Is teriyaki sauce gluten free? Safe brands to buy & how to make your own

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  April 28, 2021

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Do you like the taste of teriyaki sauce but worry about gluten? If you’re on the hunt for gluten-free teriyaki sauce, the good news is that there are options, but still, it’s 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.

Therefore, it’s best to choose a gluten-free teriyaki sauce or make your own with gluten-free soy sauce.

Is teriyaki gluten-free or not

What is teriyaki sauce made of?

Most teriyaki sauce recipes are similar. The sauce is made from a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, sake, spices, sugar, garlic, vinegar, and sometimes ginger and green onion.

Mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine, and sake is a fermented rice drink.

In Japan, these alcoholic beverages are key ingredients in teriyaki sauce. In the United States, though, they are often replaced with sugar and additives so that they can be sold at all food shops.

The sugary ingredients give teriyaki sauce the sweetness it is known for.

Sake is generally gluten-free. Pure mirin made with rice only is also gluten-free. However, some brands of mirin actually contain wheat, and that makes them not gluten-free.

With these considerations, teriyaki sauce is usually NOT gluten-free.

Related: Is Yakitori Gluten-Free? Not all, watch out for the sauces!

Hidden gluten in teriyaki sauce

As with mirin, which unexpectedly contains gluten in many cases, there are also other hidden sources of gluten in teriyaki sauce. The obvious culprit is soy sauce.

There are some gluten-free soy sauces like Kikkoman’s gluten-free sauce.

But, as you can imagine, most brands that make teriyaki sauce don’t use this more expensive gluten-free version.

Regular soy sauce contains soybeans, salt, water, and wheat. It is thus not gluten-free.

But teriyaki sauce also contains these hidden glutens that you wouldn’t expect in a sauce. These come from additives. Many thickening additives contain flour and that is a sure source of gluten.

Another good question: Is teriyaki healthy? It depends on how you make it!

Is Kikkoman’s original teriyaki sauce gluten-free?

Original Kikkoman teriyaki sauce is NOT gluten-free. The one that is gluten-free is called Kikkoman Gluten-Free Marinade & Sauce Teriyaki.

It is free from gluten and preservatives and definitely one of my favorite bottled Stir Fry Sauce to buy.

Is Lawry’s Teriyaki Sauce gluten-free?

No, Lawry’s teriyaki sauce contains soy sauce which is made with wheat. According to the label, all the extracts and food colors are certified gluten-free but the soy sauce is not.

Is Teriyaki Madness gluten-free?

Teriyaki madness claims that all of its sauces are gluten-free and safe to eat for celiacs.

However, clients still claim that they get sick as a result of cross-contamination, so it’s best to be careful when eating teriyaki sauce there.

Gluten-free teriyaki sauce brands

Gluten-free teriyaki sauce is available in some Asian grocery stores and on Amazon.

One of the best is Organic Asian Fusion Sesame Teriyaki Sauce and it is certified gluten-free. It is made with gluten-free tamari soy sauce and that’s a great alternative to regular soy sauce:

Organic Asian gluten-free teriyaki sauce

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The final really tasty gluten-free teriyaki is Primal Kitchen Organic No Soy Teriyaki Sauce & Marinade. This one is made without soy sauce, and instead they use coconut aminos. It is also organic and healthier for you:

Primal kitchen no soy teriyaki

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Another great gluten-free teriyaki sauce is to use Kikkoman Less Sodium Gluten-Free Tamari Soy Sauce when making teriyaki. This one is also low-sodium which is ideal if you are looking to cut down on salt intake:

Kikkoman gluten-free soy sauce

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And I’ve got just the recipe for you:

Is teriyaki sauce gluten-free

Gluten-free teriyaki sauce recipe

Joost Nusselder
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.
No ratings yet
Course Sauce
Cuisine Japanese

Ingredients
  

  • cup low sodium and gluten free tamari from Kikkoman
  • cup water
  • 3-4 tbsp maple syrup depending on how sweet you like it
  • 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp sesame oil

Instructions
 

  • Grab a small saucepan and add the tamari, maple syrup, water, vinegar, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and pepper. Whisk everything together.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with about 1.5 teaspoons of water until it become a thick paste.
  • Heat the saucepan with the tamari and other ingredients over medium heat until it comes to a boil and add in the cornstarch paste. Keep whisking everything together for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and drizzle over your favorite dishes.
Keyword Teriyaki
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Conclusion

The bottom line is that making your own teriyaki sauce for lunch and dinner is the safest way to avoid gluten.

If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it’s important to be aware of all the ingredients that go into teriyaki sauce, as many are hidden sources of gluten.

Always look out for that soy sauce because it’s usually the main culprit.

Read next: Is Sushi Gluten Free? Sushi itself yes, but check on these things

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

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.