Best Teriyaki Sauce to Add Flavor to Meat and Vegetables

Whether you are a meat-lover or a vegetarian, adding the right sauce to your food will make all the difference. This is especially true when making Asian-inspired homemade dishes and you want to bring out all the hidden flavors. For starters, you need to have the best teriyaki sauce for the sweet and salty tantalizing flavors.

Teriyaki sauce is made of ingredients like mirin, brown sugar and soy sauce. If you are looking for a versatile sauce that goes with your protein and vegetarian recipes, then teriyaki is the way to go. However, this does not mean quickly buying the first bottle on the condiments aisle.

To determine which sauce is best for you and save you money on trial and error, we have researched the best teriyaki sauces available on the market. We have also added a guide on what you need to look for in your sauce to enjoy Asian cuisines at home.

What is Teriyaki Sauce?

Teriyaki sauce is a delicious store-bought sauce that draws its inspiration from the teriyaki method of cooking. This Japanese style of cooking dates centuries back. "Teri" means glazed and "yaki" means grilled, a method mostly used for grilling meat and fish while applying a sweet thin soy glazed sauce.

Modern teriyaki sauces are a fusion of Japanese and Hawaiian flavors. This makes teriyaki sauce versatile and applicable to various dishes. So whether you are making rice, veggies, stir fry, meat, or a marinade, using the best teriyaki sauce will unleash finger-licking flavors and you'll wish you hopped on this train earlier.

Before looking at the ingredients that bring this sauce to life, let us look at the best-bottled teriyaki sauce on the market.

1. Kikkoman Gluten-Free Teriyaki Sauce

You may have probably heard about Kikkoman since it's a reputable name in store-bought sauces. The main ingredients in this gluten-free teriyaki marinade sauce are soy sauce, wine, water and salt. In addition, the soy sauce ingredients do not contain gluten.

The Kikkoman teriyaki sauce has a thin consistency that is similar to the traditional sauce. Unfortunately, this consistency makes it too runny for meat glaze and stir fry dishes. In addition, it has more of a salty than sweet sauce, hence perfect if you are looking to cut back on sugar.

Ingredients:

  • Soy Sauce (Water, Soybeans, Salt, Sugar)
  • Sugar
  • Wine
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Onion Powder
  • Natural Flavors, Succinic Acid
  • Garlic Powder
Pros
  • Has minimal sugar
  • Perfect if you are on a keto diet
  • Comes in a large bottle
  • Doubles up as soy sauce
Cons
  • Too runny
  • Doesn't coat meat or vegetables
  • Takes a long to glaze
  • Falls more on the salty end

2. G Hughes Sugar-Free Original Teriyaki Sauce

The G Hughes sugar-free original teriyaki sauce is made of garlic, ginger and sesame oil to provide full flavor and thickening. The tamari soy sauce used in making the base is made of water, soybeans, salt and alcohol. If you are gluten-free, this sauce is a good healthy alternative.

This sugar-free original teriyaki marinade sauce has pineapple juice concentrate, xanthan gum and sucralose as zero calories, artificial sweeteners. Sucralose is a thickener, while xanthan gum is used as a food stabilizer. In addition, if you are looking for a sugar-free sauce suitable for basting, stir fry, BBQ and marinades, this teriyaki marinade sauce by G Hughes will be a perfect choice.

Ingredients:

  • Water
  • Tamari Soy Sauce (Water, Soybeans, Salt, Alcohol)
  • Pineapple Juice Concentrate
  • Garlic
  • Vinegar
  • Sesame Seed Oil
  • Xanthan Gum,
  • Sucralose
Pros
  • Sugar-free
  • Versatile
  • Tasty for a sugar-free sauce
  • Suitable if you're on a keto diet
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Doesn't taste like the original sauce
  • Customers complain about packaging and broken sauce bottles

3. Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce

The Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce has a twist of flavors, including garlic, ginger and sesame oil. The oil helps the sauce thicken and stick on food, while the ginger and garlic add a good kick to the flavor. However, it is not as thick as other brands.

