Easy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce (Gluten-Free)

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Spoonful of teriyaki sauce next to a jar of more sauce

Wow, yum! This is what we hope you’ll say when you taste this delicious sauce. We’ve been wanting to create a teriyaki sauce for a while now and finally stuck the landing on one that’s easy, gluten-free, naturally sweetened, and optionally soy-free, too!

Not only is this sauce incredibly quick to make (20 minutes), but it’s also made with just 6 pantry staple ingredients! This salty, sweet, tangy delight is super versatile, pairing beautifully with tofu, chicken, bowls, and beyond. Let’s get saucy! 

Ginger, garlic, cornstarch, rice vinegar, water, tamari, and maple syrup

Origin of Teriyaki Sauce

The word “teriyaki” refers to a cooking technique developed by Japanese chefs in the 1700s. It involves broiling or grilling foods in a glaze made from soy sauce, mirin, and sugar (source).

When Japanese immigrants settled in Hawaii, a new but similar sauce was born, and it featured a local ingredient: pineapple! Along the way, a sweet, savory, thick sauce resembling the teriyaki sauce evolved into what’s found in grocery stores and restaurants in the U.S. today.

The following is our inspired, gluten-free (and naturally vegan) version, which has a similarly thick texture and sweet and savory flavor balance.

Is Teriyaki Sauce Gluten-Free?

Traditionally, teriyaki sauce is made with soy sauce, which is not gluten-free because it contains wheat.

To replace soy sauce in this recipe, we used its cousin: tamari. Tamari and soy sauce are both made from fermented soybeans, but tamari doesn’t usually contain wheat. Some brands of tamari include a small amount of wheat, so if you’re making it for gluten-free eaters, you’ll want to double check the ingredients!

How to Make Teriyaki Sauce

We start this recipe by blending up a handful of pantry staples: tamari for the salty, savory element, maple syrup for natural sweetness, rice vinegar for balance, ginger and garlic for zing, water to make it saucy, and cornstarch to thicken.

Corn starch, garlic, and other ingredients for making gluten-free teriyaki sauce in a blender

After blending, it becomes a foamy mixture. That’s totally normal and there’s no need to worry, friends!

Foamy mixture in a blender

After transferring the foamy mixture to a saucepan and bringing it to a boil, the cornstarch starts thickening the liquid and the foam disappears.

Ingredients for teriyaki sauce in a saucepan

Then cook for just 5-10 minutes more and you’ve got teriyaki sauce!

Stirring homemade teriyaki sauce in a saucepan

We hope you LOVE this teriyaki sauce! It’s:

Salty
Sweet
Zippy
Tangy
Saucy
& SO versatile!

Try it on tofu, chicken, vegetables, rice, or in our Rainbow Vegetable Edamame Bowls or in place of the sauce in our Tofu Noodle Stir-Fry with Spring Vegetables or Crispy Tofu Lettuce Wraps.

More DIY Sauce Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Teriyaki sauce dripping from a spoon into a jar

Easy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce (Gluten-Free)

Salty, sweet, tangy homemade teriyaki sauce that’s SUPER versatile and happens to be gluten-free and naturally sweetened! Just 6 ingredients and 20 minutes required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Spoon and jar of easy homemade teriyaki sauce
4.8 from 10 votes
Prep Time 6 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 (2-Tbsp servings)
Course Condiment
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Japanese-Inspired, Oil-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4-5 Days

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup tamari (ensure gluten-free as needed // if soy-free, sub coconut aminos)
  • 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 ½ tsp ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (~1 ½ inch piece or 6 g)
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp cornstarch

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients (tamari or coconut aminos, maple syrup, rice vinegar, water, ginger, garlic, and cornstarch) to a high-speed blender. Blend on medium-low speed until no large chunks of ginger or garlic remain and the mixture is well combined — about 30 seconds. It will look pale and foamy — this is normal!
  • Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan (large enough for the mixture to boil) and turn to medium heat. Let the sauce come to a boil and keep an eye on it — it should begin to bubble vigorously and start going up the sides of the pan. This will take about 2-3 minutes.
  • Once boiling and bubbly, reduce the heat to low and whisk for 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce reaches your desired thickness. We like whisking for 5 minutes and leaving the sauce on the thinner side, as it will thicken even more as it cools. If you like your teriyaki sauce thicker, whisk for up to 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to a heat-proof container like a glass jar or storage container and let cool. Enjoy it in our Rainbow Vegetable Edamame Bowls, or in place of the tahini sauce or peanut sauce in our Tofu Noodle Stir-Fry with Spring Vegetables or Crispy Tofu Lettuce Wraps.
  • Leftover sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Video

Notes

*Recipe as written makes ~1 cup teriyaki sauce.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 8 servings)

Serving: 1 (two-tablespoon serving) Calories: 24.1 Carbohydrates: 5 g Protein: 1 g Fat: 0 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 504 mg Potassium: 39 mg Fiber: 0.1 g Sugar: 3.2 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 9.4 mg Iron: 0.3 mg

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  1. Samantha says

    We made this sauce for a rough and ready / clean out the fridge supper. We didn’t have fresh ginger so subbed a lesser amount of powdered and it was still bomb!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! So glad you enjoyed, Samantha. Thanks for the great review and for sharing your modifications!

