Is Teriyaki Sauce Usually Vegan?

I

Verdict: Some teriyaki sauce is vegan, and some isn’t.

Summary:

  • The core ingredients of teriyaki sauce are usually plant-based, however, some contain ingredients like honey.
  • One other potential issue is the sugar in teriyaki sauce, which may not be vegan in North America.

Teriyaki sauce is still an option for vegans, but you need to check each brand or restaurant carefully before eating it.

If you’re at a restaurant, you’ll have to specifically ask them if it’s vegan or not. It’s not safe to assume teriyaki sauce at a restaurant is vegan.

What about the teriyaki sauce you see in stores?

If you’re curious about those, read on…

Typical Ingredients of Teriyaki Sauce

teriyaki sauce photo

The main ingredients of a typical teriyaki sauce are:

  • Soy sauce
  • Sugar
  • Ginger
  • Garlic (optional)
  • Sake (optional) – This isn’t common in “Western” teriyaki sauce, but is found in traditional sauces. It may or may not be vegan depending on the sake used. Often substituted in store-bought sauces for vinegars like rice vinegar.

While that might look like a list of vegan ingredients at first, the issue for most vegans is the “sugar,” at least in North America.

A decent chunk of white sugar in North America is not vegan because it has been filtered using bone char, which is made from cattle bones, to make it whiter.

Additionally, some teriyaki sauce recipes (here’s an example) call for non-vegan ingredients like honey.

SUMMARY

While many teriyaki sauces are vegan, some sauces have animal products in them. Always double-check the ingredients before eating any.

Are Teriyaki Sauces in Grocery Stores Vegan?

If you look at teriyaki sauces in grocery stores, you’ll typically see soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and garlic.

The only real potential issue here is the sugar.

Most common brands do have it, like Keli’s (pictured above).

There are some that don’t, but you may have to hunt to find them. Organic sugar is also made without using bone char, which you may find as well.

The only way to tell if a specific brand uses vegan sugar or not is to contact the manufacturer itself.

Is Kikkoman’s Teriyaki Sauce Vegan?

Kikkoman’s is probably the most popular sauce brand worldwide (maybe srircha is close).

According to their UK website, most of their teriyaki sauces are vegan-friendly:

kikkomans teriyaki

If the picture isn’t loading or you can’t see it, it says that the following Kikkoman teriyaki sauces are vegan:

  • Kikkoman Teriyaki Mainade
  • Kikkoman Teriyaki sauce with toasted sesame
  • Kikkoman Teriyaki sauce with roasted garlic
  • Kikkoman Gluten free Teriyaki

But note that the Teriyaki BBQ-Sauce with honey is not vegan.

Making Your Own Vegan Teriyaki Sauce is Easy

Personally, I just make my own, it’s not hard and works out to be a bit cheaper as well.

Here are a few vegan teriyaki recipes to choose from:

In summary, if you’re okay with taking a risk on the sugar, you’ll consider most teriyaki sauce to be vegan.

Otherwise, most teriyaki sauce is not vegan, so either contact the manufacturers, or just make your own.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

2 comments