This thick teriyaki sauce is an easy homemade recipe that you can make in just a few minutes with pantry staples you have on hand. It is sweet and spicy and perfect for brushing over grilled chicken, meatballs, or stirring into a stir fry.
When you need a thick teriyaki sauce for brushing over grilled chicken or glazing your favorite pork chops, it is best to make this easy homemade teriyaki sauce recipe vs. buying a prepared jar of teriyaki at the store.
Bottled teriyaki sauce is very thin and runny and will not work nearly as well for glazing meats.
But this thick teriyaki sauce is rich and hearty and will definitely stick to chicken so much better!
I love to use it alongside my favorite teriyaki meatballs from Costco for a budget-friendly dinner in a pinch.
Why This is the Best Recipe
With just a few key ingredients on hand in your pantry, this is the best homemade teriyaki sauce recipe because:
- You can control the level of sweet vs. spicy.
- You can adjust how thick or thin the sauce is with a simple tweak.
- You can make the whole recipe in just a few minutes on your stovetop.
- There's no special skills or equipment required.
- You can pronounce everything that goes into the recipe! No preservatives or hard-to-find ingredients required.
It is really likely you have everything you need to make this quick recipe in a pinch:
- Soy Sauce
- Dried Ginger
- Minced Garlic
- Brown Sugar
How to Make It
Making this thick teriyaki recipe is so very easy, all you need to do is measure all the ingredients except the cornstarch and add them to a sauce pan.
Whisk them together and cook over medium-high heat until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken:
In a small measuring cup, whisk the cornstarch into COLD water with a fork.
This will help prevent any lumps of cornstarch in your teriyaki sauce.
Pour the cornstarch into the sauce pan while whisking to prevent any lumps from forming.
Then simply stir the sauce with a spoon until thickened.
This should take just 1 - 2 minutes total:
You know the teriyaki sauce is thick enough when you can see trail lines from your spoon as you drag it through the sauce.
This rich and thick teriyaki sauce is perfect for glazing chicken or salmon but I especially love to use it with the pineapple teriyaki meatballs from Costco.
I make a simple pineapple teriyaki meatballs stir fry and use this sauce as the base served over jasmine rice.
I also love to thread the meatballs on skewers and grill them. I brush this thick teriyaki over the grilled meatball skewers and serve. SO GOOD.
You could also substitute this teriyaki sauce in my stir fry beef and broccoli recipe.
This teriyaki sauce is my favorite variation to swap for my sweet and sour meatballs in the Crockpot.
Make Ahead Tips
You can make this homemade teriyaki sauce recipe several days in advance and just keep it stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
It should keep for a week or so.
I rarely make it in advance because it is so quick and easy I can pop it onto the stovetop while I'm prepping the rest of dinner.
My favorite variation to this recipe is to use Mike's Hot Honey in place of regular honey.
This turns the recipe into a spicy teriyaki that pairs so well with the dinners we love to use it with.
Mike's Hot Honey isn't too spicy though and my kids never mind when I use it in these delicious hot honey recipes.
If you don't have Mike's Hot Honey, you can add a sprinkle of cayenne powder or crushed red pepper flakes if you want a spicy teriyaki sauce for your recipe.
If you prefer a seafood version of this dish, you should check out this rock cod in ginger soy sauce recipe. It has very similar flavors but uses light fish.
More Teriyaki Sauce Recipes
If you have chicken thighs on hand, you could substitute the marinade on my honey garlic chicken thighs and use this teriyaki instead.
Thick Teriyaki Sauce
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup cold water
- Measure and add the soy sauce, water, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, and honey into a medium sauce pan.
- Whisk it all together and cook over medium-high heat until it starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.
- In a separate container, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water until smooth.
- Whisk the cornstarch mixture into your sauce pan and heat through. The sauce should thicken considerably in 1 - 2 minutes.
- If the sauce gets too thick, add a splash of water to thin it out. Keep warm until ready to use.
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