• Top 23 Best Japanese Yakiniku Sauces in 2021 - Tried and True! (Kikkoman, Gyu-Kaku, and More) 1
  • Top 23 Best Japanese Yakiniku Sauces in 2021 - Tried and True! (Kikkoman, Gyu-Kaku, and More) 2
  • Top 23 Best Japanese Yakiniku Sauces in 2021 - Tried and True! (Kikkoman, Gyu-Kaku, and More) 3
  • Top 23 Best Japanese Yakiniku Sauces in 2021 - Tried and True! (Kikkoman, Gyu-Kaku, and More) 4
  • Top 23 Best Japanese Yakiniku Sauces in 2021 - Tried and True! (Kikkoman, Gyu-Kaku, and More) 5

Top 23 Best Japanese Yakiniku Sauces in 2021 - Tried and True! (Kikkoman, Gyu-Kaku, and More)

At mybest, we gathered a group of culinary experts and taste-tested 24 yakiniku sauces to find the best ones out there. We graded them on not entirely based on their flavor, but how well they paired with different yakiniku meats: chicken, pork, and beef. We also considered their level of spice and thickness.

Since the base of the sauce is what makes the flavor of the whole dish, we’ve separated our ranking into three categories: soy sauce-based yakiniku sauces, salt-based yakiniku sauces, and miso-based yakiniku sauces. Then, based on how they performed on our tests, we graded and ranked the top 24 Japanese yakiniku sauces available online.

Experts featured in this article

Kara Swanson
  • Last updated: 06-13-2021
  • 10,815 views
Table of Contents

Top 15 Soy Sauce-Based Japanese Yakiniku Sauces

Here are our top picks for yakiniku sauces made with a savory soy sauce base.


※Japanese prices for the products are given; they’ve merely been converted into USD for easy viewing.

1

MoritaAzabu-Juban Sankouen Yakiniku Sauce

$9.71

Japanese盛田 麻布十番三幸園 焼肉のたれ
Spice levelMedium
Suits pork4.0
Suits beef4.0
Suits chicken4.0
Overall grade5.0
2

Daisho SecretYakiniku Sauce

$10.30

Japaneseダイショー 秘伝 焼肉のたれ
Spice levelSpicy
Suits pork4.0
Suits beef4.0
Suits chicken3.0
Overall grade4.0
3

Nihon Kenkyu Bansankan Yakiniku Sauce, Roasted Garlic

$4.33

Japanese日本食研 晩餐館 焼肉のたれ 焙煎にんにく
Spice levelMild
Suits pork3.0
Suits beef3.0
Suits chicken4.0
Overall grade3.0
4

KNK Kamikita Agricultural ProcessingStamina Source Sauce in Gold

$8.91

Japanese上北農産加工農業協同組合 スタミナ源たれゴールド
Spice levelMedium
Suits pork3.0
Suits beef3.0
Suits chicken3.0
Overall grade3.0
5

EbaraYakiniku Sauce Golden Taste (Ohgon-no-Aji)

Medium Spice

$9.20

Japaneseエバラ食品工業 黄金の味
Spice levelMedium
Suits pork3.0
Suits beef3.0
Suits chicken3.0
Overall grade3.0
6

KikkomanYakiniku-ya’s Medium Hot

$21.10

Japaneseキッコーマン 焼肉屋さん 中辛
Spice levelMedium
Suits pork3.0
Suits beef3.0
Suits chicken3.0
Overall grade3.0
7
Japanese叙々苑 焼肉のたれ 特製
Spice levelMild
Suits pork3.0
Suits beef3.0
Suits chicken3.0
Overall grade3.0
8
Somi Shokuhin Yakiniku Sauce 1

Somi ShokuhinYakiniku Sauce

$9.31

Japanese創味食品 焼肉のたれ
Spice levelMedium
Suits pork3.0
Suits beef3.0
Suits chicken2.0
Overall grade3.0
9

