Asian food tastes so good because of the flavorful sauces, like teriyaki sauce. The best store bought teriyaki sauce can rival chef-made sauces in the best Asian restaurants. The delicious sauce gets its inspiration from teriyaki cooking, where chefs brush a sweet and salty sauce on grilled proteins like meat or fish.
Teriyaki sauce brands often include ingredients like soy sauce, Sake, and sugar. The best bottled teriyaki sauce is usually slightly thicker than the chef-made sauces in Asian restaurants. You can use the store-bought sauces as marinades and in stir-fry dishes.
The Best Bottled Teriyaki Sauce Brands Reviews
Several bottled teriyaki sauces are available on the market, but not all of them taste great or coat food properly. We tested these five sauces.
1. Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce and Marinade
Kikkoman is one of the most recognizable names in store-bought sauces. Their teriyaki sauce and marinade had a salty flavor that was light on sweetness. Each tablespoon of sauce has 610mg of sodium and only two grams of sugar, making it a salty choice.
The first few ingredients in the Kikkoman brand includes naturally brewed soy sauce, wine, and high-fructose corn syrup. In the soy sauce, the main components include water, wheat, soy, and salt. A few ingredients into the list, Kikkoman had more salt added, which explains why it has such a high sodium count.
The sauce is not very thick, and the fluid viscosity makes it slide off meat and vegetables. Sadly, this sauce doesn’t taste much different than soy sauce either.
In fact, many people add cornstarch, pineapple, or brown sugar to enhance the flavors. However, if you are looking for a low-carb option, Kikkoman has minimal carbs and sugar, making it appropriate for a Keto diet when eating in moderation.
One of the benefits of the Kikkoman sauce is that it comes in a large bottle. If you enjoy eating soy sauce and teriyaki sauce, the large bottle means you can use it in several meals.
2. La Choy Teriyaki Sauce
When you look at the ingredients in this sauce, you will see similar nutritional values as the Kikkoman sauce. The Kikkoman sauce has 610 mg sodium per tablespoon, whereas the La Choy brand has 620 mg of sodium. Both brands have two grams of sugar. It will immediately tell you that La Choy is highly salty, but not very sweet.
The La Choy Teriyaki Sauce has significantly more ingredients than the Kikkoman brand. The first ingredient is soy sauce, but with corn syrup and hydrolyzed soy protein in it. Therefore, La Choy teriyaki sauce comes with unwanted fillers and chemicals, like caramel color and potassium sorbate as a preservative.
Despite having only two grams of sugar in the nutritional list, there is significantly more sugar in this sauce. Sugar is the second ingredient in this sauce. Corn syrup follows sugar on the list. Then, there is also pineapple powder to add more sweetness to the sauce.
The La Choy sauce is one of the thickest on the market. Whether you use it as a marinade or a dipping sauce, it sticks to food and adds a delicious sweetness. The only problem with the sauce is that the sweetness comes from so many chemicals and preservatives.
This sauce functions as a cooking sauce and as a dipping sauce. Because it is so sweet and has so much sodium, you probably want to eat it in moderation.
3. Mr. Yoshida's Original Sweet Teriyaki Gourmet Marinade & Cooking Sauce
Mr. Yoshida’s sauce has ingredients that Japanese chefs would use. It has 460 mg of sodium and eight grams of sugar. Like the other brands on the list, soy sauce is the first ingredient. The second ingredient is sugar, followed by high-fructose corn syrup. After the sweeteners, Mr. Yoshida’s sauce includes mirin, which is a traditional ingredient.
The sauce does not have pineapple. It does have corn starch and sunflower oil to help thicken it and stick to food. You can always add pineapple tidbits to make the sauce more Hawaiian.
Like the Kikkoman sauce, the limited number of ingredients means adding other ingredients to it and using it on several dishes. Some people add hot sauce and other ingredients to use on ribs or other grilled foods. It is flavorful, neither too sweet nor too salty.
Mr. Yoshida’s sauce has a perfect viscosity that makes it stick perfectly to grilled foods. It is not runny, and it is not thick.
4. Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce
The Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce also has a significant amount of sodium. Each tablespoon contains 590 mg of sodium. This sauce contains seven grams of sugar. Soy Vay takes pride in having a limited amount of ingredients. Soy sauce is first, followed by sugar, pineapple juice, and vegetable oil. The sauce does not have any preservatives.
Adding a twist to the flavors, it also has garlic, ginger, and sesame oil. The two oils make the sauce stick to foods, but not with the same thickness of Mr. Yoshida’s sauce. The sauce is delicious, and many people add ingredients like cubed pineapple, sesame seeds, and scallions to make it even better.
The versatile sauce separates when in the bottle, so you should shake it to mix the oils and soy sauce. Compared to the other brands, Soy Vay sauce is a bit more expensive. However, for some specialists, the flavor is worth the added expense.
Soy Vay is a kosher version of teriyaki sauce. When eating this sauce, you can taste the bits of garlic and ginger. Traditional teriyaki sauce does not have these flavors, but American palates appreciate both of them.
5. Panda Express Chinese Mandarin Teriyaki Sauce
Panda Express has cornered the market on fast-food Asian cuisine. Their dishes are full of flavor and priced right. Their Mandarin Teriyaki sauce has 480 mg of sodium per tablespoon, but it has the most sugar of any of the sauces on this list at 13 grams per tablespoon.
