Teriyaki Sauce Substitutes

Teriyaki sauce is a staple in many Asian-inspired dishes, known for its distinctive sweet and savory flavor profile. However, there may be times when you’ve run out of teriyaki sauce or need a substitute due to dietary restrictions or personal preferences.

Luckily, there are several alternatives you can turn to in order to maintain the essence of the dish without compromising on taste.

When choosing a teriyaki sauce substitute, it’s important to consider the dish you’re preparing and the flavors you want to achieve. Some replacements may offer a similar taste, while others might provide a unique twist on the traditional teriyaki flavor. Being mindful of specific ingredients can help you select the perfect option that suits not only your taste but also your dietary needs.

In the following article, we’ll explore a variety of teriyaki sauce substitutes that can seamlessly take the place of this classic component in your favorite recipes. Each option comes with its own set of advantages, allowing you to experiment and adapt your dishes to your preferences. Armed with these alternatives, you’ll never feel limited in your culinary creations again.

What is Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce | Pantry Style Teriyaki Sauce | At Home Teriyaki Sauce | Easy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

Traditional Ingredients

Teriyaki sauce is composed of a few essential ingredients, which give it its unique taste and texture. The primary components are soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Mirin, a type of rice wine, adds a touch of sweetness and balances the saltiness of the soy sauce. In some recipes, sake or rice vinegar might be used in conjunction with mirin to add a bit of zing. Preparations may also include garlic and ginger for an added depth of flavor.

Usage in Cooking

When making a homemade teriyaki sauce, you’ll want to keep an eye out for consistency. Here’s a simple breakdown of how to make teriyaki sauce:

  1. Combine 1 part soy sauce, 1 part mirin, and 0.5 parts sugar in a pan.
  2. Heat the mixture on low heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Optional: add minced garlic and grated ginger.
  4. Add a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce to your desired consistency.

If you find your teriyaki sauce lacks sweetness, consider adding honey as a substitute. If you don’t have mirin on hand, use rice vinegar mixed with a bit of sugar to replicate its subtle tangy sweetness. For additional flavor, you can use oyster sauce as an optional addition.

Common Substitutes

Sauce-Based Alternatives

When looking for teriyaki sauce substitutes, you can consider various sauce-based alternatives that provide similar flavors and textures. Some popular options include:

  • Hoisin sauce: A thick, sweet, and tangy sauce typically used in Chinese cuisine, Hoisin sauce can be a viable substitute for teriyaki sauce. Although its flavor profile slightly differs, it can still work well in most recipes.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Known for its umami-rich taste, Worcestershire sauce can be combined with ingredients like sugar, soy sauce, and water to replicate teriyaki sauce. However, be cautious with the proportions, as Worcestershire sauce is more potent than teriyaki sauce.
  • Korean BBQ sauce: Also known as Galbi sauce, this sweet and savory sauce can effectively replace teriyaki sauce in several dishes, particularly when it comes to marinating meats.
  • Kecap Manis and Ponzu sauce: These two sauces are also suitable substitutes for teriyaki sauce. While Kecap Manis is a sweet soy sauce native to Indonesia, Ponzu sauce is a citrus-flavored sauce ideal for replacing teriyaki in dishes that need a tangy twist.

Homemade Mixes

Creating your own teriyaki sauce substitute is another excellent option, as it lets you control the flavors and ingredients you prefer. For a basic homemade teriyaki sauce, combine the following:

  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or molasses
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional, for thickening)

For a twist on the traditional teriyaki sauce, try some of these variations:

  • BBQ sauce mix: Combine barbecue sauce with light soy sauce to give your dish a smoky and savory flavor, creating a unique alternative to traditional teriyaki sauce.
  • Coconut Aminos: A soy-free option for those who are sensitive to soy, Coconut Aminos can be used instead of soy sauce. Pair it with sweeteners like maple syrup or molasses to create your own teriyaki-like sauce.
  • Satay-style: Give your teriyaki sauce substitute a Southeast Asian spin with this Satay-inspired mix. Combine equal parts of sweet soy sauce (or Indonesian Kecap Manis) with peanut butter and a touch of lime juice. This blend will add a new depth of flavor to your dishes.

Remember to keep your homemade mixes brief and focused on the essential flavors of teriyaki sauce: sweetness, saltiness, and umami. By experimenting with sauce-based alternatives and creating your own homemade mixes, you ensure that your dishes maintain their delicious taste even without the traditional teriyaki sauce.

Considerations When Choosing a Substitute

3 Soy Sauce Alternatives: Health Hacks- Thomas DeLauer

When you’re in need of a teriyaki sauce substitute, there are several factors to keep in mind to make the best decision for your specific needs. In this section, we’ll discuss the importance of considering dietary restrictions and flavor profile.

Dietary Restrictions

While choosing a substitute for teriyaki sauce, be mindful of your own or your guests’ dietary needs. Teriyaki sauce is typically made from soy sauce, which contains gluten and soybeans. These ingredients may not be suitable for everyone. If you’re catering to someone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, opt for a gluten-free option. Similarly, consider soy allergies when choosing a substitute.

Here’s a quick reference table for substitute ingredients based on dietary restrictions:

Dietary RestrictionSubstitute Ingredient
Soy-FreeCoconut Aminos

Flavor Profile

Aside from dietary restrictions, it’s essential to consider the flavor profile you’re trying to achieve. Teriyaki sauce is known for its balance of sweet, savory, and slightly tangy flavors. When looking for a substitute, try to mimic this combination to stay true to the intended taste of your dish. Keep in mind the meal you’re preparing when choosing a substitute, whether it’s meat, chicken, beef, fish, or vegetables.

