What Is Ponzu Sauce? + Other Common FAQs

Japanese cuisine involves many unique ingredients that add tons of flavor to many recipes, but you may not be familiar with every Japanese ingredient.

One Japanese ingredient you may want to learn more about is Ponzu sauce. I looked up the facts for you, and here they are!

What Is Ponzu Sauce?

Ponzu sauce is a citrus-based Japanese sauce made from a mixture of ingredients, which include citrus juice, mirin, and more. Traditional ponzu sauce will use yuzu as its citrus juice, but some traditional recipes will use yuzu with a mixture of other citrus juices. Typically, ponzu sauce is used as a dip for several recipes such as shabu-shabu and noodles.

Do you want to read more information about ponzu sauce? Check out the rest of the article to find out!

What Is Ponzu Sauce Made Of?

Normally, ponzu sauce contains a mixture of citrus juices, dashi, mirin or sugar, and soy sauce, but other ingredients may be added depending on the recipe and manufacturer.

Most traditional ponzu sauces will use yuzu for the citrus, and yuzu is a type of Asian citrus that looks similar to limes and oranges, and yuzu tastes like a mixture of grapefruit, lemon, and lime.

What Does Ponzu Sauce Taste Like?

Ponzu sauce has tangy and tart flavors because ponzu sauce is a citrus-based sauce, meaning the prominent flavors of ponzu sauce are tangy and tart from the citrus.

Moreover, many ponzu sauces contain rice vinegar, mirin, regular vinegar, etc., which contribute to the ponzu sauce’s tangy and tart taste.

However, ponzu sauce can have a rather complex flavor profile depending on the ingredients. For instance, ponzu sauce can be salty if there is soy sauce in the ponzu sauce.

How Do You Use Ponzu Sauce?

How Do You Use Ponzu Sauce?

Traditionally, ponzu sauce was used as a dip for simmered dishes such as shabu-shabu and thinly sliced and seared meats.

Moreover, ponzu sauce can also be used as a dip for other foods such as dumplings, sashimi, and noodles like soba and somen.

However, you can choose to use ponzu sauce as a dip or even seasoning for whatever recipe you like, keeping in mind that using ponzu sauce for other recipes may not offer an “authentic” flavor.

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

Ponzu sauce uses a mixture of ingredients to create ponzu sauce, and the main ingredient of ponzu sauce is citrus juice. Certain ponzu sauces may use soy sauce, but not all ponzu sauce recipes call for soy sauce.

On the other hand, soy sauce is a completely different liquid condiment that is made out of fermented soybeans, wheat, salt, and water.

Moreover, soy sauce has a salty and savory flavor while ponzu sauce is tangy and tart thanks to the citrus.

Therefore, ponzu sauce and soy sauce are not the same since they are different condiments, and soy sauce can occasionally be an ingredient in a ponzu sauce recipe.

Moreover, soy sauce and ponzu sauce have different uses, and the only similar use they share is that you can use ponzu sauce and soy sauce as a dip.

Ponzu sauce’s primary use is as a dip, and ponzu sauce is not an ideal ingredient for many recipes whereas you can add soy sauce into so many dishes.

Does Ponzu Sauce Taste Like Soy Sauce?

Ponzu sauce may slightly taste like soy sauce, but that only happens if the ponzu sauce contains soy sauce.

Certain ponzu sauce recipes will have soy sauce in the ingredients list, making ponzu sauce taste a bit like soy sauce.

However, the overall flavor of ponzu sauce does not taste like soy sauce whether or not the ponzu sauce has soy sauce in the ponzu sauce recipe.

Can You Buy Ponzu Sauce?

You can buy ponzu sauce in most Asian groceries or online as ponzu sauce is a fairly popular condiment.

Moreover, big brands such as Kikkoman sell their own versions of ponzu sauce.

Does Ponzu Sauce Have To Be Refrigerated?

Ponzu sauce needs to be refrigerated once opened because ponzu sauce is a citrus-based sauce, meaning ponzu sauce can spoil quickly if you leave ponzu sauce out of the fridge.

Ponzu sauce can stay fresh in the fridge for a long time since ponzu sauce does not have a definite expiry date.

What Can I Substitute For Ponzu Sauce?

Soy sauce can be a quick replacement for ponzu sauce, but soy sauce alone will lack the complex flavors that ponzu sauce has.

If all you need is a tart and tangy taste in your recipe, then you can just add some citrus juice like lime juice or lemon juice to substitute ponzu sauce.

However, you may opt to make your own ponzu sauce by mixing citrus juice, soy sauce, mirin, dried kelp, and dried bonito flakes.

You may tweak the ponzu recipe to suit your personal tastes, but you can get a very ponzu-like sauce by using those ingredients.

If you want to learn more about what poke sauce is, what Yamasa soy sauce is, and Kikkoman is, read our related articles.


Ponzu sauce is a popular Japanese condiment that most people use as a dip for dishes such as shabu-shabu, seared meats, and more.

Typically, traditional ponzu sauce is a tangy and tart sauce since ponzu sauce is a citrus-based condiment.

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