Teriyaki Marinade

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    1 cup

Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

Americans are familiar with teriyaki. It’s served everywhere, and “teriyaki” sauces and marinades are readily available in all supermarkets. Unfortunately, most of what you find there is not very good. Teriyaki really is a very simple mixture, but to be its best, it requires the best ingredients. For more on sake, mirin, and soy sauce.

Teriyaki is actually the name for a grilling technique. Teri translates to “glossy” and yaki to “grilling.” The method involves constantly brushing marinade on skewered foods (fish, meats, and vegetables) cooked over hot coals. The grilled food attains a rich lacquered color and a delicious sweet-salty flavor. Basic teriyaki includes just 4 ingredients, but you can add all sorts of additional flavorings, such as fresh ginger, citrus juices like lime or orange, honey in place of the sugar, hot chiles or chile pastes. . . . Grilling with teriyaki is a bit of an art because the sugar in the marinade can easily burn if the coals are too hot. Pan-roasting, as in Teriyaki Sea Bass on Spinach, simplifies things and tastes just as good.


  • cup sake (rice wine)
  • ½ cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • cup soy sauce (I like Japanese soy sauce, called shoyu, or tamari for this)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar


Combine the Sake and mirin in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the soy sauce and sugar and continue to cook until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.