Teriyaki Sauce: Guide To Its Nutrition and Health Benefits

Gunjan Sooden

June 19, 2022

Teriyaki Sauce is a flavourful Japanese sauce commonly used in cooking. People use the sauce as a marinade for various preparations, including meat, fish and vegetables. This easy to make sauce adds a rich, flavourful glaze to dishes. Besides adding a sweet and salty taste to rice, noodles, stir fry vegetables and protein, teriyaki sauce can also provide several nutritional benefits if you use it effectively.

The word Teriyaki is a derivative of the Japanese words, ‘tare’ meaning glaze and ‘yaki’ meaning cook. This marinade is soy sauce-based with contents like brown sugar, mirin and sake with ginger and garlic added for flavour. Like the Japanese, we can also use teriyaki sauce in our daily cooking routine to make delicious dishes and improve our health. 

The combined benefits of ginger, garlic, soy sauce, mirin, etc., make the teriyaki sauce a good source of proteins and other nutrients. It also has negligible amounts of fat, but the high amounts of sodium in the sauce make people generally wonder if it is an excellent choice to have the sauce daily. However, with the proper cooking techniques and mixing with nutrient-rich food products, teriyaki sauce can be a healthy source of iron, B Vitamins, magnesium, etc. 

Nutritional Values of Teriyaki Sauce

As per USDA, hundred grams of teriyaki sauce holds the following nutritional properties: 

  • Energy: 89 kcal
  • Protein: 5.93 g 
  • Fat: 0.02 g 
  • Carbohydrate: 15.6 g 
  • Sugars: 14.1 g
  • Magnesium: 61 mg
  • Iron: 1.7 mg
  • Phosphorus: 154 mg
  • Sodium: 3830 mg

Teriyaki Sauce and its Nutritional Benefits

The federal guidelines recommend that one can consume less than 2300 milligrams or one tablespoon of Teriyaki sauce per day. While a large amount of sodium present in them can be harmful, there are several other nutritional benefits that teriyaki sauce provides us, which are below:


Carbohydrates are responsible for providing the human body with the energy required to perform daily tasks. Carbs constitute most of the calories present in teriyaki sauce, and most of these come from sugar. One tablespoon of this sauce has 2.5 grams of carbohydrates, out of which 2.2 grams are in the form of sugar. Therefore, it makes teriyaki sauce a rich source of Carbohydrates. 

Vitamins, Minerals and Proteins

The presence of ingredients like soy sauce, garlic, ginger, etc., in the sauce provides us with some amounts of magnesium, iron, phosphorus, etc. These are the critical minerals that teriyaki sauce provides us.

The presence of soy sauce in Teriyaki sauce makes it a rich supplier of sodium. So, the marinade has proved to be very good for people with low sodium levels. Studies have found that a person must have 2300 mg of sodium daily. So, just taking one tablespoon of Teriyaki sauce every day will meet more than 25% of this limit. However, overconsumption can lead to higher amounts of sodium in the body which can be unhealthy. 


The amount of fat present in teriyaki sauce is negligible. Therefore, people wishing to reduce fat content in their bodies can use this marinade instead of others with far more fat content to add flavour to their food items. Fat, however, is still an essential nutrient for the body, which is why teriyaki sauce is not for people who are running low on fat. In such a case, we recommend adding olive oil while grilling chicken or fish and the marinade. 


Another added advantage of teriyaki sauce is its negligible calories. The Japanese sauce only possesses 14 calories per tablespoon, unlike many other marinades that contain 70 to 80 calories per serving. So, teriyaki sauce would not add a lot of extra calories to the meat, fish or vegetables you use the sauce with. Thus, teriyaki sauce is a good marinade addition if you aim to follow a healthy diet. 

