What is teriyaki?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question” What is teriyaki?” with an in-depth analysis of the method of its recipe. Moreover, we are going to highlight its taste and uses in different recipes.

What is teriyaki?

The word teriyaki comes from two Japanese words. The first is Teri, meaning luster, and the second word is yaki, meaning grill or broil. Teriyaki generally refers to the associated sauce in the United States. Teriyaki sauce is used to add an amber-colored gloss and salty-sweet flavor to grilled meats and vegetables.

Teriyaki is known as the Japanese term for meat. That meat has been marinated in teriyaki sauce, then broiled or grilled over coals.

Teriyaki sauce has four main ingredients:

  • Soy sauce 
  • Sake  (or mirin, if you’re taking it easy on the booze)
  • Sugar 
  • Ginger 

Method of Preparation:

We can make teriyaki sauce by mixing and heating four ingredients:

  • Mirin
  • Sugar
  • Soy sauce
  • Sake (or occasionally another alcohol).

The quantity of these ingredients can be the same or varied from recipe to recipe. When you boil all the ingredients and reduce them to the desired thickness, then add the sauce to the meat. Meat is marinated and then grilled or broiled. Sometimes, we add ginger. The final dish may be garnished with green onion.

Teriyaki has luster or shine which comes from the mirin or sake. The caramelization comes from the sugar. For the proper preparation of teriyaki, repeated applications of the sauce are involved during the later stages of cooking. This is done until the sauce thickens and acquires luster. It should not be burned. Meat can also be marinated in teriyaki sauce. It can be marinated up to twenty-four hours before cooking. You can serve Teriyaki dishes with steamed rice which is eaten with excess sauce.

Uses of Teriyaki Sauce:

  • You can use Teriyaki sauce as a marinade or a glaze for meats and fish.
  • It is best known due to its combination with grilled chicken
  • Teriyaki sauce also works in the oven or broiler. It can also work in a skillet on the stovetop, in a slow cooker, and in a wok for stir-frying.
  • Before serving, you can also drizzle it on the plate. Then put it on the table for use as a dipping sauce, for example, with potstickers or kabobs.
  • You can add it to the ground beef in a burger. It will make a great addition. You can use it in place of barbecue sauce on ribs.

Teriyaki Sauce Recipes:

Teriyaki sauce can be added to any protein or vegetable. These may include tofu and tempeh. Japanese chefs, when cooking fish and other seafood, cook them with a teriyaki glaze. Teriyaki chicken is known as a menu mainstay in Japanese restaurants. It is popular both in the United States and in Japan.

  • Japanese Restaurant-Style Teriyaki Sauce
  • Grilled Teriyaki Shrimp
  • Teriyaki Chicken

How to cook with teriyaki sauce:

  • You can buy bottled teriyaki sauce. It is easily available at the grocery store.
  • You can also make an authentic version at home with soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.
  • The high sugar content present in teriyaki sauce burns easily, so during the last few minutes of direct high-heat cooking, try to brush it. Brush it, when you are cooking on the grill or in the broiler.
  • If you are going to marinate meat in teriyaki sauce before you start cooking, then drain or wipe off the excess before you put it on the grill or in the oven.
  • Teriyaki sauce is capable of handling high heat. It can handle high heat during a quick turn in a wok, where it becomes thick and sticky and coats the meat and vegetables with flavor.
  • You can also apply teriyaki sauce to chicken, fish, or vegetables before you bake a dish because the sustained lower heat works to caramelize the sauce.
  • You can serve teriyaki dishes with rice or bread to soak up the extra sauce.

What does it taste like?

It is a sweet and tangy sticky sauce. Authentic teriyaki delivers a big hit of salty umami. It comes from its simple base of soy sauce and mirin, a low-alcohol, sweeter version of sake, a traditional Japanese rice wine.

When you make less traditional teriyaki recipes, these recipes often include flavors such as garlic, ginger, citrus, and sesame. The bottles of teriyaki sauce can be refrigerated for up to a year. You can also store them in a pantry.

Here, you can find the history or origin of teriyaki sauce.

Other FAQs about Chicken that you may be interested in.

Can dogs eat chicken nuggets?

Can you steam chicken?

What is Australian chicken salt?



In this brief guide, we answered the question” What is teriyaki?” with an in-depth analysis of the methods of its making. Moreover, we highlighted its taste and uses in different recipes.




Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.