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How do you make Kikkoman teriyaki sauce better?

Kikkoman teriyaki sauce is a popular pre-made teriyaki sauce that can be used for cooking, marinating, and dipping. While the original Kikkoman teriyaki sauce is quite good, there are ways to enhance the flavor to make it even better. This article will explore tips and tricks for improving store-bought Kikkoman teriyaki sauce.

Add More Flavor With Extra Ingredients

One of the easiest ways to make Kikkoman teriyaki sauce better is to add extra ingredients to boost the flavor. Here are some ingredients you can stir into the teriyaki sauce:

  • Minced garlic – Garlic adds a delicious aroma and savory flavor. Add 2-3 cloves of minced garlic.
  • Minced ginger – Fresh ginger adds a little spicy kick. Grate 1-2 tsp fresh ginger into the sauce.
  • Scallions – Thinly sliced scallions give a pop of onion flavor. Stir in 2-3 tbsp chopped scallions.
  • Sesame oil – A small amount of sesame oil enhances the Asian flavors. Add 1⁄2-1 tsp.
  • Sriracha – For a spicy teriyaki, stir in 1-2 tsp of sriracha sauce.
  • Honey – Extra honey balances out flavors and makes the sauce a little sweeter. Add 1-2 tbsp honey.
  • Rice vinegar – 1-2 tbsp rice vinegar adds tanginess.
  • Toasted sesame seeds – Sprinkle in 2-3 tsp sesame seeds for added crunch and nuttiness.

Feel free to mix and match ingredients to create your own signature teriyaki sauce flavor. Just give the sauce a good stir after adding any extras so the flavors infuse.

Adjust the Sweetness

Kikkoman teriyaki sauce has a nice sweet and salty balance. But you may want to adjust the sweetness level to suit your tastes.

If the pre-made teriyaki sauce is not sweet enough for you, stir in:

  • 1-2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp honey
  • 1-4 tsp molasses

To reduce the sweetness, you can add a splash of:

  • Rice vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Lime juice

Start with just a teaspoon at a time until the sweetness level tastes right to you.

Make It Thicker or Thinner

The consistency of Kikkoman teriyaki sauce straight from the bottle can be a little thin. You may want yours to coat foods with a thicker, glazier texture.

To thicken Kikkoman teriyaki sauce try:

  • Simmering the sauce over medium heat to reduce it down
  • Mixing in 1-2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp water
  • Stirring in 1-2 tbsp honey for stickiness

If the teriyaki is too gloppy or syrupy for your taste, thin it out with:

  • 1-4 tbsp water
  • 1-4 tbsp pineapple juice
  • 1-2 tbsp rice vinegar

The added liquids will thin the sauce to the right consistency for marinating or dipping.

Boost Umami Flavor

Umami is considered the fifth taste sensation along with sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Umami brings a savory, meaty richness to food. You can amplify the umami flavor of teriyaki sauce with these ingredients:

  • Dashi powder – Dashi is dried Japanese fish and kelp broth powder. Add 1⁄4-1⁄2 tsp.
  • Soy sauce – Extra soy sauce boosts savoriness. Add 1-2 tbsp.
  • Toasted nori seaweed flakes – Nori brings an ocean umami taste. Stir in 1-2 tbsp.
  • Sauteed mushrooms – Mushrooms have natural umami. Mix in 2-3 tbsp minced mushrooms.
  • Worcestershire sauce – This savory condiment contains umami boosters. Stir in 1-2 tsp.

A small amount of any of these ingredients will intensify the rich, meaty notes in Kikkoman teriyaki.

Round Out the Flavors

Kikkoman teriyaki sauce already has a nice blend of salty, sweet and umami. But you can truly make the flavors pop by rounding them out with acidity. Try mixing in any of these acidic ingredients:

  • Lemon juice – 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Lime juice – 1-2 tbsp lime juice
  • Rice vinegar – 1-2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • Mirin – 1-2 tbsp mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
  • White wine – 1-2 tbsp white wine

The touch of acid brightens all the other flavors and adds complexity to the teriyaki sauce.

Infuse Extra Flavor by Cooking

Instead of just stirring extras into the pre-made teriyaki sauce, you can infuse your ingredients right into the sauce by simmering it on the stove with your flavor additions.

Try simmering Kikkoman teriyaki sauce for 5-10 minutes with any of these ingredients:

  • 1 inch knob of fresh ginger, sliced
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1⁄4 cup honey
  • 1⁄4 cup soy sauce
  • 1⁄4 cup mirin or sherry
  • 1-2 green onions, chopped

The gentle simmering allows the ingredients to infuse the teriyaki sauce with extra flavor. Stir occasionally and taste frequently until the flavor develops to your liking.

Make Teriyaki Sauce from Scratch

For complete control over the ingredients and flavor, you may want to make your own homemade teriyaki sauce from scratch. Here is a basic homemade teriyaki sauce recipe:


  • 3⁄4 cup soy sauce
  • 1⁄2 cup mirin
  • 1⁄2 cup sake or dry sherry
  • 1⁄3 cup brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2-3 tsp sesame oil


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar
  3. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until reduced and thickened slightly
  4. Remove from heat and let cool completely before using or storing

The advantages of homemade teriyaki sauce are that you control the ingredients, sweetness level, thickness, and flavors. The sauce can also be tailored to your dietary needs, such as low sodium or gluten-free.

Enhance Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce With Meat, Seafood or Vegetables

In addition to mixing and matching sauce ingredients, you can make Kikkoman teriyaki even tastier by marinating proteins and vegetables in it. The teriyaki sauce will absorb flavors from the foods. And the foods will take on delicious sweet and salty teriyaki notes.

Try marinating any of these in Kikkoman teriyaki sauce for 30 minutes up to overnight:

  • Chicken breasts, thighs or wings
  • Pork chops or tenderloin
  • Flank steak or sirloin
  • Salmon, tuna, shrimp or scallops
  • Firm tofu
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell peppers
  • Pineapple
  • Asparagus
  • Carrots

The possibilities are endless for infusing extra flavor into Kikkoman teriyaki marinades!


Kikkoman teriyaki sauce provides a solid convenient base sauce with its salty-sweet flavor profile. But the sauce can be elevated in many ways to make it even tastier. Try tweaking the sweetness and thickness or injecting extra flavor with garlic, ginger, vinegar, sesame and umami ingredients. Simmering the sauce with seasonings infuses the flavor, or make homemade from scratch. Marinating proteins and vegetables in Kikkoman teriyaki boosts the flavor too. With these simple tricks, Kikkoman teriyaki sauce can become your go-to sauce for all your Asian recipes.