3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe (2024)

The BEST easy teriyaki sauce recipe and it is made in just 10 minutes! It is so simple to make this homemade, you will wonder why you ever bought teriyaki sauce!

Sometimes the cupboards are close to bare for a variety of reasons and you just have to get dinner on the table. At those times I turn to a small handful of standby recipes that I always have the ingredients for.

This easy teriyaki sauce recipe is one of them and my kids happily declare it is the best dinner ever on the regular. It’s delicious, super easy and way better for you than any store bought sauce filled with tons of sugar and corn syrup!

What Is Teriyaki Sauce Made Of?

Teriyaki sauce is popular all around the world with its savory-salty-sweet flavor with lots of umami undertones.

Traditionally from Japan it’s main ingredients are soy sauce, mirin and sake with a few pinches of sugar and ginger in some cases.

But many people (in America especially) add a significant amount of brown sugar or honey, garlic, ginger, pineapple juice and sesame seeds to their teriyaki sauce.

This variation actually hails from Hawaii where Japanese immigrants introduced the concept, locals mixed in their local addition of pineapples and began using it as a marinade and sauce on chicken and pork especially.

What Is Teriyaki?

Teriyaki in it’s most classic form is actually describing the way the food is prepared, NOT the sauce.

It is used to describe grilling, broiling or pan frying a dish with a beautiful shining glaze. Using it to describe the sauce is a product of americanization of this dish and you will not find the teriyaki you are used to on a classic Japanese menu.

Traditionally, teriyaki sauce was used with fish. In Japanese cuisine, it is mainly used to top mackerel, salmon, marlin, trout, yellowtail and skipjack tuna.

In the west, the sauce is more popularly served with meat such as chicken, beef, and pork. Read more on the history of teriyaki here.

Ingredients You Need:

3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe (3)
3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe (4)

How To Customize Your Sauce:

Creating your own asian sauce from scratch is easy once you understand the types of ingredients you need. Once you understand this you can mix and match within reason with what you have on hand!

  • Salty base: soy sauce, tamari or liquid aminos. Thinned with water to tame the salt overwhelm.
  • Sweetness: traditionally mirin and sake but in our recipe we sweeten with honey and crushed pineapple. Substitute: white sugar, brown sugar, or a sweet wine.
  • Acidity: traditionally sake adds some acidity, but in our recipe rice wine vinegar and pineapple juice. Substitute: orange juice, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Even if you are making the base recipe it’s best to add the acidity in if you can in some fashion, it’s really not well balanced without it.
  • Thickener: you can boil it down to thicken or cornstarch creates a beautiful shiny glaze. Substitute: flour, potato starch or arrowroot powder.
  • Aromatics: ginger and garlic add amazing depth to the recipe. Substitute: finely minced shallots, finely minced onion, dried ginger and garlic powder (start with 1/2 teaspoon and increase to taste)
  • Garnish: sesame seeds add visual interest and a crunch that is delightful. A small dash of sesame seed oil is also lovely (be careful it is powerful!)

While each substitution is not perfect, the ratio and balance is super important to create something edible. Start with our ratios and then tweak to adjust with what you have on hand!

Step By Step Instructions

3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe (5)
3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe (6)
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3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe (8)
3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe (9)
3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe (10)

What’s the difference between soy sauce, teriyaki sauce and teriyaki marinade?

Soy sauce is an ingredient of teriyaki sauce made from a fermented paste of soybeans, roasted grain, brine, and Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae molds. It is the consistency of water and considered to contain a strong umami flavor. It is very salty so many people recommend low sodium soy sauce when making teriyaki sauce to help prevent the salt from overpowering the dish.

Teriyaki marinade is a thinner version of teriyaki sauce that marinade flavors chicken, beef and fish by slowly being slowly absorbed into the meat for several hours. It is kept thinner so the sauce can be absorbed more easily.

Teriyaki sauce (also called teriyaki glaze) is for instant cooking by brushing on meats before grilling, stir frying and as a dipping sauce. It tends to have more sugar and be thickened more, either by boiling it down or by adding cornstarch or other thickening agents.

Is Teriyaki Sauce Gluten Free?

Yes! So long as you use gluten free soy sauce and thicken with cornstarch. You can also use tamari or liquid aminos if you prefer though the flavor will be slightly different.

How Long Will It Keep?

This sauce keeps well in the fridge for several weeks, so I will often whip up a double batch at the start of the week so we can use it in multiple recipes. It’s perfect for meal prepping on the weekends!

Ways to Use This Homemade Teriyaki Sauce:

We love to make noodle stir fry, teriyaki chicken over rice and we use this all the time to brush on meats to toss on the grill quickly. It is completely addicting and I know it will become a pantry staple in your house too!

Try these recipes:

Almond Chicken Stir Fry
Teriyaki Chicken
Tropical Jerk Chicken Rice Bowl

3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe (12)

3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe

The BEST easy teriyaki sauce recipe and it is made in just 10 minutes! It is so simple to make this homemade, you will wonder why you ever bought teriyaki sauce!

Cook Time 10 minutes minutes

Total Time 10 minutes minutes

Servings 8 servings

Print Pin Recipe


Basic Easy Teriyaki Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, I like reduced sodium
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4-5 tablespoons honey, to taste

Flavor Add Ins

  • 2-4 tablespoons rice vinegar, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons crushed pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon green onions


  • In a small pot whisk soy sauce, water, cornstarch and honey together until smooth. Add any of the optional additional ingredients you are using (vinegar, garlic, ginger, etc) .

    3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe (13)

  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and whisk constantly until desired thickness is reached, about 8-10 minutes. Do not leave unattended it thickens quickly once it gets boiling and will rapidly burn. It will continue to thicken as it cools so remove it before it looks to the consistency you are after.

