Is Teriyaki Sauce Vegan and Gluten-Free?

is teriyaki sauce vegetarian

Teriyaki Sauce is a thick, sweet and spicy, gluten, and oil-free, savory and flavory condiment, that is definitely a delicious craving on tofu, tacos, pasta, mushroom noodles, rice bowls, veggie burgers, onion tossed bell pepper sprinkled salad, pan-fried oyster mushrooms and so on!

A commercial version of Teriyaki sauce contains soy sauce (check vegan status), a sugar resource (honey, table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc.), salt, spices, vinegar and few preservatives like sodium benzoate.

In the term “Teriyaki,” noun “Teri” indicates the lustrous shine of the sugar in the tare (Japanese sauce dipping), and “yaki” means cooking techniques like boiling, grilling, etc. It is used to prepare Japanese cuisines, where any meat steaks, fish burgers, or food is grilled and glazed with a tasty mixture of mirin, soy sauce, and sugar, which is the teriyaki sauce! Teriyaki sauce has no fish oils, and sugar is mostly rendered a standard vegan food product.

What is Teriyaki Sauce? 

A thick, sweet version of our famous spicy soy sauce, ‘teriyaki sauce,’ has applications like roasting, stewing, etc., on teriyaki tossed dishes. The ingredients of the teriyaki are tempered on a chef’s own variations of creativity, depending on personalized vegan/non-vegan lifestyle!

Never assume that the restaurant made teriyaki sauce will always be vegan. However, the core composition of a teriyaki sauce is generically plant-based, though sometimes, it may contain honey.

Recipe of honey-made teriyaki sauce may be considered as a non-vegan ingredient, according to many vegans. However, since honey is too expensive, most places use sugar to sweeten the sauce-spice. Again, North Americans regard the decent white sugar chunk ‘non-vegan,’ as the white color is infiltration from cattle bones char.

Ingredients of Teriyaki sauce 

 is teriyaki powder vegan

The teriyaki sauce recipe is mainly a manifestation of four constituents-

  • Soy sauce made by wheat, water, soybeans, ethyl alcohol, and salt
  • Ginger puree
  • Sweetener as honey or white/brown sugar
  • Mirin/sake which is an alcohol type
  • It also adds fruit juice, starch, wine, vinegar (check balsamic vinegar vegan status), garlic, locust bean powder, oil, chili, flavor, etc.

Vegan Ingredients 

For prudent vegan, organic sugar is a perfect sweetener, as USDA regulations guarantee it not being processed by bone char, also indicated by its brown color that it is processed minimally. You can also search for beet sugar, in the brand-label of the fish oil-free teriyaki sauce bottle.

Also Read: Can vegans have Jellyfish?

Vegan-friendly, healthier, refined teriyaki sauce, for a tasty life, is best obtained from home-made recipes, where you can quickly make, sweet and simple, vegan-restaurant stylized, teriyaki-sauce, with just a few ingredients, ready in your pantry, like, dark-brown sugar/sugar-free/pure maple syrup (Learn maple syrup’s vegan status), low-sodium, gluten-free tamari or soy sauce with coconut aminos, etc.

Non-Vegan Ingredients

Non-vegan of teriyaki cooking sauce ingredients may include-

High Fructose Corn Syrup, Honey or White Sugar, Dehydrated Garlic, Fish Oil, Modified Starch corn, Water, Spice, Succinic Acid and Lactic Acid (check if lactic acid is vegan).

Tare sauces like teriyaki, have sweeteners present in the mix, which can be honey, obtained from honey-bee, and white, processed sugar by filtering cattle bone chars. So, many vegans claim these as potential non-vegan ingredients, present in the teriyaki sauce.

Lactic Acid is a PETA listed animal-derived ingredients, like lactose. An organic acid found abundantly in animal tissues, milk/dairy products, but it is produced in the industry by Bacterial Fermentation. 

Vegan Teriyaki Sauce Brands 

is kikkoman teriyaki sauce vegan

Traditional Teriyaki Japanese-styled sauce is made of chicken or beef and fatty fish like Salmon, Hamachi, or Mackerel. Grilled on hot coal, brushed with sweet soy tare, boiled with mirin wine and sake, the sauce is stirred up to a glossy, shiny, syrupy, thick consistency of clean flavor, which is replenished in restaurants for decades. A well-balanced salty-sweet sauce that is applied to grilled meat with plenty of umami punches, has as its contenders, the following consumer rated brands, on ten:

  • Tabasco Brand Spicy Teriyaki Sauce (4.5/10) 
  • Yamasa Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce (4.9/10)
  • Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce (4.1/10)
  • Homemade Serious Eats Recipe (7.3/10)

American-styled Teriyakian sauce is an all-catch term for sweet-and-salty, soy-based, Asian heavy ginger-garlic-sesame flavored sauce, with the readymade zest of citrus juice for marinating or serving the meat. Its four brand contenders are consumer-rated on ten: 

  • Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki (5.7/10)
  • Kikkoman Original Teriyaki Takumi Collection (5.8/10) 
  • Annie Chun’s Gourmet Teriyaki (7.1/10)
  • San-J Teriyaki Stir-Fry & Marinade (4.6/10)

Overall, commercially, brands of American-style, are better with its distracting flavors over the overt salty harshness of thin Japanese styled textures. However, Soy Vay Veri (American) and Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade (Japanese) brands are preferred by pure vegans, and Mr. Yoshida’s Sweet Teriyaki Marinade and Cooking Sauce are perfect for non-vegans for its lactic acid contents.


Teriyaki is a Japanese word for meat or veggie delights, which is Teriyaki marinated, and coal-grilled and served with the same sauce version. So, if you feel, chickening out, and ordering teriyaki and not sushi, you have now educated yourself about the magical secret of what makes teriyaki sauce trigger our cravings for chicken or veggie sizzlers more than even nourishing sushi-delicacy with friends!

Now is a great time to elevate your home-made, healthy, and refined cooking of stir-frying salmon/chicken to veggie ‘snap tasters’, experimenting artistically with a gluten-free and paleo-friendly vegan diet, just as you wish! You can check our scrutiny on other condiments like tomato ketchup, BBQ Sauce, Sriracha Sauce, Soy Sauce for its vegan status.

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