5 Minute Recipes/ Asian Recipes/ Condiments and Sauces/ Japanese/ Recipes/ Super Simple

Japanese Ponzu Sauce

16/07/2020 (Last Updated: 06/08/2020)

Featuring a delicious blend of Japanese ingredients amped up with zingy citrus and soy, this Japanese Ponzu Sauce recipe will set your favourite foods alight with umami flavour. It’s super simple to make – two minutes and you’re ready to get dipping or drizzling.

Ponzu sauce in a dipping bowl garnished with spring onion.

Why We Love This

Japanese ponzu is like an epic party of sweet + tart + bitter + salty flavours. All of this comes about from ponzu’s unique blend of soy sauce, dashi stocksweet rice wine (mirin), rice vinegar and a splash of citrus juice.

With all of this going on you’d think Ponzu would be all kinds of crazy! But we’re here to say that everything works together in perfect Japanese harmony.

Ponzu isn’t just a delicious Japanese dipping sauce with Shabu Shabu or Gyoza, it’s  also the perfect salad dressing, steak sauce or meat glaze. Find out more below!

Ponzu sauce in a dipping bowl on a black plate with lemon in the background.

What is Ponzu? 

The Japanese word ponzu (ポン酢) is made up of ‘pon’ and ‘su’, where ‘su’ means ‘vinegar’ and ‘pon’ means ‘punch’ (and actually comes from the Dutch language)… Punch Sauce indeed. 😛

Japan’s bottled varieties of ponzu dressing are usually made with locally sourced Japanese citrus fruits such as yuzu, sudachi or kabosu lime.

The good news is you can easily make your very own ponzu blend at home with a mix of lemon and lime juice.

For a non-citrus dipping sauce, we recommend making gyoza dipping sauce instead.

How is ponzu sauce used?

Okay so now that you’ve mastered your homemade ponzu sauce recipe, what can you eat with it?

EVERYTHING.

Haha but seriously, here are a few ideas to kickstart your ponzu adventures:

  • Dipping sauce – pair with tasty noodles (such as Homemade Udon or soba), crispy Gyoza (Japanese Pork Dumplings), tempura,  sashimi, or alongside Goma Dare Sesame Sauce with Shabu Shabu Hot Pot. (All of the yummmmms.)
  • Steak dressing – drizzle over freshly cooked steak, and top with fresh shredded daikon (Japanese radish) for extra flair.
  • Natural oysters – splash with ponzu and fresh ginger for an instant appetiser.
  • Stir fries – pour in a few drops of ponzu just before you take off the heat.
  • Ponzu salad dressing – mix ponzu with sesame oil for a tasty Japanese vinaigrette.
  • Tofu dressing – for a tasty snack or side dish check out this gorgeous ‘Yudofu’ Tofu recipe.
  • Glaze for meats – brush meat with ponzu in the last few minutes of cooking for a real flavour boost.

What You’ll Need

You just need a handful of Japanese ingredients to make homemade ponzu sauce. You’ll find most of them at your local Asian Supermarket or online.

Ingredients laid out to make Ponzu sauce.

How to make Recipe:

Pour all ingredients into a small bowl.

Pouring citrus juice into ponzu sauce.

Mix with a whisk and taste test. Add a little more of any ingredient until you’re happy with the flavour.

Whisking ponzu sauce ingredients together.

Garnish with spring onion. (Omit if storing for later use in the fridge.) Serve beside your favourite dipping foods such as gyoza or udon, as a sauce for steak or seafood, or as a zesty salad dressing.

Garnishing ponzu sauce with spring onion.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Add an extra dash of lemon or lime juice just before serving to amp up that tangy flavour.
  • If jarring a big batch omit the spring onion to avoid the sauce spoiling early.
  • Feel free to amp it up when serving with Japanese togarashi spice or grated daikon – or both!
  • Use distilled or filtered water if storing to extend the shelf life.

FAQs

Is ponzu sauce sweet?

Ponzu sauce is not overly sweet. It’s made with mirin, which is a type of Japanese rice wine used in cooking. It has a subtly sweet flavour and a delicious tang which blends with our other ingredients to give ponzu sauce its classic flavour. 

