Teriyaki (kanji: き) is a cooking technique used in Japanese cuisine in which foods are broiled or grilled with a glaze of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.[1][2][3]

Teriyaki duck

Fish yellowtail, marlin, skipjack tuna, salmon, trout, and mackerel is mainly used in Japan, while white and red meat chicken, pork, lamb, and beef is more often used in the West. Other ingredients sometimes used in Japan include squid, hamburger steak, and meatballs.

The word teriyaki derives from the noun teri (照り), which refers to a shine or luster given by the sugar content in the tare (タレ), and yaki (焼き), which refers to the cooking method of grilling or broiling.[3] Traditionally the meat is dipped in or brushed with sauce several times during cooking.[4] Teriyaki was invented by Japanese chefs in the 1600s.[5]

Chicken teriyaki
Salmon teriyaki

The tare (タレ) is traditionally made by mixing and heating soy sauce, sake (or mirin), and sugar (or honey). The sauce is boiled and reduced to the desired thickness, then used to marinate meat, which is then grilled or broiled. Sometimes ginger is added and the final dish may be garnished with spring onions. (see tare).


A teriyaki burger

A teriyaki burger (テリヤキバーガー) is a variety of hamburger either topped with teriyaki sauce or with the sauce worked into the ground meat patty. Teriyaki stir-fry refers to stir frying meat or vegetables in teriyaki sauce. Another variety is teriyaki-style prepared vegetarian products.

By country

Teriyaki sauce

In North America, any dish made with a teriyaki-like sauce is described using the word teriyaki. This often even includes those using foreign alternatives to sake or mirin, such as wine, or with added ingredients, such as sesame or garlic (uncommon in traditional Japanese cuisine). The sauce used for teriyaki is generally sweet, although it can also be spicy. Pineapple juice is sometimes used, as it not only provides sweetness but also bromelain enzymes that help tenderize the meat. Grilling meat first and pouring the sauce on afterwards or using sweet sauce as a marinade are other non-traditional methods of cooking teriyaki.[1] Teriyaki sauce is sometimes put on chicken wings or used as a dipping sauce.

In the city of Seattle, Washington, a large teriyaki culture emerged in the 1990s. As of 2010, there were over 83 restaurants in the city with "teriyaki" in their name. It has been described as the city's signature cuisine by some outlets, noting its widespread adoption as a form of fast food.[3][6][7]

The first standalone teriyaki restaurant, Toshi's Teriyaki, opened in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle in 1976. The restaurant's low-cost chicken and beef skewers in teriyaki sauce inspired other restaurants in the area.[8] Toshi's later expanded into a chain with 17 locations in the Seattle area by 1996.[9]

See also


  1. Teriyaki at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. Hosking, Richard (1995). A Dictionary of Japanese Food. Tuttle. ISBN 9780804820424. OCLC 36569289.
  3. Edge, John T. (January 5, 2010). "A City's Specialty, Japanese in Name Only". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  4. "Teriyaki". Glossary. Kikkoman. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  5. "Teriyaki". TasteAtlas. n.d. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  6. Kauffman, Johnathan (August 14, 2007). "How Teriyaki Became Seattle's Own Fast-Food Phenomenon". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  7. Black, Lester. "Seattle's Comfort Food". The Stranger. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  8. Clement, Bethany Jean (October 31, 2019). "Seattle restaurant classics: Why we love teriyaki so much (and where to go if you don't)". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
  9. Blake, Judith (June 12, 1996). "Teriyaki: Secret is in sauces for popular fast food". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
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