Teriyaki marinade is a Japanese mixture packed with tangy, savoury flavours and a rich sweetness. You can use this versatile glaze in so many ways, including marinating meat, salmon, shrimp, and vegetables.
As huge fans of teriyaki chicken rice bowls, we had to master the best teriyaki marinade recipe that is tasty and incredibly easy. It's the perfect glaze because it's simple to make and can be used on various proteins and veggies. So, let us show you how to make teriyaki marinade and up your cooking game.
What is teriyaki marinade made of?
Teriyaki marinade is made of soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic and ginger. However, in our recipe, we add a few more ingredients to spruce up the marinade further.
Furthermore, consistency is the main difference between teriyaki glaze and teriyaki sauce.
The marinade is a thinner, more liquid mixture of ingredients used to soak meat, poultry, or seafood before cooking. Meanwhile, we typically use teriyaki sauce as a dipping sauce or glaze for cooked dishes. It is a thicker, more viscous condiment.
While teriyaki sauce can be used as a marinade, it is not ideal. The thicker consistency of teriyaki sauce can make it difficult for the glaze to penetrate the meat, poultry, or seafood. This can result in a less flavourful dish.
To make this easy teriyaki marinade recipe, you will need the following:
- Soy sauce
- Brown sugar
- Distilled white vinegar
- Vegetable oil
- Grated fresh ginger
- Dried onion flakes
- Minced garlic or garlic powder
- Cornstarch (optional)
- Worcestershire sauce (optional)
When selecting the perfect soy sauce for your teriyaki marinade, choosing a high-quality option for the best flavour is crucial. Our favourite soy sauce brand is Kikkoman.
You should opt for Japanese soy sauce, such as Tamari or Usukuchi Shoyu. Tamari has a slightly thicker texture and rich taste, making it ideal for adding depth to the glaze. Meanwhile, Usukuchi Shoyu has a milder, more delicate flavour and is often used in recipes where a lighter colour is desired.
Tamari and Usukuchi Shoyu offer a smooth, balanced flavour profile with a pronounced umami taste. These soy sauces are traditionally brewed and aged. So this results in a complex depth of flavour that will take your glaze to the next level.
However, if you want more control over the saltiness of your mixture, you should go for a low-sodium soy sauce. We will be using Usukuchi Shoyu in our Japanese teriyaki marinade recipe.
When selecting a sweetener for your teriyaki marinade, it is best to use dark brown sugar. Dark brown sugar contains a higher molasses content, giving it a deeper flavour profile. The molasses adds a subtle caramel-like sweetness and enhances the overall complexity of the glaze. Furthermore, dark brown sugar will provide a robust and well-rounded taste that pairs beautifully with the other ingredients in your glaze.
You can use white sugar instead of brown sugar. However, it will give a more neutral taste. Alternatively, you can also use honey, maple syrup or agave nectar.
How to Make Teriyaki Marinade
This teriyaki marinade recipe is relatively straightforward to make.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, distilled white vinegar, vegetable oil, Worcestershire sauce, grated fresh ginger, dried onion flakes and garlic powder. Whisk the liquid mixture until the sugar has dissolved.
- If you prefer a thicker glaze, mix in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. This will help the sauce cling to the protein or vegetables more effectively.
- Taste the mixture and adjust the flavours if needed. You can add more sugar for sweetness, soy sauce for saltiness, or ginger for a stronger kick.
- Your Japanese teriyaki marinade is now ready to use. Pour it over your choice of protein or vegetables in a container or zip-top bag. Make sure to fully coat the ingredients with the glaze. Then, let the protein or vegetables marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to enable the flavours to infuse. For the best results, marinate for a few hours or even overnight to achieve maximum flavour.
You can prepare this easy teriyaki marinade recipe beforehand, making it convenient for meal planning or preparation. Marinating your protein or vegetables closer to when you plan to cook them is best. This will ensure that they are fresh and flavourful. Marinating for too long can make the ingredients overly tender or even mushy, especially if using proteins like seafood or delicate vegetables.
- You can alter the sweetness and saltiness of your mixture. Teriyaki marinade should strike a balance between sweet and salty flavours. If you prefer a sweeter glaze, you can increase the amount of sugar or add a touch of honey. Conversely, if you like a saltier mixture, add more soy sauce.
