Spice up your next meal with homemade Spicy Teriyaki Sauce. This recipe is made with a kick of chili garlic sauce for an added kick of flavor and spice. It’s excellent in stir fry, over chicken (or chicken wings!), fish, vegetarian wraps, or in a salad dressing!
Talk about finger-lickin’ good, this sauce is taking things up a notch.
You know I’m over the top passionate about homemade sauces. For many reasons, too. Making a sauce homemade means you know EXACTLY what is in it, without any additives. Plus, you can adjust flavors to your preference. It’s cheaper. And overall, it’s the healthier option. You really cannot go wrong.
So when I started having a slight teriyaki obsession, homemade was the only option.
And if you, too, love the combination of sweet, tangy, slightly spicy, and incredibly versatile, then you’re gonna love this…
What is Teriyaki Sauce?
First thing first, this version of teriyaki sauce is not the most authentic version and is definitely Americanized. For an authentic teriyaki sauce, check out Nami’s post. She explains that “teriyaki” actually translates to mean “luster” and “grilled”, referring to the cooking method, typically meaning grilled or pan-fried food with a shining glaze. Outside of Japan, the word teriyaki has strayed off to refer to the actual sauce, not the cooking process.
That being said, the sauce interpretation of Teriyaki sauce is salty, slightly sweet, and tangy. It has a soy sauce base, along with a bit of mirin, sake, and sugar. Most times it’s often referred to outside of Japan as a thick sauce, like a glaze, which can be achieved with corn starch or potato starch.
Many American interpretations of it now include ginger and garlic, and Nami also says that sometimes in Japan they are added too, for a variation. This version of teriyaki sauce includes both and a spicy kick to boot. While you won’t find it in Japan, this adaptation is one that adds added flavor and spice to recipes and I hope you enjoy it!
Now that we have the basics down, let’s get to it…
How to Make Easy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
IT. IS. SO. E.A.S.Y. Really. Most homemade sauces are easy and require few steps, which means it’s not such a bad trade off for having a homemade sauce that’s made without any additives or excess ingredients.
This variation of homemade teriyaki sauce uses these ingredients:
- Soy Sauce – the traditional base of teriyaki sauce
- Brown Sugar – the hint of molasses adds a rich, sweet depth to the sauce
- Honey – added for a little extra sweetness and as a slight thickener; you can omit if you’d like to reduce the amount of sugar
- Grated ginger and garlic – my favorite flavor ingredients
- Chili Garlic Paste- this is where the spice comes in. I love adding chili garlic paste to recipes for an added kick, and of course a little more garlic. It gives a depth of flavor to the sauce that is oh so yummy. You could substitute with sriracha or red pepper flakes, too.
- Sesame Oil – a touch goes a long way to add a nice rounded, slightly nutty flavor to the sauce
- Rice Vinegar – my substitution for mirin. Mirin is more naturally sweeter than rice vinegar. You can use either!
- Corn Starch – used in this recipe to make the more American-style teriyaki sauce, that is thicker in its consistency. You can always add more corn starch to make the sauce thicker or omit it entirely for a more traditional consistency.
So you have the ingredients, now what? This is the quick and easy part.
How to Make Spicy Teriyaki Sauce
Are you ready to see how easy this recipe actually is? First, whisk together all of the ingredients, except for the corn starch and water, in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. As it does so, the sugar will dissolve and the sauce will reduce slightly.
After a minute or two, it’s time to make the corn starch slurry. What’s a corn starch slurry? It’s when cold water is combined with corn starch, then added back into whatever item it is intended to thicken, in this case, the sauce.
Now, they say cold water is best, which we are adding in this recipe. However, truth be told, is that as pictured, I often remove 2 tablespoons of the sauce, whisk in the corn starch, and add it back in. I haven’t had any clumping issues as many speak of when not using a cold liquid to make the slurry. I’ll leave that part up to you.
Once the slurry is added to the saucepan, whisk together to fully incorporate it, and bring it back to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer for several minutes until it has thickened to your desired consistency, then remove from heat and use how you wish (more on that now!).
What Should I Serve Spicy Teriyaki Sauce With?
The possibilities are basically endless. But here are a few ideas:
- Cauliflower Lettuce Wraps
- Chicken Wings
- 15-minute Baked Salmon
- Veggie Stir-Fry
- Crispy Tofu
- Roasted Broccolini
- Jackfruit Lettuce Wraps
- As a dipping sauce for Egg Rolls or Spring Rolls
Frequently Asked Questions
You can absolutely make this version of teriyaki sauce vegan by either omitting the honey or replacing it with maple syrup or add. As always, be sure to check the other ingredients you have to be certain.
To make this recipe gluten-free, use tamari in place of the soy sauce, and check the additional ingredient labels to be sure they are also gluten-free.
The answer to this question is so subjective. Personally, I find it as written to have a mild spicy kick, but one that’s not overpowering. If you’re sensitive to spice, I would recommend beginning with 1 teaspoon of the chili paste (or less) and adjust as needed by taste-testing and adding more if needed. If you’re a huge fan of spicy sauces, you can always add more chili paste, too!
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Spicy Teriyaki Sauce
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 TBSP honey omit or sub brown sugar to make vegan
- 2 tsp fresh ginger grated
- 1 fresh garlic clove minced
- 2 tsp chili garlic paste or sub 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3/4 tsp sesame oil
- 2 1/2 TBSP rice vinegar
- 2 TBSP water
- 1 TBSP corn starch
- In a saucepan, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, ginger, garlic, chili paste, sesame oil, and rice vinegar (all ingredients except for the corn starch and water).
- Bring it to a low boil over medium heat and let the sugar dissolve for approximately 1-2 minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir together the water and cornstarch to make the cornstarch slurry. Once it's combined, pour it into the saucepan and whisk to incorporate it into the sauce. Bring back to a boil, then lower the temperature and simmer the sauce for an additional 4-5 minutes until sauce thickens, continuing to stir occasionally. If it isn't thick enough at that point, you can simmer for up to 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and use immediately as desired or let cool slightly before transferring to a jar for storage. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.