Homemade teriyaki sauce is done in about 7 minutes, ready to be used for chicken, rice, and stir-fries. This will become a staple in your pantry!
While maybe not as much of a staple as ketchup, teriyaki sauce has earned a permanent space in our fridge pantry because our family loves it with chicken. Once I learned how to make it – and realized it takes about 7 minutes start-to-finish – I like to keep it on hand to use on vegetable stir fries, other meats like grilled beef, or anything else that would go well with the teriyaki flavor in addition to chicken.
And our one-time restaurant favorite, Teriyaki Chicken & Rice? It’s now so easy to put together, we hardly ever order it anymore! I’m including the super simple “recipe” for it along with the sauce just to prove it to you – honest, it really is just as easy as take-out and waaaay cheaper.
Like the other condiments in our pantry basic series, teriyaki sauce qualifies because it’s readily available at the store and most people simply buy it, but it’s actually super quick and easy to make at home. Of course, the other benefit of making your own pantry items is so you can tailor them to your tastes – in this case, I like to lessen the sugar and increase the spiciness.
How to Make Teriyaki Sauce
To create this sauce, I replicated the flavor I liked at restaurants by adapting and combining various recipes I’ve come across over the years. I think my recipe has a nice balance of sweetness and soy, without being too much of either.
The ingredients are pretty simple: soy sauce, sugar (I’ve used regular, brown and coconut/palm sugar which all work well – we found that honey changed the flavor too much), grated ginger, chopped garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and rice vinegar (or mirin, a rice wine, when I have it), in addition to a thickener like cornstarch or arrowroot.
To make, you basically dump all the ingredients into a small saucepan, bring to a boil and boil about 5 minutes until it’s slightly thickened.
I know you wish it was a long and complicated recipe, but I try to keep those to a minimum around here. 😉
I either make the sauce when our chicken (or whatever) is cooking before adding the sauce, or I’ll make it and marinate the chicken in some before cooking. Of course, one of our favorite meals that highlight the sauce is Teriyaki Chicken and Rice, which once your sauce is made could not be easier!
How to Make Teriyaki Chicken & Rice
Make the sauce: once you’ve got your sauce made, the only other ingredients you need are chicken and rice. See, I wasn’t kidding on easy!
Make the rice: brown rice needs 45 minutes, white rice 20.
Marinate the chicken: you can do this the first 20 minutes while the brown rice is cooking, or start the marinade earlier if using white rice. Marinate boneless chicken breasts, tenders, or thighs in half the sauce (or just enough needed to coat one side, turning halfway through to evenly coat).
Cook the chicken: remove from sauce, (discarding it) and grill or pan-fry the chicken until done, 10-15 minutes.
Assemble the dish: Add the rice to individual plates or a large platter, slice the chicken and arrange on the rice and drizzle with your remaining homemade teriyaki sauce.
Add a salad or stir-fried (or grilled!) vegetables and dinner is done! Yeah, this has pretty much ruined restaurant teriyaki for me – why would I pay for something so easy (and that’s usually mostly rice!)?
Oh, this sauce does store well – a month or more (I think, it rarely lasts that long!) – if you wanted to make a larger batch to keep on hand in the fridge. So, will teriyaki become a pantry staple for you, too?
Homemade Teriyaki Sauce + Teriyaki Chicken & Rice Recipe
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sugar white, brown, palm/coconut, sucanat, etc.
- 1 large clove garlic chopped fine
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste*
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder
Teriyaki Chicken & Rice:
- 1 cup rice white or brown
- 4 pieces chicken thighs or breasts
- Make the Sauce:
- Combine the soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, and red pepper, if using, in a small saucepan.
- Stir the cornstarch or arrowroot into the rice vinegar in a separate small bowl, then add to the saucepan.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, lower heat to medium and let simmer for about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened and reduced a bit. Use right away or store in the refrigerator for 1+ months.
- To make Easy Teriyaki Chicken & Rice:
- Start rice to cook while making sauce. Brown rice needs 45 minutes, white rice 20 minutes.
- Marinate the chicken: you can do this while the rice is cooking, or start the marinade earlier. Marinate boneless chicken breasts, tenders, or thighs in half the sauce (or just enough needed to coat one side, turning halfway through to evenly coat).
- Cook the chicken: remove from sauce, (discarding it) and grill or pan-fry the chicken until done, 10-15 minutes.
Assemble The Dish:
- Add the rice to individual plates or a large platter, slice the chicken and arrange on the rice and drizzle with the remaining homemade teriyaki sauce.
Note: this recipe was originally published in 2009 and has been updated with all new photos, clearer formatting and printable recipe. Enjoy!
Other “pantry basics” you may enjoy: