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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.

5 from 2 ratings

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
teriyaki sauce
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.



  • Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan, and bring to a near boil, stirring often. 
  • As soon as it starts to bubble, reduce to medium-low. Stir often and watch it carefully so the sauce doesn't burn.
  • 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. 


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.


Calories: 186kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Condiments
Cuisine: Japanese
Tried this recipe?Mention @sustainablecooks or tag #sustainablecooks!


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Helping you serve up budget-friendly sustainable recipes with a side of balanced living.
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    1. 2 3/4 cups! Plus mirin which has sugar in it (sweet seasoning) so that is like adding fudge on top of chocolate ice cream. LOL.