How to Make Teriyaki Sauce
Find out how to make the most irresistible homemade teriyaki sauce. This easy recipe takes just 5 minutes to whip up in the blender and is perfect on your favorite stir fry recipes, steamed vegetables, tofu, tempeh, and rice.
I’ve been using teriyaki sauce as a marinade and condiment for many years. It’s such an easy way to add flavor. In college I used to steam a big bowl of veggies and toss them with teriyaki sauce for an easy dinner. The brands I have been buying are Soy Vey Island Teriyaki, which I believe is the same as Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki. I love the little hint of pineapple and the sesame seeds.
A few weeks ago I was about to make my go-to busy-night stir fry and realized I didn’t have any bottles of teriyaki sauce left. I’m so glad this happened because it forced me to figure out how to make my own homemade version of my favorite teriyaki sauce. It took a few attempts, but I finally have a recipe that’s almost identical to the store bought version. It’s even better though, because it’s made with fresh ingredients and I get to control the quality. I used coconut sugar instead of refined white sugar, and this teriyaki recipe would be easy to make gluten-free and soy-free.
What is Teriyaki Sauce?
Teriyaki sauce was born in Japan and, according to Encyclopedia Brittanica, translates to “glossy broil.” It’s a method of cooking fish (typically) with a glaze of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Teriyaki has clearly evolved as it spread. While this may not be a completely traditional and authentic teriyaki glaze, it is delicious. Teriyaki sauce has that wonderful combination of sweet and salty umami that ads so much flavor to savory dishes. If you’ve ever wondered what’s in teriyaki sauce, I’ll show you. One of the great things about making homemade sauce is that you can make it gluten-free and vegan, if desired.
How to Make Easy Teriyaki Sauce
Homemade teriyaki sauce is just about as easy as making a smoothie. My favorite flavors for teriyaki sauce include ginger, onion, garlic, pineapple juice, coconut sugar, and soy sauce. Gluten-free soy sauce is easy to find in natural grocery stores. Using coconut aminos is another option for making gluten-free teriyaki.
All of these simple ingredients get tossed into the blender and whirled together. We might as well let the blender do the chopping.
Once blended you’ll notice the teriyaki sauce is quite thin. It already tastes delicious at this point and could be used as a marinade. But what if you want a thick teriyaki glaze?
How to Thicken Teriyaki Sauce
My favorite way to thicken teriyaki sauce is with arrowroot starch. You may remember I’ve used arrowroot several times in my gluten-free cookies. Arrowroot is a nice alternative to corn starch. I tested this teriyaki recipe with corn starch, but it did not thicken as well. I add the arrowroot straight to the blender with the other ingredients and then simmer the sauce on the stove. The heat activates arrowroot’s thickening properties, but don’t heat too long, or it may break down. Just a minute should do it! This teriyaki sauce continues to thicken as it cools.
How to Use Teriyaki Sauce
Though teriyaki may have originally been created for grilling fish, it can be used in many other ways! A few of my favorites include:
- Teriyaki Bowls with rice, vegetables, and a teriyaki glazed protein.
- Toss teriyaki sauce with steamed vegetables.
- Add teriyaki to your favorite stir fry.
- Marinate kabobs in teriyaki and grill on the BBQ.
- Make a Hawaiian teriyaki burger with grilled pinapple and teriyaki sauce.
- Drizzle over roasted Brussels sprouts.
- Marinate portobello mushrooms in teriyaki.
Grilled Veggie Kabobs are one of my favorite ways to use this sauce.
Easy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
Homemade teriyaki sauce made in the blender is a quick and easy way to add irresistible flavor to your favorite Asian inspired recipes, from stir fry to steamed vegetables.
- ¼ yellow onion
- 1 T minced ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2/3 cup gluten free soy sauce
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot
- Place the onion, garlic, soy sauce, pineapple juice, sesame oil, and coconut sugar, and arrowroot in a blender. Blend until the onion is finely chopped, about 30 seconds.
- Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Carefully transfer to a storage jar and let cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator, or use in your favorite recipes right away.
If you’d like to make the Teriyaki Tempeh Bowl pictured in this post, coat sliced tempeh with the homemade teriyaki sauce and bake in a 400 degree F. oven until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Serve over rice or quinoa with roasted vegetables, edamame, and fresh cilantro.