4 Best Substitutes For Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce

Are you a fan of ordering or preparing Chicken Teriyaki at home? Well, I don’t blame you because anything with teriyaki sauce is just deliciously tasty and savory. It’s one of the most famous dishes in Japan apart from sushi and ramen.

If you’re trying to make one at home and you don’t have any teriyaki sauce available, you can always substitute it with barbecue sauce. Other substitutes you can use are soy sauce with sugar, Korean galbi sauce, and oyster sauce.

Substitutes for Teriyaki Sauce

Let’s see how you can use these substitutes for teriyaki sauce at home, plus a bonus recipe just for you!

1. Barbecue Sauce

Let’s not forget that teriyaki sauce is more or less the equivalent of barbecue sauce in Japan. It’s just that teriyaki sauce is sweeter and milder compared to the smoky barbecue sauce. When I’m out of teriyaki sauce, my best bet to substitute especially for grilled meats is barbecue sauce.

Barbecue sauce is easy to make from scratch and there are store-bought barbecue brands that you can also choose for more convenience. I prefer using King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Pineapple Barbecue Sauce. This brand quite resembles teriyaki sauce because of its sweetness and mildness.

But if you only have the regular barbecue flavor at home, you can add a tablespoon of sugar to make it more on a sweeter side resembling the taste of teriyaki sauce. This technique works that way and it will provide a much milder but sweet flavor.

2. Soy Sauce with Sugar

Soy sauce mixed with sugar is actually the basic ingredient for making barbecue sauce from scratch. But it’s the simplest form that can be used for emergency situations such as this. Whatever soy sauce brand you have on hand should work but I highly recommend Kikkoman’s Soy Sauce if you can get one.

For ½ cup of soy sauce, add 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix it well until the sugar has dissolved inside the soy sauce and marinade it with the meat. I like marinating it with cloves of garlic to add some kick to the sauce. Leave it overnight and let the meat absorb all the goodness of the sauce marinade.

Also, do not throw away the leftover marinade when cooking. Save it for glazing it when grilling later since you can brush it straight to the meat to add that savory flavor. The more sauce, the better!

3. Korean Galbi Sauce

If this is the first time you’ve heard about Korean Galbi Sauce, then you should probably check this one out. This Korean sauce is their own version of barbecue marinade the same as how Japan has their own teriyaki sauce. It kinda resembles teriyaki sauce in a way, but the Korean Galbi Sauce retained its smoky flavor while also still being sweet and tasty.

I discovered this sauce on my visit to Seoul, in one of the Korean Barbecue restaurants. We ordered the beef ribs barbecue and I just can’t forget the flavor since then. I hurriedly looked up what type of marinade they usually use and that’s how I came across the sauce.

This sauce is definitely a game-changer which I highly recommend for teriyaki lovers to try out. It’s best to marinate the meat overnight with the sauce, no additional ingredients needed. Just the sauce and the meat by itself. You’re sure to have a wonderful treat that resembles teriyaki-based dishes.

4. Oyster Sauce

Commonly used in Chinese cuisine for stir-fried dishes, oyster sauce is actually another substitute that you can try when you don’t have teriyaki sauce. This sauce is made out of tons of cooked oysters until the sauce has thickened and turned into a dark, caramel-like sauce.

Oyster sauce has a sweet-savory taste and goes well with any dish whether with vegetables or meats. I especially mix it with barbecue sauce just to add some tanginess to it or sometimes use it as it is as a glaze for barbecue. Due to its sweetness, you can’t even tell that much when using this on dishes instead of teriyaki sauce.

If you don’t know which brand to pick, I highly recommend you to try out Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce. This brand has been long used in Chinese kitchens and now has gained popularity all over the world. I always have this in my pantry whenever I make stir-fried dishes or even for barbecue glazes.

I’m pretty sure you’ll find these substitutes as effective as using the original teriyaki sauce. Feel free to try all these substitutes and choose which one fits your palate.

But, if you can’t really give up teriyaki sauce, here’s a quick recipe that you can do at home in your free time:

Teriyaki Sauce

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce


  • 2 cups of water
  • ½ cup of cold water
  • ½ cup of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 5 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  • 4 tablespoons of cornstarch


  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix 2 cups of water, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, garlic powder, and ginger. Mix well and let it simmer for 2 minutes until dissolved.
  2. In a glass, mix cold water and cornstarch to make a rue. Mix well until the cornstarch has dissolved. This will be used to thicken the teriyaki sauce.
  3. Add the cornstarch mix into the saucepan and mix well until well combined.
  4. Cook the teriyaki sauce for another 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  5. Once cooked, let it cool and store in an airtight jar. This recipe can make about 2-3 cups of teriyaki sauce.
  6. Store your homemade teriyaki sauce in the fridge for three weeks. Discard the sauce once it passes the shelf life date.

There you have it! You don’t need to buy store-bought teriyaki sauce anymore if you can actually do it at home. It’s very easy to make and only takes less than 10 minutes to cook. No more problems to run low in the future.

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