We Tried 10 Brands to Find the Best Teriyaki Sauce
Need a shortcut for homemade stir-fry? Snag a bottle of store-bought teriyaki sauce. Our Test Kitchen loved Panda Express and these other brands.
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Searching for the Best Teriyaki Sauce
As much as we enjoy ordering takeout, we can’t ring up our favorite Asian restaurant every night. That’s when it’s time to give easy stir-fry recipes a go at home.
The secret to many of these stir-fries (along with marinades, grilled skewers and appetizers) is a bottle of pre-made teriyaki. This Japanese sauce is a shortcut for adding plenty of savory, salty flavor with a kick of ginger and garlic. But before you whip up this teriyaki-glazed mahi mahi, make sure you’re uncorking a bottle of the best teriyaki sauce.
How We Tested Teriyaki Sauce
To find the best store-bought teriyaki sauce, our Test Kitchen squad picked up 10 different brands. These sauces varied from big names to smaller brands with serious internet followings; our team wants to cover all their bases!
Like all our taste tests, our team sampled each sauce without knowing its identity. This helps our team avoid any biases they may have going in. For this test, our team judged solely on flavor. Since the texture and appearance of this sauce are often masked or diluted as it’s added to recipes, these factors didn’t matter much to our team.
As for the flavor, our pros kept this in mind: Teriyaki sauces and marinades are typically made with a blend of essential Japanese ingredients like soy sauce, vinegar, ginger and garlic. Occasionally mirin and pineapple juice are added. While recipes vary, our team was looking for a sauce that was tangy and slightly sweet. Whether that sweetness comes from brown sugar or fruit juice matters not to our pros. Our team just wants a shortcut sauce that tastes great!
Check out the four options our pros called Test Kitchen-Preferred.
Best Teriyaki Sauce for Homemade Stir-Fry
Panda Express Mandarin Teriyaki Sauce
Most of the time when you reach for store-bought teriyaki sauce, it’s to make a stir-fry or other Asian-inspired dish. For these recipes, our Test Kitchen recommends Panda Express Mandarin Teriyaki Sauce. Yep, the fast-food chain famous for its orange chicken makes sauce you can take home!
This sauce is thick with deep, caramelized flavor, says Sarah Tramonte in the Test Kitchen: “It’s so good—well-balanced between sweet and salty.” This balance is achieved by combining the just-right blend of soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, lemon juice and cayenne. Each of these ingredients works together in perfect harmony to create a bright and savory sauce.
Beyond the excellent flavor, the honey-thick consistency of this sauce makes it ideal for coating your favorite mix of Asian veggies and proteins for a fuss-free stir fry. All you have to do is stir this into the pan and toss for an easy weeknight meal. The ease and great flavor are exactly what our team wants when creating dishes like this chicken stir-fry and other Panda Express copycat recipes.
Best Teriyaki Sauce for Marinating
P.F. Chang’s Teriyaki Sauce
Planning on using bottled teriyaki sauce as a marinade? Make sure you pick up a bottle of P.F. Chang’s Teriyaki Sauce.
That’s right, the home of your favorite lettuce wraps sells teriyaki sauce right at the grocery store. This sauce is not only perfect for making P.F. Chang’s copycats but our Test Kitchen says this is the sauce for marinating proteins.
“It’s mildly smoky,” explains Sarah. That smoky flavor is a great way to amplify the charcoal flavors from your grill or to add smoke when you’re making something like crispy baked tofu in the oven.
In addition to the smoke flavor, this sauce has a nice level of salt (not too much!) and a bit of pineapple juice. Both of these ingredients help to tenderize meat, so it’s a great choice when making something like a stir-fry that uses a tougher cut of beef.
Blended together, the smoke, salt and pineapple—as well as ginger, garlic and chili paste—create a terrific teriyaki that’s worth having on hand for marinading (or even making a riff on P.F. Chang’s lo mein).
Best Garlic-Forward Teriyaki Sauce
Kinder’s Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce
We know there are lots of garlic fanatics out there. And by garlic fanatics, we’re talking about the folks that add 10 cloves of garlic to a recipe that calls for two (no shame!). So for those folks, our Test Kitchen recommends Kinder’s Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce.
According to Josh Rink in the Test Kitchen, “It’s more garlic-y than a traditional teriyaki sauce but very good!”
The minced garlic combined with the sweet sesame flavor in this sauce gives it a unique sweet-savory balance that begs you to keep eating. That can’t-stop-won’t-stop flavor pairs perfectly with appetizers that use bottled teriyaki sauce like our sticky sesame cauliflower, sesame chicken sliders and Hawaiian skewers.
Best Spicy Teriyaki Sauce
Sky Valley Organic Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki sauce doesn’t typically have a lot of heat, but that doesn’t mean it’s not welcome! Sky Valley Organic Teriyaki Sauce has a touch of spice, and it’s why our Test Kitchen loves it so much.
“The spiciness in this brand is really tasty,” says the Test Kitchen’s Catherine Ward. That kick is courtesy of a good dose of red pepper flakes and ginger puree. Ginger is a warming ingredient that can really amp up the feeling of spice in a dish.
While it’s not traditional, this heat along with citrus notes makes Sky Valley’s teriyaki a nice change of pace. Our team suggests using it when you want to switch up the flavor of your go-to stir-fry. “I also think it would be great brushed onto grilled shrimp,” Catherine suggests. With this sauce, try making teriyaki salmon.
Check Out More Test Kitchen-Preferred Products
Our Test Kitchen is constantly testing food, kitchen gadgets and cleaning gear looking for brands that deserve the right to be called Test Kitchen-Preferred.
If you want to fill your pantry and fridge with the best products, check out these tests: