The ever-popular teriyaki sauce is a marinade, a glaze, and a sauce all rolled into one. And teriyaki, by itself, is a Japanese technique of grilling over an open flame while basting the food with a glaze. The sight of crackly and crispy morsels of grilled meat, fish, or vegetables glistening with viscous teriyaki sauce is bound to make anyone hungry. Even the picky eaters in the family can’t resist a teriyaki meal.
Present-day teriyaki sauces have evolved from a soy sauce and mirin base to including ingredients like onions, ginger, garlic, pineapple juice, sugar, and even bourbon. Some of the sauces don’t even contain soy and yet are full of umami—which, translated, means "pleasant savory taste"—and pack a punch.
There is an option out there for your cooking style, and we picked the best teriyaki sauces to help you make a selection.
Kikkoman Original Takumi Teriyaki Sauce
Pairs well with fish
Has full sesame seeds
The Kikkoman Takumi series of sauces are created using an age-old method of traditionally brewed soy sauce with sweet rice wine. Then ginger, garlic, onions, and sesame are added in to create bold flavors and a sumptuous texture. It is great to use as a marinade and as a dipping sauce for a variety of dishes. Keep in mind though, there are full sesame seeds in this sauce, so it is not 100% smooth.
We think it's especially good for grilled or baked salmon to complement all the richness in the fish. When rich, fatty fish meets sublime Asian flavors, together they make a dish that is simply irresistible.
Price at time of publish: $4
Size: 20.5 ounces | Sodium: 450 milligrams per serving
“Teriyaki sauce is basically a sweetened and thickened soy based sauce typically made with soy, mirin (sweet sake) that's great for marinating and saucing proteins and vegetables. Yaki means grilled in Japanese and Teri references the sheen of the sauce. It's typically made with those ingredients as the base, but with the Japanese influence on Hawaiian cuisine, there is often pineapple juice added as well, and sometimes rice vinegar or other seasonings.” — Harrison Smith, General Manager, Uni (Boston)
Asian Fusion Low Sodium Teriyaki Sauce
Much lower in sodium
Sweeter than other options
It’s easy to indulge in seasonings and sauces that taste great. But with only 125 milligrams of sodium per serving, the Asian Fusion sauce will allow you to enjoy great-tasting teriyaki without as much sodium as others on this list. This sauce is also organic, gluten-free, non-GMO verified, and pareve. It has a good balance of flavors without too much salt, but is pretty sweet compared to others.
Price at time of publish: $12
Size: 15 ounces | Sodium: 125 milligrams per serving
Best for Chicken
Mr. Yoshida's Original Sweet Teriyaki Gourmet Marinade
Not many natural ingredients
Sweet, sticky, and tangy—this sauce just goes well with chicken. Whether you want to air-fry some wings or make chicken baked in teriyaki sauce this well-rounded sauce can handle all kinds of cooking. It's all-purpose teriyaki sauce that doubles up as a dip after you cook with it. The sauce also comes in a generous 17-ounce package, but an 86-ounce bottle (that's 5 pounds!) is also available.
The ingredient list for this teriyaki sauce is a bit heavy on artificial additives like high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, lactic and modified corn starch, among others, and also is not gluten-free, so keep that in mind if those are important to you.
Price at time of publish: $3
Size: 17 ounces | Sodium: 460 milligrams per serving
Best for Rice
365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Teriyaki Sauce
Flavor compliments others
Lower in sodium
A little teriyaki sauce, when added to a bowl of plain rice, adds that savory, undeniable umami flavor, and this one rises to the occasion—without all the sodium of other sauces. It basically just pops, and won't cost you a fortune to buy, either. Do you still have all those little leftover rice boxes that you saved from your takeout two nights ago? Bring them forth and make them the main meal with some protein and vegetables thrown in for good measure. This one is a bit thinner than most teriyaki sauces. It works well in a stir fry and rice bowls, and for the times when you just want a thin glaze on your food.
Price at time of publish: $3
Size: 10 ounces | Sodium: 290 milligrams per serving
“Teriyaki sauce is traditionally used as a grill marinade and sauce for proteins and vegetables and I think this is where it shines best. The added sugar content helps caramelize the meats and veggies, not only enhancing the flavor, but the texture as well. I also love to top fried rice with it.” — Harrison Smith, General Manager, Uni (Boston)
Yamasa Artisanal Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce
Short ingredient list
Versatile for different uses
A bit high in sodium
One of the great things about teriyaki sauce is just how versatile it is. It can be used to marinate, to cook, or as a finishing sauce/garnish or even a dipping sauce. When it comes to cooking, stir-frying is one place where it really shines. Yamasa’s artisanal teriyaki has a short ingredient list, keeping it simple and back to basics with just soy sauce, water, sugars, alcohol, rice vinegar, lactic acid, and spice extracts. According to the brand, it is "made with the finest ingredients, [so] this sweet and tangy sauce adds a sublimely delicious flavor to compliment any vegetable or protein dish."
