I’ve personally tried and tested a range of different teriyaki sauce substitutes to find the best one.
Whatever your reason for avoiding teriyaki is and whatever dish you’re cooking.
Here’s the quick answer.
The best substitutes for teriyaki sauce are a homemade version and a simple combination of soy sauce, a sweetener, and an acid. You can also try kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), ponzu sauce, Korean BBQ sauce, hoisin sauce, or oyster sauce.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
I made teriyaki chicken to try out 12 teriyaki sauce substitutes.
Teriyaki sauce is a glossy Japanese condiment that boasts a delectable sweet-savory flavor combo. It serves as an all-purpose marinade and also works well with fusion dishes.
I was looking for something with the same balance of sweetness and umami.
Here’s what I tested and the verdicts:
|Substitutes||How to Substitute||Verdict|
|Homemade Teriyaki Sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Soy Sauce + Sweetener + Acid||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Kecap Manis||Replace in a 1:1 ratio with a splash of rice vinegar||9/10|
|Ponzu Sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Korean BBQ Sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Hoisin Sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Oyster Sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||7/10|
Common uses for teriyaki sauce and their best substitutes
Here are some popular ways to use teriyaki sauce and the best substitutes for those situations:
- For marinades, dips, and sauces – homemade teriyaki sauce, soy sauce + sweetener + acid, kecap manis
- For glazing and basting – homemade teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, Korean BBQ sauce
- As a stand-alone condiment – homemade teriyaki sauce, ponzu sauce, hoisin sauce
Homemade teriyaki sauce
Creating your own teriyaki sauce is a piece of cake, and it unlocks the power to personalize how salty or sweet you want it to be.
All the ingredients are typically easy to find and Daring Gourmet’s recipe only takes 10 minutes to make . Simply throw all the ingredients in a small saucepan, let it simmer, and you’re done!
The results is a lusciously thick teriyaki sauce perfect for glazing, but feel free to ditch the cornstarch if marinating is your game.
How to substitute: replace teriyaki sauce in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with your fabulous homemade teriyaki sauce.
Soy sauce + sweetener + acid
At its core, teriyaki sauce is made up of a salty base, a sweetener, and acidity. So you can totally wing it by mixing soy sauce (salty), honey (sweet), and rice vinegar (acid).
Hopefully you’ll have all of these in your cupboard already.
Want to jazz it up? Try swapping honey for apricot jelly or brown sugar. And add some ginger. Yum!
If you can’t have soy sauce, don’t worry – you can also use gluten-free alternatives like tamari, liquid aminos, and coconut aminos.
You’ll need to taste as you go with this substitute, but as a guide I used 1/2 a teaspoon of honey and vinegar for every tablespoon of soy sauce.
How to substitute: replace teriyaki sauce in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with a blend of soy sauce, sweetener, and acid.
Kecap manis is an Indonesian condiment that’s also known as sweet soy sauce.
Its rich, syrupy texture and sweet-but-salty flavor makes it a solid substitute for teriyaki sauce.
It can be too sweet, though, so I added a splash of lime juice to balance the flavors and bring it closer to that teriyaki taste we all know and love.
You can find kecap manis in Asian markets, but try checking your local Walmart’s international aisle – that’s where I found my bottle!
Why not check out my kecap manis substitute suggestions too?
How to substitute: replace teriyaki sauce in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with kecap manis and a splash of rice vinegar or lime juice.
Oyster sauce is another decent substitute for teriyaki sauce.
It offers a unique salty-sweet flavor with a hint of brininess from the ocean.
Its consistency is similar to teriyaki sauce and it works really well as a replacement in noodle dishes and stir fries.
Oyster sauce isn’t as sweet as teriyaki sauce, which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how much of a sweet tooth you have!
How to substitute: replace teriyaki sauce in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with oyster sauce.
This Japanese soy-based condiment is not an exact flavor match for teriyaki sauce, but it’s a delightful alternative if you want to switch things up.
It’s loaded with umami goodness and boasts a prominent citrusy flavor that works wonders in marinades and dipping sauces.
And if you’re craving a bit of sweetness, you can always add a dash of honey.
You can buy premade ponzu sauce, but it’s just as easy to make from scratch with this recipe.
How to substitute: replace teriyaki sauce in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with ponzu sauce.
Korean BBQ sauce
Texture-wise, Korean BBQ sauce and teriyaki sauce can be similar.
Both beautifully coated my chicken and left a glossy finish.
There’s a big difference in their flavors, but both of them have Asian influences and if you like teriyaki sauce I can guarantee you’ll love Korean BBQ sauce which is why I included it.
Teriyaki sauce is sweet and savory with a touch of tang, while Korean BBQ sauce comes with a spicy kick, thanks to the addition of chili garlic sauce.
How to substitute: replace teriyaki sauce in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with Korean BBQ sauce.
Hoisin sauce is another classic Asian condiment that will definitely works as a teriyaki substitute in a pinch! And it’s super easy to find.
Hoisin sauce is a lot more complex than teriyaki sauce, with flavors like 5-spice and chili coming through. My chicken wasn’t as clean tasting as it was with straight teriyaki.
But if all you’re looking for is a tasty sauce for your stir fry, hoisin sauce won’t disappoint.
Psst… my hoisin sauce was very thick so I thinned it down with some water before using it.
How to substitute: replace teriyaki sauce in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with hoisin sauce, thinning with water if you want to dilute the flavor.
Other substitutes to consider
The suggestions I listed above are my top picks as a substitute for teriyaki sauce, but here are some other condiments you can use if you have them on hand:
- Worcestershire sauce – this may not be an Asian condiment, but it has sweet-savory flavors reminiscent of teriyaki (although it leans more towards the savory, umami side of things). Its thinner consistency makes it great for marinating, but you can also mix it with cornstarch to thicken it.
- Tian mian sauce – also known as sweet bean sauce, this Chinese condiment is similar to hoisin sauce, and can replace teriyaki if all you want is a nice tasting Asian sauce. You might even prefer it to teriyaki!
Substitutes to avoid
I cam across both these substitutes several times in my research, so tried them out. But I can’t recommend them!
I think there are a lot better options.
- American-style BBQ sauce – BBQ is good for glazing, but its flavor profile that strays too far from teriyaki sauce in my opinion. It has a prominent smokiness that can easily overpower your dish and doesn’t pair well with other Asian flavors.
- Maggi seasoning – Maggi seasoning is delicious don’t get me wrong. But it’s more of a seasoning sauce that you use a few drops off to add extra flavor rather than a sauce that can flavor a whole dish like teriyaki sauce.
Quick Teriyaki Sauce + Other Substitute Options
- 1/2 cup Tamari or low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Brown sugar honey and rice vinegar
- 1 tsp Ginger minced
- 1 tsp Garlic minced
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 1 tsp Sesame oil dilute with water
- 3 tbsp Mirin
- 1/4 cup Cornstarch slurry
- Mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan.
- Heat the sauce on medium heat until it reaches boiling point and then simmer the mixture for 4-5 minutes.
- Let the sauce cool before storing in the fridge for up to a week.