How To Make Homemade Teriyaki Marinade

a bowl of homemade teriyaki marinade.

It’s easier than you think to make a homemade teriyaki marinade for beef, poultry and pork. This simple Asian marinade has only 7 ingredients and takes about 10 minutes to make. It’s a basic teriyaki recipe that you can customize with lots of variations. Make this teriyaki marinade for chicken thighs, london broil, pork tenderloin or even a good ribeye steak that’s destined for the grill.

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Setting out ingredients for Homemade Teriyaki Marinade.

I’ve made this homemade teriyaki for years and it’s too good not to share with you. Originally, the recipe for this Asian marinade came from Steve Raichlen’s book on Sauces, Rubs and Marinades {affiliate link}. I’ve included my own tweaks, tips and variations for you.

What is teriyaki?

Classic teriyaki sauce is actually more of an American thing, than Japanese. In fact, you won’t find this marinade on in kitchens or even as a preparation on menus in Japan.

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Teriyaki marinade was actually created by Japanese immigrants who settled in the Hawaiian islands. They mixed local ingredients like pineapple juice and ginger with soy sauce or Tamari, garlic and sesame oil for a unique flavor that’s become beloved across the states.

But Teriyaki isn’t just a marinade. It refers to the style of cooking. “Teri” literally meaning “shine” or “glaze” and “yaki” meaning “grilled”.

Read more about the History of Teriyaki Sauce here.

There are many iterations of teriyaki marinade and this homemade version is loaded with rich umami flavor with a tingly spice (from ginger and garlic) and a bit of sweet (honey). Marinating proteins with whole ingredients like garlic, ginger and scallions, give this homemade recipe a rustic look and authentic flavor.

whisking together the liquids for Asian marinade.

What you’ll need for homemade teriyaki marinade

  • Tamari
  • Mirin
  • Honey
  • Toasted Sesame Oil
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Scallions

Ingredient primer

The difference between Tamari & Soy Sauce

Tamari – You’ll sometimes hear tamari referred to as “vegan or gluten free soy sauce” but it’s much more than that. It’s thicker, richer and more balanced than soy sauce.

Tamari is made from the pressed liquids that come from making miso paste (fermented soybeans). As it ages, the flavors develop and become more complex.

Soy Sauce, on the other hand, is a brewed mixture of soy beans, wheat and grains. Soy sauce is cheaper than tamari, and though it’s commonly swapped in Americanized recipes, make this one with tamari. Your homemade teriyaki marinade is worth it.

What is mirin?

Mirin is a sweet cooking rice wine that’s lower in alcohol and sweeter than Shaoxing, which is lighter, more bracing and not fortified with the various carbohydrates that give Mirin its distinctive flavor.

Real mirin is subtly sweet, tangy and rich and is the secret behind many homemade Asian dipping sauces and marinades like this teriyaki.

Sometimes you’ll find Mirin labeled “aji-mirin”, which means “another class” or “tastes like”. For the purposes of this teriyaki marinade, it’s fine.

If you can’t find mirin, try rice wine or sherry with a little honey or agave.

What is toasted sesame oil?

Toasted sesame seed oil is literally made from toasted sesame seeds.

The aroma hits you in the face as soon as you crack open a bottle and you can taste the rich, warm, nutty flavor and that profile, that makes it so unique.

Toasted sesame oil makes all the difference in dipping sauces wok frying and in salad dressings. I think it’s a critical part of this recipe, but there are substitutes if you can’t find it.

Best aromatics for teriyaki marinade

This recipe uses aromatics like green onions, ginger and garlic in their whole form. There’s no need to do a super fine job of grating, chopping or mincing these ingredients.

Crushing or bruising and a rough chop will allow their essences to permeate the marinade.

To develop the ginger flavor in the marinade, slice it into thin cross sections, then mash it by laying the flat side of a wide chef’s knife or santoku over the ginger slice and whacking it firmly with your fist.

You can also give it a swift-whack with a meat mallet to crush the ginger and open up the cells.

To assemble the marinade simply add all of the ingredients into a bowl and whisk together. That’s it.


How long will homemade teriyaki marinade last?

It’s best used the day you’re cooking, because the green onions, garlic and ginger can become overpowering if you let them sit for longer.

How long should I marinate proteins in the teriyaki?

For larger cuts, like a pork roast 6-8 hours is sufficient.
For smaller things like chops, steaks and chicken pieces, 1-2 hours works well.
Small bits like shrimp, squid or fish, only need 30-60 minutes in the homemade teriyaki.

Can the recipe be doubled?

This makes enough for about 2 pounds of meat. If you’ve got more meat to marinate, yes, you can double the recipe.

Can I make a sauce from the Asian marinade?

As long as you’re making the sauce without marinating any meat chicken or seafood first, then yes.

To make a sauce, boil the ingredients down until the marinade is thicker, like syrup. Strain the ingredients through a mesh strainer, then use the teriyaki sauce to brush onto items for the grill or to season a stir fry.

Asian marinade variations

  • Orange Teriyaki: Add 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice to the marinade.
  • Pineapple Teriyaki: Add 1/4 cup pineapple juice to the marinade.
  • Lime Teriyaki: For a more tangy marinade, add 2 tablespoons of lime juice.
  • Spicy Teriyaki: Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes OR 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce.

More homemade marinades and rubs you might like:

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teriyaki marinade in a bowl.
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5 from 1 vote

Homemade Terriyaki Marinade

Adapted from Steve Raichlen’s Barbecue Bible Sauces Rubs and Marinades, this is a quick Asian marinade with tons of fresh, lively flavors. Enough to season about 2 pounds of meat.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Condiments, Marinade
Cuisine Asian Inspired
Keyword marinade, terriyaki
Dietary Restrictions Dairy-Free, Egg Free, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 cup


  • ¼ cup Tamari
  • ¼ cup Mirin
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 3 slices ginger 1/4″ thick, lightly smashed with a meat mallet
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 scallions smashed and roughly chopped


  • In a small bowl, combine the tamari, mirin and honey, stirring until the honey is dissolved. Add the dark sesame oil, ginger sices, garlic and scallions. Whisk to combine.
  • Pour over your pork, beef, poultry, seafood or vegetables and marinate. For large pieces of meat, 6-8 hours of marinading time is appropriate. For smaller cuts like pork chops or chicken pieces, 2-4 hours is enough and for very small protein (i.e. shrimp) 30-60 minutes is fine.


Makes a scant cup of marinade. This recipe can be doubled. 


Calories: 523kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 3699mg | Potassium: 225mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 50g | Vitamin A: 239IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg

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One Comment

  1. George Abernathy says:

    5 stars
    I’ve been looking for recipe like this and I’m looking forward to trying it out. By the way, I’m an advid reader of your site & have used several of your recipes & ideas.