: Cut your beef into thin strips. Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, and then place the beef strips in the pan and cook 2-3 minutes per side, just enough to lightly brown the pieces and create some caramelized flavor. Once the pieces have browned, add the Teriyaki Sauce and coat the beef evenly. Remove the pan from the heat.
Teriyaki Pork: Cut your pork into cubes or thin strips. Place a skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. When the oil is hot, add pork and cook for a few minutes until it turns lightly brown. Add Teriyaki Sauce and the coat the pork thoroughly.
Different Equipment to Make Teriyaki Recipes
Frying Pan or Skillet: This is one of the most commonly used ways to make teriyaki recipes today, and often the fastest. To use this method, you need to place a frying pan or skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add your chicken, salmon or shrimp to the pan. The sauté time varies depending on the food you use. Then add teriyaki sauce and coat your food evenly with the sauce. Read more here.
Oven: Baked Teriyaki recipes are becoming more and more popular, especially in North America. You can find more information on how to use oven baked teriyaki recipes in our Baked Teriyaki Salmon. I like to marinate my food before baking in order to get a more intensified flavor.
Slow Cooker (Crock Pot): Crock Pot Teriyaki Recipes work well with Chicken thighs, beef and pork. It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and is a perfect weeknight meal for the whole family. All you need to do is to lay your meat in a single layer in a crock pot, and pour the teriyaki sauce over the top. Cover and cook! The cooking time depends on the meat you use. Here is the detailed information on how to make Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken.
Grill: Cut your meat into cubes, and marinate them with teriyaki sauce. Then preheat the grill to medium heat. Add your marinated meat to skewers and grill until the meat is cooked through. Brush more sauce on meat while grilling.
What is mirin?
Mirin (味醂 or みりん in Japanese) is a Japanese cooking rice wine with subtle sweet accents that gives the food a nice luster. It’s a common ingredient in Japanese cooking, and you can find it in most grocery stores or online. If you are in a crunch, you can easily substitute Mirin with dry white wine and sugar.
Watch Now: How to Make Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki Sauce (with Video)
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1/2 cup white wine, see note
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 tbsp sugar
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the mirin, white wine, soy sauce and sugar.
- Place a medium size saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add the sauce mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to ensure the sugar dissolves.
- Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling until the sauce starts to coat the spoon.
- Remove from heat and use as directed in the recipe. Enjoy!
Please read our nutrition disclaimer.
Mirin and Sake Substitutes
When you don’t have mirin or sake on hand, here is an alternative way to make delicious Teriyaki Sauce:
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp vinegar apple cider
- ¼ cup sugar or honey,
- ½ tsp minced ginger
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- Salt and pepper to taste
This recipe makes enough for 1-1½ pound of meat or fish.