A bowl of Teriyaki Sauce

What Is A Good Substitute For Teriyaki Sauce?

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Teriyaki sauce is a well-known Japanese sauce that is used all over the world. Teriyaki sauce can make any dish taste better, whether it’s seafood, meat, or vegetables. A teriyaki-marinated dish can save the day if you have guests coming around. But what if you don’t have any sauce left? Fortunately, there are a few alternatives. So, what is a suitable substitute for teriyaki sauce?

If you do not have teriyaki sauce in your pantry to add to your dish, you can replace it with barbecue sauce, oyster sauce, Korean barbecue sauce, soy sauce with sugar, or Ponzu sauce. You have to add some ingredients to make the substitute taste close to teriyaki sauce. 

In this article, I will talk about a few substitutes for teriyaki sauce. Before that, let’s know the flavor of teriyaki sauce to understand what flavor sauce can be a great substitute for teriyaki sauce. 

What Is The Taste Of Teriyaki Sauce?

Authentic teriyaki sauce has a savory-salt-sweet flavor with an undertone of umami. The traditional teriyaki sauce from Japan is made from soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, and sometimes ginger or garlic.  

All these ingredients give a unique flavor to the sauce. The soy sauce has a salty taste, while the sugar gives a sweet flavor. Then, you have sake and mirin for a tangy taste. 

The sauce has spread all around the world, and different countries have their own version of teriyaki sauce. For example, Americans mix a good amount of brown sugar, honey, ginger, garlic, pineapple juice, and sesame in their version of teriyaki. Thus, the taste can be slightly sweeter than the Japanese version of teriyaki. 

5 Substitute Of Teriyaki Sauce

As you can see, teriyaki sauce has different ingredients that make it savory, salty, and sweet all at the same time. It has a thick and sticky texture. Therefore, when you are looking for a substitute, consider sauces that have similar ingredients, tastes, and textures. 

Here are some substitutes that can provide a similar taste to teriyaki sauce in your recipe:

1. Barbeque Sauce

Barbeque Sauce

Both teriyaki sauce and barbeque sauce are used for marinating and glazing grilled meat and fish. Barbeque sauce has a smoky flavor. Depending on the type, BBQ sauce may not be as sweet as teriyaki sauce. Besides, it does not have that amount of tanginess. 

Luckily, you can adjust the BBQ close to the teriyaki sauce flavor. To make it sweeter, you can add brown sugar or honey. Then add a bit of lemon or pineapple juice for the acidic flavor. So, you can use BBQ sauce as a substitute for teriyaki sauce in some recipes, especially for grilled meat, fish, and vegetables. 

2. Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is an excellent substitute for teriyaki sauce, as it has some similar ingredients. The sauce is used for cooking Chinese dishes such as stir-fried dishes. It is typically made of oysters, cornstarch, wheat flour, maltose syrup, ketchup, mirin, and salt. 

Oyster sauce tastes sweet and savory. The texture is also thick and sticky. You can use it for cooking vegetables and meat like teriyaki sauce. 

If you want to add more teriyaki flavor to your food, add different ingredients to the oyster sauce. Add some soy sauce, mirin, and rice vinegar to your dish. 

3. Korean BBQ Sauce (Galbi)

As the name suggests, galbi is a Korean BBQ sauce. Korean chefs use this condiment to marinate meat and fish for grilling. Despite the smokier taste, the sweet and salty taste of galbi makes it a suitable substitute for teriyaki sauce.  

Both sauces contain some common ingredients, such as soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, garlic, and sometimes rice wine. For extra sweetness, Korean BBQ sauce can have Asian pears. 

However, Galbi is best for marinating meat and fish rather than mixing them directly into the dish. So, you can use Galbi to marinate your meat or fish when you do not have teriyaki on hand. Let your food marinate overnight so that you can get delicious flavors later. 

4. Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin Sauce

If you have a knack for cooking Chinese food, you may have hoisin sauce in your pantry. Both teriyaki sauce and hoisin sauce are made from soybean products. However, hoisin sauce is comparatively thicker than teriyaki sauce. Moreover, it contains more spices like chilies, cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. 

Nonetheless, this reddish-brown condiment gives an earthly flavor to meat and fish. It still has a sweet, savory, and tangy flavor. It adds more flavor to the dish compared to teriyaki sauce. So, you should use hoisin sauce in cooking if you want a hot and spicy Asian dish. 

The taste of hoisin sauce may vary depending on the type you have. Always check the ingredients and taste of the sauce before putting it on your food. 

5. Ponzu Sauce

Ponzu sauce is another Japanese sauce that is based on soy sauce. Thus, it can be one of the best substitutes for teriyaki sauce. However, it is thicker than teriyaki.

Apart from soybean, ponzu sauce has other ingredients in common with teriyaki. It has sugar, rice vinegar, and rice wine (sake). So, you can have a sweet, savory, and sour taste like teriyaki. 

However, ponzu has some different ingredients that slightly change the flavor, like bonito fish flakes and citrus juice. The citrus juice gives the condiment a sweet and acidic taste. The sauce has more umami than teriyaki sauce. 

If you are cooking fish or seafood and do not find teriyaki sauce, you can replace it with ponzu sauce. You will definitely have nothing to complain about once you taste the food. 

Recipe For Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

You can use the above substitutes to give your food a tasty flavor. However, the taste will not be exactly like teriyaki sauce. Besides, you may not want to use any other sauce other than teriyaki sauce. You may not have the time or energy to visit a store to buy a bottle of teriyaki sauce. 

In that case, you can try this homemade teriyaki sauce recipe. The recipe is simple, and you may already have all the ingredients in your kitchen. 


  • 1 cup (250ml) low sodium soy sauce. You can turn regular soy sauce into low sodium soy by diluting it with water
  • 1/2 cup (100g) Brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp (24g) corn starch
  • 4 garlic cloves (12g)
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp (5g) ground ginger
  • 2 tsp (10ml) sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp(60ml) water
  • 1 tbsp (9g) sesame seeds


  1. Start with dicing the garlic cloves into small pieces. Make sure to chop them nicely. 
  2. Now, take a saucepan and put it on the stove on medium to medium-high heat. 
  3. Put half a cup of brown sugar in the saucepan and add 1 cup of low sodium soy sauce. 
  4. Next, get 2 tbsp of rice vinegar and slash it in the saucepan. 
  5. Then add ground ginger and chopped garlic. Stir the mixture well.
  6. After that, pour in some sesame oil to add some flavor. 
  7. To give the sauce a thick structure, you need cornstarch. Dilute 3 tbsp of cornstarch with 4 tbsp of water. 
  8. When the mixture in the saucepan boils, add the cornstarch. Mix them really well. 
  9. Once the mixture boils, turn off the heat. Then stir the sauce for a sticky texture. 
  10. Finally, you can add some slightly toasted sesame seeds to make the teriyaki sauce tastier. 

This homemade teriyaki sauce goes with almost anything. From fish and meat to vegetables, everything is delicious with a bit of teriyaki sauce. 

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