- While the base recipe is delicious, you can get creative and add extra ingredients to customise your homemade teriyaki marinade. Consider adding a dash of toasted sesame seeds for a nutty edge. Additionally, you can also add a squeeze of fresh citrus juice or a pinch of red pepper flakes for a subtle kick.
- Use fresh minced garlic and grated ginger rather than pre-packaged versions for the best flavour. The fresh aromatics will infuse the marinade with more vibrant and pronounced flavours.
- To store your homemade glaze, transfer the teriyaki marinade to an airtight Tupperware or jar and keep it in the refrigerator. It can last for up to 1-2 weeks when properly stored. Remember to label the Tupperware with the date of preparation. When you're ready to use the dressing again, take it out of the refrigerator and give it a good stir or shake to mix the ingredients well.
- If you want to extend the shelf life of the mixture, you can freeze it. Place the mixture in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag, leaving some space for expansion. You can store your glaze in the freezer for up to 3 months. You must thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before using it, and give it a good stir or shake to recombine any separated ingredients.
How to use Teriyaki Marinade
Authentic teriyaki marinade is a flavour-packed concoction that can elevate any dish. Still, it is essential to know that marination times and methods can vary for different types of proteins and vegetables. This plays an important role in determining the final flavour and tenderness of the dish.
The unique characteristics of each ingredient, such as thickness, density, and moisture content, require specific marination approaches. Failure to account for these differences can result in a dish that falls short on flavour, even with a unique glaze.
When storing marinated items, using a container or a zip-top bag is best. You should do this to ensure the item is fully coated with the glaze. A zip-top bag is particularly convenient as it removes excess air and ensures that the marinade makes direct contact with the items.
Teriyaki Marinade recipe for chicken
We recommend using boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts for the best results. Thighs are particularly juicy and tender, while chicken breasts offer a leaner option.
Slice the chicken into approximately 1-inch thick slices, allowing the chicken teriyaki marinade to penetrate evenly. This will result in a more flavourful and succulent dish.
You can keep the marinated chicken in the fridge for up to 48 hours. However, transferring the marinated chicken to the freezer is best if you intend to keep it longer. Your marinated chicken can last up to 1 month when stored in the freezer.
However, you may want to add specific ingredients, like fresh ginger or garlic, to the glaze on the day of cooking. This is because they may lose their potency and flavour after being frozen.
The minimum recommended marination time for chicken in homemade teriyaki marinade is around 30 minutes. This allows the flavours to permeate the meat. However, we recommend marinating the chicken for 2 to 4 hours or even overnight for optimal results. The longer marination time allows the chicken to absorb the flavours more deeply. This results in a more pronounced teriyaki taste.
Chicken is a very versatile protein. So various options yield delicious results. Grilling the marinated chicken imparts a delicious smoky flavour and creates beautiful grill marks.
Meanwhile, oven-baking provides even and moist results. An air fryer can give the chicken a crispy exterior while keeping the inside tender. You can easily experiment with different methods to discover your favourite way to use teriyaki marinade for chicken.
Teriyaki marinade for steak and beef chunks
There are a few considerations to ensure maximum flavour infusion when marinating steak or beef chunks with a homemade teriyaki marinade. Slicing the protein into thin, uniform pieces, approximately ½ to 1 inch thick, allows the glaze to penetrate effectively. This ensures that every bite is packed with delicious teriyaki goodness. You can also add on some capital sauce for a fantastic fusion dish.
You can marinate the steak and beef chunks like chicken for at least 30 minutes. However, marinating it for 4 to 6 hours or even overnight is ideal for the best results.
For quality reasons, you can store the marinated meat in the freezer for up to 1 month. When you want to use your meat, thaw it in the fridge and use it within 24 hours.
The best way to use this teriyaki marinade recipe for steak and beef is by grilling. Grilling allows the meat's natural flavours to shine, adding a delicious smoky char that complements the glaze.
To use teriyaki marinade for beef or steak on the grill, you need to first set the grill to medium-high heat. Then, remove the beef or steak from the glaze, allowing any excess glaze to drip off. This prevents excessive flare-ups on the grill. Place the beef or steak directly on the grill grates and cook according to your preferred doneness. Remember to flip once halfway through the cooking process.