    3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe (14)

  • Taste and adjust as desired. If too thick, thin with additional water to desired consistency.

    3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe (15)


Sauce will thicken as it stands. If too thick simply whisk in a few tablespoons of warm water at a time until desired consistency is reached.


Serving: 1/8th of recipe | Calories: 57kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 439mg | Sugar: 12g

Author: Dani Meyer

Course : Entree

Cuisine : Chinese, Japanese, American

teriyaki chicken, teriyaki sauce, dinner, easy recipe, healthy, chicken, stir fry, sauce, 3 ingredient recipe, teriyaki sauce recipe, homemade teriyaki sauce, teriyaki stir fry

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3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe (2024)


How is teriyaki sauce made from scratch? ›

Making our top-rated homemade teriyaki sauce couldn't be easier. Simply combine soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, spices, cornstarch, and water over medium heat, stirring throughout. Cook the sauce for five to seven minutes or until it has thickened. Remove sauce from heat and allow time for cooling.

What can I use if I don't have teriyaki sauce? ›

What Is A Substitute For Teriyaki Sauce?
  • Soy Sauce and Brown Sugar. A simple and effective substitute for teriyaki sauce is a combination of soy sauce and brown sugar. ...
  • Hoisin Sauce. ...
  • Worcestershire Sauce and Honey. ...
  • Coconut Aminos. ...
  • Homemade Teriyaki Sauce.
Apr 1, 2024

Can I just use teriyaki marinade as sauce? ›

If you want to turn your teriyaki marinade into a sauce you can serve with your meal, simply add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and ½ cup of water to the other ingredients. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the sauce until it thickens to your desired consistency. Voila!

Does teriyaki sauce need cornstarch? ›

Adding cornstarch doesn't allow the sauce to caramelize and will result in a flat taste. Instead, allow the soy sauce and sugar to caramelize during cooking. As an added bonus, this will naturally thicken the sauce and transform it into a glaze.

How long will homemade teriyaki sauce last? ›

Add the cornstarch mixture to the teriyaki sauce, whisking until dissolved. This teriyaki sauce will give you about 1 cup of teriyaki sauce. This sauce keeps well in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Is it better to buy or make teriyaki sauce? ›

Home cooks should be aware of the two versions of teriyaki sauce when they go shopping. The thinner teriyaki sauce makes for a better a marinade, though in our teriyaki taste test, we determined you're better off making your own teriyaki marinade at home than buying a bottle of the thin stuff.

What is teriyaki sauce made of? ›

Pour 350ml water into a small saucepan with the sugar, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Slowly bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Cook for 5 mins more or until glossy and slightly thickened.

What is the difference between teriyaki sauce and teriyaki marinade? ›

Marinating meat provides juice flavor and a tender meat consistency (via MadamnGRecipe). In contrast, teriyaki sauce adds instant flavor gratification and has a consistency that is usually thicker than a marinade. It is used for basting or pouring over meat as it cooks.

What is a substitute for rice vinegar in teriyaki sauce? ›

Rice vinegar is sold near other kinds of vinegar, but if you cannot find it, try cider vinegar or white wine vinegar as a substitute. When tasting the sauce after adding the vinegar, it might taste a little strong.

What sauce is closest to teriyaki sauce? ›

The Best Teriyaki Sauce Substitutes
  1. Make your own. If I don't have any teriyaki marinade I make my own using the following ingredients: ...
  2. Soy sauce + honey. For an even more simple home made teriyaki, just mix equal parts soy sauce and honey.
  3. Oyster sauce. ...
  4. Sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) ...
  5. Hoisin sauce.

How to make marinade into sauce? ›

You could also cook the used marinade to kill off harmful bacteria and reduce the marinade to a thicker sauce, intensifying the flavor of the marinade. Do this by bringing the liquid to a boil for at least five minutes.

Can Kikkoman teriyaki marinade be used as sauce? ›

Made with Kikkoman® Soy Sauce, premium wines, vinegar, corn syrup and Asian seasonings, Kikkoman® Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce gives foods rich teriyaki flavor you can count on time after time. Use it right from the bottle as a marinade, dipping sauce, condiment or signature sauce base.

Why is my teriyaki sauce not thickening? ›

Don't fret if your sauce is a little thin, simply use heat to reduce the liquid or add a little corn flour. In no time at all, you will have a thicker sauce that is ready to add to your meal.

How do I thicken up my teriyaki sauce? ›

How to Thicken Teriyaki Sauce. The easiest way to make teriyaki sauce thicker is with a cornstarch slurry (which this recipe uses). Whisk together 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water, and add the mixture to your sauce while it simmers.

What is a substitute for cornstarch in teriyaki sauce? ›

To thicken your sauce without cornstarch, use all-purpose flour or arrowroot powder instead of the cornstarch. Follow the same method by mixing with cold water to create a slurry before whisking into the simmering sauce.

What is authentic teriyaki sauce made of? ›

See Notes for half-portion ingredients and substitutions for sake and mirin. In a saucepan, add ½ cup sake and ½ cup mirin. Add ½ cup soy sauce and ¼ cup sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and continuously stir the sauce until the sugar is dissolved.

Why is teriyaki sauce healthy? ›

Another added advantage of teriyaki sauce is its negligible calories. The Japanese sauce only possesses 14 calories per tablespoon, unlike many other marinades that contain 70 to 80 calories per serving. So, teriyaki sauce would not add a lot of extra calories to the meat, fish or vegetables you use the sauce with.

What are the ingredients in store bought teriyaki sauce? ›


What's the difference between teriyaki and soy sauce? ›

Teriyaki Sauce vs Soy Sauce

Teriyaki sauce is a sweet and savory sauce made from soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. On the other hand, soy sauce is a dark, salty sauce made from fermented soybeans, wheat, and salt.


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