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This homemade sweet and savory pineapple teriyaki sauce takes 10 minutes to make and is way better than any store bought sauce. It’s great to have on hand for easy weeknight stir-frys, chicken, salmon, and so much more.
Before I was a little more versed and interested in Pan Asian cuisine, my go-to order at any restaurant was pretty much anything drenched in teriyaki sauce.
I think many of us can relate to that initial love affair with teriyaki—it’s often one of our first delicious peeks into the sweet and umami flavors of Asian food, and it is still a go-to sauce for stir fries and rice bowls.
I’ve always been a fan of traditional teriyaki sauce, but it was when I made these pineapple teriyaki chicken bowls that I discovered pineapple teriyaki sauce. And I have to say, I might love it even more.
Pineapple teriyaki sauce – which may or may not be more Hawaiian than strictly Japanese, is a simple twist on teriyaki , but it has completely changed the game for me.
The sweet pineapple juice adds a great flavor – a nice subtle sweetness that really complements the savory notes of the sauce. It has now become my go-to teriyaki sauce, especially when I’m looking for something a bit different but still easy and delicious.
What is Teriyaki Sauce?
Teriyaki sauce is a vaguely Japanese-inspired sauce that has become popular worldwide, especially in Western interpretations of Asian cuisine. It’s known for its rich, savory flavor profiles combined with a touch of sweetness. The sauce is usually made from a mixture of soy sauce, a sweetener like sugar or honey, and mirin (a type of sweet Japanese rice wine). Some variations also include ingredients like fresh ginger and garlic, and a dash of sake for added depth of flavor.
Teriyaki sauce is used in a variety of dishes, including marinades for grilled or roasted meats, glazes for fish like salmon, and as a seasoning in stir-fries.
This pineapple teriyaki sauce takes the classic sweet, savory, and umami flavors to the next level by incorporating pineapple juice. It is as simple to make at home as a traditional teriyaki sauce – but with an even better flavor.
And while you can always purchase your pineapple teriyaki sauce, homemade sauce, in my opinion, just tastes better. I like making my sauces and marinades at home anyway, like this Vietnamese peanut sauce – my favorite dipping sauce, this Greek marinade for elevating chicken breasts, and even this easy cilantro chimichurri.
This pineapple teriyaki sauce, too, uses simple ingredients, takes only 10 minutes to make, and tastes so much better than store-bought.
Low Sodium Soy Sauce
Using low sodium soy sauce in your homemade teriyaki sauce is a great way to keep the flavor bold without overdoing the salt. It’s especially helpful for those trying to cut down on sodium for health reasons.
Adding pineapple juice into the teriyaki sauce not only adds a natural sweetness but also introduces a fresh, fruity dimension that really brightens the flavor. Also, the acidity from the pineapple juice helps to tenderize the meat.
You can use pineapple juice from a can of pineapple, or squeeze fresh pineapple juice for a more natural pineapple flavor.
Brown sugar is a key ingredient as it sweetens the pineapple teriyaki sauce, balancing out the salty soy sauce and the tangy pineapple juice with a hint of caramel taste.
A little rice vinegar adds a light tang to the pineapple teriyaki sauce, making it taste fresher and balancing the sweet and savory flavors.
A bit of sesame oil adds a rich, nutty flavor to the sauce. It’s a must-add ingredient in traditional teriyaki sauce as well.
Fresh Garlic and Ginger
Fresh Ginger and garlic add a spicy and aromatic kick to the pineapple teriyaki sauce, making it more flavorful and giving it a classic teriyaki taste.
I like to add minced garlic cloves, buy you can use garlic powder instead. I also like the flavor of fresh ginger, but again, ground ginger will work too.
Red Pepper Flakes
Red pepper flakes add a bit of heat to the sauce, which balances nicely with the sweet and savory parts of the sauce.
You need to make a cornstarch slurry to thicken up the sauce. You can adjust the consistency as per your liking but I find this quantity gives a thickness that coats well without being overly thick and gloppy.
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- In a small saucepan, mix together the soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
- While that is simmering, combine water and corn starch in a small bowl.
- Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the simmering soy sauce mixture and let it thicken.
- Remove from heat and let it cool.
Once it cools, you can store in an airtight container or mason jar. This pineapple teriyaki sauce will keep well for about 2 weeks in the fridge, and can last up to 3 months in the freezer!
Ways to Use Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce
- Use the pineapple teriyaki sauce to marinate chicken, beef, or pork before grilling or roasting. The sauce will tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor.
- Brush the sauce over salmon or other fish before cooking. It caramelizes beautifully under the broiler or on the grill, creating a deliciously sticky glaze.
- Add it to your favorite stir fry. Whether it’s with tofu, shrimp, or chicken breasts, the sauce adds a lot of flavor coating every ingredient perfectly. You can also stir fry vegetables in this sauce for a quick side!
- Cut down on some of the prep to make these pineapple teriyaki chicken bowls. Prepare the sauce in advance and just toss it into the stir fried chicken and vegetables.
- Serve it as a dipping sauce with appetizers like spring rolls, dumplings, or chicken tenders.
- Drizzle it over rice bowls that feature a mix of grains, protein, and vegetables.
- Toss roasted or grilled vegetables with the sauce for a sweet and savory side dish.
Tell me what you think!
If you try this recipe, l’d be so grateful if you’d leave a comment and a rating in the recipe card. I love to hear your feedback, and your tips can help other readers too!
Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce
- In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the water and cornstarch. Whisk the mixture into the simmering soy sauce mixture and let it thicken. Remove from heat. Cool and store or use in a dish.