  2. Susana says

    I came to say you can sub the cornstarch with oat flour. It is more nutritious and thickens the sauce beautifully.
    Good recipe. I might add a tsp miso paste next time for more umami flavor.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Grace says

    I found this to be much tastier than store-bought GF teriyaki sauce, and it exceeded my expectations. I followed the recipe and turned out perfectly, whisked until medium consistency.

  4. Barbara Sheehan says

    Here is a conversion table of arrowroot for cornstarch. Almost double the amount of arrowroot to do the job of cornstarch. Hope this helps! https://www.pkdrecipes.com/?p=3606. And of course as with any thickening agent being added to a recipe, you add a little at a time until you get the consistency you are looking for while heating. The heating is what activates the arrowroot. I just printed out the recipe. Plan on trying this for diner tomorrow. Can’t wait.

  5. Lesley says

    I have made this twice now, and cannot get it to thicken, and it’s stays foamy on top. I am
    using coconut aminos, and arrowroot. Tried blending the arrowroot with all the other ingredients, but it never thickened during heating. Second time I tried it I made a slurry with 2 tsp arrowroot, 1 tbsp of water, and added during the simmering part…. still no luck.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lesley, sorry to hear it’s giving you trouble! We’ve only tested with cornstarch, not arrowroot, so perhaps that’s the issue? Cooking it for longer might help!

      • Rebecca says

        I used gluten free soy sauce, and then honey as my sweetener. Made the recipe using all the measurements above and in the end had to add roughly another half cup or so of water and 3 more tablespoons of honey. This was just due to personal preference, though. The sauce was very vinegar heavy so the extra honey and water really helped. All of the flavors worked perfectly together, though. I give this one 5 stars because it’s gluten free, quick, and no additional flavors needed to be added to make it yummy. I had to adjust the sweetness and cut the acidity with a little more water to fit my own preferences, but I didn’t need to add any other flavors because the combination of flavors was already great.

    • lyn says

      I made the teriyaki sauce but did not have the rice vinegar. I used red wine vinegar and whilst it obviously* changed the flavour. It was still good though not too sweet and very easy to make. Will make the ginger sesame meatballs tomorrow. Wonderful recipes from this site

    • Barbara Sheehan says

      Being grain free I can’t use cornstarch either and use arrowroot all the time. I have found that you need to almost double the amount of arrowroot to cornstarch. So this recipe calls for 2 tsp of cornstarch, I’d use 4 to possibly 5 teaspoons of arrowroot depending on how thick you want it.

  6. Louise Herdson says

    I made this sauce yesterday following the recipe exactly but subbing the tamari for coconut aminos and it was delicious! Even my 4 and 7 year old loved it with stir fry veg and noodles. Today I’ve made it again but didn’t have fresh ginger or garlic so subbed with 1/4 tsp ground ginger and 1 1/2 tsp garlic granules and it worked just as well! Thank you so much for the recipe!!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Michelle, we find things start to get freezer burn after a month or so. But it won’t go bad!

  7. Irene Binyon says

    I thought this was wonderful! I had it on Soba Noodles and
    stir fry veggies. It’s a keeper. It’s a strong flavor which I really liked!
    No more “store bought” teriyaki for me.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Irene. That meal sounds incredible too! Thank you for sharing!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Connie, we don’t have much experience with canning, so unfortunately we’re not sure if it would work.

  8. Maria Cameron says

    I want to make this sauce as it look delicious but is there something else I can use instead of cornstarch as hubby unable to eat it?

    Thanks Maria

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Maria, we think maybe arrowroot? You might want to start with ~1/2 the amount since it does thicken a lot more than cornstarch. Let us know how it goes!

  9. Selina says

    Woah nelly, the ginger is super strong and my sauce was really thick after 5 minutes and set up like jam. I added more soy and water and brown sugar (instead of maple) and it tasted great! I’d recommend starting out with half the ginger and cornstarch.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Selina, glad to hear it turned out well with some modifications! It sounds like it may have cooked down too much. Were you cooking on low? Is it possible the low setting on your burners runs hot?

  10. Ginni says

    I’ve never used rice vinegar. Is it the seasoned type or unseasoned? Any suggestions for brands? Can’t wait to try this..I have been looking for something simple yet yummy. This looks like it will fit the bill!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! We’re excited for you to try it! We use unseasoned rice vinegar – typically Marukan brand. Let us know how it goes!

    • Diane says

      For the recipes you suggest using this with, does the sauce replace the peanut sauce in those recipes or is it only a marinade for the tofu before you cook it? Thanks for the help!

      • Ronica says

        Hahaha! This is exactly the recipe I use (it evolved by taste!) My son has a soy allergy so I halve it with coconut aminos (It’s mild so we don’t cut it out). Even used both dried ginger and garlic for a quick noodle veggie lunch! You’re brilliant!

  11. Zoe says

    Looks yummy in my tummy ❤️💥😘😋🍔🌭🥮🍦🥠🍨🍧🍥🦪🍤🍙🫕🌮🍲🦪🍤🌯🌯🌯🫔

  12. The Vegan Goddess says

    If you’re avoiding corn and want to sub cornstarch with another starchy flour, would you suggest arrowroot or potato starch?

    I tried super fine tapioca starch for a recipe like this and it came out thick but a bit gooey and gummy so perhaps one of the others would be better. What do you think?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm.. we think maybe arrowroot? You might want to start with ~1/2 the amount since it does thicken a lot more than cornstarch. Let us know how it goes!