If you have some savory teriyaki sauce that you bought from a grocery store or made at home and you plan to use in a recipe, it’s important that it has the right viscosity.
If you find yourself with a marinade that is too watery, it won’t coat the vegetables or meat that you would like to use it on adequately, and you’ll end up missing out on enjoying the full flavor of the teriyaki sauce.
Luckily, there are some super-simple ways you can make your teriyaki sauce thicker so you can get a more generous coat of it onto your meal. Check out the methods below, and then try out the homemade teriyaki sauce recipe included at the end of the article.
How to Thickening Teriyaki Sauce
There are an array of options to choose from when it comes to methods for thickening a teriyaki glaze. You can use these methods to thicken other sauces, as well, so don’t limit yourself to utilizing them for your teriyaki marinade alone.
Some of these methods only require one ingredient, and one does not even call for an ingredient aside from your teriyaki sauce, so there is something for everyone in regards to how much food you have at your disposal. There is also one thickening method included that is ideal for the vegans reading this article.
1 – Oil or Butter
A very simple way that you can thicken your teriyaki marinade and other sauces is by adding cold butter, vegetable or other types of oil, or any other form of fat to it. This can be a great option for if you do not have any cornstarch or flour on hand.
Heat up your teriyaki sauce, and gradually add your preferred form of fat to it, continuously stirring the mixture as you do so. Use a little at a time, and see how thick it becomes before putting more into the sauce.
You can keep adding more and more fat until your sauce reaches the desired thickness. Remove the teriyaki glaze from the heat and use it how you wish.
2 – Cornstarch Slurry
A very popular method for thickening glazes is cornstarch slurry. Cornstarch is known for giving body to sauces, so it makes sense to use it for thickening your teriyaki marinade.
All you need to do is combine equal parts of cornstarch and water in a bowl, and then gradually add it to your teriyaki sauce while it is being cooked in a saucepan over medium heat.
Keep stirring the mixture into the glaze until it has thickened to the viscosity you want it to be. Once you have removed your sauce from the heat, you can pour or brush it onto your meal.
3 – Flour Slurry
The flour slurry works in the same way as the method above, but instead of utilizing cornstarch, you use flour. Just as above, you need to combine equal parts of flour and water in a bowl, and then slowly add it to your teriyaki marinade while it cooks over medium heat on the stovetop.
Once it has gotten as thick as you would like it to be, take it off the heat and use it on meats, veggies, noodles, or rice.
4 – Beurre Manié
This method can allow you to make a thickening agent ahead of time that you can throw in the freezer and use later if you wish. It is called beurre manié, and all you need to make it is softened butter and some flour.
Similarly to the methods above, it uses equal amounts of both ingredients. Leave the butter that you plan to use outside on your counter until it has gotten soft, and combine it with an equal amount of flour in a bowl.
Once you have gotten the ingredients blended together well, knead the dough out into small balls or cubes that are about half the size of a marble.
To use them, add one to your teriyaki sauce while it is simmering, mixing it in with a whisk. Bring the marinade to a boil once you have added as many of the pieces of beurre manié as you would like.
Cook the sauce for an additional minute. After you remove the marinade from the heat, pour it on your meal, put the remaining beurre manié in a sealed container, and place them in the freezer for easy access when you need a thickening agent in the future.
5 – Roux
This method is very similar to the beurre manié method described above in that it uses both butter and flour to create a thickening agent. However, it differs in that it utilizes butter that has been melted in a pan rather than room-temperature butter.
Keep in mind that you can also use oil for your roux instead of butter.
First, add a tablespoon of butter (or oil) to a saucepan over medium heat, and get it melted. Once the butter has melted, add a tablespoon of the flour, and if you are using oil, simply heat it up with the flour from the start.
Whisk the butter and flour together in the pan while it is being heated. After it has reached the consistency of a paste, remove it from the heat.
Make sure that when you add your roux, you only do it while your teriyaki sauce is warm or cooled off, never when it is hot.
6 – Nut Paste
A brilliant option for the vegans out there trying to thicken their teriyaki glaze is a paste made from nuts. The best types to use are almonds and cashews.
Simply throw some nuts into a food processor and blend them up until they transform into a paste-like consistency. If you do not own a food processor, you can also turn the nuts into paste using a fork and some muscle power; this just requires more effort and time.
Add the paste to your sauce while it is warm on the stovetop, and stir the mixture until the two ingredients are combined. You may need to mash up more nuts if your teriyaki glaze is not as thick as you would like it to be after putting in your first round of paste.