Keep a close eye on the meat while grilling to prevent it from being overcooked or burnt. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the beef or steak reaches your desired level of doneness.
Teriyaki marinade for salmon
When marinating salmon with an authentic teriyaki marinade, the slicing technique is slightly different to ensure optimal absorption of flavours. It's best to slice the salmon into fillets or steaks. Slice the salmon into individual serving-sized portions, typically 4-6 ounces (about 120-170 grams) each. This allows the marinade to infuse into the fish while preserving its delicate texture.
You can store the marinated salmon in the refrigerator. However, we recommend cooking it within 24 to 48 hours for the best quality and flavour. This teriyaki marinade recipe helps enhance the salmon's taste. But over time, the texture and freshness of the fish may start to deteriorate. Therefore, cooking the salmon as soon as possible is ideal to enjoy its optimal taste and texture.
You can also store marinated salmon in the freezer for up to 1 month. Freezing helps preserve the quality of the salmon and allows you to enjoy it later.
The best way to cook teriyaki salmon is by oven baking. Oven baking allows the teriyaki marinade flavours to infuse into the salmon while maintaining its natural moisture. It also provides a lovely caramelised glaze on the surface, enhancing the taste and presentation of the dish.
Once you cook the salmon to perfection, you can serve it alongside steamed rice. Stir-fried vegetables or a fresh salad also work for a complete and satisfying meal.
Teriyaki Tofu marinade
Now let's look at how to use teriyaki marinade for tofu. You generally want to use firm or extra-firm tofu. These tofu varieties have a higher protein content and a denser texture. This allows them to hold their shape and absorb the marinade's flavours effectively. It's best to slice the tofu into smaller, bite-sized pieces or cubes to ensure optimal glaze absorption. We found that this will give you in a more flavorful and well-seasoned outcome.
For the best quality and flavour, you should cook the marinated tofu within 24 to 48 hours if you store it in the refrigerator. Tofu has a relatively short shelf life in the fridge, and its texture and taste can deteriorate over time. Store the tofu in airtight tupperware or its original packaging submerged in the teriyaki marinade to maintain freshness.
If you prefer to store the marinated tofu in the freezer, it can be kept for up to 2 month. Freezing tofu alters its texture, making it chewy and firmer. It's advisable to freeze the tofu before marinating. This is because soy sauce has a low freezing point. The soy sauce will not freeze well and will lose its flavour. Add these ingredients to the glaze on the day of marination for the best results.
You can pan-fry or stir-fry tofu. It creates a lovely texture contrast between the crispy exterior and the soft tofu interior. Additionally, these methods allow the teriyaki flavours to infuse throughout the dish, making for a delicious and flavourful meal. Enjoy your deliciously cooked teriyaki tofu, and feel free to customise your recipe.
Some vegetables that work well for teriyaki marinade include bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and carrots. These vegetables have a firm texture and can absorb the flavours of the marinade beautifully. Furthermore, slicing the vegetables into bite-sized pieces or strips allows the glaze to coat the vegetables evenly and enhances the flavour infusion. Cutting them into uniform pieces also ensures that they cook evenly.
If you store the teriyaki marinade sauce vegetables in the refrigerator, it is recommended to cook them within 24 to 48 hours for the best quality and flavour. Vegetables have a limited shelf life, and their texture and taste can deteriorate over time.
Store the marinated vegetables in an airtight container or a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator to maintain their freshness. However, it's important to note that some vegetables may release water or become soggy when marinated for an extended period. This will affect their texture and overall quality.
We do not recommend storing the marinated vegetables in the freezer. We've realised that freezing will significantly alter the texture and consistency of most vegetables, causing them to become mushy and lose their crispness. Therefore, we recommend eating your marinated vegetables within a short period after refrigeration rather than freezing them.
The best way to cook teriyaki vegetables is by stir-frying or grilling them. These methods allow the vegetables to absorb the flavours of the glaze while retaining their natural crunch. Alternatively, you can also try our Chinese white sauce recipe and add it to some vegetables for a satisfying meal?
Teriyaki Marinade Sauce Recipe
- Put all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk the ingredients until the sugar dissolves. And this easy teriyaki marinade is ready!
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimate.