Best 6 Bottled Teriyaki Sauces (+ Homemade Teriyaki Recipe)
In the mood for some foodie travelling? Missing the good old days when you could hop on a plane and try out the best flavors a country has to offer? Well, we might just have a suggestion for you. It involves you, your kitchen, and some creativity, all for the sake of your taste buds.
Whether a vegetarian or a meat lover, adding a proper sauce to your dish could change the game! And that’s why we are focusing on a sauce that brings it home, no matter the preference: teriyaki sauce!
Discover what best to choose for your buck, what’s the best texture, what people have to say, and some tips and tricks to start your cooking!
Before you stash your kitchen with the first bottle that catches your eye, make sure you choose what’s best for you! To find the best bottled teriyaki sauce we rounded up six supermarket products, priced from about $0.20 to about $0.70 per ounce.
Oh, but we did much more than that since, well, we truly aimed to find the best ones! We tasted them plain, in Teriyaki Stir-Fried Beef with Green Beans and Shiitakes and we even randomized the samples to eliminate bias.
Teriyaki: the zing to all food all around the world
Loosely translated, “teri” means “glazed” and “yaki” means “to grill”. But the great thing about teriyaki sauce nowadays is that it has become the perfect accent for dishes all around the world. And not just grilled meats, with which it all started in Japan.
In Japan, teriyaki is a cooking technique that involves grilling meat and fish over hot coals while brushing the food with a sweetened soy glaze. Japanese teriyaki sauce is a mix of soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar and it has a thin consistency with a glossy appearance.
In the United States, teriyaki has a thicker texture and is more flavored. It can contain brown sugar or pineapple juice thanks to Japanese immigrants in Hawaii using local ingredients, according to East Bay Times.
And while in Japan teriyaki is used rather as a finish, in the US, and the rest of the world for that matter, it’s added to stir fry, rice, veggies, marinades, and salad dressings.
Why is teriyaki the best buy for all foodies out there?
Let’s face it: this lockdown has brought us all into the kitchen. We’ve all experimented with new recipes and spent extra time with the family. And we all reached that point of no return “what to cook to please everybody?”
The best thing about teriyaki is its versatility. Its sweet-salty flavor makes for the perfect touch for both vegan and meaty recipes.
While a good bottled sauce can be a time saver, it’s quite tricky to choose the perfect one from the get go. Debra Samuels, Japanese culinary curriculum developer and cookbook author of My Japanese Table (2011) says that teriyaki sauce is traditionally rather light textured.
But there are so many options out there in the supermarkets and some have a more viscous consistency while others are runny. Some are more salty, others sweeter. Some resemble the Japanese sauce, others contain thickening agents and have a gelatinous texture, like glue, in order to stick to meats and vegetables.
To find the best bottled teriyaki sauce we did some research
We love to geek around! So we really investigated all the possibilities! We rounded up six supermarket teriyaki sauces, priced from $0.20 to $0.70 per ounce. We tasted them in various dishes and we tasted them blindly, so that we wouldn’t be biased. So, what did people tell us in regard to the best product?
Texture is key and it’s all about a moderate touch
We tested six bottled teriyaki sauces. Their consistency varied. Some were goopy, others thick and others runny. The ingredients list of the thinner products closely resembled that of a traditional Japanese sauce. They had no thickening agents and our tasters said the consistency was like soy sauce. Other sauces contained cornstarch, corn syrup, locust bean gum, arrowroot, or xanthan gum to thicken them.
While we always look for a thicker sauce for stir-fry dishes, four of the tested versions were rather glue-like and too gelatinous. One of them had the perfect texture, in between thick and thin. Our favorite contained no starchy thickeners. It had a balanced texture, being ideal for glazing meats but also for sticking to vegetables.
When it comes to flavor, we love a balance of sweet and salty
When it comes to teriyaki, salty and sweet is key! The best bottled teriyaki sauce was, again, right in the sweet (and salty) spot! According to the ingredients labels, the sodium level of the sauces ranged from 320 to 620 milligrams per 1 tablespoon of serving. While the sauces low on sodium were bland and their flavors got lost to the stir-fry, there was one version that was quite salty. Again, the winner was somewhere in the middle with a moderate 580 milligrams of salt per serving.
We took into consideration the amount of sugar in each sauce as well. It varied between 2 and 8 grams per 1 tablespoon of serving. The ones with less than 5 grams of sugar had a rather flat taste. The sauce with the maximum amount of sugar was too much and a little cloying! The winner contained 7 grams of sugar and it caramelized when cooked, creating a strong, flavorful glaze.
Other ingredients and flavoring agents were taken in consideration. Apple cider vinegar and plum juice concentrate in one sauce were deemed to be distracting. A sauce containing sesame seeds, pureed ginger and bits of dried ginger and garlic was described as complex.
Who’s the winner of the best bottled teriyaki sauce roundup?
Our favorite, Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce, was neither too thick nor too thin. It had the best flavor balance, with a robust taste. It worked well in stir-fry, clinging nicely to meats and veggies. It was described as complex, due to its sesame seeds, pureed ginger and dried garlic. Still, despite these additions, it had the shortest list of ingredients, with no thickening agents or preservatives.
- We tested six supermarket teriyaki sauces, priced from about $0.20 to about $0.70 per ounce
- Samples were randomized and blindly tasted to eliminate bias
- Samples were tasted plain
- Samples were tasted in Teriyaki Stir-Fried Beef with Green Beans and Shiitakes
- Keep in mind, sodium and sugar levels are based on a 1-tablespoon serving.
Top six of the best bottled teriyaki sauces in supermarkets
1. Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce
If you’re looking for that perfect balance of sweet and salty, if you want the best for your buck, this sauce at $4.99 per 21oz ($0.24 per ounce) is the one for you. Not too thin but not too runny, it’s perfect for meat glazing and stir-fry vegetables as well.
It has a kick to it due to its garlic and ginger addition (hello, crispy pork on top of your ramen soup!) and a rather rich, earthy, robust flavor since it contains sesame seeds (hello, fried rice with tofu and vegetables!).
- Soy sauce (water, wheat, soybeans, salt)
- Vegetable Oil (soybean and or/canola)
- Dried onion
- Sesame Seeds
- Dried Garlic
- Ginger Puree (ginger, water)
- Dried ginger
No thickeners, 7 grams of sugar, 580 mg of sodium.
What people have to say
We love Asian food and cook it at home at least twice a week. As a mom I opt for the healthier sauces whenever possible and for this reason along with the delicious ginger and garlic flavors I use Veri Veri Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce by Soy Vay. The sauce is preservative free and they offer a low sodium variety that tastes equally as good as the regular one.Dhanya G.
2. La Choy Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce
Tasters thought this thick, viscous sauce resembled molasses in flavor, appearance and texture when sampled plain. It was considered to be a great pair for the beef and the veggies in the stir-fry due to its rich flavor and smoky notes.
While some tasters found this sauce to be balanced, others said it was rather punchy and overwhelming due to its sugar and salt addition. This sauce contains the most sugar and sodium per serving of all the products we sampled. It ranges from $2.39 for 10oz ($0.24 per oz).
- Soy sauce (water, salt, hydrolyzed soy protein, corn syrup, caramel color, potassium sorbate – preservative – lactic acid)
- Cooking wine (wine, salt, potassium sorbate)
- Corn syrup solids
- Pineapple juice concentrate
- Distilled vinegar
- Less than 2% caramel color
- Garlic powder
- Modified corn starch
- Natural flavors
- Pineapple juice powder (maltodextrin, pineapple juice solids)
- Potassium sorbate
It contains added thickeners, 8 grams of sugar, 620 mg of sodium.
What people have to say
The best bottled teriyaki sauce would be La Choy Teriyaki Sauce and Marinade, hands down! It has an amazing sweet and salty balanced flavor with a smooth texture that is perfect. Some other sauces may be a bit too watery or goopy that would make for an unpleasant consistency. Based on preference some sauces are authentically Japanese-styled opposed to American-styled, which has heavy flavors of garlic and or ginger etc.Dan Lysogorsky, IPL Management
3. Annie Chun’s Japanese-Style Gluten-Free Teriyaki Sauce
If you’re looking for a low-sodium version of teriyaki sauce, here’s your winner. While some designated it as a sauce that lacks personality in stir-fry, its texture was much appreciated.
Not too thick nor too runny, this sauce was deemed to taste homemade and complex especially when sampled plain (hello meat finish and sushi dips!). Some loved the whole sesame seeds, ginger, and garlic notes.
Others thought the bits of dehydrated onion to be a bit pungent. This is definitely one of the best bottled teriyaki sauces. It’s also one of the most expensive ones, with a $4.99 for 9.9oz, aka $0.50 per oz).
4. P.F. Chang’s Teriyaki Sauce
According to our tasters, this is a great choice for stir-fry since it has a rich and thick consistency and it clings to meat well! So, maybe this is a great addition to your fusion burgers as well!
However, when tasted plain, its citrusy flavor was considered to be rather harsh and its texture too gluey and gelatinous. It contains ginger, which people also appreciated during tasting. Keep it for grilled meats and you should be fine!
FYI, this sauce goes for $0.71 per oz, or $9.98 per 14 oz. Extra tip: this sauce has a low sugar and low sodium content as well.
- Soy sauce (water, wheat, soybeans, salt, ethyl alcohol)
- Brown sugar
- Pineapple juice concentrate
- Corn starch
- White wine
- Sake wine (wine, salt)
- Less than 2% of: ginger puree
- Distilled vinegar
- Locust bean gum
- Canola oil
- Natural flavor
- Chili paste (red chili peppers, distilled vinegar, salt, xanthan gum
It contains added thickeners, 5 grams of sugar, 380 mg of sodium.
5. San-J Gluten-Free Teriyaki Stir-Fry & Marinade
This sauce was much appreciated for its smooth and viscous texture when tasted plain, so make sure to add it to your dips and dressings.
