Easy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

This easy homemade teriyaki sauce recipe takes only 5 minutes to make and has no refined sugar or preservatives! You’ll never buy teriyaki sauce again.

Homemade teriyaki sauce

Have you ever made homemade teriyaki sauce? Alex and I hadn’t until recently, and now our worlds are changed. Our homemade teriyaki sauce takes only 5 minutes to make, and is seriously good. It tastes better than store-bought teriyaki sauce, and has none of the added salt, sugar and preservatives. There’s also no refined sugar, instead relying on a natural sugar: in this case maple syrup. We distilled down teriyaki sauce to it’s major components, but the flavor is still so good with only a handful of ingredients. How do we make this magical sauce? Keep reading for our homemade teriyaki sauce recipe.

Homemade teriyaki marinade

Where did teriyaki sauce originate?

Teriyaki originates from Japan, but in Japan it actually refers to a method of cooking: by grilling foods in a mix of soy, mirin and sugar. A dish like chicken teriyaki is actually more of an American food than a Japanese one! It is thought that teriyaki sauce comes from Japanese immigrants who settled in Hawaii. They created a marinade using local products like pineapple juice blended with soy sauce. This eventually turned into what we today call teriyaki sauce. So bottom line: teriyaki sauce has Japanese roots, but it’s more of an American creation than authentic Japanese.

How to make homemade teriyaki sauce

Making homemade teriyaki sauce is truly easy: and in this recipe we made it even simpler by distilling it down to its major components. Our recipe uses just soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and maple syrup. Using maple syrup means that it has no refine sugar and is naturally sweet, which is a bonus! The level of soy sauce is also perfect: it’s just salty enough but not too salty.

The mixture is heated and then a slurry of cornstarch is mixed in, which makes it thick and glossy. Our homemade teriyaki sauce can be made in about 5 minutes, which is a complete no brainer. We’re never buying teriyaki sauce again! As noted in the recipe, as it cools the sauce gets very thick. You may find you need to mix in a very small amount of warm water to bring it to a slightly thinner consistency.

Homemade teriyaki sauce

How to use homemade teriyaki sauce

There are so many uses for homemade teriyaki sauce! Our favorite way to use it are in our Teriyaki Vegetable Stir Fry and our Grilled Teriyaki Mango Skewers. Or, brush it on the outside of this Teriyaki Veggie Burger (in addition to the teriyaki flavoring inside). You can also use it as a homemade teriyaki marinade for meat: just marinade chicken or beef for about 30 minutes before grilling, or try our Teriyaki Salmon recipe.

Homemade teriyaki sauce

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This recipe is…

This easy homemade teriyaki sauce recipe is vegetarian, vegan, gluten free (with tamari), plant based, dairy free, refined sugar free, and naturally sweet.

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Homemade teriyaki sauce | Homemade teriyaki marinade

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (58 votes, average: 4.05 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 1 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: About 1 cup 1x


This easy homemade teriyaki sauce recipe takes only 5 minutes to make and has no refined sugar or preservatives! You’ll never buy teriyaki sauce again.


  • 1/4 cup regular soy sauce (or substitute tamari or coconut aminos)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. For the homemade teriyaki sauce: Combine the soy sauce, maple syrup, and rice wine vinegar in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with the water and whisk until dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan.
  3. Heat the sauce for a few minutes, whisking constantly, until it becomes very thick, smooth and glossy. Remove the sauce to a bowl and cool the sauce while you make the remainder of the recipe. (You can also make the teriyaki in advance and refrigerate until serving.) If the sauce becomes too thick after cooling, add a very small amount of warm water a little at a time to return to the desired consistency.
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Japanese American

Keywords: Homemade Teriyaki Sauce, Easy Teriyaki Sauce, Easy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce, Teriyaki, Sauce

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Amber - Loves Food, Loves to Eat
    January 14, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Must make, this looks so simple and good! FYI, soy sauce isn’t gluten free (your note above says the recipe is GF), but tamari is a great GF soy sauce sub! Also, interesting history: what we know as teriyaki chicken here in the states was invented in my city, Seattle!! Here’s a cool (and sad) article about it: https://www.thrillist.com/eat/seattle/seattle-teriyaki-japanese-restaurants-disappearing

    • Reply
      January 14, 2019 at 2:06 pm

      Good point — we’ll list tamari as a GF sub! Also, I did run across Seattle and teriyaki chicken in my research about teriyaki: love this article! And it’s sad that it’s dying out! Next time we’re in Seattle we’ll have to try to seek it out! Thanks for the comment :)

  • Reply
    January 16, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    How long do you think this will last in the fridge?


    • Reply
      January 17, 2019 at 12:40 pm

      This will last for several months! Thanks and let us know what you think!

      • Reply
        October 1, 2020 at 6:41 pm

        Wow, this is great to know!! I was going to ask the same question about how long will it keep. Btw, this sauce and the recipe with tempeh, was amazing! Thank you for all your posts. I’m making great use of them!! ❤️❤️❤️

  • Reply
    January 22, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Is there an additional 1/2 cup water needed for the slurry?

    • Reply
      January 22, 2019 at 8:38 pm

      Just 1/2 cup water in the entire recipe — it’s mixed with the cornstarch! I’ve updated to avoid confusion. Thank you!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

    Thanks so much! Made this last night and it was PERFECT. Will never use another.

    • Reply
      January 23, 2019 at 10:46 am

      Oh we are so glad to hear that! Thanks for making this!

  • Reply
    October 25, 2019 at 7:07 am

    Just made this to go with my stir-fry veggies and rice I made for lunch today. YUM! I’m glad you said to whisk the mixture constantly, because I swear it went from liquid to creamy sauce in the blink of an eye. I’ll definitely be making this again soon!

  • Reply
    January 2, 2020 at 4:53 am

    This is so cool! I never even thought about making my own sauce, but this is such a simple recipe! Super excited to try this.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2021 at 10:30 am

    This sauce is a game changer! We stopped buying Teriyaki sauce from the store, because this one is so easy to make and so delicious.

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