If you're a "best of both worlds" kind of person, this easy teriyaki sauce will soon be your new best friend. It's made up of both sweet and savoury flavors, which makes it the perfect topping for tofu, stir-fried veggies, or noodles!
We are both huge fans of teriyaki sauce. When we first got into Japanese cuisine, we were definitely all about that teriyaki chicken on rice (so original, we know). Of course, now we love it with tofu instead, but the sauce has always remained a favorite of ours.
Apparently, teriyaki was invented in Hawaii by Japanese immigrants. They used ingredients like pineapple juice and soy sauce to make early versions of this tasty marinade. Nowadays, it's made with the addition of garlic, ginger, rice wine (mirin), brown sugar, and cornstarch.
While we do love teriyaki sauce, most store-bought varieties contain additional less-than-ideal ingredients. High-fructose corn syrup and caramel color don't exactly scream "health", ya know?
So, our solution? Creating an ultra-delicious homemade teriyaki with a few simple ingredients. And, did we mention how quick this sauce is to make? By the time you drive to the store to grab a bottle, you could already be sitting down to enjoy your meal!
🍲 Key ingredients
- Tamari: to create the savoury base for this sauce, you can use either tamari or soy sauce (note: tamari is the only gluten-free option). Just make sure you definitely opt for low sodium because it will be waaaaay too salty if you use the regular variety!
- Ginger: we absolutely love using ginger in our cooking because it adds both flavor and health benefits. You can use ground ginger, but whenever we have some fresh ginger in the house, we always reach for that. Not only does this spice taste heavenly, but (ladies) it has also been shown to significantly help with period symptoms. Hallelujah!
- Sesame seeds: while these aren't in all teriyaki sauce recipes, we think the addition of some toasted sesame seeds really elevates this recipe. They give a fragrant, nutty flavor that is well-known to Asian cuisine. Plus, they are high in magnesium, which has known anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Sweetener: for our recipe, we opted to use a combination of maple syrup and brown sugar. Why? It just felt right. Seriously though, you can use whichever one you have on hand since they both offer rich, caramel notes that are perfect for this teriyaki sauce.
To begin, heat a saucepan on low-medium. Add the sesame seeds in, and toast them until they are fragrant and turning golden brown (or when your kitchen starts smelling delicious).
In the meantime, whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl until dissolved. Set that aside while you grab the rest of your ingredients.
Then, turn the heat up to medium and add in all ingredients, including the cornstarch and water mixture. Whisk everything together until you have a uniform consistency. Bring the teriyaki sauce to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer until your sauce thickens, which takes about 7-8 minutes. Remove the teriyaki sauce from the stove and let it cool.
Serve this over stir-fried vegetables, rice, noodles, tofu, or even on a veggie burger with a slice of pineapple. Yum!
This teriyaki sauce will keep in your fridge for up to 6-7 days. To reheat, simply add it to your food near the end of cooking.
💭 Budget tips
We think everyone should be able to eat better for less, so here are a few tricks to make this recipe even more affordable:
- Replace maple syrup with any cheaper sweetener like coconut sugar
- Use low-sodium soy sauce instead of tamari (just remember soy is not gluten-free)
- Although cheap in this recipe, the sesame seeds aren't necessary
🍴 Tasting notes
It's incredible what a few simple ingredients can turn into! This teriyaki sauce is:
If you make this sauce, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Easy Teriyaki Sauce
- Mixing bowl
- ½ tbsp sesame seeds ($0.08)
- 1 tbsp corn starch ($0.02)
- 3 tbsp water ($0.00)
- ½ cup low-sodium tamari ($1.44)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup ($0.30)
- 3 tbsp brown sugar ($0.05)
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar ($0.22)
- 1 tbsp ginger, grated or finely minced ($0.03)
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced ($0.04)
- To begin, heat a saucepan on low-medium. Add the sesame seeds in, and toast them until they are fragrant and turning golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.
- In the meantime, whisk together the cornstarch and water in a separate bowl until dissolved. Set the bowl aside while you prep the garlic and ginger.
- Then, turn your stove to medium heat and add in all ingredients, including the cornstarch and water mixture. Whisk everything together until you have a uniform consistency.
- Bring the teriyaki sauce to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency, about 6-8 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let teriyaki sauce cool before transferring it to the fridge in an airtight container. Alternatively, serve immediately over stir-fried vegetables, rice, noodles, or tofu!
- It's very important to use low sodium tamari (GF) or soy sauce (not GF) to prevent your teriyaki sauce from turning out overly salty.
- You can also toast your sesame seeds in an oven or toaster oven, but we just prefer to use one pan for the whole sauce.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more Asian-inspired recipes, check out our:
- Vegan poke bowl if you want to eat your sushi with a fork.
- Creamy ramen noodle bowl for an Asian-inspired spicy dish with an irresistible broth.
- Sweet and sour cauliflower on rice if you're new to seeing cauliflower as the star of a dish.
- Easy Asian slaw with sesame ginger dressing for a light, nutritious, and simple meal.
Yes, you can replace the fresh ginger and garlic with powder. Just remember to use about ⅓ of the dried form compared to fresh.
While the toasted sesame seeds are not necessary, we do think they add a unique and delicious flavor. But, if you don't have any or don't like sesame seeds, this sauce still tastes great without them.
The corn starch will definitely help thicken the sauce. However, if you prefer a slightly runnier teriyaki, then you can omit the cornstarch/water mixture. If you don't have any cornstarch, try reducing the sauce for longer to thicken it.