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9 Best Teriyaki Sauce Substitute Options (+ How Much to Use)

What happens if you’re browsing the supermarket and they don’t have teriyaki sauce? Let me help you out! If you don’t tend to stock one of the tastiest Asian sauces around, there are several substitutes for teriyaki sauce you can use.

You can substitute teriyaki sauce with Worcestershire sauce, sweet soy sauce, oyster sauce, and ponzu sauce. But these aren’t the only teriyaki sauce substitutes out there. I’ve got several more just for you!

A sauce bowl of teriyaki sauce with pepper shavings.

🤷 What is Teriyaki Sauce?

Teriyaki sauce is a delicious Japanese sauce that’s used as a marinade or glaze sauce for pork chops, fish, and vegetables. It’s made from a combination of soy sauce, sake or mirin, sugar, and ginger, known for its sweet and savory flavor and sticky texture. One of the most well-known brands of teriyaki sauce is Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce. There’s even a gluten-free teriyaki sauce made with gluten-free soy sauce and no wheat.

🧑‍🍳 How to Make Teriyaki Sauce

To make teriyaki sauce, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, rice vinegar, minced garlic, and grated ginger in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar and create a glossy glaze through caramelization. Use the best thickening techniques for teriyaki sauce to achieve your perfect texture and allow the sauce to cool.

📌 How to Use Teriyaki Sauce

Marinade and Dipping Sauce:

  • Ideal for marinating meats before grilling or broiling.
  • McDonald’s sauces and Carl’s Jr. sauces feature a teriyaki sauce as one of their seasonal dipping options.


  • Commonly used with meaty fish dishes such as Hamachi, salmon, or mackerel.
  • Chicken Teriyaki
  • Meatballs glazed with teriyaki sauce.
  • Burger patties topped with teriyaki sauce.
  • Makizushis (Japanese sushi rolls) dipped in creamy teriyaki aioli.
  • Nachos drizzled with teriyaki sauce.
A bowl of chicken teriyaki.
chicken teriyaki

Best Teriyaki Sauce Substitutes

DIY Teriyaki Sauce

By making your own teriyaki sauce, you can control the ingredients and adjust the flavor to your liking. Here’s a simple recipe that you can try at home:


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients.
  2. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until the honey is dissolved.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and let it cool before using.

Soy Sauce + Brown Sugar

2 teaspoon of teriyaki sauce = 1 teaspoon of soy sauce + 1 teaspoon of brown sugar

Either dark soy or light soy sauce and brown sugar is a classic combination that can be used as a superb substitute for teriyaki sauce. These pantry staples form half of the base ingredients for teriyaki sauce, so they’re already great picks. Simply mix equal parts of soy sauce and brown sugar in a saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has thickened. If you can’t find either, you can use dark soy sauce substitutes and light soy substitutes instead.

Worcestershire Sauce

1 teaspoon of teriyaki sauce = 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a thin, dark sauce made from vinegar, molasses, and various seasonings. The sauce gets its similar notes of sourness from the vinegar and tamarind extract. The sweetness from the molasses and sugar and the salty essence from anchovies and salt. The variety you choose will also be important. A smoky Worcestershire sauce would work well with beef, while a milder one may be a better choice for vegetarian options, so pick wisely.

A plate of grilled barbecue with a Korean kalbi marinade.
grilled barbecue with Korean kalbi marinade

Korean Galbi Marinade

1 teaspoon of teriyaki sauce = 1 teaspoon of Korean galbi sauce

Korean and Japanese cuisine have similarities, too, such as in some of the ingredients and food preparation. This sauce is made with sugar, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, pear juice, and soy sauce, which gives it a distinctive sweet and savory taste. A Korean galbi sauce is also a healthier substitute for teriyaki sauce due to its lower sodium content. Perfect for use as a dipping sauce or glaze for grilled meats, vegetables, and seafood.

Indonesian Kecap Manis (Sweet Soy Sauce)

1 teaspoon of teriyaki sauce = 1/2 teaspoon of Indonesian kecap manis

Indonesian Kecap Manis, also known as sweet soy sauce, is made from soy sauce, palm sugar, and a blend of spices. This delicious combination results in a sweet and salty flavor that’s perfect for marinades, stir-fries, and dipping sauces. It also has a thicker consistency, which makes it fantastic for glazing meats. If you can’t find any around, you can use some kecap manis substitutes instead.

Barbecue Sauce (BBQ Sauce)

1 teaspoon of teriyaki sauce = 1 teaspoon of BBQ sauce

Barbecue sauce is a fantastic alternative to teriyaki sauce when you need a widely available sauce that’s also sweet and tangy. The perfect ways used to thicken BBQ sauce is why it’s one of the better picks. But make sure you pick the right type. A smoky barbecue sauce would pair perfectly with chicken, while a sweeter barbecue sauce would be an excellent choice for a vegetable stir-fry.

Oyster Sauce

1 teaspoon of teriyaki sauce = 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce + splash of soy sauce

Oyster sauce and hoisin sauce are pretty similar, but I find oyster sauce makes for a better alternative to teriyaki sauce. This thick, caramel-colored sauce is primarily made of oyster juices, salt, and sugar, sweet-salty with shellfish undertones and no fishy aftertaste. It’s used as a marinade, stir-fry sauce, and even in some Chinese sauces, mainly because of the health advantages it has over teriyaki sauce, as it contains fewer calories and less sugar.

Ponzu Sauce

1 teaspoon of teriyaki sauce = 1 teaspoon of ponzu sauce

Ponzu sauce is a tangy and citrusy sauce that’s thin and watery. The soy sauce, rice vinegar, and citrus juice, such as lemon or lime combo, really give it that nice refreshing flavor. With fewer calories and less sugar than teriyaki sauce, it’s the perfect sauce that extends beyond meat and stir-fries. If you don’t have any around, you can use ponzu sauce alternatives in its place.

Hoisin Sauce

1 teaspoon of teriyaki sauce = 1 teaspoon of hoisin sauce

If you’re looking for a sweet and savory sauce that’s similar to teriyaki, hoisin sauce is just what you’ve been looking for. It’s both sweet and salty, with a hint of umami. It’s used as a glaze for meats, a dipping sauce for spring rolls, and a condiment for stir-fries thanks to its sweeter and thicker than traditional teriyaki sauce, so you may need to adjust the amount of sugar or honey in your recipe to balance out this sweetness.

🧐 FAQs

Is teriyaki a meat or sauce?

Teriyaki is a type of sauce commonly used on meat or tofu, originating in Japan.

Can cornstarch be substituted in teriyaki sauce?

Yes, you can substitute cornstarch in teriyaki sauce with other thickeners, such as flour or arrowroot powder.

Can you use teriyaki sauce in place of soy sauce?

Yes, you can use teriyaki sauce as a substitute for soy sauce in fried rice. However, remember that teriyaki sauce has a sweeter flavor than soy sauce. This means fried rice may have a slightly different taste.

What’s a good alternative to brown sugar when making teriyaki sauce?

If you don’t have brown sugar on hand, you can use honey, maple syrup, or molasses as a substitute. These sweeteners will add a similar depth of flavor to your teriyaki sauce.

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