If you are looking for a sauce that has the perfect balance of sweet and salty, then this Veri Veri teriyaki and marinade will be it for you. It is versatile and separates while in the bottle. Therefore, ensure that you shake to mix the oils with the rest of the sauce.

To add to the sauce, some people add scallions, cubed pineapples and sesame seeds to the Soy Vay Veri Teriyaki marinade for more flavors. Since the sauce is not too runny or thick, it is suitable for stir-fried vegetables and meat glazing. In addition, this sauce contains no added thickeners, 500 mg of Sodium and 7 grams of sugar.

Ingredients:

  • Soy sauce
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Sesame seeds
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil
Pros
  • Has a good moderate consistency
  • The flavors are balanced
  • Versatile
  • Has no preservatives
  • Has no thickeners
Cons
  • It is expensive

4. Kevin's Natural Foods Teriyaki Sauce

Kevin's natural foods teriyaki sauce is a traditional sauce with a twist to it. Unlike other teriyaki marinade sauces, this natural sauce does not have soy sauce as a base ingredient. Instead, it boasts coconut aminos, garlic and ginger for its great taste.

Seeing as it is made from all-natural ingredients, it is suitable if you are on a keto diet or just eating more healthy foods. In addition, this sauce does not contain any refined sugars. This Kevin's paleo-keto sauce is best for making overnight marinades, beef, pork, veggies, or stir fry.

Ingredients:

  • Water
  • Coconut Aminos (Coconut Nectar, Water, Sea Salt)
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Ginger
  • Sesame Oil
  • Tapioca Starch
  • Yeast Extract
  • Sea Salt
  • Dehydrated Garlic
  • Shiitake Mushroom
  • Vinegar
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Dehydrated Onion
  • Citric Acid
  • Black Pepper
  • Chilies
  • Paprika
  • Stevia
  • Leaf Extract
  • Monkfruit Extract.
Pros
  • Sugar-free
  • Does not contain gluten
  • Dairy-free
  • Soy-free
  • Suitable for the keto diet
  • Does not contain preservatives
Cons
  • Lies on the pricey end
  • Small quantity for its price

5. Coconut Secret Teriyaki Sauce

The Coconut Secret is another great alternative for soy. It is made by blending coconut aminos with aromatic spices to create an exceptional healthy Asian cuisine seasoning. In addition, this teriyaki marinade sauce contains low sodium and no MSG.

Made with a simplicity policy in mind, this sauce contains only six ingredients, blended to give flavor, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. In addition, the Coconut Secret company uses organic farming methods, so you are assured of consuming clean and safe products.

Ingredients:

  • Organic coconut sap
  • Sea salt
  • Organic ginger
  • Organic onion
  • Organic garlic
  • Organic cayenne pepper
Pros
  • Gluten-free
  • Sugar-free
  • Soy-free
  • Non-GMO
  • Glycemic organic
  • Vegan
  • Low sodium
  • No MSG
Cons
  • Contains less salt

How Do You Choose the Best Teriyaki Sauce?

Choosing the best-bottled teriyaki sauce is a gamble between the ingredients that bring out all the flavors, the ingredients lacking in a sauce and the unnecessary, unhealthy ingredients that have been added. To narrow down your search, here's what you should look out for in teriyaki sauce.

1. Flavors

The best teriyaki sauce recipe should be a blend of sweet and salty flavors. If the flavors are overwhelmingly salt or sweet, the food will either be too sweet or bland. A good melding balance is recommended and can be hard to find in most store-bought options.

To find the perfect fit for you, look at the ingredients list and quantity per serving. For example, while most teriyaki sauces have a sodium range of 320-620 milligrams per 1 tablespoon of serving, a moderate balance falls at around 580mg. On the other hand, a good sugar balance is between 6 grams of sugar and 7 grams of sugar per tablespoon of serving to create a tasty caramelized glaze.

It is also important to note that modern teriyaki sauces are made from a speedy chemical process, unlike the traditional teriyaki sauce recipe that draws sodium from its soy sauce base and is left for months to ferment. In addition, in place of natural sugar and pineapples, most manufacturers use high levels of corn syrup for sweetness.

