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11 Best Japanese Sauce Recipes: Add Savory Or Sweet Flavors

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  November 6, 2022

17 easy recipes anyone can make...

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Japanese sauces give that little extra flavor to your dish but aren’t overpowering. That’s because the Japanese chef rather emphasizes the base ingredients like meat, vegetables, or fish.

These subtle sauce flavors range from salty to a little sweet. Here are the best sauce recipes from our vault.

Best japanese sauces

17 Easy Recipes Anyone Can Make

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Best 11 Japanese sauce recipes

Dashi Tare Sauce

Dashi Tare Sauce Recipe
Dashi tare is a delicious dipping sauce made with the extra umami taste of dashi.
Check out this recipe
Dashi tare sauce recipe

Dashi tare is a tare sauce made with dashi. Tare sauce is a Japanese dipping sauce and not all are made with dashi, so the distinction is made when it is. Dashi is a broth made from katsuobushi and kombu that gives umami to the sauce.

Tare is a type of sauce made from soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. It’s often used as a marinade or dipping sauce for meats and vegetables.

Tare is made by simmering soy sauce, mirin, and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. The sauce will be a dark brown color when it’s done.

It’s often used in yakitori restaurants to give the chicken skewers a nice glaze.

Sesame Ginger Soy Sauce

Sesame Ginger Soy Sauce Recipe
Adding a little spiciness of the ginger can do a lot of good with loads of dishes, and it's salty enough not to need any other sauces to make your dish taste great!
Check out this recipe
Sesame ginger soy sauce recipe

Love trying new sauces? I’ve got the perfect recipe for you – sesame ginger soy sauce!

This delicious sauce is perfect for adding flavor to any dish. It’s just spicy enough to at a little kick and salty because of the soy sauce.

If you don’t want to spend money on a bottled sauce or want to make sure it has all-natural ingredients, you can make it at home.

Creamy Homemade Wasabi Sushi Sauce

Creamy Homemade Wasabi Sushi Sauce
This wasabi sauce for sushi will make your eyes widen, and your tastebuds come alive. If you like a bit of a kick with your sushi, this is it!
Check out this recipe
Wasabi sushi sauce recipe

We are sharing a wasabi sauce recipe with you. It is easier to dip sushi rolls in the sauce than paste. 

This recipe is ideal for those who don’t want to get the bottled version and want to make a healthier version with clean ingredients. 

If you don’t want to put wasabi paste on your sushi, you can make this delicious sauce in a few minutes and dip sushi rolls or sashimi into it.

Homemade Mentsuyu sauce

Homemade Mentsuyu sauce recipe
The good news is that making tsuyu sauce at home is easy. So it’s a great way to save money, especially if you make it in larger batches! I’ve included a recipe for 2 cups of this delicious dashi-flavored tsuyu sauce to keep things simple. You’ll need some katsuobushi (bonito flakes), and I recommend Yamahide Hana Katsuo Bonito Flakes because you can buy it in 1 lb bags, and it’s more budget-friendly that way.
Check out this recipe
Homemade tsuyu sauce recipe

Mentsuyu. It’s perfect for adding flavor to all your favorite Japanese dishes.

With just a few simple ingredients, you can make your own mentsuyu sauce right at home. And it’s so much better than anything you can buy in a store.

Let’s make this delicious sauce so you can start using it in your dishes!

Gluten-free teriyaki sauce

Gluten-free teriyaki sauce recipe
The best way to make sure your teriyaki sauce is gluten free is to make your own at home from scratch. I’m sharing an easy recipe you can try now. You can use this sauce for anything from marinade to dipping sauce, and of course, for the world-famous teriyaki chicken. For the recipe, I recommend using tamari, which is naturally gluten-free. Or you can use coconut aminos or gluten-free soy sauce from Kikkoman.
Check out this recipe
Is teriyaki sauce gluten-free

Do you like the taste of teriyaki sauce but worry about gluten because you have Celiac disease? If you’re on the hunt for gluten-free teriyaki sauce, the good news is that there are options! But still, they’re hard to find.

Generally, teriyaki sauce is NOT gluten-free because it contains soy sauce, and most soy sauce is made with wheat. In addition to gluten from the soy sauce, popular bottled teriyaki sauces may also contain additives containing gluten or traces of gluten.

Warishita sauce

Warishita sauce recipe
Warishita sauce is terrific for dipping sukiyaki dishes in. Better yet, it's easy to make! Whip up some warishita sauce in minutes with my recipe.
Check out this recipe
warishita sauce being poured into hot pot

If you like delicious hot pot, then you’re going to be a fan of this easy recipe. Warishita sauce is the perfect complement to sukiyaki, which is a slow-cooking method for thinly sliced meat and vegetables.