Nippon ShokkenYakiniku Sauce, Kyouden

$10.61

Japanese日本食研 焼肉のたれ 宮殿
Spice levelMedium
Suits pork2.0
Suits beef4.0
Suits chicken2.0
Overall grade2.0
10

Gyu-KakuCharcoal-Grill Soy Sauce Yakiniku Sauce

$10.70

Japaneseフードレーベル 牛角 香り味わい焼肉のたれ 炭火焼風醤油
Spice levelMild
Suits pork2.0
Suits beef2.0
Suits chicken4.0
Overall grade2.0
11
Japaneseキッコーマン ステーキしょうゆ にんにく風味
Spice levelMild
Suits pork2.0
Suits beef2.0
Suits chicken3.0
Overall grade2.0

Compare the Best Soy Sauced-Based Yakiniku Sauces

Image
1
Morita Azabu-Juban Sankouen Yakiniku Sauce 1

Morita

2
Daisho Secret Yakiniku Sauce 1

Daisho Secret

3
Nihon Kenkyu Bansankan  Yakiniku Sauce, Roasted Garlic 1

Nihon Kenkyu Bansankan

4
KNK Kamikita Agricultural Processing Stamina Source Sauce in Gold 1

KNK Kamikita Agricultural Processing

5
Ebara Yakiniku Sauce Golden Taste (Ohgon-no-Aji) 1

Ebara

6
Kikkoman Yakiniku-ya’s Medium Hot 1

Kikkoman

7
Jojoen Yakiniku Sauce Special Made 1

Jojoen

8
Somi Shokuhin Yakiniku Sauce 1

Somi Shokuhin

9
Nippon Shokken Yakiniku Sauce, Kyouden 1

Nippon Shokken

10
Gyu-Kaku Charcoal-Grill Soy Sauce Yakiniku Sauce 1

Gyu-Kaku

11
Kikkoman Steak Sauce 1

Kikkoman

Name

Azabu-Juban Sankouen Yakiniku Sauce

Yakiniku Sauce

Yakiniku Sauce, Roasted Garlic

Stamina Source Sauce in Gold

Yakiniku Sauce Golden Taste (Ohgon-no-Aji)

Yakiniku-ya’s Medium Hot

Yakiniku Sauce Special Made

Yakiniku Sauce

Yakiniku Sauce, Kyouden

Charcoal-Grill Soy Sauce Yakiniku Sauce

Steak Sauce

Features

Full of Flavor, Making It the Best Sauce for All Meats

The Best Yakiniku Sauce With Hints of Sesame

A Perfect Balance of Garlic and Ginger

Packed With Ginger Flavor Great for Chicken

An Excellent Blend of Garlic, Spicy, and Sweet

Good for Kids' Sensitive Palates

A Mild and Versatile Yakiniku Sauce

Filled With Garlic Flavor Great for Heartier Meats

A Thick Yakiniku Sauce That Pairs Well With Beef

A Smoky Sauce That Goes Well With Chicken

Garlicky With Just a Hint of Spice

Price$9.71$10.30$4.33$8.91$9.20$21.10$15.84$9.31$10.61$10.70$10.70
Japanese盛田 麻布十番三幸園 焼肉のたれダイショー 秘伝 焼肉のたれ日本食研 晩餐館 焼肉のたれ 焙煎にんにく上北農産加工農業協同組合 スタミナ源たれゴールドエバラ食品工業 黄金の味キッコーマン 焼肉屋さん 中辛叙々苑 焼肉のたれ 特製創味食品 焼肉のたれ日本食研 焼肉のたれ 宮殿フードレーベル 牛角 香り味わい焼肉のたれ 炭火焼風醤油キッコーマン ステーキしょうゆ にんにく風味
Spice levelMediumSpicyMildMediumMediumMediumMildMediumMediumMildMild
Suits pork4.04.03.03.03.03.03.03.02.02.02.0
Suits beef4.04.03.03.03.03.03.03.04.02.02.0
Suits chicken4.03.04.03.03.03.03.02.02.04.03.0
Overall grade5.04.03.03.03.03.03.03.02.02.02.0
Link

Soy Sauced-Based Yakiniku Sauces That Didn't Make The Cut

And why they didn't quite make it.

