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Homemade Teriyaki Sauce – Adapted From Aunt Emiko’s Famous Recipe

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce adapted from a treasured family recipe. Aunt Emiko made the most delicious teriyaki ever; I cut the sugar and kept the flavor.

teriyaki sauce

Aunt Emiko is not my aunt. Nope, she sure isn’t. But I would be happy to be a part of her family because she makes the best teriyaki sauce I have ever eaten. Back in 2008, I was at my friend’s family’s house spending time snuggling up her new daughter.

Right before dinner, I was asked to be her daughter’s godmother. I’m not sure if that amazing honor colored my tastebuds, but as I dipped their homemade rice patties into teriyaki, I gasped and said: “what is this”?! It made me sit up and demand a recipe.

To this day, I have a printed email in my homemade cookbook dated June 26, 2008, with a copy of the recipe. There is a specific note from my friend that says “this recipe is not locked up…unless you sell it”. To this day, that disclaimer still haunts me, because if I could bottle this and sell it, I would make billions. Teriyaki billions. Delicious, delicious billions.

teriyaki sauce

Upon wanting to write this post, I got special permission from the family (and extended family!) to share the recipe. I think I was granted the honored approval because I told them I adapted it a bit. I took something that was absolutely amazing and did my best to make it my own.

Why would I change something that was so perfect as is? The simple answer is the sugar. The original recipe called for more sugar than I was comfortable using for a savory sauce. Almost three cups of sugar is a lot for a dessert. It’s a ton for a marinade for chicken, tofu, and veggies.

One of my favorites parts of this adapted teriyaki sauce is that it uses what many consider a waste product in the kitchen. The humble pineapple core, mixed with water creates a practically free ingredient to use. I have used pineapple juice before when making teriyaki sauce and it has worked great.

But when I recently went to make it, I found an organic whole pineapple on clearance. I chopped it up to eat fresh, and put the core and some water in my Vitamix and let it blend for a few minutes. Worked like a charm and I got to use a discarded item to make something delicious. I then immediately turned around and used the fresh teriyaki sauce that night on my One Pan Teriyaki Chicken Dinner.

For the last nine years, I have adored Aunt Emiko’s teriyaki sauce, even though I adapted it. Do not get me wrong; the original was amazing. This version stands in the shadow of giants and shines as brightly as it can.

Making this recipe or others?

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teriyaki sauce
5 from 2 votes
Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce adapted from a treasured family recipe. Aunt Emiko made the most delicious teriyaki ever; I cut the sugar and kept the flavor.

Course: Condiments
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: easy homemade teriyaki sauce, healthier teriyaki sauce, low sugar teriyaki sauce
Servings: 30
Calories: 186 kcal
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan, and bring to a near boil, stirring often. 

  2. As soon as it starts to bubble, reduce to medium-low. Stir often and watch it carefully so the sauce doesn't burn.

  3. The cooking time will depend on the consistency you are looking to achieve. Expect it to cook down for 20-45 minutes. The sauce will thicken once it cools. I have made it thinner when I want to use it for a sauce or let it cook a little longer when I want to use it as a marinade. 

Recipe Notes

For the pineapple liquid, combine chopped pineapple core with a splash of water and process in a high-powered blender until smooth.

Please make sure you use reduced sodium soy sauce. I accidentally used the original stuff one time, and it turns out I made a flavorful salt lick.

Nutrition Facts
Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 186
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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6 comments on “Homemade Teriyaki Sauce – Adapted From Aunt Emiko’s Famous Recipe”

  1. Can I use rice wine vinegar instead?

  2. So much better than coming from a bottle!

  3. So awesome

  4. What was the original amount of sugar in the recipe mind my asking? i can’t wait to try this!