Tentsuyu: Tempura Dipping Sauce

Tentsuyu: Tempura Dipping Sauce

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 8 mins
Cook: 22 mins
Steep Time: 15 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 2 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
64 Calories
1g Fat
9g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 64
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 1066mg 46%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 15mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 175mg 4%
*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.)

Tempura is a Japanese dish where seafood and vegetables are coated in a cold batter and then deep-fried. The result is a light and airy, crispy dish that is most often served as an appetizer with a dipping sauce called tentsuyu, made from dashi soup, mirin, and soy sauce.

A simple recipe, tentsuyu can be put together in a matter of minutes if you have dashi soup stock on hand, which can be made ahead of time or purchased at Asian food markets. This recipe includes instructions for homemade dashi using kombu and bonito flakes, but you can use other varieties of dashi if you like. Grated daikon is often an accompaniment to the tempura and tentsuyu, either served alongside or directly in the sauce.

"This is a quick, versatile dipping sauce that can be used for tempura, dumplings or anything else you desire. Hon-dashi, instant dashi, can be found in most Asian supermarkets and is a great alternative to from-scratch dashi. Adding freshly grated daikon and ginger when serving brings a pleasant bite and subtle spice to the sauce." —Rick Horiike

Tentsuyu: Tempura Dipping Sauce Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Dashi Soup Stock:

  • 2 cups cold water

  • 1 (2-inch-square) piece kombu

  • 1/2 cup dry bonito flakes, packed

For the Tempura Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 cup dashi soup stock

  • 1/4 cup mirin

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar

  • Grated daikon, optional

Steps to Make It


Click Play to See This Tempura Dipping Sauce Come Together

Make the Dashi Soup Stock

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for making dashi soup stock for tentsuyu

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Place the cold water in a small saucepan and add the kombu. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for 5 to 7 minutes until tender. You should be able to pinch through the kombu with your thumbnail.

    Water in a small saucepan with kombu

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Turn off the heat and remove and discard the kombu. Add the bonito flakes and let steep for 10 to 15 minutes. The bonito will sink when the broth is ready.

    Bonito flakes in a small saucepan with water

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Strain the broth through a mesh strainer and press the bonito with a ladle or the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the bonito.

    Bonito flakes strained from the liquid

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. The dashi is ready to use in the sauce. This recipe yields approximately 1 1/2 cups, so you will have extra.

    Dashi broth in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Make the Tempura Dipping Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Tempura dipping sauce ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Add the dashi, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar to a saucepan and mix well.

    Dashi, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat and let it cool.

    Tempura dipping sauce boiling in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Serve the tentsuyu in individual small bowls alongside the tempura, adding some grated daikon on top of the sauce or alongside if you like.

    Tentsuyu, tempura dipping sauce

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga


  • The type of dashi soup stock you use will affect the flavor of the sauce; for example, kombu dashi has the most subtle flavor, while iriko dashi brings a gentle fish flavor to the sauce.
  • If you need to increase the quantity, just follow the ratio of 3 to 4 parts dashi soup stock, 1 part mirin, and 1 part soy sauce.
  •  This sauce freezes very well so you can easily make a larger batch and always have some on hand.