• 10 Best Tried and True Yakiniku Sauces in 2022 (Seasoning Sommelier-Reviewed) 1
  • 10 Best Tried and True Yakiniku Sauces in 2022 (Seasoning Sommelier-Reviewed) 2
  • 10 Best Tried and True Yakiniku Sauces in 2022 (Seasoning Sommelier-Reviewed) 3
  • 10 Best Tried and True Yakiniku Sauces in 2022 (Seasoning Sommelier-Reviewed) 4
  • 10 Best Tried and True Yakiniku Sauces in 2022 (Seasoning Sommelier-Reviewed) 5

10 Best Tried and True Yakiniku Sauces in 2022 (Seasoning Sommelier-Reviewed)

Every country has its own style of barbecue, and Japan is no different. While there are many similarities between Japanese barbecue, known as yakiniku, and Korean barbecue, Japanese barbecue relies heavily on sauces. Yakiniku sauce is often made from a soy sauce, miso, or salt base, and suits all types of grilled meat. However, with various brands like Ebara and Kikkoman releasing several types of sauces made from different bases, as well as not knowing where to buy them, it can be difficult to know which yakiniku sauce really best suits meat.

In order to figure this out, our Japanese editors gathered the 25 best-selling yakiniku sauces from EC sites popular in Japan, like Amazon, Rakuten, and Yahoo! Shopping, and tasted them all.


We tested each yakiniku sauce with the following meats:

  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Beef

Then, based on how they performed on our tests, we graded and ranked the 10 best yakiniku sauces available online. Keep on reading to find out more!

Featured in this article

Megumi Yoshida
Etsuko Makino
Yoko Tsujii
mybest US Editors
  • Last updated: 08-22-2022
Table of Contents

What is Yakiniku Sauce?

What is Yakiniku Sauce?

In Japanese, the word yakiniku can directly be translated to grilled meat. In practice, though, yakiniku refers specifically to Japanese-style barbecue. Although its roots can be traced back to Korean cuisine, sharing traits with Korean dishes like bulgogi and samgyeopsal, since it was introduced to Japan by Koreans in the mid-20th century, it has since evolved and split off to become its own unique culinary style.


At a yakiniku restaurant, diners grill their own meat on a griddle or on a wire net, often over charcoal. Broadly speaking, diners can choose their meats to be served in two styleseither tare, which is Japanese for meats usually marinated in a sweet soy-sauce based marinade, and shio, or meats served with either just some salt and lemon or marinated in a salt-based sauce. 


Once the meat is grilled, its dipped into yakiniku sauce, which is most commonly made from a soy sauce, salt, or miso base, with plenty of sake, salt, garlic, sesame, or even chili peppers, to provide extra flavors. Soy-based and miso-based sauces usually offer a sweet and savory taste with hints of spice and plenty of garlic, while salt-based sauces have a sharp, salty taste with hints of lemon and garlic to not overpower the simple flavors of the meat.


It's worth noting that tare meats, or meats marinated in the usually soy-based marinade, are intended to be enjoyed with similar soy or miso-based sauces, while shio flavored meats are meant to be enjoyed either with a salt-based sauce or simply just a dash of lemon and salt to fully enjoy the flavors of the meat itself.

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, offering various flavors ranging from more savory to more fruity sauces. These are probably the most similar to American barbecue sauces in terms of having a sweet and savory taste with hints of spice.

While soy sauce-based sauces pair with most meats, they 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, known as horumon (ホルモン) in Japan. 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 ginger, garlic, or even 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 as well as vegetables, making them more versatile than other sauces.

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 red chili pastes like gochujang 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.

10 Best Yakiniku Sauces

We gathered the best-selling yakiniku sauces online and asked three experts to test them all for the following:

  1. How well they suited pork
  2. How well they suited beef
  3. How well they suited chicken

We then narrowed down the 10 best yakiniku sauces based on their scores in our tests.