A Strong Flavor That Overpowers the Meat

A Strong Flavor That Overpowers the Meat

The unanimous first impression of Tomura Yakiniku Sauce by all three expert taste testers was, “Wow, this is a strong flavor!” It’s not the garlic that makes it strong, but the base sauce itself. In fact, it drew away from the flavor of the meat. If you still want to try this one out, we’d recommend trying it with a rich meat like beef.

Lacking in Crucial Aspects of Yakiniku Sauces

Lacking in Crucial Aspects of Yakiniku Sauces

When you look for yakiniku sauce, you want it to have at least a bit of thickness. We didn’t get any of that with Yakiniku Toraji Yakiniku Sauce to the point where it didn’t taste like a yakiniku sauce at all. Because of this, it didn’t pair particularly well with any of the meats we tried.


On the other hand, Kikkoman Steak Sauce, Japanese-style Grated Radish lacked the spicy kick typical of great yakiniku sauces. Our expert tasters did like its refreshing flavor, however. If this is the sauce you’ve chosen, we recommend meats richer in fat like pork and beef over lean-tasting chicken.

Lacking in Crucial Aspects of Yakiniku Sauces

Kikkoman Steak Sauce, Onion Flavor has a distinct onion flavor that pairs well with chicken, but we think it’s more of a steak sauce (as its advertised) than a good yakiniku sauce. Out of all of the soy sauce-based sauces we tried, we would be most likely to pass on this one.

Top 5 Salt-Based Japanese Yakiniku Sauces

Here are our top picks for yakiniku sauces made with a salt base.
1

KNK Kamikita Agricultural ProcessingStamina Source Sauce

Salt-Grilled

$7.69

Japanese上北農産加工農業協同組合スタミナ源塩焼きのたれ
Suits beef4.0
Suits chicken4.0
Overall grade5.0
Suits pork4.0
2

Gyu-KakuTasty Salt Sauce

$9.85

Japaneseフードレーベル 牛角 旨塩だれ
Suits beef4.0
Suits chicken4.0
Overall grade4.0
Suits pork3.0
3
Japaneseキッコーマン焼肉屋さん塩だれ
Suits beef3.0
Suits chicken3.0
Overall grade3.0
Suits pork3.0

Compare the Best Salt-Based Yakiniku Sauces

Image
1
KNK Kamikita Agricultural Processing Stamina Source Sauce 1

KNK Kamikita Agricultural Processing

2
Gyu-Kaku Tasty Salt Sauce 1

Gyu-Kaku

3
Kikkoman Yakiniku-ya Salt Sauce 1

Kikkoman

Name

Stamina Source Sauce

Tasty Salt Sauce

Yakiniku-ya Salt Sauce

Features

The Perfect Salt-Based Yakiniku Sauce, Packed With Flavor

A Salt-Based Sauce With a Perfect Punch of Garlic

Gingery and Subtly Acidic Taste Works Well With Pork, Chicken, or Beef

Price$7.69$9.85$2.66
Japanese上北農産加工農業協同組合スタミナ源塩焼きのたれフードレーベル 牛角 旨塩だれキッコーマン焼肉屋さん塩だれ
Suits beef4.04.03.0
Suits chicken4.04.03.0
Overall grade5.04.03.0
Suits pork4.03.03.0
Link

Salt-Based Yakiniku Sauces That Didn't Make The Cut

And why they didn't quite make it.

