Is Teriyaki Sauce Usually Vegan?

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vegan teriyaki sauce

Some teriyaki sauce is vegan, and some isn’t, which can get you in some sticky situations.

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

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.

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.

Again, the issue is the sugar.

Unfortunately, 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 is vegan or not is to contact the manufacturer itself.

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 C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

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