The 8 Best Teriyaki Sauce Substitutions

Teriyaki sauce is a delicious sauce that is commonly used in Japanese cuisine.

It has a sweet and savory flavor and a thick consistency, making it a unique sauce that is unlike any other sauce you may have in your kitchen.

It’s commonly used as an ingredient in a variety of dishes but is also commonly used as a dipping sauce.

However, what do you do if you need teriyaki sauce for a recipe but don’t have any in your kitchen?

The 8 Best Teriyaki Sauce Substitutions

You may have run out of this delicious sauce and forgotten to replace it or you may have never had any teriyaki sauce at all. After all, it’s not a common ingredient in western dishes!

If you do need teriyaki sauce and don’t have to hand, then don’t worry! There are several substitutions you can make for teriyaki sauce and many of them will already be in your kitchen.

They can replicate the texture and flavors of teriyaki sauce in a variety of different recipes.

Here are our x best substitutions for teriyaki sauce.

1. Barbecue Sauce

Most kitchens in America have some barbecue sauce in the cupboard so this is probably the easiest substitution you can make for teriyaki sauce.

It’s a thick sauce that is made with tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and onion powder.

Barbecue sauce has a higher sugar content than teriyaki sauce and the exact taste can vary from region to region and brand to brand.

Barbecue sauce is especially a great substitution for teriyaki sauce in marinades. As it is sweeter than teriyaki sauce, however, you should reduce any sugar that is in the recipe to compensate for this. 

2. Ponzu Sauce

This is another sauce that is commonly used in Asian cuisines, including Japanese recipes. It’s very commonly used as a substitution for teriyaki sauce in recipes as it shares many similar properties.

Like teriyaki sauce, it’s based on soy sauce so it does share some flavor tones. It also has mirin and sugar, but the main difference in the flavor is that it has some citrus juice included.

This gives ponzu a light citrus tone as well as being tangy, salty, and slightly sweet.

Ponzu sauce is a thinner sauce than teriyaki sauce. However, this doesn’t prevent ponzu sauce from being a great substitute for teriyaki sauce in marinades for meats such as beef and chicken.

It can also be used on its own as a dipping sauce in place of teriyaki sauce.

3. Kalbi Sauce

This popular Korean sauce is also commonly known as Galbi sauce. Like teriyaki sauce, it’s a savory sauce that is made with soy sauce and also has rice vinegar, ginger, garlic powder, and brown sugar.

As you can see from the list of ingredients, it has many flavors in common with teriyaki sauce but also has a little extra.

One major difference between teriyaki sauce and kalbi sauce is that kalbi sauce isn’t as sweet. This makes kalbi sauce ideal for any dish where a savory flavor is of benefit. For example, marinades for grilled meats.

You can counterattack this additional savoriness, however, by adding some sweetener to the kalbi sauce. This will make it a closer substitute for teriyaki sauce.

We recommend using honey for this, but you can even use regular white sugar if you want!

4. Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is one of the most common and popular sauces in Asian cuisine.

It’s also the base of many other sauces that we have on this list, including teriyaki sauce, so that makes it a great substitution and a must for any kitchen.

It’s a simple sauce made from fermented soybeans, water, and salt. It doesn’t have the complex flavors of teriyaki sauce but as the largest ingredient in teriyaki sauce is soy sauce, it can easily be used as a substitute. 

It isn’t as sweet as teriyaki sauce and has a more savory flavor. If you want to make your soy sauce a little sweeter when using it as a teriyaki substitute, then you can add a sweetener. We recommend using maple syrup for this 

5. Oyster Sauce

This is one of the closest replacements for teriyaki sauce that you can find. It has a very similar consistency to teriyaki sauce and their flavor profiles are very alike as well.

Oyster sauce tastes sweet, salty, and a little savory as well. It’s the perfect accompaniment to savory dishes such as meat and vegetables and this is another way that it is very similar to teriyaki sauce. It works great in marinades and as a sauce for stir-fries.

This sauce is often easier to find than teriyaki sauce. Some supermarkets that don’t stock teriyaki sauce often stock oyster sauce instead, so it’s an easy replacement.

You can simply switch teriyaki sauce to oyster sauce in recipes in the same amounts.

6. Hoisin Sauce

This is another sauce that is popular in East-Asian cuisine and is especially popular in Chinese cooking.

It’s made from soybeans, garlic, vinegar, flour, chili, and several different spices and although many of the ingredients are different from those found in teriyaki sauce, they share many similarities.

Hoisin sauce has a similar dark color to teriyaki sauce but is a little thicker. It has a similar salty flavor but is less sweet. Hoisin sauce has a very unique flavor that although not the same as teriyaki sauce, does still work well as a substitute.

We recommend hoisin sauce as a substitute for teriyaki sauce in any recipe that suits a little extra spice.

If you like your meat marinades to have a little extra flavor and kick, for example, then switch teriyaki sauce for hoisin sauce. This is also why it is a great option in stir-fries and as a meat glaze.

7. Tamari

Tamari is a less common option compared to the other options on this list.

It’s very similar to soy sauce, only it has the advantage of being gluten-free as well. If you’re eating a gluten-free diet then consider switching from soy sauce to tamari in every recipe!

Like soy sauce, it doesn’t have the same complex flavor profile that teriyaki sauce does because of its more limited ingredients. However, this doesn’t stop it from being a good substitute for teriyaki sauce in most situations.

It’s another sauce that isn’t as sweet as teriyaki sauce. To counteract this, we recommend adding a little maple syrup to tamari to make it sweeter and a closer substitute for teriyaki sauce.

You don’t need much maple syrup, but it will sweeten the tamari perfectly.

8. Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

A final option is to make your own teriyaki sauce!

There are many different recipes out there for making teriyaki sauce at home and they can range from the very simple that only require three ingredients, to more complex recipes that match teriyaki sauce almost perfectly.

We like making our own teriyaki sauce and usually opt for the more simple recipes.

Our favorite easy recipe uses only three ingredients that we usually have in our kitchen and it’s a great substitute for those times when we’ve run out of teriyaki sauce and haven’t noticed.

All you need is soy sauce, brown sugar, and ginger. Mix them together in equal amounts and you’ll have a quick and easy substitution for teriyaki sauce.

The end result will have a very similar texture and taste to store-bought teriyaki sauce.

Other recipes for teriyaki sauce can include a variety of other ingredients such as sesame oil, honey, garlic powder, and mirin.

Although these options are more complicated, they do allow for more customization and can work out cheaper than buying premade teriyaki sauce.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we introduced the 8 best substitutes for teriyaki sauce. We picked a variety of different substitutions, including options that will be in any kitchen such as barbecue sauce, and more uncommon items such as tamari. 

We also included the option of making your own teriyaki sauce as this can be an easy and cost-effective option.

If you like having full control of all of the ingredients in your meals, you may want to choose this option even if you can easily find some teriyaki sauce!

The 8 Best Teriyaki Sauce Substitutions

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Sides


Prep time


Cooking time






  • Barbecue Sauce

  • Ponzu Sauce

  • Kalbi Sauce

  • Soy Sauce

  • Oyster Sauce

  • Hoisin Sauce

  • Tamari

  • Homemade Teriyaki Sauce


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
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