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

4 Ingredient Yakitori Sauce

05/05/2022

This 4 Ingredient yakitori sauce is the perfect Japanese seasoning to have in your repertoire. While it’s traditionally used for yakitori chicken skewers, you can use it at home for all your favourite Japanese creations!

Pouring yakitori sauce into a small dish.

Why We Love This

Whip up a batch of homemade yakitori sauce in 2 minutes!

This recipe is super adaptable so feel free to play with the ratios and get it just how you like it – add more soy sauce to make it saltier, or more mirin or sugar to make it sweeter. 

Making your own homemade sauces is also a great way to avoid artificial flavours or preservatives

Related: Gyoza Sauce / Ponzu Sauce / Yakisoba Sauce

Japanese grilled chicken sauce in a white dish.

What is Yakitori Sauce? 

Yakitori sauce (also known as yakitori tare / 焼き鳥 タレ) is a Japanese condiment most used as a basting sauce and glaze when cooking yakitori chicken skewers

The name is made from the words yaki (grilled) and tori (bird). Tare (pronounced tareh) means sauce, just like in unagi tare (eel sauce) or miso tare (miso sauce). 

The sauce is made from a blend of soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar. Even though it’s primarily used for chicken in Japan, the flavour pairs perfectly with other grilled meats or vegetables (with or without bamboo skewers) as well.

We usually get yakitori at Izakaya, Japanese-style pubs, as they’re easy to eat as a pre-dinner snack or while having after work drinks. We love them alongside plates of tori karaage (fried chicken), gyoza (pork dumplings), potato salad and daikon pickles!

What You’ll Need

  • Soy Sauce – For the best flavour and quality, use a Japanese soy sauce such as Kikkoman which has the perfect balance of flavour and salt. Chinese or Korean soy sauces may be too salty or bitter for this recipe, 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. 
  • Cooking Sake – 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 in this recipe. Look for it at Asian grocers or online. Sub with sherry or a blend of 50:50 vodka and water in a pinch.
  • Mirin – 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 an extra 1 tsp of sugar instead. It adds sweetness and glossy shine to the sauce (and therefore to anything you baste it with!)
  • Sugar – White or brown sugar are perfect as they dissolve easily. Sub with maple syrup or honey if you like.
Jar of yakitori sauce with spoon.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Storage – Store in an airtight container or glass jar in the fridge. Old empty soy sauce or teriyaki sauce bottles work great. just be sure to clean and sterilise them before use. Yakitori sauce will last a long time when stored in the fridge.

FAQs

Can I make yakitori sauce without alcohol?

Yes, you can remove the alcohol by using water instead of sake and mirin, and adding extra sugar to compensate for the sweetness. Remember that the alcohol in the original recipe will evaporate during the cooking process, leaving you with the beautiful flavour and shine only.

What else can I use it for?

Yakitori sauce is great as a simple substitute for teriyaki sauce. Use it as a marinade for beef bulgogi, grilled chicken, pork or fish, or as a basting or finishing sauce for tsukune meatballs, grilled onigiri rice balls (yakionigiri) or Japanese burgers. You could even blend it into a simple wafu style salad dressing.

Variations

A small dish of Japanese yakitori sauce alongside a jar.

More amazing Japanese creations to try next:

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

Yakitori sauce in a shallow dish with small spoon.

4 Ingredient Yakitori Sauce

This 4 Ingredient yakitori sauce is the perfect Japanese seasoning to have in your repertoire. While it’s traditionally used for yakitori chicken skewers, you can use it at home for all your favourite Japanese creations!
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Course: Basics, Condiment
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 1 Jar
Calories: 138kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pour the soy sauce, mirin, sugar and sake into a small bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
    2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp mirin, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp sake
  • Use immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight jar until you’re ready to use.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage – Store in an airtight container or glass jar in the fridge. Old empty soy sauce or teriyaki sauce bottles work great. just be sure to clean and sterilise them before use. Yakitori sauce will last a long time when stored in the fridge.
  • Savoury Flavour – Stir in finely chopped garlic, ginger, toasted sesame seeds or sesame oil
  • Make it Spicy – Add shichimi togarashi or chilli powder to taste.
  • Add Citrus – Try it with a splash of lemon or lime juice.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
4 Ingredient Yakitori Sauce
Amount per Serving
Calories
138
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
1
g
2
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Sodium
 
2271
mg
99
%
Potassium
 
80
mg
2
%
Carbohydrates
 
29
g
10
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
21
g
23
%
Protein
 
4
g
8
%
Calcium
 
8
mg
1
%
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
4 Ingredient Yakitori Sauce

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