mason jar full of vegan teriyaki sauce with a knob of ginger and some sesame seeds next to it

Vegan Teriyaki Sauce (Date Sweetened!)

Do you love classic takeout-style flavors, but not all the questionable additives? Teriyaki sauce is a staple in the modern Japanese-American repertoire, beloved for its bold sweet and salty flavors. But with those flavors comes loads of sugar. That’s why I love this date-sweetened vegan teriyaki sauce — it packs a flavor punch while using mostly whole plant foods. I promise, it won’t taste “healthy.” Give it a try and you’ll see!

Why Is Teriyaki Sauce Not Vegan?

Most teriyaki sauces are vegan. If they aren’t, it’s usually because they contain honey or beef-derived ingredients. Make sure to double-check labels, and when in doubt, look for a “certified vegan” label or confirmation on the brand’s website.

Is Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce Vegan?

Yes, according to Kikkoman’s website, their teriyaki sauce is vegan. The brand has a wide range of teriyaki products, all of which are vegan except for their “Teriyaki BBQ-Sauce with Honey.” The following Kikkoman products are vegan:

  • Teriyaki Marinade
  • Less Salt Teriyaki Marinade
  • Teriyaki Sauce with Toasted Sesame
  • Teriyaki Sauce with Roasted Garlic
  • Gluten free Teriyaki Marinade

Other Product Options

While Kikkoman is the most popular option, there are plenty of other brands available at well-stocked supermarkets.

How To Make Vegan Teriyaki Sauce At Home

I’m a big advocate for store-bought shortcuts, and teriyaki sauce is no exception. By all means, keep a bottle or two in your pantry for busy weeknights! But if you’re wanting to amp up the flavor and lighten up the ingredients a bit, you’d be surprised at how easy it is to make your own. All you need is a blender and a few common ingredients!

First, soak some dates in hot water. This will make them easier to blend. The dates, combined with some molasses, act as a replacement for refined sugar in the recipe. And as an added bonus, I love the deep, caramel flavor they lend the sauce!

Drain the dates and add them to a blender, along with the rest of the ingredients (full recipe listed further below). Blend until completely smooth.

Transfer to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes, or until thickened to your liking.

Remove from heat and cool before storing in the refrigerator or freezer.

Storing and Freezing Your Sauce

Refrigerator: This sauce keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a sealed container. I like to keep mine in a mason jar if I know I’ll be using it that week. If not, I’ll freeze it.

Freezer: To freeze the teriyaki sauce, cool it completely, then transfer it to a freezer safe plastic or reusable back. Squeeze all the air out before sealing tightly. Date and label the bag and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months. Then, just it in the refrigerator the night before you want to use it.

Serving Suggestions

My favorite way to enjoy this sauce is in my vegan chicken teriyaki recipe. The sauce coats the vegan chicken pieces gorgeously! You end up with a deeply caramelized, sweet-salty chicken dish that’s heavenly over rice with some green beans or broccoli on the side. It’s a great meal prep option, as it stays good in the fridge for 3-5 days.

You can also use the sauce as a marinade for tofu or tempeh, or just toss it with some wok-seared vegetables!

mason jar full of vegan teriyaki sauce with a knob of ginger and some sesame seeds next to it

Vegan Teriyaki Sauce

This date-sweetened vegan teriyaki sauce is a lighter version of the classic with no refined sweeteners — but all the bold, punchy flavor. I was first inspired by Richa Hingle's recipe in her book "Vegan Richa's Everyday Kitchen" — and thus came the inspiration for this sauce.
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 5 minutes
Course Sauces and Condiments
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 2 cups

Equipment

  • blender
  • saucepan

Ingredients
  

  • 20 medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Instructions
 

  • Soak the dates in hot water for 15 minutes.
  • Drain the dates and add them to a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until very smooth.
  • Transfer the sauce to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring so the bottom doesn't scorch.
  • Remove from the heat and let cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 6 months.

Notes

Gluten free: To make this GF, use tamari instead of soy sauce.

Did you try this teriyaki sauce recipe?

Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to rate 5 stars!

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