Soy sauce is the first ingredient, with sugar second. It also includes food starch to thicken it and two other unexpected ingredients: lemon juice and rice. While it does not contain MSG, it does have artificial colors and some other chemical elements. Remember that all of the teriyaki sauce brands on this list do not have MSG listed in their ingredients.
This sauce has a proper viscosity, as the food starch thickens it, so it sticks to food. It functions well as a cooking sauce, but it works well as a dipping sauce, too. If you like the teriyaki sauce served at the Panda Express restaurants, know that the bottled sauce sold in stores is slightly sweeter.
More Information on Teriyaki Sauces
The word “teriyaki” — translates into glaze and grill, exactly what teriyaki chefs do; they glaze the meat and grill it with the sweet and salty teriyaki sauce. Unlike many other Asian sauces, chefs use teriyaki to finish a meal, rather than to cook in. Therefore, the sauce needs to taste delicious right out of the bottle.
Teriyaki sauce often brings to mind sweeteners like pineapple and brown sugar. These sweet additions to the sauce come from Hawaii, as immigrants from Japan brought the sauce to the tropical islands. Japanese chefs did not initially add pineapple to teriyaki, but when they began cooking in Hawaii, the homegrown fruit added a delightful flavor to their dishes.
People have a common question about teriyaki sauce, whether it is appropriate for a low-carb diet, like Keto. Teriyaki sauce is supposed to be sweet, which means it has sugar and other types of sweeteners. If you want a low-carb version of teriyaki, there is only one on the list. It has a low-carb count, but it does have sugar. All of the sauces on this list have various amounts of sugar and carbohydrates.
Rating the Sauces
When determining the best store-bought teriyaki sauce, we looked at several factors. They include flavor, viscosity, versatility, and ingredients. We looked at what the sauces had in the ingredients, what they didn’t have, and what we didn’t want to see.
Teriyaki sauce shouldn’t have an overwhelming sweet, sour, or salty taste. All of the flavors should meld together and delight the senses. Unfortunately, some sauces have an overwhelming salty or sweet flavor, especially when it comes to store bought options.
Viscosity that Coats Food
When applying teriyaki sauce to proteins or vegetables, it should have a perfect balance of viscosity — neither too runny nor too sticky. It should be a bit sticky, so it coats the food. Some store-bought sauces have too much cornstarch in them, so they are too thick. Others are too runny, so they do not cover food.
Versatility in Recipes
Chefs use teriyaki sauces for more than just a sauce for meat and fish. You can use teriyaki as a dip for potstickers. Some chefs like to put teriyaki sauce in ground beef to give their burgers a zing. Chefs use teriyaki as a base for chicken wings, too. Unfortunately, not all teriyaki sauces work well in alternative recipes because they have too many artificial flavors.
Finally, the best store-bought teriyaki sauces should have delicious ingredients. The best choices have flavorful but straightforward ingredients. They don’t come with artificial flavors and other chemicals.
Most store-bought teriyaki sauces are for Western palates. The sauces usually do not have Sake, and many do not have Mirin. Some have garlic, ginger, or more sugar than you might expect to satisfy a Western sweet tooth. It is also common to find pineapple juice in teriyaki sauce, especially in Hawaii.
When looking at ingredients, there are a few that you do not want to see. One of those is MSG — monosodium glutamate. Asian chefs often add MSG to their meals, but as a recent study suggests, the ingredient can overly stimulate nerve cells in the brain. MSG is known as an excitotoxin and can have harmful neurological effects when people overeat.
Asian chefs use MSG because it enhances the flavor. It looks like table salt. The flavor of MSG excites the umami flavor of the meat. Human taste buds react to umami, and MSG excites them even more.
Another ingredient you do not want in your teriyaki sauce is high-fructose corn syrup. It is another form of sugar and has a reputation for being even less healthy. High-fructose corn syrup often adds extra calories to sauces, and it can also affect the flavor of teriyaki.
Sodium and Sugar Levels
Teriyaki sauce naturally has high levels of sodium because it has a base of soy sauce. Asian chefs have been using soy sauce for centuries. The high salt content comes from the use of minimal ingredients and leaving it to ferment for months. However, many companies make their soy sauce with a speedy chemical process.
To balance the high sodium content, it helps to have a sweet teriyaki. The sweetness should come from ingredients like sugar or pineapple juice. It shouldn’t come from corn syrup. When shopping for teriyaki sauce, you should look for one that has soy, wheat, salt, and a fermenting agent. Anything else means it isn’t traditional teriyaki sauce.
Which One Should You Get?
When comparing these five store bought teriyaki sauces, the best is Mr. Yoshida’s. It has a bit more viscosity due to the cornstarch and combination of oils. It is the only teriyaki sauce that includes mirin, which is a traditional ingredient in Japanese teriyaki. Mirin is similar to Sake because of its properties identical to that of rice wine. However, it has more sugar and less alcohol than Sake.
The second best sauce is the Soy Vay sauce because of its slightly sweeter flavor than other brands. The sugar, pineapple juice, and vegetable oil make it sticky and viscous, so it is ideal for cooking sauce or dipping sauce. Both Mr. Yoshida’s and Soy Vay have simple ingredients, so they have more versatility than the other sauces with preservatives and artificial ingredients.