  • Grilled meats: For grilled meat dishes, especially chicken and beef, you may want to use a combination of ingredients like Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and vinegar to replicate the sweet and savory flavors of teriyaki sauce. This will work well for glazing and marinating your grilled meats.
  • Fish & Vegetables: For dishes involving fish and vegetables, consider using a combination of mirin, soy sauce, and sugar for a similar taste profile. This will create a delicate balance of flavors that won’t overpower your lighter dishes.

Remember, adjusting the quantities of these substitute ingredients can help you achieve the desired flavor profile for your dish. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find the perfect blend that suits your taste buds.

Implementing Substitutes in Recipes

In this section, we’ll explore how you can effectively use teriyaki sauce substitutes in your recipes, keeping the flavor profiles balanced and maintaining the desired consistency.

Adjusting Sweetness and Thickness

When using a substitute for teriyaki sauce, you may need to adjust the sweetness and thickness to match your preferences. Here are some suggestions:

  • Sweeteners: If your substitute lacks the desired sweetness, you can add a sweetener like honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup to taste.
  • Thickeners: To achieve the desired consistency, use a thickener such as cornstarch, arrowroot powder, or a small amount of xanthan gum. To use a thickener, mix it with a bit of water and stir it into your sauce while it’s simmering.
Soy sauceHoney, brown sugarCornstarch
TamariMaple syrupArrowroot powder
Coconut aminosAgave nectarXanthan gum

Marinating and Glazing Techniques

As you incorporate teriyaki sauce substitutes in your dishes, consider these marinating, and glazing techniques for optimal results:

  • Marinades: When using your teriyaki sauce substitute as a marinade, ensure your meat or vegetables are well-coated and left to marinate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate. You can use a resealable plastic bag or a glass dish for marinating. Always discard the used marinade to avoid cross-contamination, and never use it as a dipping sauce.
  • Glazing: When using your teriyaki sauce substitute as a glaze, brush the sauce on your protein — such as teriyaki chicken or fish — or vegetables during the last few minutes of cooking. Apply the sauce frequently to build layers of flavor.

For optimal flavor in your dishes, keep these specific techniques in mind as you explore the versatility of your substitute:

  1. Stir-fries: When incorporating your teriyaki sauce substitute into stir-fries, it is important to add it towards the end of cooking. This way, you’ll avoid burning the sauce or losing its flavor due to prolonged heat exposure.
  2. Basting: If you’re using the substitute to baste during grilling or baking, remember to consistently baste your protein for evenly diced flavor and optimal moisture retention.
  3. Dipping sauce: You can use your teriyaki sauce substitute as a dipping sauce for a variety of dishes. Simply serve it alongside your favorite proteins, vegetables, or appetizers for a delicious experience.

As you explore different teriyaki sauce substitutes, remember to adjust the sweetness and thickness, and experiment with various marinating and glazing techniques to find your perfect flavor balance. By following these tips, you can enjoy delicious meals with confidence.

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

Here's a simple recipe for homemade teriyaki sauce:
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Seasoning, Substitute
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4
Calories 79 kcal


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch optional, for thickening


  • In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, honey, rice vinegar, minced garlic, and grated ginger.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved.
  • If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can mix the cornstarch with a small amount of water to create a slurry, then add it to the saucepan and stir well to combine.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens slightly.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the teriyaki sauce cool to room temperature before using it in your recipe.


This homemade teriyaki sauce can be used as a marinade, glaze, or dipping sauce for a variety of dishes, including stir-fries, grilled meats, and vegetables. Adjust the sweetness or saltiness to your preference and enjoy the delicious flavors of this versatile sauce.


Calories: 79kcal
Keyword homemade teriyaki sauce, teriyaki sauce substitute
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions

What can replace teriyaki sauce if I don’t have any?

If you don’t have teriyaki sauce, you can make a simple substitute by combining soy sauce, brown sugar, and fresh grated ginger. Alternatively, you can use a combination of soy sauce and honey or even try a Worcestershire sauce mixed with a touch of sugar.

Can I use hoisin sauce instead of teriyaki sauce?

Yes, hoisin sauce can be a suitable alternative to teriyaki sauce, though the flavor will be slightly different. Hoisin sauce is thicker and has a sweeter taste compared to teriyaki sauce. You may want to adjust the amount of sugar in your recipe and possibly thin it with a little water or soy sauce.

Is there an alternative for teriyaki sauce without soy?

For a soy-free alternative to teriyaki sauce, you can try using coconut aminos. Coconut aminos are derived from coconut sap and have a similar salty-sweet taste to soy sauce. Combine coconut aminos with a sweetener like honey or brown sugar and a bit of grated ginger to mimic teriyaki sauce.

What can I use instead of sake in a teriyaki sauce recipe?

If you don’t have sake for your teriyaki sauce recipe, you can replace it with an equal amount of dry sherry, white wine, or rice vinegar. While this won’t provide an exact match for the sake’s taste, it will still offer a complementary flavor to the dish.

How can I make a simple teriyaki sauce with just 3 ingredients?

You can create a basic teriyaki sauce using soy sauce, honey, and grated ginger. Combine equal parts of soy sauce and honey, then add grated ginger to taste. You could also use minced garlic in place of ginger or add both for extra flavor.

What can I substitute for brown sugar in teriyaki sauce?

If you don’t have brown sugar on hand for your teriyaki sauce recipe, you can use white sugar or honey as a substitute. Keep in mind that honey is sweeter than brown sugar, so you may want to use less honey to avoid making the sauce too sweet. Alternatively, you can also use maple syrup or agave nectar as a substitute.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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