Teriyaki Sauce

This Japanese Restaurant-Style Sweet and Savory Sauce is a Cinch to Make

Dark brown, smooth Japanese restaurant-style teriyaki sauce in a spoon and white bowl

The Spruce Eats / Madhumita Sathishkumar

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 2 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
113 Calories
0g Fat
22g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 113
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1751mg 76%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 12mg 1%
Iron 0mg 3%
Potassium 143mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Teriyaki sauce is made using a combination of soy sauce, mirin (a sweet cooking sake), and sugar. While it can be made with just soy sauce and sugar, the addition of mirin adds a beautiful luster to the sauce and mimics that restaurant quality feel. It's sweet, tangy, and a little sticky.

What Does Teriyaki Mean?

In Japanese, "teriyaki," means "glossy broil." It is used to refer to the process of broiling or grilling food while glazing the food with a mix of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Traditional Japanese teriyaki sauce is thin in texture, in contrast to the typical bottled teriyaki sauce which tends to be very thick and sticky due to the addition of cornstarch. If you prefer a thicker sauce, there is a variation at the bottom of this recipe.


Adding ginger and garlic to the sauce is optional, but if you do choose to use, how you prepare them can impact the taste. If you want a mild flavor, slice the ginger and garlic into big pieces. For a bolder flavor, chop them finely. You can vary the amount that you add to suit your taste as well.

If you are looking to add to your repertoire of Asian cooking skills, this sauce is a great one to know how to make. Because it's easy and requires pantry staples, if you have some vegetables and a protein such as chicken or shrimp at home and the ingredients for teriyaki sauce, dinner can come together very quickly, even on a weeknight.

"This recipe works great as a marinade and a sauce, for glazing and dipping. Be careful, as it will burn easily due to the sugar content. Add the optional garlic and ginger as it gives depth and complexity to the sauce. Because this sauce isn’t thickened like other versions of teriyaki, it freezes very well." —Rick Horiike

Japanese Restaurant-Style Teriyaki Sauce Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup mirin

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger root, optional

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Japanese restaurant-style teriyaki sauce recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  2. In a small saucepan, combine soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Add more sugar, if desired.

    Soy sauce, mirin, and sugar being combined in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  3. If you are using the optional fresh ginger root and/or garlic, slice or chop the ginger and garlic and add it to the other ingredients. Over medium-high, heat skillet while stirring the mixture well.

    Grated fresh ginger root being added to teriyaki sauce in the saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  4. Lower heat to medium and bring sauce to a boil, then turn down the heat to low. Simmer sauce for a few minutes until it reduces slightly.

    Reduced, slightly thickened teriyaki sauce in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  5. Remove pan from heat and allow teriyaki sauce to cool.

    Teriyaki sauce in saucepan off the heat

    The Spruce Eats / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  6. If you added ginger root or garlic to the sauce, strain the sauce to remove the ginger and garlic pieces using a strainer.

    Teriyaki sauce being strained through a wire mesh sieve into a measuring cup

    The Spruce Eats / Madhumita Sathishkumar

Recipe Variations

  • Westernized recipes for teriyaki sauce may include the addition of a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce, but the addition of a cornstarch slurry is entirely up to you. To thicken this teriyaki sauce recipe, combine in a small bowl 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and whisk with a fork to make the slurry. In step 4 of the recipe, as the sauce is over medium heat, whisk the cornstarch slurry into the sauce and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.
  • Another simple teriyaki sauce recipe is a ratio of 1 to 1 with equal parts of soy sauce and granulated white sugar. This recipe works great if you do not have mirin in your pantry or if the ingredient is not easily accessible to you.

How to Store Teriyaki Sauce

  • If you want to make this ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or make a double batch so you have some on hand, teriyaki sauce will keep in a tightly sealed container for a long period of time (a small plastic lidded one works well), but will taste best if you use it within a week.
  • Teriyaki sauce will last in the freezer, in a zip-top freezer bag, marked with the date, for up to 3 months.