This flavorful vegan teriyaki sauce is easy to make and creates a delicious homemade sauce that’s perfect for teriyaki recipes. It’s great to use for teriyaki tofu or tempeh dishes, as a marinade, dip or glaze!
It takes as little as 10 minutes to prepare, so even with cooking other parts of your meal, dinner won’t take long to come together! Enjoy this exceptional sauce however you choose to eat it.
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Is Teriyaki Sauce Vegan?
Traditional teriyaki sauce is made with equal parts sake, mirin and soy sauce and half the amount of sugar.
Sake, mirin and soy sauce are all considered vegan. Sugar is typically considered vegan, although in some parts of the world, it’s processed with bone char and many vegans chose to avoid this type of sugar processing.
So most classic teriyaki sauces should be vegan, depending on the sugar it contains. However, there are many variations on classic teriyaki sauce that use ingredients like honey, making the recipe not suitable for vegans.
Vegan Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients
This is my take on vegan teriyaki sauce with some added ingredients and flavors that stray from the traditional recipe. I can’t find sake in stores where I live, so I’ve had to rework the recipe around that.
- Low sodium soy sauce: I use low sodium soy sauce as the base for this recipe since it’s what I keep on hand. If using full sodium/ regular soy sauce, you won’t need quite as much (see recipe notes). If you prefer, use tamari for a gluten free option (but the flavor of the sauce will be different).
- Mirin: This sweet Japanese cooking wine is one of my favorite ingredients to add flavor and a touch of sweetness to any stir fry sauce. If you don’t have mirin, a sweet cooking wine (like sherry or marsala wine) can work. You can also use 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon of sugar to replace the 3 tablespoons of mirin this recipe calls for.
- Brown sugar and agave syrup: Teriyaki sauce is typically quite sweet, so I’ve mixed these two sugars together for a nice flavor. Other types of sugars or syrups should work in this recipe, but I haven’t tested them.
- Corn starch: For a thicker sauce, I like to add some corn starch to the recipe.
- Garlic and ginger: These ingredients are optional and not included in traditional teriyaki sauces, but I love the flavor they add.
- Rice vinegar: To balance out the sweetness in this sauce, I like to add some rice vinegar. Other types of vinegar should work fine if you don’t keep rice vinegar on hand.
- Sesame oil: This is also optional as traditional sauces don’t use sesame oil, but it’s one of my favorite flavors and I couldn’t resist adding some to this recipe.
How to Make Homemade Vegan Teriyaki Sauce
This recipe is incredibly quick and easy to make. You can cook the sauce on its own or cook it alongside other ingredients to make a meal.
Step 1: Prep Sauce
To prepare the sauce, simply whisk all the ingredients together. If using garlic and ginger, finely mince or grate them with a microplane.
If using the sauce as a marinade or to cook with vegetables/protein in a stir fry, you don’t need to pre-cook the sauce.
Step 2: Cook Sauce
If you want to use this teriyaki sauce as a glaze or dip, cook the sauce. Simply whisk all the ingredients together in a small pot, then simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes (or until thickened to your liking).
Create a Balanced Vegan Meal with Teriyaki Sauce
I consider a balanced meal one that contains a good source of plant-based protein, carbohydrates, fats and lots of vegetables or fruits.
A balanced meal should also contain lots of delicious flavor! It’s important to enjoy the food you eat, which is where spices and recipes like this teriyaki sauce come in.
Tossing this sauce onto tofu or tempeh (or protein of your choice) and serving alongside some vegetables and rice makes for a delicious and nutritious meal.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Sauce
Refrigerate leftover sauce in an airtight container for up to one week. Since there’s corn starch in the sauce, it will thicken when cooled and can become slightly “gloopy”. Once reheated, it should return to a nicely thick and smooth texture.
You can reheat the sauce in a small pot on the stove (over medium heat, whisking until warmed through) or in your microwave.
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Vegan Teriyaki Sauce
- Small pot (or bowl)
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce (60 milliliters)*
- 3 tablespoons mirin (45 milliliters)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar , lightly packed (25 grams)
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup (15 milliliters)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch (8 grams)
- 1 tablespoon ginger , finely minced or grated (15 grams)
- 1 tablespoon garlic , finely mined or pressed (10 grams)
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar (10 milliliters)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil (10 milliliters)
- ⅓ cup water (85 milliliters)
Step 1: Prep Sauce
- Whisk all sauce ingredients together in a medium sized bowl or small pot.¼ cup low sodium soy sauce, 3 tablespoons mirin, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon agave syrup, 1 tablespoon corn starch, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 tablespoon garlic, 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, ⅓ cup water
- If using as a marinade or stir fry sauce, you don’t need to pre-cook the sauce.
Step 2: Cook Sauce
- If using this sauce as a dip or glaze, pre-cook the sauce by heating it in a small pot, over medium heat. Once it starts to bubble, simmer the sauce for 5 minutes (or until thickened to your liking).
Optional: Prepare Teriyaki Tofu
- If you like, make teriyaki tofu by crumbling extra-firm and pressed tofu. Coat the tofu in 2 tablespoons of corn starch, then pan-fry in a neutral-tasting oil until golden brown. Add the uncooked teriyaki sauce and simmer with the tofu for 5 minutes, until the sauce is thick.
- You can also toss the crumbled, corn starch-coated tofu with some oil, then bake or air fry the tofu until golden brown. Toss this tofu with pre-cooked teriyaki sauce.
More Vegan Dip and Sauce Recipes
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.
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