Teriyaki Sauce and its Health Benefits

One adds teriyaki sauce in small amounts. The presence of essential vitamins, minerals and proteins is relatively small, but they can still provide us with some health benefits. Because of certain ingredients like soy sauce, garlic, ginger, etc., they possess some nutritional qualities of their own. Some of the health benefits of teriyaki sauce are as follows:

Protect from Some Types of Cancers

The presence of soy sauce in teriyaki sauce makes it capable of preventing certain kinds of cancer like prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women. Also, soy sauce is a rich source of isoflavones which can act as phytoestrogens (a plant-based compound that can act as estrogen in our body), and they are capable of reducing the risk of the type mentioned above of Cancers. 

Helps Manage Weight

Teriyaki sauce has a negligible amount of fat. Therefore, if you wish to reduce your weight and control it, you can switch a marinade to teriyaki sauce. Furthermore, the insignificant amount of calories in this Japanese sauce also hardly add any to the existing calories of meat or fish. Thus, you can have delicious and juicy meat soaked in teriyaki sauce without worrying about any extra calories. Furthermore, you can save up to 100 calories by having teriyaki chicken instead of fried chicken. 

Boosts Immunity

Garlic is one of the essential ingredients in teriyaki sauce. Garlic is known to provide several nutritional and health benefits, one of which is boosting our immune system. In addition, garlic has qualities that help you fight off germs and eliminate them to improve your well-being. Intaking teriyaki sauce daily will thus also provide you with the benefits of garlic and strengthen your immunity. 

Improves Digestion

Ginger is another essential ingredient in teriyaki sauce. Ginger is quite famous for having the enzymes capable of digesting your food well and expelling any excessive gas. Thus, the intake of teriyaki sauce as your marinade daily will also provide you with the qualities of ginger, thus improving your digestive process. 

Potential Allergic Reactions

Teriyaki sauce contains soy sauce and if you are allergic to it, intaking the marinade can cause allergic reactions. Some of the allergic reactions caused by soy include

  • Redness in skin
  • Tinkling sensation in the mouth
  • Itching in skin
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Swelling in lips, mouth, tongue, etc.

If you are allergic to soy sauce, you can prepare teriyaki sauce by using substitutes that you prefer, like liquid or coconut aminos, tamari, fish sauce, miso paste, etc. However, tamari cannot work as a substitute for people who have gluten allergies as it is from wheat. 

Teriyaki Sauce and its Different Varieties

There are several varieties of teriyaki sauce available at the stores, and one can also prepare them. Some types include soy-free, low-sodium, sugar-free, organic varieties, etc. Even spicy varieties of teriyaki sauce or onion-flavoured ones are available at stores to fulfil the interests of different customers. 

Storage and Food Safety of Teriyaki Sauce

You can safely store teriyaki sauce for 12 to 18 months. Studies have also found that it can sometimes go up to 3 years after purchase without getting stale. Refrigerating the sauce will increase its lifespan further. However, this is only applicable for store-bought teriyaki sauce as it contains effective preservatives. We recommend you throw away any homemade teriyaki sauce after a month itself. 

How To Prepare Teriyaki Sauce: Simple Recipe

Making teriyaki sauce at home is very simple and hardly time-consuming. However, you can prepare this marinade and make it a regular part of your cooking routine with the recipe below. 


  • Soy sauce: ¼ cup
  • Honey: According to taste
  • Brown sugar: 4 tsp
  • Garlic: ¼ tsp
  • Ginger: ¼ tsp
  • Water: 1 cup
  • Cornstarch: Just enough to make a paste with ¼ cup of water 


  • Take a cup of water
  • Add ¼ cup of soy sauce to the cup of water.
  • Add honey if you prefer it.
  • Add four teaspoons of brown sugar to the cup.
  • Add ¼ teaspoon of ginger and garlic, respectively.
  • Cook the mixture well for one minute.
  • Take ¼ cup of water, add cornstarch to it and add it to the now cooked mixture.
  • Continue cooking till the sauce thickens.
  • Transfer the cooked mixture to a jar and use it.

You can easily prepare the sauce using the above recipe. You can even refrigerate and use it for up to a couple of weeks. The flavours of teriyaki sauce mature over time. If you wish to use the teriyaki sauce as a marinade, you must omit the cornstarch part from the sauce’s recipe. Similarly, you can skip the cornstarch if you want healthy, low-calorie stir fry. 

