I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of Yoshida sauce substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or seeking an alternative tailored to your specific dietary requirements, rest assured that I’ve got you covered.
The best substitutes for Yoshida sauce are teriyaki sauce and unagi sauce. Kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) is great too, and you can make it yourself by mixing soy sauce with brown sugar. If you want something lighter, try Ponzu sauce but keep in mind it has a thinner consistency.
Ready? Let’s jump right.
I marinated, then grilled boneless chicken thighs to try different Yoshida sauce substitutes.
Yoshida sauce is a Japanese-inspired condiment with a soy sauce base. It has a sweet-salty flavor with a hint of tang.
I was looking for a substitute that could replicate the same moreish flavor profile.
Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:
|Substitutes||How to Substitute||Verdict|
|Teriyaki Sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Unagi Sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Kecap Manis||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Hoisin Sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio, adjust to taste||9/10|
|Worcestershire Sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Bulgogi Sauce/Korean BBQ Sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Ponzu Sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||7/10|
Common uses for Yoshida sauce and their best substitutes
Here are some popular ways to use Yoshida sauce and the best substitutes for those situations:
- As a marinade, glaze, and grilling sauce: Try using teriyaki sauce, unagi sauce, kecap manis, or hoisin sauce. Worcestershire also works great, but you may need to thicken it to use it as a glaze.
- As a dipping sauce: Try using unagi sauce, kecap manis, or ponzu sauce. You can use commercial teriyaki sauce, but you’ll need to mix it with a splash of water to thin it out.
- For stir-fries, rice, and noodle dishes: Try using teriyaki sauce, unagi sauce, kecap manis, hoisin sauce, or Worcestershire sauce.
When I first tasted Yoshida sauce, I knew I recognised it. Then everything clicked as soon as I looked at the ingredients… soy sauce, sugar, and mirin.
It’s basically teriyaki sauce!
Yoshida sauce is a bit sweeter, but you can fix this by adding a drop of honey to your teriyaki sauce.
Teriyaki sauce is super popular, so it’s really easy to find in shops. And if you prefer making it from scratch, don’t worry.
This recipe from Daring Gourmet makes a nice thick sauce that’s also gluten-free because it uses tamari!
How to substitute: Replace Yoshida sauce in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with Teriyaki sauce.
As the name suggests, unagi sauce is traditionally paired with grilled eel (unagi), but it’s a great substitute for Yoshida sauce too.
It shares the same ingredients as teriyaki and yoshida sauce, but the ratios are different giving it a richer flavor.
And the rich flavor means it’s perfect for using as a marinade for grilled meats or as a noodle sauce.
How to substitute: Replace Yoshida sauce in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with Unagi sauce.
Kecap manis is an Indonesian soy sauce with added palm sugar, offering a delicious salty-sweet flavor profile that will remind you of Yoshida sauce.
You can use this substitute as is, but I like taking the extra step of mixing with a bit of rice wine vinegar.
This helps balance the sweetness of the soy sauce and adds that subtle tang you’d usually get with Yoshida.
Begin with a small amount of vinegar and taste as you go to achieve the perfect substitute.
Psst… you can mix normal soy sauce with brown sugar to make kecap manis.
How to substitute: Replace Yoshida sauce in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with Kecap manis.
Classic hoisin is another decent substitute for Yoshida sauce – you’ve probably had it before with duck.
As for the flavor, Hoisin sauce leans (pretty strongly) towards the salty side, and it has a wonderful depth thanks to the five-spice powder.
There’s a touch of sweetness, but it’s subtle. If you want it sweeter you can mix in a bit of honey like you would with teryaki.
How to substitute: Replace Yoshida sauce in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with Hoisin sauce.
This English condiment might not share the Asian roots of Yoshida sauce, but it certainly captures the essential flavors and you probably already have a bottle hanging around in your cupboards.
It got a balance of sweet and sour flavors, plus the umami depth that makes Yoshida sauce so moreish. It is more savory though, so you might want to add some sugar.
It’s also a lot thinner than yoshida sayce.
But this is an easy fix. A simple cornstarch slurry can help thicken it up.
How to substitute: Replace Yoshida sauce in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with Worcestershire sauce.
Bulgogi sauce/Korean BBQ sauce
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to switch things up, Bulgogi or Korean BBQ sauce is the way to go.
Yoshida and bulgogi sauce have the same base (of soy sauce and sugar), but bulgogi ends up with more heat and smokiness than yoshida.
Despaite the flavor differences, my chicken tasted delicious and would have paired well with other Asian dishes.
I can’t wait to use the rest of my bulgogi sauce (a major upside of doing all these tests is that my kitchen is ridiculously well stocked).
How to substitute: Replace Yoshida sauce in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with Bulgogi sauce.
For those seeking a lighter, zestier alternative to Yoshida sauce, Ponzu sauce could be your new best friend.
This citrus-based sauce is a staple in Japanese cuisine and brings a refreshing twist to dishes.
It works especially well for marinating meats, infusing them with bright notes while also helping tenderize the meat.
My chicken thighs were oh-so-juicy!
The only caveat: Ponzu sauce is considerably thinner than Yoshida sauce, which means it won’t coat your meat or veggies the same way as Yoshida.
How to substitute: Replace Yoshida sauce in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with Ponzu sauce.
Other options to consider
The list above are my favorite substitutes for Yoshida sauce.
But they’re not the only options! You can try these too:
- Tian mian sauce – this is sweet bean sauce and it has the same salty-sweet notes as Yoshida sauce, but it’s a bit sweeter. You can try mixing it with a rice wine vinegar to make the flavor profile more balanced.
- Oyster sauce – This classic Chinese condiment has a salty flavor with a subtle sweetness. It’s great with noodles and for glazing.
Substitutes to avoid
I came across these suggestions while I was doing my research so I tried them out.
But after the experiment, I don’t recommend them as a substitute for Yoshida sauce.
- American-style BBQ sauce – (like Sweet Baby Ray’s) this is guaranteed to be tasty with any protein, but it has a very different flavor from Yoshida sauce. It’s far sweeter and has a prominent smokiness that may be overpowering.
- Ginger miso dressing – I don’t know why this was suggested, but this is very different from Yoshida sauce in terms of flavor, consistency, and usage. Save this creamy sauce for your salads and fried snacks instead!
9 BEST Yoshida Sauce Substitutes + 2 To Avoid
- 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
- 1 tbsp unagi sauce
- 1 tbsp kecap manis
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp bulgogi sauce
- 1 tbsp ponzu sauce
- Cook your meal according to the recipe.
- Add your chosen Yoshida sauce substitute at the appropriate cooking time.
- Mix until thoroughly combined and continue with the recipe