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Teriyaki Sauce

March 11, 2024

Ditch the bottled stuff for good—this simple, homemade honey teriyaki sauce makes everything taste amazing.


teriyaki sauce with ginger and garlic in a bowl with a spoon


A little sweet, a little salty and a lot perfect, teriyaki sauce is one of our favorite all-purpose sauces. We use it as a marinade, as a finishing sauce, and even as a stir-fry sauce. Like so many of you, we started out using the bottled stuff. But over the years, as we got increasingly familiar with some of the most common Asian pantry staples like sambal chili paste and soy sauce, we realized that making teriyaki sauce from scratch was actually going to be easier—and definitely way more cost-effective—than buying bottled dressing. Plus, of course, we loved that making it ourselves meant that we could make it just a little healthier by using no scary preservatives (duh) and swapping honey for the traditional sugar. Pour it over Teriyaki Chicken or tender Teriyaki Meatballs.

What Is Teriyaki Sauce?

As usual, the answer is not so simple. Traditional Japanese “teriyaki” is actually a word that refers to a style of cooking, rather than a sauce. “Teriyaki” meat that’s grilled over hot coals, and as it cooks, it’s brushed with a “tare” which is a sweet and salty glaze. Our teriyaki sauce recipe is probably more appropriately referred to as a traditionally non-traditional American-style teriyaki sauce. Our teriyaki sauce recipe is the opposite of austere—loaded with lots of ginger and garlic, and flavored with chili paste and a squeeze of lime.

homemade teriyaki sauce in a small pan

Key Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients

If you’ve experimented even a little bit with making Asian cuisine at home, you’ll be familiar with all of these easy-to-find ingredients:

  • Low-sodium soy sauce. Or, use a gluten-free tamari to make this a gluten-free teriyaki sauce.
  • Honey. You’ll still have a sweet teriyaki sauce, just without the processed sugar! Win-win.
  • Garlic.
  • Ginger.
  • Chili paste, such as sambal oelek.
  • Lime
  • Cornstarch—the magical secret to making thick teriyaki sauce.

How to Make Teriyaki Sauce

This easy teriyaki sauce recipe comes together fast. In about seven minutes, you’ve got yourself a whole batch of WAY-better-than-bottled sauce, like our homemade stir fry sauce, and suddenly dinner got a lot more interesting. Here’s how to make it:

  1. Bring everything except for the cornstarch and water to a simmer.
  2. Stir for a few minutes, while the flavors mingle and the honey dissolves.
  3. Whisk the cornstarch and water together to make a paste or “slurry”—this will be the magical ingredient that thickens the teriyaki sauce.
  4. Add the slurry to the simmering sauce, and stir for a couple of minutes more—just until the sauce has thickened a bit.
garlic and ginger teriyaki sauce in a small bowl with a spoon

Tools You’ll Need:

The 3 Best Sauce Recipes on TMP

Let it be said that we change our mind about this all the time. But, at least today, these are our three favorite sauce recipes:

garlic and ginger teriyaki sauce in a small bowl with a spoon

Still Buying Bottled?

That’s OK! We still do, too, sometimes. But, we think you’ll agree that when you’ve got the extra few minutes, homemade teriyaki sauce is SO worth it. When you do get around to trying this recipe, let us know! Snap a photo of the chicken teriyaki meatballs or whatever you make with it, and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so we can see. Happy eating!

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Teriyaki Sauce

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  7 min
  • Calories: 108


  • ¾ cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste, such as sambal oelek
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, chili paste and lime juice. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.

  2. In a small bowl, stir the cornstarch into ¼ cup water. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes more.

Note: Makes 1 ¼ cup

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories108
  • Protein4 g
  • Carbohydrates22 g
  • Total Fat0 g
  • Dietary Fiber0 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium928 mg
  • Total Sugars18 g

Teriyaki Sauce

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Amy

    How long will this sauce keep in the fridge?

    It should be good for about a week in the fridge!

  • Lisa

    Love this! Made it with meatballs and roasted veggies, tonight it’s going with salmon /broccoli rice bowls!

    Thanks Lisa, we are so happy you loved it!

  • jenn

    This was delicious! Tossed chicken and broccoli in it and served over rice! Made a double batch so I saved some time for next teriyaki night too!

    Thanks Jenn, glad you liked it! Nice job doubling up to save time!