It has been "authentically crafted" in the "Japanese tradition," according to the brand, and it’s also non-GMO, preservative-free, and contains no MSG. If you enjoy their teriyaki sauce as much as we do, be sure to also check out their white miso concentrate and katsu sauce.
Price at time of publish: $10
Size: 10 ounces | Sodium: 460 milligrams per serving
Best for Steak
Bourbon Barrel Kentuckyaki Sauce
Infused with Kentucky bourbon
Tangy flavor from garlic and ginger
Great for marinading
Not super thick
You may think Kentuckyaki isn’t exactly teriyaki, but we are talking about a Japanese sauce that Americans made their own. Teriyaki sauce evolved from a mix of soy sauce and mirin to all the different varieties we now have available, and the Kentuckyaki fits rights in. Bourbon and steak! What’s not to like?
This sauce is sweetened with Kentucky-grown sorghum syrup and has a kick of ginger and garlic. It is pretty thin and makes an amazing marinade. This all-natural sauce is ready when you are to fire up the grill.
Price at time of publish: $13
Size: 12.7 ounces | Sodium: 105 milligrams per serving
Kevin's Natural Foods Keto and Paleo Teriyaki Sauce
No sugar added
Has a kick
Pouch is not resealable
Made with coconut aminos and shitake mushrooms for that soy sauce-like umami that delivers, this option is also keto, paleo, and gluten-free certified with 2 grams of sugar. It has monk fruit extract and stevia leaf extract for sweetness to round off the flavors, and there is paprika for some kick. According to the brand, there are no artificial ingredients in the sauce, and it's also non-GMO verified.
This sauce can be used on any meats and vegetables for a quick stir fry and also works as a marinade. Unfortunately, though, the 7-ounce-sized packs are not resealable, so if you have any sauce leftover, you will need to store it in something else to keep it fresh.
Price at time of publish: $14
Size: 7 ounces per pack | Sodium: 230 milligrams per serving
G Hughes Sugar Free Original Teriyaki Marinade
Sweetened with pineapple juice
Low in carbohydrates
Need to shake well
Sometimes store-bought sauces and condiments can contain sneaky extra ingredients to make the product have a longer shelf life, add color, add sweetness or preserve freshness, above other things. Some of these additives—take honey for example—can then transform the item into something that is not vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc. This teriyaki sauce is clean of any ingredients like that, though.
G Hughes Sugar Free Original Teriyaki Marinade is sweetened with pineapple juice as opposed to something like honey that would make it not vegan. Although it does contain allergens soy and sesame, it is also gluten-free and contains only 1 gram of carbohydrates per 1 tablespoon serving. All this to say that it is still flavorful thanks to garlic, tamari soy sauce, and vinegar—but does require a good shake before pouring to make sure everything is mixed in well together.
Price at time of publish: $4
Size: 13 ounces | Sodium: 250 milligrams per serving
Soy Vay Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce
Made with tamari
Great for dipping
High in sodium
Speaking of options for those who have to follow certain ways of eating, there are also gluten-free teriyaki sauces out there. The Soy Vay teriyaki sauce is made with gluten-free tamari (a Japanese style of soy sauce). Since the gluten-free tamari is made with just soybeans, it has a more pronounced flavor and richer color than regular soy sauce—but also has quite a bit of sodium. Thus, it is a full-bodied sauce, making it suitable for dipping and marinades for meat and fish. You will be making amazing gluten-free Asian food in no time with this savory and sweet sauce.
Price at time of publish: $14
Size: 15.4 ounces | Sodium: 570 milligrams per serving
Noble Made by The New Primal Soy Free Teriyaki Sauce & Marinade
Sweetened with natural sweeteners
Slightly more expensive
Teriyaki sauce is a critical pantry staple—something everyone should have on hand, whether you’re cooking fish, meat, tofu, or vegetables—it complements everything. And it’s not just a sauce for cooking or finishing, it can also be used as a marinade, permeating your ingredients of choice with loads of flavor prior to cooking. But for those who cannot consume soy, it can be tricky to find a safe, delicious teriyaki sauce.
That’s where Noble Made comes in, with its Whole 30-approved and paleo-friendly sauce. It’s not only soy-free, it’s also gluten-free and sweetened only with natural sweeteners. According to the company’s website, "Our recipe replicates that iconic glaze, marinating a mixed grill or finishing a stir fry to authentic perfection. And, crafted with coconut aminos and given only a sweet splash of pineapple juice, it's also healthier in your hands, chef. You won't miss the soy or the sugar."