However, it was classified as too boozy, due to the sake, and a tad sour, due to the vinegar content.
It wasn’t at the top in the stir-fry since it left the meat rather dry and its consistency was too runny. Some tasters said it was too bitter, others found it balanced.
It can be a good option if you’re watching your sugar intake! This sauce goes for $0.47 per oz, or $4.69 for 10 oz.
- Tamari soy sauce (water, soybeans, salt, alcohol)
- Organic sugar
- Organic honey
- Sake (water, rice, salt)
- Apple cider vinegar
- Garlic puree (garlic, water)
- Rice vinegar
- Ginger puree (ginger, water, salt)
- Plum juice concentrate
- Inactive yeast
- Canola oil
- Xanthan gum
It contains added thickeners, 3 grams of sugar, 410 mg of sodium.
6. Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce
“I would have bet this was soy sauce” wrote one tester! This is a thin sauce and it’s a winner for people trying to cut back on sugar! It had the least amount of sugar. And maybe that’s why it tasted more salty than sweet. Its thin consistency and simple ingredients list was reminiscent of a traditional style sauce.
It was also considered to taste homemade. While it was too runny for the stir-fry and it took longer to cook down to a glaze, it was not sticky and packed a strong flavor.
- Soy sauce (water, soybeans, wheat, salt)
- Sodium benzoate, less than 1/10 of 1% as a preservative
- Onion powder
- Natural flavors
- Succinic acid
- Garlic powder
No thickeners, 2 grams of sugar, 610 mg of sodium.
Kikkoman Teriyaki Baste and Glaze is without doubt the best bottled teriyaki sauce I have used. Besides the taste, the main reason I prefer this particular sauce is that it is much thicker than any other that I have tried. It easily sticks to the meat when grilling and I also prefer the thicker variety for dipping. It’s a sauce that really turns your recipe into a gourmet meal. Ryan Raffel of Paleo Physicality.
My kitchen always has a bottle of Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce . The sauce has a rich flavor and is perfect as a marinade or on rice or in stir frys – it’s really versatile. The fact it is free from artificial preservatives and MSG is also a big plus for me!Meg Marrs of Safer Senior Care
- If you’re looking for a no-salt formula, go for Mrs Dash Sweet marinade, tells us Nutritionist Erin Palinski. With a sweet pineapple taste and some spices (garlic, ginger, onion), this teriyaki sauce is salt free! Dash Sweet Teriyaki Marinades and sauces can enhance the flavor of any dish, yet most are loaded with sodium and MSG. Thanks to Dash, you can now enjoy Sweet Teriyaki with all the same great Asian flare using a unique blend of seasonings without any added salt or MSG. So now, you can enjoy your favorite dish without the salt!
- If you’re looking for a versatile Japan-inspired blend for your dishes, try This Little Goat Went to Tokyo, tells us Jennifer Mayne, Specialty Foods Buyer at the Dorothy Lane Market! With the perfect balance of sweet and salty, people find it so versatile! It is great straight out of the bottle for sushi, or mixed with mayo for a dip. It also is terrific drizzled over salmon, veggies or rice. I think This Little Goat went to Hong Kong is also a sort of teriyaki sauce at its core.
Before you go, check out our tips and tricks for your own teriyaki recipes!
While we could have ended our review without them, these recipes can color-up your meals and add a little taste of Asia to your dishes.
1. Mayo, lime juice and teriyaki sauce for a Fusion Dressing
This recipe works great for salads and crudite platters. For two people: mix 30cc of teriyaki sauce with two tablespoons of classic mayo and one tablespoon of lime juice. You can add herbs or chopped pickles in it. And if you’re looking for a lighter approach, replace mayo with Greek yogurt! Yum!
2. Teriyaki Dip for Sushi & Teriyaki Glaze for your meats
Whether you prepare this recipe for your sushi and eat it plain or you add it to your grilled meats, make sure to choose the perfect teriyaki sauce as listed above. In a thinner mix it goes great with sushi. When using a thicker version of teriyaki sauce, you’ll get the perfect glaze to baste chicken, beef, duck, fish, and even your burgers.
Extra tip: if you want to make your own teriyaki sauce, the simplest recipe is this. For two people, mix 30cc of each of these: soy sauce, Japanese sake, mirin. Finally add one spoonful of sugar and you’ve got Japan in a mix!
3. Sweet & Salty Fried Rice or Veggie Stir-Fry
After you’ve prepared your rice (boil your rice with chicken or veggie broth for a better flavor!), prepare your teriyaki sauce mix! Add ¼ cup of teriyaki sauce, 2 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of mirin, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar (if you want a more caramelized texture), some garlic and ginger for the kick! Cook this mixture over medium heat and mix it with your rice or veggie stir-fry!
Don’t miss our vegan sushi burger with teriyaki. It’s simply to die for!
Chef’s Pencil is reader-supported. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, though this not impact the product selection, which is done independently by our editors and contributors.