If you are using the fork method rather than a food processor to make the paste, make sure that you mash up enough before you start heating your sauce so you do not need to shut the stovetop off to make more paste. It will only take a moment to use a food processor, so this does not pose as much of an issue in this case.
Naturally, this thick nut paste will provide your marinade with more body. Along with this, it can add an interesting nutty flavor to your teriyaki sauce that you might end up falling in love with.
7 – Reduce the Sauce
One way to thicken your teriyaki sauce is by removing some of the water from it by way of evaporation.
In other words, you can boil out some of the moisture. This is called reduction, and it can take between 15 and 20 minutes to do.
Teriyaki sauce, in particular, is best to reduce over low heat on the stovetop. This will keep the glaze from burning and sticking to the saucepan, and it will give you more control over how thick the marinade becomes.
You can add a little bit of water to the sauce if you accidentally reduce it for too long and it becomes overly thickened.
On the other hand, if it is not becoming as thick as you would like after a long time heating it, you may need to utilize one of the methods detailed above to add more body to the teriyaki sauce.
Homemade Teriyaki Sauce Recipe
You can quickly and effortlessly make your very own teriyaki marinade as long as you have a few ingredients. This way, you can make it as thick as you would like to begin with.
Here are the ingredients you will need for this recipe:
- 1 cup water + ¼ cup cold water
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic
- 5 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 or 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
Making your own teriyaki glaze is incredibly simple.
First, take out a pan, place it on the stovetop over medium heat, and add the cup of water, honey, soy sauce, ground ginger, brown sugar, and garlic to the pan. Stir the ingredients together.
While this cooks over the stove, put the cornstarch and the quarter-cup of cold water in a bowl. Combine the two ingredients together using a whisk until the cornstarch has fully dissolved.
Now, add the cornstarch mixture to the ingredients cooking on the stovetop, and continually stir the sauce while it is being heated.
Once your homemade teriyaki marinade has reached the viscosity you prefer, you can remove it from the heat and use it to add flavor to anything you wish. For some ideas in this regard, you can take a look at some great ways to use your marinade below.
Best Ways to Use Teriyaki Sauce
Here are some of the best foods to use your teriyaki sauce on. Not only will it enhance them, but it will add some moisture to the foods.
Roasted Chicken Breast
Chicken is versatile and so is teriyaki sauce, so of course these two foods go wonderfully together.
You can marinate your chicken breast overnight in a delicious teriyaki sauce before throwing it in the oven on a lower temperature for a longer amount of time, or you can pop it in your slow cooker for several hours.
This will really help the glaze seep deep into the chicken, infusing your meal with that savory flavor.
Angel Hair Pasta
If you are going to opt for teriyaki chicken or other meats with your sauce, you can accompany them with angel hair pasta or other types of noodles that are also covered in a teriyaki glaze.
Teriyaki marinade goes great with salmon and other fish dishes. It gives it an extra punch that you didn’t even realize it needed.
Fried rice is quite dry on its own, so adding some teriyaki sauce to the mix can really moisten it. It also adds some much-needed flavor to both fried and white rice.
What better way to help your vegetables taste better than by pouring teriyaki marinade over them?
This is also a great option for sautéed vegetables, such as onions. Pour the teriyaki sauce onto them while they are being fried on the stove.
One way to make stir fry even more delicious is by adding teriyaki sauce to the mix. Oftentimes, people will use soy sauce, but teriyaki incorporates other flavors too, making stir fries even tastier.
Grilled Beef Steak
There are some people out there who do not believe in putting any sauces on their steak, but teriyaki can make beef more savory and moist. It also works well on strips of steak that are used in Asian dishes with noodles.
It makes sense that a teriyaki glaze would go great with sushi, considering there is soy sauce in it, which is often used on seafood. Try pouring a bit of teriyaki onto your next sushi roll.
As you can see, teriyaki sauce can be utilized for many different dishes. It is particularly delicious with meals inspired by those commonly found in East Asia.
It adds flavor to otherwise bland foods such as rice and noodles, and it works well in combination with the flavors of various meats and vegetables, making it an extremely versatile marinade.
The sauce is many people’s favorite for a good reason: it’s absolutely delicious and it’s easy to make on your own with only a few ingredients, most if not all of which are probably already in your pantry.
Perhaps the best feature of this glaze, however, is how incredibly simple it is to transform it into a thicker marinade. And this is only one way that you can customize any teriyaki sauce to fit your tastes.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.