Best Substitutes For Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki sauce is a popular Japanese sauce that can be used to marinate, flavor, and cook food. It has been around for decades, but its popularity continues to grow as more people become aware of the health benefits of this type of cooking method. The main ingredient in teriyaki sauce is soy sauce which contains sodium chloride or salt.

One of the most popular dishes that use this type of sauce is the Teriyaki chicken. It is commonly served in most Asian restaurants, especially in Japan. However, what would you do if you try to make one at home and cannot find this sauce? Do not panic because you can easily substitute it using other sauces like Korean galbi sauce and more. 

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5 Best Substitutes for Teriyaki Sauce

1. Korean Galbi Sauce

Korean galbi sauce is one of the best alternatives to traditional teriyaki sauce. It originated from Korea that is usually used as a marinade for grilled meat such as beef, pork, lamb, and fish. It is made from red pepper flakes, garlic powder, fresh ginger, sesame oil, brown sugar, vinegar, rice wine, and water. Thus, it resembles the smoky flavor of teriyaki sauce while being tasty.

When used as a substitute for teriyaki sauce, it is best to add some extra ingredients to enhance the taste of your dish. You may also want to add chopped scallions into the mixture since they have an amazing aroma when cooked. If you prefer sweet flavors, then you should consider adding honey instead of sugar. Another option is to replace the water with apple cider vinegar. Lastly, you could even opt to omit the brown sugar altogether. One thing about this sauce is that it does not contain any kind of seasoning, so you will need to season the dish accordingly before serving. 

2. Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is another great alternative to teriyaki sauce. It is made of oysters, wheat flour, cornstarch, maltose syrup, mirin, ketchup, and salt. This Chinese-style sauce is often added to stir-fried vegetables and seafood. Its unique salty flavor makes it perfect for enhancing the savory flavor of these foods. 

This is sweeter than a teriyaki marinade but still retains the same smokiness. To use this alternative, simply mix all the ingredients until smooth. Then pour them over the prepared food and let it sit for 10 minutes before eating. When making this sauce, remember to keep the ratio between the amount of liquid and the amount of starch low. Too much starch will result in a thicker consistency rather than a thinner consistency.

Chicken teriyaki - sauce substitutes
Chicken teriyaki – sauce substitutes

3. Barbecue Sauce

Barbeque sauce is similar to teriyaki sauce except that it uses different types of spices. The usual barbecue sauce is made of tomato paste, molasses, onion, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, chili peppers, and cayenne pepper. These ingredients give off a spicy yet tangy flavor that complements well with barbecued meats.

To create a good substitution for teriyaki sauce, you must first remove the tomatoes from the recipe. Next, you should reduce the number of onions by half. Afterward, you should increase the amounts of soy sauce, sake, and mirin. Finally, you should add some crushed black peppercorns or ground cloves to spice up the dish.

4. Ponzu Sauce

Ponzu sauce is very similar to teriyaki and has been around for centuries. It was originally created during the Edo period in Japan. In fact, ponzu sauce is considered to be the Japanese version of tamarind sauce which originates from India. Like its counterpart, ponzu sauce contains citrus fruits, soybeans, shoyu, and sugar. However, unlike tamarind sauce, ponzu sauce lacks the sourness associated with tamarinds. Instead, it adds a refreshing sweetness and umami flavor to dishes like sushi rolls.

Ponzu sauce can easily be substituted for teriyaki sauce because both are made using soybean products. Therefore, if you do decide to make your own sauce from scratch, just follow the instructions below on how to prepare a homemade teriyaki sauce. Simply substitute the main ingredient and combine everything together and serve.

Chicken Teriyaki Chow Mein - sauce alternatives
Chicken Teriyaki Chow Mein – sauce alternatives

5. Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is one of the most popular sauces among Asian people. It originated in China, where it is commonly known as “hoisin.” Although hoisin sauce is usually served with steamed rice, it can also be used as a dipping sauce for fried chicken, like the teriyaki sauce. There are many varieties of hoisin sauce available today, including dark, light, red, and white ones. Each type comes with its own distinct flavor profile. 

When you use this as a substitute for Japanese teriyaki sauce, you need to start out by removing the garlic and ginger from your original recipe. You then have to replace those two ingredients with shallots and sesame oil. Once you have done so, you can add other ingredients such as vinegar, brown or white sugar, and soy sauce. If you want to go even further, you could try replacing the water with apple cider vinegar instead. But do not forget to adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Further Hoison sauce can be considered as a substitute for dark soy sauce.

Can I replace Teriyaki sauce with Soy Sauce?

You can only replace a Japanese teriyaki sauce with soy sauce if you have sugar and ginger. These two ingredients are necessary since it gives the primary flavor profile of teriyaki. A soy sauce has a saltier flavor, hence you need sugar or honey.

What can I use if I don’t have sumac?

Can I substitute Worcestershire sauce for teriyaki sauce?

Yes. It has a similar flavor profile with soy sauce, but it is less salty. So you still need to add sugar to achieve a thicker consistency and sweeter taste like teriyaki sauce.

How to make homemade teriyaki sauce or Substitute it with the list above
How to make homemade teriyaki sauce or Substitute it with the list above

How to make homemade teriyaki sauce?

Here’s a simple and easy homemade Japanese teriyaki sauce recipe with no alcohol that you can make. 

Servings: 10


  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cup soy sauce 
  • 3 Tablespoon sugar
  • 5 1/2 cup sugar

Cooking Method:

1. Prepare a saucepan and combine all ingredients over low heat. 

2. Let the sauce mixture boil for at least 10 minutes and continually mix until smoothened with a thicker consistency. Make sure that sugar is properly dissolved.

3. Add a tablespoon of cornstarch or potato starch if you think the sauce is not that thick enough.

4. When tiny bubbles start to resurface, turn off the heat and transfer the homemade sauce into an opened jar or bowl. Do not close the container until the sauce mixture cools down.

5. You can serve and mix it directly on a dish or store it in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. 

Note: American teriyaki sauce includes garlic powder and minced ginger, hence if you can opt to have it if you want to add extra flavor.

How to sweeten store-bought teriyaki sauce – the easiest way to sweeten store-bought teriyaki sauce is to use a small amount of pure honey.

How to sweeten Kikkoman teriyaki sauce

Using the Kikkoman teriyaki sauce as a base sweeten it with brown sugar. If you do not have any use honey or white sugar. To add further depth of flavor to Kikkoman teriyaki sauce add a little garlic and ginger powder. Further adding a tablespoon of good dry sherry makes it really nice.

What is a good substitute for adobo sauce?

Can mirin replace cooking sherry when making teriyaki sauce?

Yes, mirin can replace sherry, add a small amount of honey also to get the right flavor.