Salt-Based Yakiniku Sauces That Didn't Make The Cut

Though we agree that a salt-based sauce should be at least a little salty, it starts to lose its reputation when its sodium content takes away from the flavor of the meat it’s seasoning. That was, unfortunately, the case with Jokyu Soy Sauce Shop Salt Sauce.

Salt-Based Yakiniku Sauces That Didn't Make The Cut

The flavors of sesame and salt dominate Somi Shokuhin Salt Sauce to the point where it takes away the flavor of whatever meat you’re aiming to season. If you choose to try this sauce and find it too salty, you can apparently counteract it by adding lemon juice.

Top 3 Miso-Based Japanese Yakiniku Sauces

Here are our top picks for yakiniku sauces made a miso base packed with umami.
1

TomuraYakiniku Sauce, Miso

2 pack

$12.60

Japaneseフードショップ戸村 戸村焼肉のたれ みそ
Suits beef3.0
Suits chicken4.0
Overall grade4.0
Suits pork4.0
2

EbaraYakiniku Sauce

Miso Soy Sauce Flavor

$11.13

Japaneseエバラ食品工業焼肉のたれ 味噌醤油味
Suits beef4.0
Suits chicken4.0
Overall grade4.0
Suits pork3.0
3
Japaneseキッコーマン 焼肉みそだれ
Suits beef3.0
Suits chicken3.0
Overall grade3.0
Suits pork3.0

Compare the Miso-Based Yakiniku Sauces

Image
1
Tomura Yakiniku Sauce, Miso 1

Tomura

2
Ebara Yakiniku Sauce 1

Ebara

3
Kikkoman Yakiniku Sauce 1

Kikkoman

Name

Yakiniku Sauce, Miso

Yakiniku Sauce

Yakiniku Sauce

Features

The Perfect Blend of Miso and Ginger

A Deliciously Sweet Miso-based Yakiniku Sauce

This Sauce Provides a Scrumptious Harmony of Garlic and Miso

Price$12.60$11.13$48.27
Japaneseフードショップ戸村 戸村焼肉のたれ みそエバラ食品工業焼肉のたれ 味噌醤油味キッコーマン 焼肉みそだれ
Suits beef3.04.03.0
Suits chicken4.04.03.0
Overall grade4.04.03.0
Suits pork4.03.03.0
Link

Introducing the Experts Who Lent Us Their Knowledge

To help evaluate the sauces, we borrowed the knowledge of three certified experts, who have earned the title of both vegetable sommelier and seasoning sommelier. They’re all active in their field, teaching, penning columns, and making media appearances.

Introducing the Experts Who Lent Us Their Knowledge

{Left: Megumi Yoshida}
She’s a food expert that’s a certified vegetable sommelier pro and seasoning sommelier. She wears many hats, crafting and publishing family-oriented recipes, writing columns, teaching at a cultural center, running the Aomori Vegetable Marché, and making radio appearances.


{Middle: Etsuko Makino}
She uses her knowledge as a vegetable sommelier pro and seasoning sommelier to develop new recipes and products, introducing the charm and flavor of fruits and vegetables to all generations. She’s very active, making appearances on NHK Radio’s “Saitamazu” and Television Saitama’s “Machikomi.”


{Right: Yoko Tsujii}
She’s a cooking professional that holds many certifications, including that of vegetable sommelier and seasoning sommelier. She works to share the joy that comes through food and cooking with children, who are our future. She conducts short courses for elementary schoolers and above.

How We Tested the Yakiniku Sauces

We put the 23 yakiniku sauces to three tests, each designed to gauge a different flavor pairing. We tried each sauce with chicken, with pork, and then with beef to see how well each sauce suited the most common yakiniku meats.

Test ① Chicken

Test ① Chicken
The first meat we tried our yakiniku sauces with was chicken. We threw some poultry on our grill with some oil and dipped it in some of the sauce when it was nice and cooked. We then graded it on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0. 

It was interesting to see which sauces were too overpowering for the light flavor of chicken and which were more akin to a yakitori chicken experience.