Storage options for homemade Teriyaki Sauce

Place the teriyaki sauce in an ice cube tray, then take out each cube and add to your favourite recipes. You can also freeze the sauce flat in freezer bags or a plastic container.

Teriyaki sauce that has been kept refrigerated for at least a year will keep its optimum quality.


Teriyaki sauce will provide some nutritional and health benefits when consumed correctly. The flavourful marinade can add a lot of taste to your grilled chicken, tofu, or meat. In addition, the low amount of calories in teriyaki sauce makes it a better marinade over others in this aspect. But it is important to remember that the high amount of sodium in teriyaki sauce can harm us, so one must consume the same in moderate quantities.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is Teriyaki Sauce made of?

A. Normally, teriyaki sauce is made conventionally by the Japanese using soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin and sake. The westernised version of the sauce additionally uses honey, garlic and ginger to add flavour. There are also other varieties of this sauce available based on palates. There are soy-free, low-sodium, sugar-free, and organic varieties available easily. 

Q. What does Teriyaki Sauce taste like?

A. Teriyaki Sauce tastes savoury, sweet and salty, all in a perfect blend, making it an ideal marinade for your meat and fish. Some describe that teriyaki sauce tastes like soy sauce mixed with honey, which is a somewhat accurate description of its taste. 

Q. What is the difference between soy sauce and Teriyaki Sauce?

A.The main difference between soy sauce and teriyaki sauce is that the former tastes salty and the latter is sweet. Soy sauce is an ingredient in teriyaki sauce, thus being responsible for giving the marinade a salty taste. Another difference is that soy sauce is mainly used for pickling or additive purposes, while teriyaki sauce is a base. 

Q. Is hoisin sauce the same as Teriyaki? 

A. Hoisin Sauce is a Chinese item based on fermented soya beans, while teriyaki sauce is a Japanese item. Hoisin Sauce is comparatively saltier than Teriyaki as it tends to be sweeter. 

Q. Is Teriyaki sauce healthy?

A. While the low amount of calories in teriyaki sauce makes it healthy, the presence of sodium in the sauce in abundance makes it unhealthy. Therefore, the amount of sauce consumed daily determines whether the sauce will prove to be beneficial or not. 

Q. Is there alcohol in Teriyaki Sauce?

A. A small amount of 2% alcohol or sake is added while preparing teriyaki sauce to add flavour to the marinade. It is, however, burned off during cooking. Therefore, the toned-down versions usually are alcohol-free. 

Q. What do you eat Teriyaki Sauce with?

A. You can use teriyaki sauce with various food items like fish, chicken, beef and pork. One can use it as a dipping sauce for meats like chicken, fish, etc., and seasoning adds additional flavours to vegetables and meats. 

Q. Is Teriyaki Sauce sweet or salty?

A. Teriyaki sauce has both sweet and salty, which provides us with a unique taste. The salty taste of the marinade comes from soy sauce. 

Q. Is Teriyaki supposed to be sweet?

A. Yes, conventionally, teriyaki sauce is sweet. The sweetness comes from honey with the salty taste of the soy sauce. These marinades can also be spicy based on the required flavour. 

Q. Can you use soy sauce instead of Teriyaki Sauce?

A. Soy Sauce cannot replace teriyaki sauce as the former is popularly used for pickling purposes while the latter is a food additive. In addition, soy sauce has a salty taste, which may not act as a good food additive, so it cannot replace the salt and sweet flavours provided by teriyaki sauce. 

About the Author

Gunjan Sooden graduated from Delhi University with a degree in nutrition and dietetics. She is passionate about helping people understand the value of healthy eating, cooking, and food & nutrition in their fitness journey. Eating healthy, she believes, should not be boring. With experience as an intern in the food sector, she is best at exploring and producing recipes using local, day-to-day ingredients. This generation differs from the previous one. We need to figure out quick ways to make our regular meals healthier and more delicious. Because this is our current way of life, we must balance being busy while still being able to eat healthily, right?

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