Price at time of publish: $8
Size: 10.25 ounces | Sodium: 270 milligrams per serving
Best Japanese Style
Annie Chun's Japanese Style Teriyaki Sauce
Classic teriyaki sauce to have in your pantry
Vegan and gluten-free
Great for cooking or marinating
A bit high in sodium
If you’re looking for a classic staple teriyaki sauce, look no further than Annie Chun’s Japanese Style sauce. This sauce (or marinade) is the perfect “classic all-purpose sauce for stir-frying & marinating meat, chicken & fish,” according to the brand’s website. It’s also non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free, and it contains no MSG, preservatives, cholesterol, or saturated fat. According to the brand’s website, “we make delicious, easy-to-prepare, Asian-inspired dishes that you can feel good about. That's our promise, and we don't take it lightly. It's what drives us each day to make our foods easier to enjoy and better for you, without sacrificing the vibrant aromas, flavors and textures that we all love.”
Whether you’re grilling outdoors, pan-frying on your stovetop, or just using the sauce for dipping or garnish, this teriyaki sauce will provide that quintessential teriyaki flavor so intertwined with Japanese cuisine. If you want a full collection in your pantry, check out Annie Chun’s peanut sauce and pad Thai sauce, as well.
Price at time of publish: $15
Size: 10.2 ounces| Sodium Content: 370 milligrams per serving
“Japanese-style teriyaki sauces will typically be a simpler version made with soy and mirin. American-style teriyaki sauces I've found to be more flavor-rich with more garlic, sesame seeds, sometimes fruit juice (like pineapple) etc.” — Harrison Smith, General Manager, Uni (Boston)
Primal Kitchen No Soy Teriyaki Sauce
Not as sweet
This paleo-friendly sauce is made with coconut aminos, balsamic vinegar, tamarind, dates, orange juice concentrate, tapioca starch, ginger, and garlic among other things. It doesn’t contain any gluten, grains, or soy. Its zesty flavors work well with stir-frying, glazing, and marinating as well as using as a dressing for greens and salads. This option is not as sweet as others, so you may have to add some if that's what you're looking for.
Price at time of publish: $6
Size: 8.5 ounces | Sodium: 220 milligrams per serving
For an all-around teriyaki sauce, we recommend the Kikkoman Original Takumi Teriyaki Sauce. For those who need a teriyaki sauce sans wheat, the Soy Vay Gluten Free Marinade and Sauce is cheap, great for dipping, and made with tamari.
What to Look for in a Store-Bought Teriyaki Sauce
Read the labels to see what is in each brand of teriyaki sauce. Most of these sauces contain ingredients that people can be allergic to, such as soy sauce, which contains soybeans. If you're looking for ones that are soy free, gluten free, organic, low in sodium, or fit well with the paleo or keto diets, double-check the labels, so you know what is in the product you're buying.
When describing the taste of teriyaki sauce, sweet, sticky, and salty, come to mind for its flavor. Additional seasonings have been added to some of the brands, including bourbon, garlic, pineapple, ginger, and others, providing more options to fit taste preferences and the type of protein you are using it on. Choose the one that tastes and works best for you.
Teriyaki sauces come in both thin and thick consistency. The thicker sauce functions well for marinades, dipping, and glazing, while the thinner one does well for marinating and basting. Preference comes into play here too, as it depends on what you are looking for in a teriyaki sauce.
Does teriyaki sauce need to be refrigerated?
Teriyaki sauce can be kept in the pantry if unopened, but after opening, this sauce should be kept in the refrigerator, where it will last for up to one year. Check the expiration date on the bottle so you are aware of it.
What is a good substitute for teriyaki sauce?
There is nothing more frustrating than starting to make a dish and finding out that you're out of an ingredient. Barbecue sauce can be used as a substitute for teriyaki sauce, or make your own teriyaki sauce with soy sauce, water, brown sugar, and a few other ingredients.
Can teriyaki sauce be used as a substitute for soy sauce?
Most teriyaki sauces use soy sauce as a base and have additional ingredients, so these sauces provide a sweeter, tangier taste, potentially changing the taste of a recipe entirely. Teriyaki sauce is not the best substitute for soy sauce; while it can work in a few recipes, it won't work in all, so keep this in mind. A better substitute for soy sauce would be using a Worcestershire sauce and water combination.
How We Researched
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best teriyaki sauces on the market, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, consistency, and price—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Personal chef and food educator Renu Dhar has been turning seasonal ingredients into sensational food. She likes to use quality ingredients in food to achieve that desired result and spends time testing many brands for her clients.
The Spruce Eats writer Alyssa Langer is a registered dietitian and foodie, always curious about the next food or ingredient craze and hungry to learn and try more. Having worked in cookbook publishing, CPG label data, nutrition writing, and meal kits, her diverse background and varied interests provide a unique perspective that fosters clear, well-researched, and trustworthy reviews. She updated this story to include the most up-to-date information.
Amanda McDonald is an editor at The Spruce Eats and has over seven years of experience researching, writing, and editing about all things food — from what new products are at the grocery store to chef-approved hacks that keep tricky leftovers fresh for days. She also updated this article to include the most up-to-date information.
- Harrison Smith, General Manager, Uni (Boston)
United States Department of Agriculture. Labeling organic products.
Food and Drug Administration. Gluten-free labeling of foods.
Food and Drug Administration. How GMOs are regulated for food and plant safety in the United States.