Learn how to make Japanese hibachi-style yum yum sauce at home with this easy recipe! You’ll just need a few everyday ingredients you probably already have on hand. 

Sushi is dipped into a small white bowl filled with homemade Japanese yum yum sauce just like at Benihana hibachi restaurants!

Yum Yum sauce is a mayonnaise-based dipping sauce just like the ones found in Japanese steak houses, such as Benihana. Also referred to as Japanese Shrimp Sauce, Hibachi Sauce, or Benihana Yum Yum Sauce, it’s creamy, slightly tangy, a little smoky, and spicy. You can make it mild or spicy by adding cayenne or sriracha. Traditionally used for dipping shrimp or steak, this sauce can add flavor to many Japanese-inspired dishes. 

This yum yum sauce recipe can be made with healthier ingredients and is easy to make vegan or keto. Make a batch to use throughout the week. If you don’t happen to be a fan of mayo-based sauces, try our amazing Thai Peanut Sauce, which goes perfectly with Fresh Spring Rolls

The ingredients for homemade yum yum sauce sit on a cutting board: mayonnaise, vinegar, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, ketchup, and sugar.

What’s In Yum Yum Sauce? 

While Benihana hasn’t released a bottled sauce or ingredients list publicly, several other commercially available sauces have ingredients listed. G Hughes has the cleanest ingredients I’ve found in a bottled Yum Yum Sauce, though it does contain canola oil and egg. Ingredients you’ll need ar: 

  • Mayonnaise. Mayo is the base of yum yum sauce and can’t be replaced. However, there are many healthy mayonnaise options available for nearly every diet/lifestyle, from keto to paleo, to vegan.  
  • Tomato. Tomato paste or ketchup can be used. Ketchup already has sugar and vinegar in it, both of which are in yum yum sauce. 
  • Vinegar. Vinegar makes this sauce tangy and also thins it a bit. You can use rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar in this recipe.  
  • Garlic Powder. Don’t skip garlic powder, it adds a ton of flavor. Onion powder is also often used in yum yum sauce. Feel free to add a teaspoon to this recipe if you’d like. 
  • Sugar. Feel free to sub a little maple syrup for a less refined option. 
  • Paprika. Add color and smoky flavor with paprika. 
  • Cayenne. Peppers are used in some bottled yum yum sauces. I think this sauce is much tastier with a kick of spiciness. You can achieve this with cayenne, sriracha, or both! 

Make it Keto

Mayonnaise is naturally a keto-friendly food, so making keto yum yum sauce is very easy. Simply omit the sugar and use sugar-free ketchup. I recommend Primal Kitchen. If you find it needs more sweetness, add liquid stevia, one drop at a time. 

Make it Vegan

There are many varieties of vegan mayo available these days. I recommend Follow Your Heart Vegenaise

How to Make it at Home

There are store-bought versions of this sauce available online, the most popular being from Terry Ho.  Making it at home is just as easy and lets you control the quality of ingredients. 

Making homemade Yum Yum sauce is as easy as whisking the ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerating. No cooking necessary! Let the sauce rest for at least one hour or overnight to allow the flavors to meld. Store it in a jar in the refrigerator for up to one week. 

A photo of a white ramekin filled with homemade Japanese yum yum sauce. Sushi rolls can be seen in the background.

How to Use Yum Yum Sauce

This sauce is traditionally used for steak and shrimp but is tasty on anything you’d find in a Japanese Hibachi restaurant. 

Yield: About 1 cup

Yum Yum Sauce

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Yum Yum Sauce, also known as Japanese Shrimp Sauce, or Benihana Yum Yum Sauce, is easy to make at home with just a few simple ingredients. This healthier version is easy to make vegan, keto, or paleo, as you can choose which mayonnaise to use.

A small dish filled with Japanese yum yum sauce with sushi in the background.


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • pinch cayenne
  • sriracha to taste (optional)
  • water to thin


  1. Add the mayonnaise, ketchup, garlic powder, vinegar, sugar, paprika, and cayenne to a small mixing bowl. An overhead photo of yum yum sauce ingredients in a glass bowl on a marble countertop.
  2. Whisk together until very smooth. The ingredients for yum yum sauce are whisked together in a small glass bowl.
  3. Add water to thin as needed, one teaspoon at a time, until sauce has reached the desired consistency.
  4. Taste and adjust flavors as needed, adding more cayenne or sriracha for heat.
  5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour. During this time the flavors will meld.
  6. Use your homemade yum yum sauce with any Japanese or hibachi-inspired dishes such as fried rice, sushi, tofu, or veggies.


Keto Option: Mayonnaise is keto-friendly. Good options are Chosen Foods or Primal Kitchen Mayo. Omit the sugar and use sugar-free ketchup from Primal Kitchen.

Vegan Option: Use a vegan mayo such as Follow Your Heart.

Storage: Keep this sauce in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 98Total Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.