Test ② Pork

Test ② Pork
We tested pork in a similar way, trying the grilled pieces of meat with each of the 24 sauces. We graded it on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0 and noticed how certain seasonings like sesame went particularly well with pork.

Test ③ Beef

Test ③ Beef
We tested beef last because of its rich flavor. Again, we graded the flavor pairings on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0. Our experts noted that it takes a strong flavor like garlic to mellow out the equally strong flavor of beef.

Tips on How to Choose a Yakiniku Sauce – Buying Guide

Here, we'd like to introduce two big things to look out for when choosing the best yakiniku sauce.

Choose a Sauce by Its Base Flavor

In this ranking, we’ve rated yakiniku sauces with soy, salt, and miso bases. Each has its best uses, so take a look below to figure out which one would go well with your dish.

Soy Sauce Based Sauces are Versatile

Soy Sauce Based Sauces are Versatile
Out of the three types of sauces we tried, we found sauces with a soy base were able to be paired with different kinds of meat the best. Most soy sauce-based yakiniku sauces often include strong and sweet ingredients like garlic, ginger, green onion, lemon, and sometimes even apples and pears.
Soy sauce-based yakiniku sauces are best at bringing out the flavor of beef as it has a rich smell and taste. This is the kind of sauce you’re most likely to find in restaurants or households.

Miso-Based Sauces are Great for Innards

Miso-Based Sauces are Great for Innards
If you’ve had yakiniku, then you know it’s not just the short ribs or tender belly meat that’s consumed; it’s the whole animal. That includes parts like hearts, livers, and intestines. If you find yourself facing a plate of innards, then a miso-based sauce will take it from good to delicious.
Miso-based sauces, like soy-based sauces, are often accented with potent flavors like grated garlic and chopped green onion. It can add a distinctly Japanese element to your yakiniku experience.

Pick a Salt Base for Meat and Vegetables

Pick a Salt Base for Meat and Vegetables
A typical salt-based yakiniku sauce is refreshing and flavored with garlic or lemon. It’s great with veggies as well as meat, and you can amp up the flavor by adding some sesame oil. Salt-based sauces are becoming more popular with home cooking due to their compatibility with chicken and innards.

Pay Attention to Spice

Pay Attention to Spice
Yakiniku sauces usually come in three levels of spice: mild or sweet, medium, or spicy. Mild sauces often contain sweet ingredients like apple and honey that children tend to enjoy. Sauces with a medium spice are often enhanced with garlic. Spicy sauces contain a red chili paste that amps up the heat.
Obviously, you’re the one that knows your flavor preferences the best. However, if you are having yakiniku with a large amount of people, we would recommend using a mild sauce. 

This is because you can season it however you want; it’s easier to add spice than to take it away. You can also make it taste more refreshing with a dash of lemon or lime juice.

Other Great Japanese Condiments to Try

Other Great Japanese Condiments to Try
Looking for other Japanese delicacies? Our culinary experts have reviewed some other Japanese foods so you know you’re getting the best.

Summary

We rounded up culinary experts, purchased the 24 most popular Japanese yakiniku sauces, and tested them all.
We learned that your yakiniku experience is defined by the base of the sauce and the type of meat you’re going to eat. Soy-based sauces are fairly versatile with all types of meat, but miso and salt are delicious with pork and chicken, respectively. 

A good sauce should also have a bit of spice and a little thickness so it doesn’t feel like a salad dressing. Pay attention to these factors when considering your yakiniku sauce choices and have an incredible dining experience.

Expert Recommended Tortillas to Wrap That Meat With

A meal never feels super filling without some carbs. Why not create a yakiniku wrap with these amazing almond-flour tortillas recommended by nutritionist Kara Swanson of Life Well Lived?

Expert's
pick

SieteAlmond Flour Grain Free Tortillas

3 pack x 8 tortillas

$39.95

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