Is yakitori sauce the same as teriyaki? Uses & recipes

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  December 23, 2020
I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Many of us have heard of teriyaki sauce and teriyaki style cooking. Yakitori, not so much.

Yakitori sauce is quite similar to teriyaki in both the ways it’s made and their uses, but they are not the same. Both use sugar as well as soy sauce to get a sweet-salty taste but yakitori sauce adds mirin to the mix but has less seasoning.

This article will explore yakitori and teriyaki sauce so you can become an expert in distinguishing the differences.

A plate of yakitori and one of teriyaki with different sauces

They are both used not as a dipping sauce, but as a sauce for glazing the meat before it’s cooked. Let’s look at the differences:

Yakitori and Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients

Yakitori and teriyaki sauce are very similar in the way they are made. Both use sugar and soy sauce.

The difference is that mirin is also included in yakitori sauce.

Mirin is a Japanese condiment similar to rice wine only it has a lower alcohol content and a higher sugar content.

Yakitori and Teriyaki Sauce Uses

Each of these sauces have slightly different uses as well.

When applied to chicken, yakitori sauce is usually used on broiled skewers of thigh or leg meat whereas teriyaki is used on whole pieces of chicken that can be grilled or pan fried.

Also read: how yakitori usually is served and how you eat it

Easy and authentic yakitori sauce

Easy and authentic yakitori sauce

Joost Nusselder
This recipe for yakitori sauce will not only give you a great way to enjoy the authentic taste of the food, it will also give you a hint as to how it differs from teriyaki sauce.
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 4 people


  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup mirin
  • ¼ cup sake
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 scallion


  • Combine mirin, soy sauce, sake, water, brown sugar and the green part of a scallion and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered until the liquid is reduced by half. This will take about 30 minutes.
  • Sauce will be thick and glossy. Let cool to room temperature before using.
Keyword Sauce, Yakitori
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Also check out my favorite Japanese ingredients list here for more flavors.

Recipe for Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki sauce can be purchased in most supermarkets but if you want a more authentic taste, here is a recipe you may want to try.


1 cup water

¼ cup soy sauce

5 tbsp. packed brown sugar

1 tbsp. honey

½ tsp. ground ginger

¼ tsp. garlic powder

2 tbsp. cornstarch

¼ cup cold water


Combine 1 cup water, soy sauce>, brown sugar, honey, ginger, and garlic powder in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

Mix cornstarch and ¼ cup cold water. Stir until dissolved. Add to saucepan. Cook and stir until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Teriyaki Recipes

Once you have made your teriyaki sauce, here are some dishes you can use it in:

Yakitori Recipes

And here are some recipes you can make with your tasty yakitori sauce:

Now that you know the difference between yakitori and teriyaki, you are prepared to order at the finest exotic establishments or make your own delicious Asian dishes.

Which of these sauces will you be using in your next meal?

Also read: the best charcoal grills for yakitori reviewed

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.