Healthy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

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Healthy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce made with natural ingredients you already have. Better for you than store bought and ready in 10 minutes.

39 CAL 10g CARBS 0g FAT 1g PROTEIN 3

With salty soy sauce and sweet honey, this Healthy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce recipe is better than store-bought, ready in 10 minutes, and can be used in many delicious ways! It uses common pantry ingredients for a delicious sauce and marinade that can be used in many ways.

I have always loved teriyaki sauce. The sticky, sweet, savory sauce makes everything taste better. It is something I almost always have on hand to marinate protein like teriyaki chicken or teriyaki salmon. I love using it to quick Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowls, or Teriyaki Veggie Bowls. It's amazing for throwing together easy stir-fries and drizzling over Asian-inspired meals.

As much as I love the convenience of store-bought sauces, I’ve focused more on eating whole and natural foods, and sauces from the store don’t fit into that. Luckily, it's SO easy to create healthy homemade teriyaki sauce at home.

This homemade teriyaki sauce uses pineapple juice and honey to sweeten it naturally without needing refined sugars or corn syrup. Paired with soy sauce and ginger, it creates the most silky and versatile sauce!

Why You’ll Love This Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

My family requests this sauce weekly, and here’s why!

  • Ready in 10 Minutes: Everything gets mixed in a saucepan, and then it’s ready to use!
  • All-natural sugar: I use honey and pineapple juice rather than corn syrup or brown sugar to bring that sweet flavor!
  • So versatile: I know I keep saying it, but the sauce can be used in marinades, drizzled on tofu, made into a fun dipping sauce, and so much more. Below, I’ve included a list of recipes that use teriyaki sauce.

Looking for more easy sauces to make? Try my Stir Fry Sauce, Homemade Peanut Sauce, or this Chimichurri Sauce.

Ingredients for homemade teriyaki sauce including soy sauce, pineapple juice, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, and green onions.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here’s everything you need to make this easy teriyaki recipe.

  • Pineapple Juice: While you might not find this in other teriyaki sauces, it's a great source of natural sweetness and adds a bit of tang and fruity flavor.
  • Soy Sauce: To lower the sodium content in this homemade sauce, use reduced-sodium soy sauce. You could also use coconut aminos or tamari for a soy-free/gluten-free version. Coconut aminos aren’t as salty, so you might need to add a pinch of salt to the sauce.
  • Honey: Honey is a healthier option for sweetening the sauce. You can also use brown sugar, white sugar, agave, or maple syrup. Depending on your preferences, you can add more or less honey.
  • Rice Vinegar: Vinegar is needed to add acidity to the sauce. White vinegar can also be used. You could also use Mirin in place of rice vinegar.
  • Garlic: I prefer fresh minced garlic for the best flavor, but minced garlic, frozen garlic cubes, or garlic powder can also be used. 
  • Ginger: Fresh ginger adds a little kick of flavor that teriyaki sauce is known for. You can also use pre-grated ginger or ground ginger.
  • Cornstarch: Some sauce recipes don’t use cornstarch, but I found it necessary to achieve the right consistency in testing. However, if you are using this as a marinade, you don’t need the cornstarch.
  • Water: This helps to thin out the sauce and allows you to control the salt from the soy sauce. Water dilutes the overall sauce just enough to create a sweet and savory teriyaki sauce, not just a salty sauce.
  • Optional: Pepper adds a nice spice and balances out the sweetness. You can also add a bit of sriracha, red pepper flakes, or sambal olek for some heat. Another fun addition is sesame seeds or sesame oil for a nutty flavor.

Why We Use Honey and Pineapple Juice

Most teriyaki sauce in the store is packed with processed sugar, but many natural sweeteners create the same or better flavor. I recommend using pineapple juice and honey, and here’s why.

  • Pineapple juice adds acidity and sweetness. It is said to have the same sugar content as a slice of cherry pie. When heated, all of this natural sugar crystalizes to help create a sticky teriyaki sauce with no processed sugar. It also acts as a natural tenderizer if you use the sauce to marinade meat.
  • Honey is very sweet but about 25% sweeter than table sugar. This means you need less honey than sugar for the same effect. Honey can be slightly bitter or acidic, but when heated, those qualities disappear, leaving you with just a sweet, slightly floral flavor. Plus, its natural sticky texture helps the texture of the teriyaki sauce so that it will stick to whatever meat or vegetables you pair with the teriyaki sauce.
  • Natural sugars maintain their nutritional value, while processed sugars do not. This means that while the honey and pineapple juice are sweetening the dish, you are also getting Vitamin C from the pineapple juice, antioxidant properties from the honey, and so much more that white sugar just doesn’t have.

Healthy teriyaki sauce simmering in a sauce pan with ginger and garlic.

How To Make Teriyaki Sauce At Home

This sauce whips up quickly in just one pot. Be sure to see below for how to make it as a marinade!

1. Add everything to a pot

Whisk together all the ingredients in a small saucepan to create your sauce mixture.

2. Cook the sauce

Bring to a boil and immediately turn to a simmer on low heat. Cook, stirring often so it doesn't burn, for another 5 minutes until it is slightly thickened. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat taste, and adjust seasoning as needed.

Make this Healthier Teriyaki Sauce Your Own

Teriyaki sauce is a staple in many households, but the great thing about homemade sauces is that you can customize it to your preferences! Here are some easy ways to do so.

  • Make it spicy: Add 1-2 tablespoons of sriracha or 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes or chili garlic paste. Add a small amount and taste, then add more as needed.
  • Adjust the sweetness: Use different amounts of honey to adjust the flavor of the sauce, making it subtly sweet or very sweet.
  • Add sesame: Use sesame oil or sesame seeds in the teriyaki sauce to add some nutty flavors to the sauce.