How long does ponzu sauce last?

Fresh homemade ponzu should last for at least a few days if kept in the fridge in a nice little airtight container. We recommend throwing out any ponzu sauce you’ve already used for dipping to avoid contamination.

Variations & Substitutes

  • For a vegan ponzu sauce, use kombu dashi stock powder instead of stock made with bonito flakes.
  • For a gluten free version, make sure to use gluten free soy sauce.
  • Ponzu sauce is traditionally made with Japanese citrus fruits such as yuzu, sudachi or kabosu, but these can be substituted with a blend of regular lemon and lime juice. 
  • Rice wine vinegar is the same as rice vinegar, it just goes by different names sometimes!
Ponzu sauce in a dipping bowl garnished with spring onion.

Need some complementary dishes to have with your ponzu? Add these:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating below!

Ponzu sauce in a dipping bowl garnished with spring onion.

Japanese Ponzu Sauce

Featuring a delicious blend of Japanese ingredients amped up with zingy citrus and soy, this Japanese Ponzu Sauce recipe will set your favourite foods alight with umami flavour. It's super simple to make – two minutes and you're ready to get dipping or drizzling.
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 1 dish
Calories: 34kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $3

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pour all ingredients (soy sauce, lemon juice, lime juice, dashi powder, mirin and rice wine vinegar) into a small bowl.
    2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp lime juice, ½ tsp dashi powder, 1 ¼ tsp mirin, 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • Mix together and taste test. Add a little more of any ingredient til you're happy with the flavour.
  • Optional: Garnish with spring onion. (Omit if storing in the fridge for later use.)
  • Serve beside your favourite dipping foods such as gyoza or udon, as a sauce for steak or seafood, or as a zesty salad dressing.

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Add an extra dash of lemon or lime juice just before serving to amp up that tangy flavour.
  • Feel free to amp it up when serving with Japanese Togarashi spice or grated daikon – or both!
  • Use distilled or filtered water if storing to extend the shelf life.
  • Is ponzu sauce vegan? Ponzu sauce may not be vegan if it contains traditional dashi stock (which is made with bonito flakes). You can easily make a vegan ponzu sauce by using kombu (seaweed) only dashi stock. We recommend kombu dashi stock powder for a quick and easy ponzu sauce. 
  • How long does ponzu sauce last? Fresh homemade ponzu should last for at least a few days if kept in the fridge in a nice little airtight container. We recommend discarding any ponzu sauce that you have already used for dipping to avoid contamination.
  • For a vegan ponzu sauce, use kombu dashi stock powder instead of stock made with bonito flakes.
  • For a gluten free version, make sure to use gluten free soy sauce.
  • Ponzu sauce is traditionally made with Japanese citrus fruits such as yuzu, sudachi or kabosu, but these can be substituted with a blend of regular lemon and lime juice. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Japanese Ponzu Sauce
Amount per Serving
Calories
34
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
1
g
2
%
Sodium
 
2067
mg
90
%
Potassium
 
76
mg
2
%
Carbohydrates
 
5
g
2
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
2
g
2
%
Protein
 
4
g
8
%
Vitamin C
 
3
mg
4
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    CToth
    21/10/2019 at 2:05 am

    5 stars
    A+++ this is excellent. I didn’t have dashi or rice vinegar so I subbed half a tsp of regular vinegar, it was soo good. I will get the rice vinegar and look for dashi powder because I will be making this often. I made some smoked salmon rolls (like sushi rolls) with avocado, cream cheese and cucumber in them and they were devoured. I did add the 2 tbsp water to thin it and also a half tsp of sugar water… my lemons were very sour and it needed a tiny bit of sweet.
    Lesson learned: make a lot, everyone loved the ponzu sauce.
    Thank you for a great recipe. Walmart carries the mirin .

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      22/10/2019 at 12:44 pm

      Hey hey – that’s so awesome! If you don’t have dashi, you can sub with a little veggie stock in a pinch. You can get Dashi on Amazon (that’s the brand we use from Japan).

      We haven’t tried smoked salmon in our sushi rolls, that sounds delish!

      Also – love the lesson to make more! It should last quite a while in the fridge if you do make a big batch. 🙂

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