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The Best Honey Teriyaki Sauce

Honey Teriyaki Sauce is one of the most versatile sauces to have in your kitchen.  It is both savory and sweet.  You can control the sharpness by adjusting the amount of ginger and garlic in the recipe.  A perfect addition to many recipes, it can also be a marinade or a topping sauce. Best of all, it is quick and easy to make.

What is Teriyaki Sauce?

Small glass jar of homemade teriyaki sauce made with honey

Teriyaki is actually a combination of two words. In Japanese, “Teri” means “shine”, or “gloss”. The second part “Yaki” means “grill”. In Japan, it is defined as a way of cooking but in the United States we think of teriyaki as a sauce or marinade.

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This Asian condiment arrived in Hawaii with the first Japanese immigrants. Here, some locals mixed in some of the food they had on hand – such as Pineapple juice, to create what we think of as teriyaki flavor.

This recipe is for the sauce version but you can use it as a marinade-if you delete the cornstarch. a marinade is not as thick as a sauce.

Individual ingredients needed to make homemade honey teriyaki.

Ingredients

You only need a few items to make this delicious sauce, some of them are likely already in your pantry. Here are a few specialties.

  • soy sauce
  • rice vinegar
  • pineapple juice
  • honey
  • ginger

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce serves as the base for the recipe.  Any brand will do but if you are concerned about salt in your diet – choose the low sodium soy sauce. If you looking for a gluten-free option, choose gluten-free soy sauce.

Rice Vinegar

You have several choices for this ingredient because it is such a small component but a necessary one.  “Mirin” is a fermented sweet rice wine that is commonly used in Japanese recipes. Unless you often make Asian dishes, you may not have mirin on hand.

Therefore, I am using rice vinegar and I added a tablespoon of honey to the recipe to balance the sweetness. Other options to consider include – Chinese cooking wine or even sake if you have it. Tradition Teriyaki uses sake and mirin both.

Pineapple Juice

Many recipes for honey teriyaki include pineapple juice.  It gives the sauce a bit of an acid bite and a lot of flavor.  Canned pineapple juice works well.

Honey

Regular wildflower honey is a perfect way to add natural sweetness to your recipe.  If you want your honey teriyaki sauce to be sweeter rather than savory – increase the amount of honey.

You can used special varieties of honey to alter the flavor – i.e. clover, orange blossom, sourwood etc. 

However, be careful that the honey flavor does not conflict with the savory ingredients.  Personally, I think regular honey is the best choice.

Ginger

Ginger is important to the flavor of this recipe.  Try to find a piece of fresh ginger root at the grocery store.  It is inexpensive and worth the effort.

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Numbered steps for honey teriyaki sauce recipe.

Step by Step Instructions

1. Ginger and Garlic : Mince the ginger using a grater.  If you don’t have those, use a knife to cut the ginger into thin coins – then chop those into tiny bits. 

To peel or not peel the ginger is up to you.  Tender ginger root skin can be scraped off but older roots require peeling to remove the skin.

For the garlic, you can mince it with a special tool or just chop it up in fine pieces.  You do need to peel the garlic first. 

When cooking with garlic, the finer you chop the pieces – the stronger the flavor so keep this in mind. If you don’t have fresh garlic and want to substitute garlic powder (use 1/2 teaspoon).

2. In a small saucepan, place all the ingredients (except the cornstarch) and a bit of the pineapple juice.  Stir well to mix everything together.

Heat the ingredients over medium heat to a simmering gentle boil.  Don’t overheat.  Overheating can damage some of the nutritional properties of the raw honey.  Stir frequently to prevent scorching.

3. Mix together in a small cup the cornstarch with a small amount of pineapple juice. Stir this into the saucepan. 

4. Heat until the mixture reaches the thickness you desire. Do not allow it to scorch. Remove from heat and store in container.

How to Use Honey Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki sauce is a favorite in many different dishes.  It works well on chicken, burgers, pork chops, baked fish, shrimp and even as a marinade.  If you use it as a teriyaki marinade – leave out the cornstarch.

  • glaze for teriyaki chicken wings
  • sweet dip for chicken nuggets
  • stir fry sauce in the wok with meat or vegetables or both
  • dipped cooked meatballs in the sauce for appetizer
  • use as a sauce with cooked noodles

To give some added flavor and appeal, sesame seeds can be added to the recipe. When using as a glaze, brush the honey teriyaki on food at the end of cooking time or it may burn.

How to Store

Place your homemade teriyaki sauce in a jar with a lid and put it in the refrigerator. Due to the acidity, it will last for a good while (2-3 weeks). This delicious sauce goes well with so many dishes that you are sure to use it up before it spoils.

FAQs

What does honey teriyaki sauce taste like?

The flavor is a mixture of sweet and sour but it has a salty flavor too. Think of it as a thicker, sweeter version of soy sauce.

How do you thicken teriyaki sauce with honey?

Honey can act as a thickener due to its changing viscosity in different temperatures. But, to achieve a truly thicker sauce in all temperatures – corn starch would be a better option.

What can I substitute for honey in teriyaki sauce?

Light or dark brown sugar can be used as a honey substitute in a homemade teriyaki sauce recipe. Maple syrup is another option.

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Homemade honey teriyaki sauce in glass container.

Honey Teriyaki Sauce Recipe

Charlotte Anderson @ Carolina Honeybees, LLC
This is a sweet and savory sauce with great versatility in the kitchen. With the sweetness of honey and the bold flavor of soy sauce, ginger and garlic, you can whip up this masterpiece in only a few minutes.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Condiments, Sauces & More
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 1
Calories 622 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 6 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp ginger (minced)
  • 1 tbsp garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

Instructions
 

  • After preparing the minced garlic and ginger, place all ingredients in a small saucepan (except for the cornstarch and a bit of pineapple juice). Stir well.
  • Allow ingredients to simmer to almost a gentle boil. Stir frequently.
  • Mix cornstarch with a small amount of pineapple juice. Add this to the saucepan and stir.
  • The mixture will begin to thicken. Remove from heat when it reaches the desired consistency.

Notes

Notes:
Use fresh garlic and ginger for best results.
When you stir the ingredients together initially on the stove, be sure to get the honey off the bottom of the pan. It may scorch otherwise.
You can substitute sake or mitin for the rice vinegar if you wish – Chinese cooking wine is another alternative.
If using as a glaze, apply honey teriyaki sauce near the end of cooking time to avoid burning.
Recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of sauce.
Store in the refrigerator for up 3-4 weeks.

Nutrition

Calories: 622kcalCarbohydrates: 126gProtein: 7gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gSodium: 3255mgPotassium: 292mgFiber: 1gSugar: 114gVitamin A: 4IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 2mg
Keyword honey recipes
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