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Weeknight Cooking

What Is Teriyaki Sauce?

Sticky, sweet, spicy, savory . . . see what makes teriyaki sauce so irresistible.
By Published July 1, 2019

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In its most basic form, teriyaki sauce is a sweet-sour-savory-sharp Japanese sauce that marries soy sauce, sake or mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine), and a sweetener—usually sugar but sometimes corn syrup. Some teriyaki sauces may also contain garlic, ginger, and/or vinegar for added flavor, and sometimes cornstarch for its thickening power. Glazy, glossy, and sometimes sticky, it is a crowd favorite both at restaurants and at home.

Not all supermarket bottles are the same. Some are on the sweeter side while others are intensely salty. Others are heavy on the garlic or ginger. Some are thin and watery; others are thick and gloppy. Our favorite is Annie Chun’s All Natural Teriyaki Sauce, which has a rich texture and great teriyaki flavor.

But as good as Annie Chun’s is, I still like to doctor it up. Sometimes I’ll stir in a bit of minced garlic or ginger to amp up those flavors. A few red pepper flakes add some spice. I’ve also been known to add a few toasted sesame seeds. You get the idea.