Teriyaki sauce is one of the most famous Japanese condiments worldwide. Its popularity has seen its application move over the past few years, with several Western countries now enjoying what it has to offer as well. Primarily, teriyaki sauce works as a condiment for meat and stir-fry vegetables. Thanks to its savory and mild flavor, it can improve pretty much any applicable dish.
So, what is the best substitute for teriyaki sauce? The best substitute for teriyaki sauce is bulgogi sauce for several reasons. Both sauce variants come with pretty much the same ingredients, and while there are slight variations, their taste is pretty similar.
The two also have similar preparation methods, so you don’t necessarily need to rush out and get overly different ingredients.
An Overview of Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki sauce is a lovely condiment that comes with a wide array of benefits. Essentially, it is made from mirin and soy sauce. Mirin is a fluid that’s quite similar to the famous Japanese sake. However, it has a sweeter taste and a lower alcohol content than sake.
Teriyaki sauce is a great ingredient for marinating dishes. It also works as a sauce for stir-fry foods and a glaze for seafood and meat. Amongst its benefits include its long-lasting nature (teriyaki sauce can keep for weeks without any problems), a great taste, and incredible versatility.
Since the ingredients are few and can easily be found, you won’t have a problem making teriyaki sauce at home. However, you could also want to find it in a grocery store or feeding establishment near you.
As you can expect, teriyaki sauce comes with a pretty mild, fluid texture. However, you can add a little bit of cornstarch to thicken it and make it more appropriate for dipping.
Why Substitute Teriyaki Sauce?
- Alcohol content: Teriyaki sauce contains mirin, which is alcoholic. While its alcohol content is pretty low, you might not want to take any alcohol for a number of reasons. To that end, a substitute will be more ideal.
- Time constraint: There are several other options you could get that won’t be so time-consuming to make. Instead of making teriyaki sauce, these substitutes will work better.
- Non-availability: If you don’t have teriyaki sauce or its ingredients available, you can get any of its substitutes and let them work for you.
Options for Teriyaki Sauce Substitutes
Best Overall Substitute for Teriyaki Sauce: Bulgogi Sauce
Bulgogi is a famous Korean barbecue that also has quite a lot in common with teriyaki sauce. The “Bul” part loosely translates to “fire,” while “Gogi” means “meat.” so, just like teriyaki translates to “shiny grill,” bulgogi pretty much translates to “fire meat.”
Both have similar preparation methods, with traditional techniques involving an open flame. The sauce used will also play significant parts of their flavor package, as you can imagine.
Bulgogi sauce can be used for several applications. However, most notable is its use in marinating and finishing dishes. Bulgogi sauce tastes incredibly similar to teriyaki sauce in that it contains sugar and soy sauce. You can also add several other ingredients like garlic and other sweeteners (especially if you don’t want to add any sugar).
In some cases, bulgogi sauce can contain several sweaters like honey and the Asian pear.
As for differences, you will find that traditional bulgogi sauce doesn’t contain any alcohol. Most traditional teriyaki sauce recipes contain sake and mirin to add a little bit of a zip to the recipe.
Best Substitute for Dipping: Ponzu Sauce
Ponzu sauce is another classic Japanese sauce variant that provides several similar ingredients with teriyaki sauce. Thanks to their similar flavor profiles, you will find that they both work for pretty much the same recipes.
Primarily, ponzu sauce is made with the juice of several Japanese citrus fruits – including lemon, kabosu, and yuzu. There are cases where multiple citrus fruits are applied as well. Thanks to the addition of ingredients like dashi, mirin, and even soy sauce, ponzu sauce gets a nice sweet taste and a tart fruity flavor. In some cases where you use ponzu sauce with high-fat fish or meat, the sauce could balance out their taste and make the entire meal more palatable.
Ponzu sauce can be used for several reasons. It can help to marinate dishes, and you could add it to vegetables and stir-fry meats to improve their taste. However, the sauce shines best as a dipping sauce for dishes like dumplings. Its unique flavor makes it an ideal dipping sauce to go with a wide array of dishes, and you’ll enjoy everything it has to offer.
Best Substitute for Evading Alcohol: Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is a bit of a mixed bag, primarily because it is one of the ingredients in teriyaki sauce, to begin with. You can use both for similar things, but among the options on this list, soy sauce is the one with the least taste similarity with teriyaki sauce.
However, people looking for a great sauce option that doesn’t have any alcohol will love soy sauce and what it offers. Note that teriyaki sauce has a thicker and sweeter taste, as well as a spicy flavor package. So, it would help if you were careful when using soy sauce for things like marinating.
Nevertheless, soy sauce is an excellent sauce variant, and you should be able to achieve your aim with it. As long as you make accommodations for the differences in taste, you’ll be more than okay.