This low sugar teriyaki sauce is so easy to make! It's paleo, AIP friendly, and Whole30 compliant. Use it in a stir fry, as a marinade, or as a dipping sauce. Who needs takeout when you can make sauce this good?
Store-bought sauces are usually full of chemicals and preservatives, but by making your own you can control the ingredients and keep the ingredients super clean.
I've been on an asian kick recently, and made this Korean Bulgogi Sauce to go with my Bulgogi Bowls. In sticking with the asian theme, I decided to try my hand at teriyaki. This sugar free teriyaki sauce is damned delicious.
What is teriyaki sauce
Teriyaki sauce is a traditional Japanese sauce or marinade. It's used as a marinade when it's thinner; here, we are going to reduce and thicken it to use it as a sauce.
Traditional teriyaki sauce
Traditional teriyaki sauce is made up of four main ingredients:
- Soy sauce
Since the ginger is the only thing that fits on paleo or Whole30, I decided to venture out and make a sugar free teriyaki sauce that I could use at home!
You may also see something called xanthan gum in traditional teriyaki sauce recipes. Xanthan gum is a thickening agent or stabilizer that is actually made from fermented sugar. Obviously that is not going to help us make a low sugar teriyaki sauce.
I've used tapioca starch in my recipe; you can also use arrowroot powder or corn starch instead. These will keep it low sugar but also help to thicken it and give it that sticky texture that teriyaki sauce is known for.
This teriyaki sauce is not only low sugar, it's Whole30 compliant, AIP friendly, and a low-carb teriyaki sauce, which makes it keto diet friendly too. Winning!
I've replaced the soy sauce with coconut aminos, the sugar with applesauce and pineapple juice, and the sake with, well, nothing - other ingredients! While they are naturally occurring, pineapple juice and applesauce contain their own natural sugars, so it's not sugar free but refined sugar free.
Other ingredients you might find in a traditional teriyaki sauce include sesame oil, apple cider vinegar, liquid aminos, tamari sauce, and rice vinegar. While at first glance you might wonder where these ingredients are in this recipe, I promise you won't miss any of them.
My recipe does call for fresh garlic and fresh ginger. I find that using the fresh versions of these result in a much richer flavor, but if you don't have them on hand you can use the jarred versions.
If you need to substitute garlic powder and ground ginger, your amounts will not be the same. I have not experimented with these, but I would recommend adding a little bit at a time and tasting as you go.
As I tell my son all the time - you can always put more in, but you can't take it out!
Many traditional teriyaki sauces that you'll find in the grocery stores will also include brown sugar, corn syrup, or other sweeteners. This recipe uses both pineapple juice and apple sauce as a brown sugar substitute to achieve the desired flavor and sweetness.
The end result is a perfectly thick and sticky teriyaki sauce. All of the flavor, none of the guilt.
I'd recommend using it in some stir fries to start. You could put it on any vegetables you like. Think of it as a boost of flavor to an otherwise boring meal!
If you need a recipe idea, try my Weeknight Stir-Fry, and instead of using the sauce recipe in the post, use this teriyaki sauce. Using cauliflower rice is a great way to keep it low carb. Garnish with a few sesame seeds and some fresh green onions.
Use simple ingredients to let the sauce shine. You could combine this sous vide salmon recipe with the sauce to make a teriyaki salmon recipe, or use this wing recipe and substitute the sauce to make teriyaki chicken wings.
Combine the coconut aminos, pineapple juice, applesauce, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, salt, and tapioca starch (or other sugar-free thickener) into a small saucepan. Then, using your immersion blender, blend until smooth. This should only take a few seconds!
Heat the pan over medium heat and then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium. You're looking for a simmer.
Simmer for 15 minutes or until sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
This is a quick recipe that makes a good amount of sauce, so you might have some left over. Store in an airtight container or mason jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It cannot be stored at room temperature as it is perishable.
As a marinade
This sauce is a great option for a marinade as well. If you're going to use this as a teriyaki marinade, I would omit the tapioca starch. That is there to thicken the sauce as it heats. As a marinade, you don't want it to thicken.
For a marinade, eliminate tapioca and do not heat it up. There's not a reason to heat it, as you don't need to thicken it. Just blend it up so the flavors have an opportunity to come together, then marinate your meat or vegetables. Yes, you can marinate vegetables!
- 1 cup coconut aminos
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3 teaspoon jarred or fresh minced ginger
- 2 teaspoon jarred or fresh minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon tapioca starch
- Combine all ingredients into a medium saucepan.
- Using your immersion blender, blend until smooth. This should only take a few seconds!
- Heat the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low-medium. You're looking for a simmer.
- Simmer for 15 minutes or until sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
- Store in an airtight container or jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
If you don't have an immersion blender, you can add all ingredients to a regular blender and then transfer to the saucepan to cook. I'm just lazy and like to do as few dishes as possible!
If you're looking for a marinade instead of a sauce, omit the tapioca starch and do not heat it up. Once you've blended, add meat and marinate!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 2 Tbsp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 33Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 546mgCarbohydrates: 9gNet Carbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 0g
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