This homemade teriyaki sauce recipe has just the right amount of sweet with a touch of spice, the perfect stir fry sauce, on chicken wings, grilled or broiled chicken or even meatballs.
I’ve been craving teriyaki sauce lately. As I continue to operate Chili Pepper Madness and cook with chili peppers of all types, I find myself moving all over the globe in terms of cuisine and recipe choices. The thing is, chili peppers are used worldwide, so if you’re into exploring food culture, all you need to do is follow the peppers of that region.
In the last few years, I’ve found myself more and more interested in Asian cuisine. That is a broad statement, I know. Just like “American Cuisine” has multiple influences and distinctive components, the continent of Asia is massive and one could spend a lifetime exploring its different cuisines and cultures.
If you can recommend a good book for me to help me along, send me links, please!
I’m still dipping my toe into some cuisines, so I’m starting with a simple yet incredibly popular one that you’ll want to keep in your recipe box – Easy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce.
Teriyaki sauce is sweet and versatile and ideal for many popular dishes. I like to have it around for quick and easy weeknight meals, like Teriyaki Chicken, Teriyaki Shrimp or even Teriyaki Salmon, one of my favorites.
It’s a great sauce or glaze and adds a pop of flavor, and heat if you make it my way, to just about any meal. You’ll definitely want this on hand if you love a good stir fry meal. Stir fries are quick to make, easy to customize and spice up as much as you’d like, and always satisfying.
What is Teriyaki?
The word “Teriyaki” refers to the cooking method of grilling or broiling foods with a sweet glaze. It originates from Japan and the sauce itself is a sticky sweet sauce made primarily of soy sauce, mirin and sugar. You’ve most likely enjoyed it in a Japanese restaurant or Mongolian.
Teriyaki is also hugely popular in America, often made with more local ingredients, though the taste is one you’ll find rather addictive and something worth going back to over and over again.
Like me, lately. I want teriyaki! So I’m making a homemade version, because I love it.
Let’s talk about how to make homemade teriyaki sauce, shall we?
Homemade Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients
- Soy Sauce. Use ½ cup soy sauce for this recipe. Soy sauce is the base. You can use low sodium soy sauce, if desired.
- Sweet Element. I use 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon honey. I love the combination. You can use only one of them if you’d like.
- Fresh Ingredients. Use 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic and 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger. You can use powdered versions – garlic powder or ginger powder – though I prefer fresh, as they are more pungent.
- Liquids. Use 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 3 tablespoons mirin (or rice wine), and 1/2 cup water for thinning and simmering. I often like to go a bit heavy on the sesame oil. Hot sesame oil, my friends!
- Thickening. If desired, use ¼ cup cold water mixed with 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Cornstarch and water will help to thicken up the teriyaki sauce.
- Spice It Up. Use 1 tablespoon chili flakes, if you prefer a spicier version, like I do. You can skip it if you’d like.
How to Make Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
Whisk the Ingredients. Add soy sauce, water, brown sugar, chili flakes, honey, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and mirin to a small pot or small saucepan. Whisk them together to combine the ingredients.
Simmer the Sauce. Heat the pot to medium heat and simmer it for a few minutes until it thickens up and develops more flavor, stirring occasionally.
Thicken the Sauce. Swirl in a bit of corn starch that has been whisked with water and bring the mixture to a quick boil. Stir until the sauce thickens to your desired thickness. You can skip this step if you prefer a thinner teriyaki sauce.
Strain. You can strain your teriyaki sauce at this point to remove any of the solids, like the ginger or garlic, but I leave them in. Super tasty.
Cool and Serve. Let it cool and you’re free to use your teriyaki sauce however you like.
Boom! Easy enough, isn’t it? It’s a very easy recipe. Super easy. I like to make a larger batch and store it in the refrigerator for using throughout the week.
Homemade Teriyaki Sauce is So Much Better
You can easily find teriyaki sauce at your local grocer, attesting to its large popularity here in the states, but once you learn how to make it at home, you’ll find no reason to purchase the store bought stuff again. Especially when you can spice it up like I do.
I do love the sweetness of a good teriyaki, but I like a spicier version even more so. I find a little bit of heat helps to balance out the sweetness, and it goes perfectly with many different stars of your dish.
It’s such a great recipe. I love mine with just a touch of heat and not so overwhelmingly sweet. Make it your own, my friends!
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Heat Factor. You’ll get GREAT flavor with this sauce based on the ingredients combination alone, but the heat factor is adjustable by the inclusion of chili flakes. Use hotter peppers to really up that heat factor, or sprinkle in a spicy chili powder to your preference. Hot sesame oil is a nice addition for spicy food lovers. You can lower the heat by skipping the chili flakes altogether.
- Other Ingredients. You can vary up the recipe with other ingredients. Pineapple juice is a popular addition for sweetness. Swirl in some sesame seeds for texture, or sprinkle them onto your served foods. Try it with different brands and types of soy sauce as well for interesting results.
- Serving Teriyaki Sauce. Try it out with grilled shrimp, chicken breast, chicken wings, meatballs, or even burgers. You know you want to try a Teriyaki Burger now, don’t you? Here are some great teriyaki recipes to try: Teriyaki Chicken, Spicy Teriyaki Shrimp Stir Fry, Teriyaki Salmon. Or try my Sweet and Spicy Teriyaki Marinade.
I hope you enjoy it! Let me know how it turns out for you.
Try Some of My Other Delicious Recipes
If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons mirin
- 1 tablespoon chili flakes omit if you don't want spicy
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ cup cold water
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- To a small pot, add soy sauce, water, brown sugar, chili flakes, honey, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and mirin.
- In a small bowl, swirl together cold water and cornstarch until you have a thin slurry. Pour into the pot and stir to incorporate.
- Bring to a quick boil, then reduce heat and simmer 3-4 minutes to thicken and allow the flavors to develop.
- Remove from heat, cool, and store in the fridge. Strain, if desired. Keeps a week or so.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 11/5/21 to include new photos and information. It was originally published on 7/24/17.