\Homemade healthier teriyaki sauce on a plate with sesame seeds on the side.

How To Use Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

As I’ve mentioned, this healthy teriyaki sauce is so versatile! Here are some delicious ways to enjoy it.

  • Marinade: I love using this to marinate chicken, steak, and pork. Some favorites are this Baked Teriyaki ChickenTeriyaki Beef Kabobs, and Sriracha Teriyaki Chicken Skewers.
  • Stir Fries: Teriyaki sauce is a great option for quick and easy weeknight stir-fries. Saute your favorite protein with vegetables and toss everything with the homemade teriyaki sauce once it is finished cooking. The thick sauce will coat the protein and veggies, giving it tons of flavor and punch.
  • Asian Inspired Salads and Grain Bowls: I am always a huge fan of salads and grain bowls and teriyaki sauce can act as the perfect dressing. To complement the Asian flavors of the sauce, I like to add things like edamame, bean sprouts, crunchy cabbage, bok choy, and cashews to my salads and bowls.
  • Glaze: Teriyaki makes a wonderful glaze for quick-cooking proteins like salmon, flank steak, shrimp, and chicken thighs. Brush the protein with the teriyaki sauce and cook it at a high temperature in the oven.
  • Lettuce wraps: For a quick and easy lettuce wrap, brown ground turkey or chicken in a pan with a bag of packaged coleslaw mix. Once the meat has browned, toss it with the teriyaki sauce and wrap it up in butter lettuce for a lettuce wrap that is as good as any restaurant.
  • Rice bowls: Make a delicious Teriyaki Vegetable Rice Bowl, adding any protein you like.

Storage and Leftovers

The best part about this sauce is that you can easily meal prep a double batch throughout the week. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week in an airtight container.

I like to store mine in these small glass jars or mason jars.


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about making this homemade teriyaki sauce.

I like the sauce to be thick enough to coat and stick to whatever I’m using it on. A good test is to dip a spoon in it and see if it clings to the back of the spoon. If it does, then it’s good to go! If you’re using this as a marinade though, then the sauce should be thinner.

Is everything an answer? Really though, teriyaki sauce is delicious on broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, snow peas, and more!

Yes, teriyaki sauce is a great marinade. Leave out the cornstarch and mix everything together in a bowl. Combine it with the meat in a bowl or plastic bag and let marinate for 24 hours in the fridge.

Teriyaki sauce made with pineapple juice in a jar with a spoon.
The Recipe
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Healthy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

39 CAL 10g CARBS 0g FAT 1g PROTEIN 3
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  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 3 tbsp honey (or brown sugar)
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch

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Add everything to a small sauce pan and whisk together.


Bring to a boil and stir well to make sure honey dissolves into the sauce. Turn heat down to medium and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce is thick and coats a spoon nicely. Taste and season if needed. Make sure to watch the sauce since it can burn quickly.


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Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1.5 tbsp
Amount Per Serving
Calories 39
Calories from Fat 0
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 355mg
Total Carbohydrate 10g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 8g
Protein 1g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.


For a gluten-free teriyaki sauce, swap in coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
† We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.
On Healthy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
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Matthew Telles
March 17, 2024 - 21:01
Add a Rating:
Excellent flavor. Was looking for low sodium & this is great! Thanks . I used coconut aminos.
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David A Dietrich
November 11, 2023 - 15:23
Definitely going to try this one. Ive never done it with pineapple juice so that sounds really good.
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August 5, 2023 - 09:20
what is coconut aminos and does it act as a replacement for low sodium soy sauce or is it added in as an addition? I have recently been diagnosed with heart issues and need a no/low sodium diet. I've been surprised at how good food can be when it's good quality food (organic) and no salt added. I look forward to trying this recipe.
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September 28, 2020 - 17:01
Add a Rating:
This is so good! It is in my regular rotation. Thank you!
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Earline Taylor
June 23, 2018 - 15:33
Add a Rating:
You all have got to be kidding! The only way to make this sauce healthy is to switch out the soy sauce. 355 mgs of sodium for a tablespoon and a half is not healthy. People always fall for the word "healthy". That much sodium for so little is not "healthy". I am definitely going to switch out the soy sauce, either by making my own or using a sauce with a lot less milligrams of sodium. 4 stars is all I can give it, since the word "healthy" just don't fit this recipe.
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Ann Stockton
August 23, 2023 - 08:00
Earline, you could replace the soy for Tamarind, a healthier version of soy sauce, with only one percent sodium.
Calories 5
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 1 mg
Potassium 0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 1 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugar 1 g
Protein 0 g
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Mama mia
April 8, 2022 - 05:33
Thinking the same thing. Looking for a stir fry/ teriyaki sauce with less sodium. a 1/3 cup
Of reduced salt soy sauce it still a lot of sodium.
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May 10, 2022 - 17:16
Coconut aminos would be a lower sodium option. Just use the same amount of liquid coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce.
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September 25, 2018 - 13:10
Coconut aminos is an awesome replacement for any recipe that call for soy sauce.
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May 7, 2022 - 03:14
What is Coconut Aminos?

And how much would I need to replace the Soy Sauce?

How is it used; is it liquid or powder form?
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November 21, 2019 - 22:08
I wanted to share with you that I found that Family Dollar's soy sauce has only 230 mg of sodium in a Tablespoon. There are 5 Tablespoons in 1/3 of a cup. So the entire pan of sauce had 1150 mgs of sodium. I served the chicken with sauce over a bed of rice. I also had frozen mixed vegetables. My friend and I both thought it was very good. I
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