Teriyaki Sauce is quick and easy to make at home. Don’t reach for that store bought bottle of teriyaki sauce again with this homemade recipe!
What Is Teriyaki?
Teriyaki is first and foremost a Japanese cooking technique where meat is marinated in a sauce of soy sauce, mirin (or sake), and sugar and then broiled or grilled.
The marinade reduces on the meat as it cooks and becomes a sticky glaze.
The word “teriyaki” actually comes from a combination the Japanese words “teri” which refers to the shine that the sugar in the glaze gives the meat and “yaki” which refers to grilling or broiling.
In the West though, teriyaki has become much more than the Japanese cooking technique.
Chances are you’ve coma across teriyaki burgers, teriyaki meatballs, etc, etc.
So, many things have taken on the teriyaki flavor profile.
But that’s ok with us, because, done well, it can be SO tasty!
What Is Teriyaki Sauce Made Of?
As we mentioned, at its most basic, the teriyaki marinade sauce (called “tare”) is made of soy sauce, sake or mirin (rice wine), honey, and ginger.
Teriyaki sauce is salty and savory (from the wine) and a little sweet.
As the sugars in the sauce caramelize over heat, the sauce deepens to a light, carmely-sweet flavor that so perfectly complements the complex saltiness of the soy sauce.
Since sake and mirin aren’t staples in every kitchen, we’ve substituted cooking sherry in our teriyaki sauce recipe below.
The sherry makes for a nice substitute, but if you have sake or mirin, feel free to use those instead.
Making Our Homemade Teriyaki Sauce Recipe
Teriyaki chicken and salmon are two dishes that we love, but we never have the sauce on hand, so we never made them.
Once we realized how incredibly simple it was to whip up a batch of teriyaki sauce from pantry staples, well, lets just say we felt like we had struck gold!
Since we do like to use our teriyaki sauce in non-traditional applications, like stir fries where the sugars in the sauce don’t have the chance to reduce and thicken into a nice glaze, we have used a bit of cornstarch to start the thickening process of the sauce and help it to coat whatever food it is seasoning.
Freezing Teriyaki Sauce
If you do like having teriyaki on hand for whenever the craving strikes (and 5 minutes of simmering is just too much), you can freeze this sauce in ice cube trays, so you just have to pop a couple cubes into your frying pan for a quick sauce.
Teriyaki Sauce is quick and easy to make at home. Don't reach for that store bought bottle of teriyaki sauce again with this homemade recipe!
- ½ c soy sauce
- ¼ c cooking sherry (or sake or mirin)
- 2 Tbsp molasses
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
In a small saucepan heat all ingredients, except the cornstarch, together over low heat until the molasses and honey has dissolved.
In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 1 Tbsp of cool water, until dissolved. Add this cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and continue to simmer, over low heat, until the teriyaki sauce thickens slightly.
Use the sauce to season rice or stir fries.* The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (Or it can be frozen for later use.)
*To Use: We find that one recipe of homemade teriyaki sauce is enough to season roughly 8 cups of stir fry ingredients to serve 4-6 people. Add the sauce to ingredients in the pan after they are partially cooked, and stir constantly until sauce thickens slightly.
For a more traditional application, marinade your meat in the teriyaki sauce for 30 minutes to 1 hour before grilling or broiling. Brush the meat often during cooking with the excess marinade. (Or simmer the used marinade until it reduces to a thick glaze that you can pour over your grilled meat.)