2. Texture

The perfect viscosity for teriyaki should be in between runny and sticky. You want the sauce to stick to the meat and vegetables but not too sticky, almost like glue. Traditional teriyaki sauce is thin and has a soy sauce-like texture. However, thin sauces do not coat the meat or veggies fully.

A thick sauce is good, especially for stir fry dishes. However, it would be best to be keen on sauces with corn syrup, corn starch, arrowroot, xanthan gum, and locust bean gum. These ingredients are thickeners and you may end up having sauce that is too thick.

3. Versatility

The best teriyaki sauce should be versatile and applicable in most dishes and cuisines. For example, you can use teriyaki as a marinade sauce, a dip, for rice, vegetarian dishes, and fish and meats. However, some sauces have artificial flavorings that do not work well with certain dishes.

For this reason, you are better off getting a sauce that can work as a base for chicken wings or give a zing to a beef burger. The alternative is a sauce that sits on the pantry because it is not versatile. Simple ingredients add versatility to the sauce, unlike processed and artificial ingredients.

4. Flavorful Ingredients

Most store-bought teriyaki sauces have been sourced and manufactured to fit the Western palates. For this reason, they lack ingredients found in the traditional teriyaki sauce, such as mirin and sake. To add flavor, a majority of teriyaki recipes will have garlic, ginger and sugar. In addition, some will have pineapple juice to add to the Hawaiian burst of flavor.

5. Unhealthy Ingredients

Taking note of ingredients that are not healthy is important when looking at the ingredients list. Often manufacturers will add these substances to increase the thickness, flavor, or color of the sauce. However, eating too many unhealthy ingredients may lead to long-term health effects.

MSG(monosodium glutamate) is one of the harmful ingredients you need to be on the lookout for in your teriyaki sauce. This substance looks like table salt and is used to enhance flavor, especially in meat. The MSG stimulates the umami flavor found in meat, causing the human taste buds to react well. Unfortunately, long-term consumption of this compound is known to cause harmful neurological effects.

High fructose corn syrup is another common unwanted ingredient found in most store-bought teriyaki sauces. This ingredient adds high levels of calories to the sauce while also affecting its flavors. In addition, it is known to be a less healthy form of sugar.

Can You Make Teriyaki Sauce at Home?

While store-bought teriyaki sauce is ready and flavors out of the bottle, you may wish to make your own homemade teriyaki marinade with ingredients and flavorings of your choice. In addition, it will take you ten minutes or less to make this delicious homemade teriyaki marinade.

Ingredients:

  • Water
  • Soy sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Brown sugar
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Corn starch

Steps:

  1. Add water, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic, sugar and red pepper flakes in a saucepan and stir.
  2. At medium temperature, allow the mixture to come to a boil while stirring or whisking now and then.
  3. To create a slurry, add corn starch or soy sauce in water in a separate bowl and stir until dissolved. Pour this mixture into the saucepan and stir.
  4. Heat the sauce to your preferred thickness. You may add water to thin out the sauce if it is too thick. In addition, you can add sesame seeds and other toppings of choice at this point. Once ready, serve or leave your homemade teriyaki sauce and marinade to cool in the fridge or freezer.

It is also important to note that you can always add or subtract ingredients to meet your flavor of choice and dietary needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best teriyaki sauce to buy?

The choice of teriyaki sauce to buy will depend on your health restrictions and preference. For example, if you are allergic to gluten, a gluten-free sauce is more suitable. In addition, there are sugar-free alternatives and keto sauces to meet various health needs.

2. Is teriyaki sauce the same as teriyaki marinade?

No. Teriyaki sauce is flavorful from the bottle and is mostly used as a finish coat for grilled meat and fish. On the other hand, teriyaki marinade is used to flavor chicken and fish by slowly absorbing the meat during cooking. Therefore, the difference primarily lies in how each is used to add flavor to the meat.

3. What kind of teriyaki sauce do restaurants use?

Restaurants use versatile teriyaki sauces that can be used in making various dishes. Rather than have one specific sauce for each dish, chefs will opt for sauces that go well with burgers, veggies and grilled meat. 

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