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Homemade Authentic Japanese Teriyaki (Yakitori) Sauce; For Yakitori, Grilled Meat and Vegetables

Homemade authentic Japanese Teriyaki sauce Food & Recipes
Food & Recipes
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“Teriyaki” (照り焼き) is well-known as the Japanese cooking method, as the sauce, as the condiment.

However, if you have traveled to Japan, you may notice that “Teriyaki” is a very different taste from the taste you knew.

At least, I (am from Japan) think it is totally different, but I am going to talk about this later.

Honestly, I titled this post at first like “the authentic Yakitori sauce recipe”, but as I was writing the post, I notice “Yakitori sauce” and “Teriyaki sauce” is almost the same.

So I changed the title “Teriyaki sauce” recipe from “Yakitori sauce,” ANYWAY this sauce is handy for grilling food.

No more explanation needed, “Yakitori” (焼鳥) is the skewered grilled chicken, which is the popular “Izakaya” (居酒屋) dish in Japan.

To cook Yakitori at home is not difficult if you have the savory authentic “Yakitori sauce.”

This authentic “Yakitori sauce”, yes, it is the authentic taste, like you are in Japan.

Don’t be scared of the amount of sugar.

In my blog, I try to update my Japanese cooking recipe with ingredients that you can get easily, but I am sorry, there are two essentials for this recipe.

Japanese Sake and Dashi kelp.

But also I make Yakitori sauce that you can make with ingredients on your hand. It’s not an authentic taste but tasty.

Jump to Recipe

The Japanese Cooking Essential; Dried Dashi Kelp

dashi kelp

If you are Japanophiles, you know already what “dashi” meaning, right?

“Dashi” is the basis of the taste of Japanese cuisine. “Dashi” is characterized by its rich and gentle “umami” even if it is hidden in other seasonings.

“Dashi” has several flavors depends on the raw materials such as dried bonito, dried fish, dried kelp, mushrooms, and vegetables.

Each dashi flavor is chosen for the best way to enhance other components of taste, using dashi made from dried kelp in this recipe brings tremendous “Umami” flavor and thickness to the sauce.

Dashi kelp or dried kelp is sold as “Dashi Kombu” (だし昆布) in online stores.

The kelp is rich in glutamic acid, which is a plant-derived umami component. It has also rich in calcium and iron, minerals and helps to boost the immune system.

Note that Dashi Kombu is different from eatable Kombu (kelp.) Make sure it is “Dashi Kombu”, not a regular edible Kombu before purchasing.

The real “dashi kombu” is recommended, but you can use “dashi powder”.

Dashi Kelp helps to make the sauce thicker in this recipe. The sugar in the Teriyaki sauce recipe also works. However, when using Dashi powder instead of Dashi Kelp, you may need to use potato starch or corn starch for adding thickness.

What Is Different Between Yakitori And Teriyaki Sauce

Both sauces are made of Soy sauce, Japanese Sake, Mirin, and Sugar.

Technically, there is no difference between “Teriyaki” sauce and “Yakitori” sauce in home cooking.

Simply speaking, Yakitori sauce is categorized in the Teriyaki sauce.

Even raw materials are almost the same, we often use two different names depends on the hidden flavor because at specialty restaurants such as “Yakitori”, “Grilled eel”, they have their own secret sauce which has rich flavor made by dipping grilled chicken or eels in it beyond generations.

For example, the sauce from Yakitori restaurant is called “Yakitori sauce”, the sauce is from the grilled eel restaurant is called “Unagi-no-tare”. So, they are categorized into “Teriyaki sauce” in the big scheme.

Long story to short, in private use, nothing is different.

By the way, Teriyaki sauce (also teriyaki flavored dishes) in the US and other countries is completely different from authentic Japanese flavor. American is much sweeter and less soy sauce flavor.

Therefore, in Japan, imported teriyaki sauce (such as Yoshida sauce) is often referred to as “gourmet sauce” or another name because it is a different source than the Japanese.

Teriyaki Is One Of Cooking Method In Japanese Cuisine

Teriyaki, Japanese cooking, Japanese food

Teriyaki (照り焼き) is The cooking method in Japanese cuisine. Glazing meat or fish with sweet soy sauce-based sauce while cooking. Naming is because the sugar content of the sauce makes the food a shiny “glow”. Mainly, it is a technique used to cook fish and meat in Japan.

  • Teri (照り)…Shiny, Glowing

Grilled eel and yakitori are also categorized into the type of teriyaki cooking.

