This thick and tasty sticky teriyaki sauce recipe is perfect as a stir-fry sauce or glaze. Easy to make in just 10 minutes, this bold umami condiment can be used as a sauce or marinade.
Why you'll love this sticky teriyaki sauce and marinade
- It's the best teriyaki sauce and tastes better than store bought. It doesn't contain all the additives and you can control the natural sweetener as well as the sodium in your homemade teriyaki. It will definitely become a family favorite!
- It's sweet, salty and thick with a bold deep umami flavor that adds an Asian flare to any dish.
- It's naturally sweetened with honey or maple syrup. Low-sodium tamari is gluten-free and there's loads of ginger and garlic that can be adjusted to your taste. It's also Paleo friendly if using maple syrup, coconut aminos and apple cider vinegar.
- Super versatile, mix it into a stir-fry, brush it onto fish, chicken, turkey or roasted vegetables as a glaze. Pour it over rice, fried rice, noodles or zoodles (zucchini noodles). Pair it with cabbage, carrots or mushrooms. Use it as a marinade on your favorite protein. Perfect as a dip for skewers or as a drizzle on lettuce wraps or bowls.
- Use it as a thick sticky sauce or leave out the arrowroot power and you have a versatile marinade to elevate your select protein.
- It only takes 5 minutes to prep and 10 minutes cook and thicken.
Noteworthy ingredients and substitutions
- Tamari: is a great wheat-free substitute for soy sauce. It's usually gluten-free (check the label) and tastes similar to soy sauce. Coconut aminos is a great alternative and a little sweeter than tamari so you may want to use a little less honey or maple syrup to balance the flavors.
- Honey or maple syrup: adds natural sweetness. You may taste the honey in the sauce.
- Apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar: are fairly interchangeable in this teriyaki recipe. They cut the sweetness and liven up the sauce with brightness and tang.
- Ginger and garlic: adds loads of flavor and deepens the umami savoriness of the honey teriyaki sauce.
Clean eating tip: it's best to use fresh garlic and fresh ginger in this recipe. They bring out a lot of bold deep fresh flavor that you just won't get from ground ginger or garlic powder.
- Arrowroot powder: works really well to thicken the sauce. It has no taste so it will not alter your food, and it leaves a glaze finish on food.
see recipe card for all ingredients and quantities
How to make teriyaki sauce
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the water, tamari, honey, apple cider vinegar, ginger and garlic.
- Bring to a high simmer, continuously whisking or stirring to combine. If it begins to foam and threatens to spill over, immediately remove the pot from heat and allow the foam to subside.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 8-10 minutes, allowing to thicken. If the sauce is thin, add a slurry of arrowroot: combine 2 teaspoons of arrowroot powder with 2 teaspoons of water, mix well. Add the slurry at the end of cooking, mix and remove from heat. It will thicken as it cools.
How to make teriyaki marinade
- In a small bowl or mason jar, add the water, tamari, honey, apple cider vinegar, ginger and garlic.
- Mix well. Use to marinate your favorite protein.
Tips, Tricks and Variations
- Stay at the stove when cooking the sauce. It will foam up as it heats and can easily spill over the pot. The trick is to lift the pot off the heat as soon as you see the foam rise, allow the sauce to settle down in the pot, lower the heat slightly, then replace the pot on the stove at a simmer, stirring often.
- This bold teriyaki sauce can also be the best teriyaki marinade. Just mix all the ingredients without the arrowroot or cornstarch, and use as a marinade. It's not necessary to cook and thicken.
- If you like your sauce a little more salty, increase the low-sodium tamari and decrease the water. For example, a half cup of tamari and a half cup of water. You can adjust your sweetness by adding or removing a tablespoon of honey. The garlic and ginger proportions can also be adjusted to your taste. I like to use a lot of ginger but if you're not a big fan than start with one teaspoon; same for garlic.
Clean eating tip: unlike cornstarch, high heat and harsh chemicals are not used to extract starch for arrowroot powder.
Authentic teriyaki sauce is made up of sugar, ginger soy sauce, mirin and/or sake (alcohol made from fermented rice). It was traditionally used to marinate vegetables, tofu, fish or meat before cooking. My Americanized version is made with natural sweeteners, gluten-free tamari, apple cider vinegar and loads of garlic and ginger. It can be used as a marinade or thickened with arrowroot flour to use as a topping or glaze to stir-fry, vegetables, meats, tofu or fish.
Teriyaki sauce is thick and bold and used to instantly flavor dishes such as stir-fry, roasted vegetables, chicken, beef or fish. It coats the food in a glaze and bring big flavors to the dish. It's also used as a condiment to add to your finished dish. A teriyaki marinade it much thinner as it hasn't been cooked down or thickened. It slowly absorbs into meat, fish or tofu for an extended period of time before cooking, roasting or grilling. Usually a minimum 2 hours for meat, 1 hour for tofu and 30 minutes or less for delicate fish to absorb the bold flavors.
- small sauce pot
The teriyaki sauce or marinade can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container or mason jar for one week. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.Print