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)
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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 : Japanese, American, Chinese

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

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3 Ingredient Easy Teriyaki Sauce Recipe (2024)


What is teriyaki sauce made of? ›

Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients

Authentic Japanese teriyaki sauce combines soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and sake to create a distinctively sharp taste, with Westernized versions incorporating honey, garlic, and ginger for added edge. Cornstarch is often added to teriyaki sauce as a thickener.

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

A simple and effective substitute for teriyaki sauce is a combination of soy sauce and brown sugar. The soy sauce provides the salty umami flavor, while the brown sugar adds sweetness and helps to caramelize the dish. To make this substitute, mix one part soy sauce with one part brown sugar.

How to thicken teriyaki sauce without cornstarch or flour? ›

Whisk together the soy sauce, water, mirin, brown sugar, garlic and fresh ginger. Bring it to a simmer. Immediately bring the heat down to low and allow to reduce for 10 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; the mixture will thicken as it cools.

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!

How is teriyaki traditionally made? ›

Traditionally, teriyaki sauce is made by mixing and heating three ingredients: sugar, soy sauce, and sake (or mirin). Mirin is a Japanese rice wine, similar to sake, but with more sugar and a lower alcohol content of 14%.

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

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.

Is teriyaki sauce just soy sauce? ›

Teriyaki sauce uses soy sauce as a base, with many other ingredients added, including ginger and other spices, wine, vinegar and a sweetener such as sugar, corn syrup or honey.

What to use instead of brown sugar for teriyaki sauce? ›

Honey or maple syrup

Typically, you'll find a combination of honey and brown sugar in teriyaki recipes. I wanted this recipe to be entirely naturally sweetened, so I used all honey instead. If you want teriyaki sauce without honey, simply use maple syrup. It's great, too!

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 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.

Can you use flour instead of cornstarch for teriyaki sauce? ›

Without Cornstarch: Flour may be substituted for cornstarch at a 1:1 ratio in this homemade teriyaki sauce recipe.

Why won't my teriyaki sauce thicken? ›

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 you turn teriyaki marinade into sauce? ›

To make a sauce: Pour marinade mixture into a small saucepan and warm over medium-high heat. Whisk water and cornstarch together in a small bowl; add to marinade mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer sauce, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes.

How to turn a marinade into a sauce? ›

Boiling a marinade for several minutes will certainly reduce the amount of liquid, which could leave the marinade thicker. In some cases, that may be preferable; the thicker sauce can cling to veggies or meat more easily. If the sauce thickens too much, add some chicken or vegetable broth after the five-minute boil.

What sauce is closest to teriyaki sauce? ›

1. Coconut Aminos. Coconut aminos are often used as a soy sauce substitute but are much sweeter than soy, making for a great teriyaki substitute that has a slightly thinner consistency.

Is teriyaki sauce unhealthy? ›

Is Teriyaki sauce healthy? A. While the low amount of calories in teriyaki sauce makes it healthy, the presence of sodium in the sauce in abundance makes it unhealthy. Therefore, the amount of sauce consumed daily determines whether the sauce will prove to be beneficial or not.

Is teriyaki sauce basically soy sauce? ›

Soy sauce is made from fermented soybeans, wheat, salt, and water. It has a rich, salty flavor and is often used as a seasoning and marinade. On the other hand, teriyaki sauce is a sweet and savory glaze made from soy sauce, sugar, and other ingredients such as mirin, sake, or ginger.

Is teriyaki sauce Sweet or Bitter? ›

Teriyaki sauce has a complex flavour; a mixture of sweet and savoury, tangy and salty. The sweetness comes from the sweet wine and the caramelisation of the sugar, honey or syrup, which also gives the sauce its shiny glaze.

What kind of alcohol is in teriyaki sauce? ›

Teriyaki is a very simple Japanese condiment that usually consists of just three ingredients: Sake (rice wine), mirin (sweet, low-alcohol rice wine), and soy sauce (the salty, fermented soy bean-based condiment you know and love). These are all very shelf stable, versatile ingredients, so they're great investments.

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