5 Minute Recipes/ Recipes

Japanese Ponzu Sauce Recipe – For Dressing & Dipping

07/07/2016 (Last Updated: 12/08/2019)
 

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 Recipe

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 (seaweed) 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, it’s  also the perfect salad dressing, steak sauce or meat glaze. Find out more below!

Ponzu sauce in a dipping bowl garnished with spring onion.

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Ponzu sauce in a dipping bowl garnished with spring onion.

What is ponzu sauce?

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.

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

Ponzu Sauce Recipe Ingredients

You just need a handful of ingredients to make homemade ponzu sauce:

Ponzu sauce in a dipping bowl garnished with spring onion, next to squeezed lemon and lime.

How to Make Ponzu Sauce

  • Pour all ingredients into a small bowl and taste test.
  • Add a little more of any ingredient til you’re happy with the flavour.
  • Serve beside your favourite dipping foods such as gyoza or udon, as a sauce for steak or seafood, or as a zesty salad dressing.

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 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.

Dipping freshly cooked gyoza dumpling into ponzu sauce.

Tips

  • Add an extra dash of lemon or lime juice just before serving to amp up that tangy flavour.

FAQs

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. 

Is ponzu sauce gluten free?

Ponzu sauce can be made gluten free as long as you use gluten free soy sauce. Check the label of your soy sauce first if you are concerned. 

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 discarding any ponzu sauce that you have already used for dipping to avoid contamination.

Ponzu sauce in a dipping bowl garnished with spring onion.

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!

 

So what will you create with your very own homemade ponzu sauce recipe? We definitely recommend starting with homemade Gyoza (Japanese Pork Dumplings), Crispy Korean Kimchi Pancakes or Enoki Beef Rolls. Bring on the FEAST.

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

Ponzu sauce in a dipping bowl garnished with spring onion.

Japanese Ponzu Sauce Recipe - For Dressing & Dipping

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

Equipment

  • Small dipping sauce bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp dashi powder dissolved in 2 tbsp water
  • 1 ¼ tsp mirin
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar

Instructions

  • Pour all ingredients into a small bowl and taste test.
  • Add a little more of any ingredient til you're happy with the flavour.
  • 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

Notes

Tips

  • Add an extra dash of lemon or lime juice just before serving to amp up that tangy flavour.
 

FAQs

  • 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. 
  • Is ponzu sauce gluten free? Ponzu sauce can be made gluten free as long as you use gluten free soy sauce. Check the label of your soy sauce first if you are concerned. 
  • 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 discarding any ponzu sauce that you have 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. 

Nutrition

Calories: 34kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2067mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 3mg | Iron: 1mg
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

    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. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kelly Anthony
    12/08/2019 at 10:04 pm

    I’ve never made a homemade ponzu sauce but I’m sure it is way better than what you buy already made in the grocery store.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      16/08/2019 at 4:00 pm

      Everything homemade always is – something so satisfying about making it yourself!

  • Reply
    David
    12/08/2019 at 8:45 pm

    I love the flavor of ponzu sauce! But I’ve only had it in restaurants, thanks for showing how to easily make it at home!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      16/08/2019 at 3:59 pm

      It’s such a unique flavour isn’t it! Just thinking about it has us craving a batch of shabu shabu hotpot!

  • Reply
    Danielle
    12/08/2019 at 7:33 pm

    I will have to make a big jar of this sauce because every dish needs a dipping sauce like this. It must be really flavorful from that citrus and soy combo!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      16/08/2019 at 3:58 pm

      Great plan! We’ll be doing the same. 😉

  • Reply
    Michelle Miller
    12/08/2019 at 6:11 pm

    Love a great dip to go with the best Japanese food. Thanks for this lovely and useful input!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      16/08/2019 at 3:58 pm

      The right dip just makes everything better don’t you think!

  • Reply
    Genevieve
    12/08/2019 at 4:43 pm

    Mmmmm this dipping sauce looks so good and dumplings are my hubby’s favorite. Pinning this for later!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      16/08/2019 at 3:57 pm

      Yum hope you guys enjoy – I could go some dumplings right now!

  • Reply
    Luci's Morsels
    14/03/2017 at 1:45 pm

    This looks delicious and now I suddenly have a craving for dumplings!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      15/03/2017 at 10:39 am

      Bahaha you have no idea how often that sentence is spoken in our household! ????

  • Reply
    Rae
    14/03/2017 at 11:08 am

    I never thought to use ponzu on stir fry so I’ve never made it before, going to have to change that. So simply and sounds yummy, perfect for week night dinners.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      15/03/2017 at 10:38 am

      It’s surprisingly versatile Rae! We’ve even found a few salad recipes calling for ponzu too – now that would be delish!

  • Reply
    Brandi Crawford
    14/03/2017 at 10:57 am

    Great photos! This dipping sauce looks amazing.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      15/03/2017 at 10:37 am

      Aww thanks Brandi, made our day. 🙂

  • Reply
    linda spiker
    14/03/2017 at 10:28 am

    What a wonderful dipping sauce! And so easy!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      15/03/2017 at 10:36 am

      Definitely a good one to know if you’re a dumpling or noodle addict like us! ????

  • Reply
    April J Harris
    14/03/2017 at 10:25 am

    I was so interested to read about the origins of the word Ponzu – it certainly does deliver lots of flavour. Love your homemade version – I always prefer to make my own sauces from scratch!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      15/03/2017 at 10:36 am

      Totally! It’s always so fascinating to learn the origins of a dish, even right down to the name. Thanks for stopping by April!

  • Reply
    Igor @ Cooking The Globe
    12/07/2016 at 3:38 pm

    Love it! I can already imagine dipping my favorite Gyoza dumplings into this sauce!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      14/07/2016 at 4:12 pm

      Hey Igor – awesome to hear from you! Yes, I’m afraid we basically drown our Gyoza in this sauce. Too good not too!

  • Reply
    Anne Murphy
    11/07/2016 at 2:02 am

    Terrific!

    Now that I don’t eat gluten, I can’t use the bottled sauce (because I need a gf soy sauce/tamari.) Recreating the sauces and seasonings I often used has been on my To Do List – you just saved me one!

    I can get bottled yuzu – I might try that, but I might just try the lemon/lime substitution… I always have them on hand!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      11/07/2016 at 11:54 am

      Yay! That’s awesome news Anne! So glad you can create them GF – such a good sauce to throw together. Hope it turns out amazing! 😀 (PS Super lucky you can get bottled Yuzu – we haven’t found any yet in our hometown!)

  • Reply
    Bintu - Recipes From A Pantry
    10/07/2016 at 10:39 pm

    Ponzu sauce goes well with dumplings. Can’t wait to make this recipe.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      11/07/2016 at 11:53 am

      Enjoy Bintu!

  • Reply
    Manju | Cooking Curries
    09/07/2016 at 8:08 am

    Ponzu sauce – I didn’t know about that. Love finding out new things about different ingredients and food! Love this dipping sauce recipe – I can already think of a million ways to use it with!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      11/07/2016 at 12:00 pm

      Totally Manju! If you find any new and awesome food combinations to have with it – we’d love to know!

  • Reply
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy
    09/07/2016 at 2:42 am

    Oh yum! I can just imagine dipping some delicious veggie spring rolls in to this.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      11/07/2016 at 11:59 am

      Oh yeh, that would be a great combination Dannii. You’ll have to let us know how you go!

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