The First Argument

In my short story, my first argument with my husband (at the time, he was my boyfriend) is about “Teriyaki sauce” in Japan.

He asked me where he can buy “Teriyaki sauce”, but I have never seen “Teriyaki sauce” sold in stores in my life. I told him so, he was confused and said, “how can be no Teriyaki sauce” in Japan, it is Japaneeeeese!!!”. I go, “Well, it is Japanese, that’s why we don’t buy the sauce! WE MAKE OWN!”. So finally, we found “Teriyaki sauce”(Yoshida Sauce) in the grocery store where handle international food.

Actually, there are commercial Teriyaki sauces in Japan, but I didn’t know it.

Do I Need Mirin In Japanese Cooking?

mirin, Japanese sweet rice wine

According to the Japanese cooking recipes, you can see lots of recipes that require “Mirin”. Not exception, other many recipes of “Teriyaki sauce” ask you to use Mirin aka sweet rice wine.

Don’t worry, I don’t use Mirin at all in my recipes.

What’s Mirin???

Mirin is a traditional popular condiment as a house stock made from glutinous rice, koji rice, and distilled liquor, and aged for 40 to 60 days.

Mirin is mainly used to add rich, mellow, natural sweetness and a shiny glow finish.

What You Can Use Substitute of Mirin

I have been cooking without Mirin for about 15 years, I haven’t had a problem so far.

If you want to minimize condiments and seasonings in the kitchen, you don’t have to buy Mirin if you don’t use it often.

Also, if you add more mirin than the recipe, it can really dumb down the flavors. When using mirin, please follow the recipe amount.

Actually, Mirin can be substituted by common ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen. To make 1 tablespoon of Mirin,

  1. 1 tablespoon of Japanese Sake (not cooking sake) or white wine (sweet) + 1 teaspoon of sugar
  2. 1 tablespoon of Japanese Sake (not cooking sake) or white wine (sweet) + 1 teaspoon of honey

The Authentic Japanese Style Teriyaki (Yakitori) Sauce Recipe

yakitori, tare, grilled chicken sauce,1

These 2 sauces will be much better and thicker the next day. 

Please allow the sauce to sit in the refrigerator at least overnight.

These can be last for 2 weeks in the refrigerator. 

Teriyaki Sauce 2 is a recipe that doesn’t require special ingredients such as Dashi kelp. So you can make Teriyaki sauce with items in your kitchen. 

When you finish cooking “Teriyaki Sauce 2”, it doesn’t look thick enough, but don’t worry. The next day, it will be a thicker and rich sauce. 

If you need it thicker, reheat the sauce and add the solution (1 tsp of potato starch or corn starch + 1 tsp of cold water), and cook the sauce until getting thick. (*Stir well during cooking.) 

yakitori, tare, grilled chicken sauce, 5

Authentic Teriyaki Sauce (Yakitori no Tare)

This is the authentic Teriyaki sauce. The savory-sweet thick sauce for grilled meat.
Cuisine Japanese


  • 2 cup Dark soy sauce (Kikkoman)
  • 2 cup Japanese Sake
  • 2 cup Raw sugar
  • 4 inch Dashi kelp


  • Allow Japanese sake to boil for about 2 minutes to burn off the alcohol.
  • Low heat. Add sugar and stir gently until sugar melted. Add soy sauce and dashi kelp.
  • Cook the sauce for 30 minutes with low heat. *Skim the scum off if needed.
  • When the sauce is reduced by half, turn off the stove.
    yakitori, tare, grilled chicken sauce, 7
  • Take out the dashi kelp. Allow the sauce to rest overnight in a refrigerator.
  • Add more few days to sit in the refrigerator, the sauce becomes very and mellow, and rich flavor.
Keyword marinade, Sauce


Teriyaki Sauce 2

Make Homemade Japanese-style Teriyaki Sauce using ingredients you already have at home!
Cuisine Japanese


  • 2 cup Dark Soy Sauce
  • 2 cup Japanese Sake or White wine
  • 2 cup Raw sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp Chicken bouillon
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Grated garlic


  • Allow Japanese sake(wine) to boil for about 2 minutes to burn off the alcohol.
  • Low heat. Add sugar and stir gently until sugar melted. Add soy sauce, bay leaves, chicken bouillon, and grated garlic.
  • Cook the sauce for 30 minutes with low heat.
  • When the sauce is reduced by half, turn off the stove.
  • Allow the sauce to rest overnight in a refrigerator.
Keyword Sauce

Recipes With Teriyaki Sauce

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