The good news is, it’s easier than you might think, as making the sauce takes 10 minutes, tops! Eating is the fun part though, so take your time.

Chuka tare sauce

Japanese spicy sauce chuka tare
Here's an example of how to make Japanese spicy sauce chuka tare!
Check out this recipe
How to make tare sauce

Tare is a delicious dipping or glazing sauce that’s very mild in flavor. In other instances, different spices can be added to give the sauce a kick.

This is called Chuka tare or “Chinese” tare. This is the perfect recipe for it.

Nikiri sauce: homemade sweet soy sauce fish glaze

Nikiri sauce: homemade sweet soy sauce fish glaze recipe
There are many variations on the nikiri sauce recipe but it is usually made with soy sauce, dashi, mirin and sake in a 10:2:1:1 ratio.
Check out this recipe
Homemade Nikiri sweet soy sauce glaze

If you are looking for something to flavor exotic dishes with a delicate taste, nikiri sauce may be your condiment of choice.

Nikiri is a thin glaze that is often brushed on fish in Japanese cuisine before the fish is served. Once served, you won’t need to add soy sauce or any other condiment. The nikiri will be enough.

It is also commonly used on sushi and is especially delicious on sashimi.

Homemade nitsume eel sauce

Homemade nitsume eel sauce recipe
Reading a recipe can be helpful in understanding exactly what eel sauce is. Here's a recipe that makes for a foolproof way for you to prepare this exotic sauce right in the comfort of your own home.
Check out this recipe
Homemade Eel Sauce recipe

Nitsume is a sauce that’s used for sushi a lot but often gets overlooked when making sushi yourself AND can be used in a lot of other dishes as well.

That’s because it’s actually used for glazing the fish, mostly eel. So you don’t see it on your plate, but you can certainly taste it.

Nitsume eel sauce sometimes called kabayaki or unagi no tare is the sweet sauce used in Japanese restaurants. It’s a perfect pair with grilled fish, which is why it’s the most used sauce to drizzle over sushi.

Homemade ponzu sauce

Homemade ponzu sauce recipe
Here's a simple but authentic homemade ponzo sauce recipe that's highly recommended!
Check out this recipe
Ponzu Sauce Recipe

Ponzu sauce is a light, tangy sauce that is often used in Japanese cuisine. It is traditionally made with mirin, soy sauce, citrus juice, and bonito flakes.

While ponzu sauce is readily available in most Asian supermarkets, it is very easy to make at home.

I’ll give you the recipe and some cooking tips to make sure you are never our of ponzu sauce in your kitchen.

Japanese Hibachi Mustard Sauce

Japanese Hibachi Mustard Sauce Recipe
Great as a dipping sauce for Japanese BBQ and teppanyaki-style dishes!
Check out this recipe
Japanese teppanyaki mustard recipes

This best-kept secret of Japanese hibachi-style steakhouse restaurants will make you want to make it over and over again.

And that’s fine, it’s great to eat with any type of meat, so don’t limit yourself to teppanyaki or hibachi, just pair it with your steak or other beef, and you’ll be good to go.

Dashi tare sauce recipe

11 Best Japanese Sauce Recipes

Joost Nusselder
There are a lot of great Japanese sauces to give your dish some extra flavor, but here are the 11 best.
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Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Sauce
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup dashi
  • ¼ cup mirin
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar

Instructions
 

  • To make most Japanese sauces, combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring them to a simmer.
  • Simmer tare until it reduces to ½ cup, about 25 minutes.
  • Strain solids and let the sauce cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Keyword Dashi, Sauce, tare
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

FAQ about Japanese sauces

What is the sauce in Japanese restaurants?

Soy sauce is the most used sauce in Japanese restaurants. The Japanese call it shoyu, although Japanese restaurants actually use tamari more often than shoyu. Tamari is a similar fermented soybean sauce, but it’s gluten-free.

What sauce do the Japanese have with meat?

Yakiniku sauce is most often used on meat. It’s a sauce for Japanese barbecue or “Yakiniku” and combines sesame with savory and sweet flavors.

Conclusion

There are so many Japanese sauces that are great, I hope you liked our selection of the most popular ones on our blog.

Have a bottle of mirin at home? Here are 10 Best Sauces to make with Mirin For Salads, Sushi, BBQ and More

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Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.