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8 BEST Yum Yum Sauce Substitutes + 3 To Avoid

I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of yum yum 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 I’ve got you covered.

You can’t go wrong with making yum yum sauce from scratch. But if you’re craving a subtly added zing, try sriracha mayo or honey mustard sauce. Tzatziki is a departure from yum yum sauce’s flavor profile, but it’s a good alternative for those seeking something lighter and healthier. 

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

The experiment

I made a batch of popcorn shrimp to test different yum yum sauce substitutes. 

Yum yum sauce isn’t authentically Japanese, but its lightly sweet-tangy flavor and creaminess makes it a crowd-favorite. 

It’s a staple in American hibachi restaurants and goes well with everything – from sushi rolls to tempura shrimp! 

I was looking for a substitute that’s just as versatile and yummy (excuse the pun).

Here are the substitutes I tested and the verdicts:

SubstitutesHow to SubstituteVerdict
Homemade Yum Yum SauceReplace in a 1:1 ratio10/10
Fry SauceReplace in a 1:1 ratio10/10
Sriracha MayoReplace in a 1:1 ratio9/10
Hollandaise SauceReplace in a 1:1 ratio9/10
Honey Mustard SauceReplace in a 1:1 ratio9/10
TzatzikiReplace in a 1:1 ratio8/10
Sweet and Sour SauceReplace in a 1:1 ratio8/10

Common uses of yum yum sauce

Here are some popular ways to use yum yum sauce and the best substitutes for those situations:

  • As a condiment/dipping sauce: Try using the homemade version or fry sauce. Sriracha mayo and honey mustard are good options if you want to bring mild heat to your dish.
  • As a salad dressing: Try using the homemade version, fry sauce, or sriracha mayo. You can also use hollandaise if you’re feeling fancy. 
  • As a sandwich or burger spread: Try using the homemade version, fry sauce, or BBQ sauce.

Homemade yum yum sauce

Whipping up your own batch of yum yum sauce is incredibly easy and there’s zero cooking involved! 

I made two variations of a recipe by Hiroyuki Terada, one using Duke’s mayonnaise and the other with Kewpie mayo. 

Both turned out tangy and rich, but the Kewpie mayo version had an extra creamy edge that nudged it ahead. 

And the recipe is very flexible – if you’re a garlic lover, feel free to use more!

Or if you’re after a healthier alternative, check out the Greek yogurt-based recipe by Lauren Fit Foodie. She adds a bit of chili garlic sauce for a subtle extra zing.

Psst… you can also make this vegan by switching out the mayo for your favorite vegan substitute.

How to substitute: replace store-bought yum yum sauce in a 1:1 ratio with homemade yum yum sauce.

Fry sauce

This condiment is for more than just dipping your fries into. It’s a tasty stand-in for yum yum sauce too.

Both sauces share a mayo base, but fry sauce has a bolder, more savory twist because of the Worcestershire sauce and pickle brine.

If you find it too savory for your taste, add a splash of honey to sweeten it. 

Pro tip: you can also use burger sauce – it tastes very similar to fry sauce.

How to substitute: replace yum yum sauce in a 1:1 ratio with fry sauce.

Sriracha mayo

Sriracha mayo is another fitting substitute for yum yum sauce. 

It combines the creaminess of yum yum sauce with a mild, but noticeable heat. 

You won’t have difficulty finding a bottle in your local grocery store, but I always prefer making my own so I have control over the spice level.  

You can also swap out the Sriracha for a different hot sauce if you prefer.

I love sambal oelek!

Or if a peppery bite is more your speed, chipotle hot sauce will do the trick. 

How to substitute: replace yum yum sauce in a 1:1 ratio with Sriracha mayo.

Mayo + ketchup

If you’re in a real bind, a simple mix of mayonnaise and tomato ketchup can stand in for yum yum sauce.

For every cup of mayonnaise you use, add 1 tablespoon of ketchup. You can also tomato paste if you have it, but you’ll need a pinch of sugar to sweeten the sauce.

If you have any chili powder or chili flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, or paprika, you can add small spoonful of these too.

But don’t worry if not!

How to substitute: replace yum yum sauce in a 1:1 ratio with your mayo and ketchup mix.

Hollandaise sauce

Here’s an unexpected alternative for yum yum sauce – hollandaise sauce. It’s normally served over eggs for breakfast, but it can also make a tasty dipping sauce!

It’s delicately tangy, mildly sweet, and uber-creamy.

Much like the yum yum sauce we know and love. And to make the two sauces even more similar, add a touch of tomato paste and some spices to your hollandaise.

You can make hollandaise from scratch, but if you think it’s too finicky get an instant powder you just need to mix with milk.

Psst… I also have a great article on hollandaise sauce substitutes.

How to substitute: replace yum yum sauce in a 1:1 ratio with hollandaise sauce.

Other substitutes to consider

The following substitutes are moving (far) away from the origins of yum yum sauce, but they’ll still taste delicious

  • Honey mustard sauce – this is sweet and tangy with a slight hint of heat, and is tastes amazing on burgers! Don’t mistake it for honey mustard dressing!
  • Tzatziki – this traditional Greek sauce is a refreshing alternative if you want something lighter and healthier. It’s creamy, but with a bright citrus flavor that can cut through greasy foods.
  • Sweet and sour sauce – classic sweet and sour sauce works as a substitute for yum yum sauce if you’re okay with losing out on the creaminess. It’s super tasty with spring rolls.

Substitutes to avoid

I encountered loads of different suggestions while I was researching yum yum sauce substitute, but I didn’t like all of them!

  • Teriyaki sauce – this classic Japanese sauce tends to be sweeter than yum yum sauce and works best as a marinade or glaze for proteins.
  • BBQ sauce – this is sweet and tangy, but it also has a prominent smoky twist that could easily overpower your dish.
  • Thai peanut sauce – this has a sweet, nutty flavor profile that tastes nothing like yum yum sauce, but will go great with your skewers.

7 BEST Yum Yum Sauce Substitutes

I tested loads of yum yum sauce substitutes to find the best one. I also provided an easy homemade version you can try.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: American
Keyword: substitutes for yum yum sauce, yum yum sauce substitutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 48kcal


  • 1 cup mayonnaise, Duke's or Kewpie mayo recommended
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 ½ tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp water


  • Combine all the ingredients in one bowl. Give it a whisk until everything is well incorporated. Serve immediately or transfer into a jar and store in your fridge.


other options: fry sauce, sriracha mayo, hollandaise, honey mustard sauce, tzatziki, sweet and sour sauce


Serving: 1tbsp | Calories: 48kcal

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