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Homemade Teriyaki Sauce (Gluten-Free + Paleo!)

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce – Elevate your stir-fry game with this gluten-free teriyaki sauce! It comes together in a snap and tastes great on stir-fry, salmon, chicken, noodle bowls & more. (Gluten-Free, Paleo-friendly!) 

I’m just going to say it: this homemade teriyaki sauce is GOOOOOOOD.

We love a good stir-fry, and this (gluten-free! paleo!) teriyaki sauce has been our kitchen buddy for the last six years. (Ever since we went gluten-free.)

I love that homemade teriyaki sauce comes together so quickly. If you time things right, you can have a whole dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less. Get some rice or noodles going, chop your vegetables, stir fry them while you whisk together the sauce, and pour this over during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking.

We’ve had this gluten-free teriyaki sauce over all kinds of great stir-fry combos–steak and veggies, all veggies, chicken & veg, and veggies with pineapple. It’s ALL good!

You might think teriyaki sauce sounds complicated, but the ingredients are super simple and bring big flavors to veggie or chicken stir-fry, glazed roasted salmon, teriyaki noodle bowls, and so much more.

Here’s all you need to kick up your stir fry game with homemade teriyaki sauce…

HERE’S WHAT I PUT IN MY HOMEMADE TERIYAKI SAUCE:

  • LOW-SODIUM GLUTEN-FREE TAMARI OR COCONUT AMINOS (OR SOY SAUCE). Tamari is a gluten-free soy sauce made without wheat. It tastes nearly indistinguishable from traditional soy sauce, so it’s a pretty seamless gluten-free option. I recommend using low-sodium so your sauce doesn’t end up too salty. If you’re paleo or avoid soy, you’ll want to use coconut aminos for this recipe. Coconut aminos is slightly sweet, but definitely brings that umami flavor you’re looking for. (Not gluten-free or paleo? Feel free to use low-sodium soy sauce!)
  • WATER. The water helps moderate the salt in your homemade teriyaki sauce. If you like your sauce less salty, you may want to opt for 1/3 cup tamari + 2/3 cup water, rather than that 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup ratio I list below.
  • PURE MAPLE SYRUP OR HONEY. For a naturally sweetened option, I prefer using maple syrup here. It won’t taste maple-y, it’ll just lend some warm sweetness that’s lovely. Honey also makes a nice choice if you’re looking for another option. (Note: I do tend to taste honey in this when I use it)
  • RICE VINEGAR. For a little brightness and tang, I love adding a splash of rice vinegar to my homemade teriyaki sauce. Lots of paleo folks feel okay about rice vinegar, but if you’re avoiding it, you can swap in 1/2 the amount of cider vinegar instead.
  • GARLIC + GINGER. Some fresh garlic & ginger at LOADS of flavor to your teriyaki sauce. Lately, I’ve been using frozen ginger and frozen garlic, which have the same taste, texture, and potency of fresh and are easy to keep on hand at all times.
  • SESAME OIL + BLACK PEPPER. Our other big flavor boosts here are toasted sesame oil and pepper. Sesame oil has a very deep, intense flavor, so a little goes a long way. Then, for a little kick and subtle heat, I love using black pepper. It’s easy to scale how “punchy” this sauce is by increasing the pepper in the sauce.
  • SESAME SEEDS (OPTIONAL). Then, for garnish, I usually like to add some sesame seeds, if I have them. It won’t do much for flavor, but it’s pretty and plays up the sesame element a bit more.

FAQ + TIPS & TRICKS FOR THE BEST HOMEMADE TERIYAKI SAUCE:

PALEO? TRY THIS. This homemade teriyaki sauce is very paleo-friendly with a few simple swaps. You’ll use coconut aminos in place of the gluten-free tamari, cider vinegar instead of the rice vinegar, and arrowroot instead of the cornstarch. The rest of the instructions and ingredients are the same!

USE LOW-SODIUM OR REDUCED-SODIUM OPTIONS! One more mention here, but I highly *highly* recommend you use low-sodium or at least reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce for this recipe so you can moderate the salt content. If you’re paleo and using coconut aminos, this won’t be an issue for you.

TOO SALTY? TRY THIS! Everyone’s salt preferences are different, and every time I post a recipe using tamari/soy sauce, I have some people who comment with “way too salty” and others who comment with “this needed more salt,” so I know that everyone will have their own opinions bout what tastes right for them. If this is too salty for your taste, You can thin the sauce out with a little more water or add a little more pure maple syrup to the sauce. If you tend to like salty, punchy teriyaki sauce, you may want to use 1/2 cup tamari and 1/2 cup water instead of the 1/3 cup tamari/soy sauce and 2/3 cup water ratio I have down below.

CHANGE IT UP! DON’T BE AFRAID TO PLAY. You’ll see below this is a basic recipe that can be easily customized to your tastes. Aren’t a ginger fan? Go light. Love it? Add more. Want a little more kick? Add a bit more black pepper. Love sesame? Add a few extra drops of sesame oil and sprinkle over some sesame seeds. The combinations are endless. You could even add a squeeze of orange or lime juice to the water or swap out the water for pineapple juice if you want a little citrus-y vibe.

HELPFUL FOR HOMEMADE TERIYAKI SAUCE:

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Homemade Teriyaki Sauce (Gluten-Free or Paleo!)


  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Yield: About 1 1/4 cups sauce 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce – This gluten-free teriyaki sauce comes together in a snap and tastes great on stir-fry, salmon, chicken, noodle bowls & more. (Gluten-Free, Paleo-friendly! 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos (or soy sauce if not GF)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/41/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch (or arrowroot, for paleo) + 1 1/2 Tbsp. water
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds

Instructions

To Make Teriyaki Sauce:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine tamari, water, syrup, vinegar, ginger, garlic, 1/4 tsp. pepper and sesame oil. Whisk to combine.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1 1/2 Tbsp. water. Pour this slurry into the pan with the teriyaki sauce ingredients.
  3. Stir, cooking over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Stir 1-2 minutes, or until sauce has thickened. Stir in sesame seeds, if using.
  4. Remove sauce from heat and enjoy! Pour over stir-fried veggies, brush onto chicken or salmon, or stir into rice.
  5. Note: Sauce will thicken significantly when refrigerated, so you’ll want to reheat it on the stove or in the microwave to loosen it up before using any leftovers. Teriyaki sauce will keep 1 week in the refrigerator.

If you’re going to use this sauce in a stir-fry: 

  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl (including cornstarch/water slurry).
  2. Stir-fry your meat/veggies as you usually would. During the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, pour teriyaki sauce over stir-fried veggies/meat and cook over medium-high heat 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian

Keywords: Teriyaki Sauce, Homemade teriyaki sauce, gluten-free teriyaki sauce, healthy teriyaki sauce, paleo teriyaki sauce

28 Comments

  1. I made this last night except I used less maple syrup and went slightly heavier on the garlic and ginger. Put it on salmon…delicious! My picky mother who loves store bought teriyaki loved it! Can’t wait to use it in stir fry. Thank you so much!!!

  2. This isn’t just the best teryaki sauce, this is the best all time Paleo sauce I’ve made or had.

    1. Brian – I much prefer the neutral taste of pure maple syrup or agave. Honey tends to dominate the flavor. But if you’d like to try it, you can use the same amount as you would the syrup. 🙂

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