I conducted a family taste test with both versions of this recipe and our favorite store-bought brand, and we were surprised by how much we preferred the fresher taste of the homemade options. I like to prepare the sauce in advance to have on hand for easy dinners of baked or grilled chicken, pork, or fish.
There’s nothing wrong with store-bought teriyaki sauce. Taking a few minutes to make your own, however, will reward you with a fresh taste that may surprise you. What’s more, it will keep for weeks in your fridge and make for delicious and effortless baked or grilled chicken, seafood, and pork.
Years ago, I began making this recipe as a marinade for black cod, which is so well suited to Asian flavors. Baked teriyaki chicken thighs are a family favorite and so easy, too. Lately, I’ve been pairing this savory sauce with wild salmon and grilling it to delicious perfection. With a jar on hand, I feel as though I have amazing two-ingredient meal options to make the weeknights easier. (I know, it doesn’t quite add up if you include the sauce ingredients, but once made the teriyaki sauce becomes one very valuable and versatile ingredient!)
Twenty to thirty minutes is all that’s needed when using the teriyaki as a marinade, and it can be used as an ingredient anytime the store-bought option is called for–like in Teriyaki Salmon Wraps. Most of the ingredients are pantry staples, and I’ve included some convenient options to work with the ingredients that you may very well have on hand.
Yields about 1 cup.
- 1/3 cup mirin (see notes for optional substitute)
- 1/2 cup LOW SODIUM soy sauce
- 2 1/4 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1 teaspoon hot chili oil (may substitute red pepper flakes to taste)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch (see notes)
In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, and hot chili oil and set aside. In another small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in 1 teaspoon water and set aside.
Bring the mirin to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. The mirin will become slightly syrupy.
Then add the soy sauce mixture to the mirin and simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the final minute or two, add the cornstarch mixture to thicken.
Cool slightly and store, covered, in the refrigerator.
- Mirin is a Japanese sweet rice wine sold alongside soy sauce and other Asian condiments in most large grocery stores. I have used sherry (drinking sherry, not cooking sherry) as a substitute. In this case, I simmer for just 2-3 minutes (as the alcohol causes the sherry to evaporate and reduce more quickly than the mirin) before adding the remaining ingredients. This version is slightly less sweet than the mirin version. In my mind, while being a bit different, both options are equally delicious. I offer the option simply to make the most of what you have on hand.
- For a thicker marinade, dipping sauce, or to use as a glaze, add the 2 teaspoons cornstarch to 2 teaspoons water and proceed as directed. If you prefer a thin sauce, you may omit the cornstarch or adjust to your preference. The sauce will thicken as it cools, so be cautious about adding more than 2 teaspoons until you see the consistency once cooled.
A batch of this flavorful sauce turns Grilled Teriyaki Salmon into an easy, flavor-packed, 2-ingredient meal.