These epic homemade Japanese sauces are quick and easy to make, perfect for marinating, dipping, or slathering over your favourite Japanese recipes. Bring authentic Japanese flavour to your cooking with these delicious sauces.
Why Make Japanese Sauces at Home?
While you can buy a lot of these sauces at supermarkets or import stores, they can often be quite expensive. Not to mention, they are sometimes hard to find depending on where you live and usually contain more additives, stabilisers and MSG.
When you make your own Japanese sauces at home, you know exactly what’s in them.
You can make the exact quantity you need for your chosen meal for a fraction of the cost of store-bought sauces!
Staple Ingredients You’ll Need
Here are the key ingredients you’ll need to have on hand for most of the sauces we’ve listed below.
If you love cooking Japanese cuisine, it’s worth investing in these base ingredients, as you’ll be able to use them across a whole range of recipes – not just sauces!
We use dashi stock powder dissolved in hot water, which is our favourite shortcut to save time on making dashi stock from scratch. You can find it in two different styles – kombu dashi (vegan) or hondashi (made with smoked dried bonito). If you don’t have it or can’t source it, you can substitute for vegetable stock or chicken stock.
For the best flavour and quality, use a Japanese soy brand such as Kikkoman which has the perfect balance of flavour and salt. Chinese or Korean soy sauces may be too salty or bitter, however Japanese tamari works great as a gluten-free option. If you only have dark soy sauce on hand you can still use it, you just may need to balance out the intensity with a little extra sugar.
This is a type of rice wine made for cooking. It’s lighter and more delicate in flavour than Chinese cooking wine, but you can use either. Look for it at Asian grocers or online. Substitute with dry white wine, water, or add extra sugar.
This is a sweet rice wine for cooking. You can sometimes find it in regular supermarkets, otherwise head to your nearest Asian grocer or online. If you don’t have it, just leave it out and add in extra sugar instead.
Rice Vinegar / Rice Wine Vinegar
Both names refer to the same thing. Rice vinegar is a little sweeter than regular vinegar. You can substitute with apple cider vinegar, black vinegar or white wine vinegar if you need, but if you only have simple white vinegar on hand that will also do the trick.
European style Worcestershire sauce tends to be quite tangy, while Japanese-style Worcestershire sauce is often sweeter. If you know your brand is QUITE tangy, you might like to adjust the amount to compensate. Ultimately it’s up to your personal flavour preference.
Tomato Sauce / Ketchup
They’re almost the same thing so either works fine for these sauces.
Miso paste is a versatile Japanese ingredient made from fermented soybeans and salt. White miso is generally sweeter and lighter in intensity than red miso paste.
A lot of Japanese sauces share similar ingredients, but differ in the amount used to give a unique flavour profile to each sauce. This means that while you can substitute a lot of Japanese sauces for each other, they have been created to be the perfect match for their specific dish.
Therefore we do recommend pairing okonomiyaki sauce with okonomiyaki pancakes, takoyaki sauce with takoyaki, etc.
They should last quite a while if stored in a clean, airtight container such as a glass bottle or jar. We recommend using them up within a month or two if you can. Always do a smell test – if it seems off, play it safe and throw it out.
These recipes are made to taste as close as possible to the commercial versions. However, the final flavour will depend on the quality and amount of the base ingredients you use in your final sauces. Always feel free to do plenty of taste testing and tweaking with the ingredients to get it just how you like it!
10+ Epic Homemade Japanese Sauce Recipes
As a Marinade or Basting Sauce
As a Dressing
As a Topping
★ Did you make one or more of these tasty sauces? Let us know how it turned out in the comments below!