Teriyaki Vs Soy Sauce (Differences, Uses, Which Is Better + More)

Soy sauce and teriyaki sauce are common ingredients in Japanese cuisine that add tons of fantastic color and flavor to dishes.

However, you may be wondering what the difference is between teriyaki sauce and soy sauce. I looked up the facts, and here’s what I learned!

Teriyaki Vs Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a fermented condiment that’s dark in color and has salty and savory flavors. Teriyaki sauce is an amber-colored sauce that is used to glaze meats and fish before grilling, and soy sauce is the base of teriyaki sauce. Soy sauce is very versatile in the kitchen whereas teriyaki sauce is used as a glaze, marinade, or dip.

Do you wish to learn more about soy sauce and teriyaki sauce? Check out the rest of this article to find out!

What Is Soy Sauce?

Soy sauce is a salty and savory liquid condiment invented in China, and soy sauce was originally created as a way to stretch salt because salt used to be expensive.

Additionally, soy sauce is created by fermenting soybeans with salt, water, and occasionally wheat to create this condiment.

Since soy sauce is a very popular kitchen staple, many countries have adapted soy sauce into their cuisine and have made their variations of soy sauce.

For instance, light soy sauce is a staple in China whereas sweet soy sauce or kecap manis is popular in Indonesia.

What Is Teriyaki Sauce?

Teriyaki sauce is a salty and sweet amber-colored sauce that is commonly used to glaze meat and fish before grilling the meat and fish.

Funnily enough, one of the main ingredients of teriyaki sauce is soy sauce because soy sauce is usually the base of teriyaki sauce.

Technically, teriyaki is a cooking style that involves grilling meat or fish marinated in soy sauce.

However, teriyaki sauce involves soy sauce and some other ingredients, so the mixture of these ingredients is commonly called teriyaki sauce.

While teriyaki sauce is a popular sauce in Japan, this sauce was created in Hawaii by Japanese immigrants during the 1960s.

What’s The Difference Between Soy Sauce And Teriyaki Sauce?

Soy sauce is very versatile in the kitchen because you can use soy sauce in many different ways, which includes seasoning, marinade, and more.

On the other hand, teriyaki sauce is traditionally used only as a glaze or marinade for meat, meaning teriyaki sauce has fewer uses than soy sauce.

However, it is possible to use teriyaki sauce for other purposes like sauces and dips, but soy sauce has much more versatility in the kitchen.

What Is Soy Sauce Used For?

What Is Soy Sauce Used For?

Soy sauce is a very adaptable liquid condiment, so soy sauce can be used in most recipes for different purposes which include seasoning, marinating, dips, coloring, and more.

As mentioned earlier, soy sauce can be used in marinades and sauces, which includes teriyaki sauce.

However, how you use the soy sauce will mostly depend on what type of soy sauce you have.

For instance, light soy sauce is a popular soy sauce in Chinese cuisine, and light soy sauce is normally used as a seasoning because light soy sauce has a salty and mellow flavor with a lighter color.

Another example is sweet soy sauce, and sweet soy sauce is a dark, thick sauce with a very sweet flavor, which is why most Indonesian recipes will use it for satays.

You can occasionally substitute different types of soy sauces for each other, but you may have to tweak the soy sauce.

For example, you can add a pinch of salt into dark soy sauce and dilute it with a bit of water if you want to use it like light soy sauce.

What Is Teriyaki Sauce Used For?

Teriyaki sauce is typically used as a glaze or marinade for fish and meats before grilling the fish and meats, but it is possible to use teriyaki sauce in recipes that will be broiled or baked in an oven.

However, many people can use teriyaki sauce for different recipes that teriyaki sauce is not traditionally used for, such as dips and sauces to accompany meats and vegetables.

Which Is Better, Teriyaki Sauce Or Soy Sauce?

Technically, soy sauce is better than teriyaki sauce because soy sauce is more versatile than teriyaki sauce, and soy sauce is the main ingredient of teriyaki sauce.

However, it is difficult to compare the two sauces together because they both can be great in different kinds of recipes.

For instance, using soy sauce alone as a glaze for meat may mean your meat will lack some flavor, so using teriyaki sauce to glaze the meat instead would be better.

Another example is when you need to add a bit of flavor to your thin soup recipe, teriyaki sauce could change the consistency of the soup whereas soy sauce can keep the soup thin.

Can Teriyaki Sauce Replace Soy Sauce?

Teriyaki sauce is not the ideal replacement for soy sauce because teriyaki sauce has a thicker consistency and a different flavor than most soy sauces since teriyaki sauce has many other ingredients in it.

You can use teriyaki sauce to replace soy sauce in specific situations, such as recipes that include honey or sugar and ginger because teriyaki sauce will blend in well.

Teriyaki sauce can be a decent replacement for certain soy sauces like sweet soy sauce, but you may need to add sugar or honey into teriyaki sauce to balance out the flavors.

Can Soy Sauce Replace Teriyaki Sauce?

You can use soy sauce instead of teriyaki sauce, but you may need to mix other ingredients into your soy sauce to mimic teriyaki sauce.

Teriyaki sauce’s main ingredients are soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, ginger, mirin, and honey, so you can mix soy sauce with these ingredients to create your own teriyaki sauce.

If you do not have all these ingredients, you can mix soy sauce with honey or sugar and garlic, but it will not have the same flavors as traditional teriyaki sauce.

If you want to learn more about what is Japanese soy sauce, Japanese soy sauce substitutes, and why soy sauce is so popular, read our related articles.


Teriyaki sauce and soy sauce are both useful ingredients to have because they can enhance the way dishes look and taste.

However, soy sauce is more versatile whereas teriyaki sauce is better as a glaze or marinade, so having both of these ingredients in your kitchen would be best.

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