Japanese Teriyaki Sushi Sauce: Glazing Fish Or That California Roll

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  August 13, 2022

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Teriyaki is a sweet sauce that goes perfect with chicken dishes, but it’s used a lot with sushi as well.

Glazing fish is perfect because of the sweetness, but sushi chefs also use a little bit of it when making their California rolls.

Here’s a homemade recipe you can try if you want to make this yummy sauce for your at-home sushi party.

Teriyaki sushi sauce recipe

Sushi sauce Japanese Teriyaki

Joost Nusselder
How to make teriyaki sushi sauce at home:
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 4 people


  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 5 tsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey or more to taste
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp corn starch


  • Get a saucepan and place it on top of a stove as you set the temperature to medium heat, then mix all the ingredients mentioned above, except for the cornstarch and cold water.
  • Pour the cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water in a separate bowl and whisk them together, then add this mixture to the other ingredients that you’ve placed in the saucepan earlier.
  • Bring to boil and then simmer and adjust temperature and cook time to achieve desired consistency.
  • Remember to add water if the sauce becomes too thick in order to soften it.
  • Once you’re satisfied with the thickness consistency, then turn off the stove and transfer the sauce to a glass bottle and refrigerate.
Keyword Sauce, Sushi
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Cooking tips

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Make sure you mix the cornstarch and water well, or you’ll get lumps in your sauce, and the measurements need to be perfect, or the sauce will become too thick to even pour or brush on your sushi.

If you can’t mince the ginger and garlic small enough not to get large chunks in the sauce, you can always put the ingredients you’ll boil first (so not the water and cornstarch) in a blender.

You can cook the sauce for a few minutes and then check with a spoon if it’s thick enough to use (just let it drip off the spoon, it should be quite syrupy).

Substitutes & variations

Getting this sauce just right is key, so substitutions would be hard to pull off.

If you don’t have soy sauce, tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) will do, although you probably won’t have that either.

You can substitute honey with 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar and then reduce the soy sauce you use to still get the same consistency.

How to use teriyaki sauce with sushi

The best way to use this sauce is by glazing fish with it. You can do this by brushing it on sushi rolls, sashimi, nigiri or on top of a seared piece of fish like tuna or salmon.

You can also use this as a dipping sauce for sushi, either on the side or mixed in with soy sauce.

Another way to use this teriyaki sauce is in a California roll. Normally, these sushi rolls are made with mayo or eel sauce, but using this teriyaki glaze will give it an amazing flavor.

Simply brush some inside the nori sheet and add your fillings. Roll it up and brush some more on the outside before eating.

Normally, you would use this sauce as a marinade for chicken or beef. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes (or overnight if you have the time), and then cook it however you like.

But adding it to your sushi gives a great sweetness to the roll that many will appreciate.

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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.