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Ponzu sauce is a citrusy Japanese condiment perfect for dipping dumplings, tuna, tofu and more! Here’s a recipe to make it at home.

Ponzu sauce
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Looking for a flavor-popping dip? Try this Ponzu Sauce, a zingy Japanese condiment that pairs citrus, salty and savory in equal measure. This tasty sauce is one of the first recipes we made together as a couple as a dip for seared tuna steak. And we’re still making it today! Use it as a dip for vegetables, tuna, tofu, or noodles, or as quick finishing sauce for a noodle bowl or stir fry. Here’s how to whip it up at home!

What is ponzu sauce?

Ponzu sauce is a Japanese condiment made of soy sauce and citrus juice. It’s served as a dip for meats, fish, noodles, dumplings, and more. With its salty citrus flavor, it’s similar to a vinaigrette. It’s not used as a cooking sauce, but more as a dip or a finishing sauce.

The word ponzu comes from the Dutch word “pon” (punch) and the Japanese word “su” (vinegar), so it literally means “punch vinegar.” It’s believed the sauce is at least as old as the 17th century (source).

Ingredients in this ponzu sauce recipe

The most basic of ponzu sauce recipes simply combine soy sauce, citrus juice, and mirin. A traditional Japanese ponzu sauce (like this one by Just One Cookbook) uses dried bonito flakes and kombu (seaweed), which bring in umami flavor. Ingredients you’ll find in most ponzu sauce recipes include:

  • Soy sauce
  • Citrus juice: yuzu, orange, lime or lemon
  • Rice vinegar (unseasoned)
  • Mirin
  • Ginger or garlic
  • Kombu or bonito flakes (optional but traditional)
  • Green onions (optional)
Ponzu sauce

Tips for how to make ponzu sauce

This ponzu sauce recipe is quick and simple, and comes together in a flash. For this spin, we’ve kept it vegetarian without the bonito flakes. If you have the time, simmering the mixture with kombu as mentioned above gives the best traditional flavor. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when whipping up this ponzu sauce recipe:

  • Use any citrus juice you like, just make sure it’s fresh squeezed. We like the mixture of orange and lime, but you can use orange and lemon as well. Or, go traditional and use Japanese yuzu juice (fresh or bottled).
  • Peel the ginger with a spoon. Ginger adds a nice complexity (which stands in for the kombu and bonito). Peel it with a spoon for easiest preparation.
  • Green onions are optional. Some ponzu sauce recipes use green onion, and we like the fresh pop of flavor it brings. But if you prefer a look of a solid dark sauce, omit them!

Storage info

How long does homemade ponzu sauce last? Store it for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Without the green onions, it can last for up to 2 weeks. Keep in mind that the flavor intensifies over time!

Ponzu sauce recipe

Ways to serve it

Ready to serve your ponzu sauce? There are many ways to use this zingy dip. Here are a few of our top ideas:

This ponzu sauce recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free. For gluten-free, use tamari.

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Ponzu sauce

Simple Ponzu Sauce


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: About ½ cup 1x
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Description

Ponzu sauce is a citrusy Japanese condiment perfect for dipping dumplings, tuna, tofu and more! Here’s how to make it at home.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 2 green onions, finely minced (optional)

Instructions

  1. Whisk together all ingredients. Enjoy immediately or the flavor intensifies over time. Store refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Japanese Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!