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

Image
1
Morita Azabu-Juban Sankouen Yakiniku Sauce 1

Morita

2
KNK Kamikita Agricultural Processing Stamina Source Sauce Salt-Grilled 1

KNK Kamikita Agricultural Processing

3
FUKI FOOD Yakiniku Sauce 1

FUKI FOOD

4
Daisho Hiden Yakiniku Sauce 1

Daisho

5
Gyu-Kaku Tasty Salt Sauce 1

Gyu-Kaku

6
Ebara Yakiniku Sauce Miso Soy Sauce Flavor 1

Ebara

7
Tomura Yakiniku Sauce, Miso 1

Tomura

8
Nihon Shokken Bansankan Roasted Garlic Yakiniku Sauce 1

Nihon Shokken

9
Jojoen Special Yakiniku Sauce 1

Jojoen

10
Ebara Yakiniku Golden Sauce 1

Ebara

Name

Azabu-Juban Sankouen Yakiniku Sauce

Stamina Source Sauce Salt-Grilled

Yakiniku Sauce

Hiden Yakiniku Sauce

Tasty Salt Sauce

Yakiniku Sauce Miso Soy Sauce Flavor

Yakiniku Sauce, Miso

Bansankan Roasted Garlic Yakiniku Sauce

Special Yakiniku Sauce

Yakiniku Golden Sauce

Features

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

The Perfect Salt-Based Yakiniku Sauce, Packed With Flavor

Delicious Miso Flavor Yakiniku Sauce to Get Your Appetite Going

A Yakiniku Sauce With Fragrant Sesame and a Mouth-Watering Taste

A Salt-Based Sauce With Powerful Garlic Flavors

A Deliciously Sweet Miso-based Yakiniku Sauce With Hints of Sesame Flavors

The Perfect Blend of Miso and Ginger

Pairs Well With All Three Meats

A Yakiniku Sauce With Mild Garlic Flavors

An Excellent Blend of Spicy and Sweet With a Prominent Garlic Flavor

Price$41.63$3.34$4.00$8.52$10.78$42.99$10.93$9.29$12.50$30.48
Japanese盛田 麻布十番三幸園 焼肉のたれ上北農産加工 スタミナ源塩焼のたれ冨貴食研 焼肉のたれダイショー 秘伝 焼肉のたれフードレーベル 牛角 旨塩だれエバラ食品工業 焼肉のたれ 味噌醤油味フードショップ戸村 戸村焼肉のたれ みそ日本食研 晩餐館の焼肉のたれ 焙煎にんにく叙々苑 焼肉のたれ 特製エバラ食品工業 黄金の味
BaseSoy sauceSaltMisoSoy sauceSaltMisoMisoSoy sauceSoy sauceSoy sauce
Suits pork3.83.83.83.83.553.33.83.33.33.3
Suits beef3.83.83.83.83.83.83.33.33.33.3
Suits chicken3.83.83.83.33.33.83.83.83.33.3
Overall score3.803.803.83.553.83.553.543.423.343.34
Link
1
Japanese盛田 麻布十番三幸園 焼肉のたれ
BaseSoy sauce
Suits pork3.8
Suits beef3.8
Suits chicken3.8
Overall score3.80
2
KNK Kamikita Agricultural Processing Stamina Source Sauce Salt-Grilled 1

KNK Kamikita Agricultural ProcessingStamina Source Sauce Salt-Grilled

$3.34

Japanese上北農産加工 スタミナ源塩焼のたれ
BaseSalt
Suits pork3.8
Suits beef3.8
Suits chicken3.8
Overall score3.80
3
FUKI FOOD Yakiniku Sauce 1

FUKI FOODYakiniku Sauce

$4.00

Japanese冨貴食研 焼肉のたれ
Sauce baseMiso
Overall score3.8
Suits chicken3.8
Suits pork3.8
Suits beef3.8
4
Japaneseダイショー 秘伝 焼肉のたれ
BaseSoy sauce
Suits pork3.8
Suits beef3.8
Suits chicken3.3
Overall score3.55
5
Japaneseフードレーベル 牛角 旨塩だれ
Sauce baseSalt
Overall score3.55
Suits chicken3.8
Suits pork3.3
Suits beef3.8
6
Japaneseエバラ食品工業 焼肉のたれ 味噌醤油味
BaseMiso
Suits pork3.3
Suits beef3.8
Suits chicken3.8
Overall score3.55
7
Japaneseフードショップ戸村 戸村焼肉のたれ みそ
BaseMiso
Suits pork3.8
Suits beef3.3
Suits chicken3.8
Overall score3.54
8
Nihon Shokken Bansankan Roasted Garlic Yakiniku Sauce 1

Nihon ShokkenBansankan Roasted Garlic Yakiniku Sauce

$9.29

Japanese日本食研 晩餐館の焼肉のたれ 焙煎にんにく
BaseSoy sauce
Suits pork3.3
Suits beef3.3
Suits chicken3.8
Overall score3.42
9
Japanese叙々苑 焼肉のたれ 特製
BaseSoy sauce
Suits pork3.3
Suits beef3.3
Suits chicken3.3
Overall score3.34
10
Japaneseエバラ食品工業 黄金の味
BaseSoy sauce
Suits pork3.3
Suits beef3.3
Suits chicken3.3
Overall score3.34

How We Tested the Yakiniku Sauces

We put the yakiniku sauces to three tests, each designed to gauge a different flavor pairing. 


We then had our experts try each sauce with chicken, pork, and 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.

Highlights: Heavier Sauces Don't Really Work With Chicken

Highlights: Heavier Sauces Don't Really Work With Chicken

We found that yakiniku sauces that had too strong of a garlic, soy sauce, or sesame flavor didn't really work well with chicken. Some of our experts commented that yakiniku sauces that have strong flavors suit beef more than chicken, since chicken has a lighters taste.


Additionally, sauces that were too sweet ended up making the chicken taste more like yakitori and less like yakiniku, since yakitori chicken is usually served in a sweet and savory teriyaki-like sauce. If you want to enjoy more of a yakiniku-style flavor, then we recommend choosing a yakiniku sauce with more ginger flavors.

Etsuko Makino
Seasoning Sommelier, Vegetable Sommelier Pro
Etsuko Makino

For yakiniku, Chicken pairs well with ginger-based sauces rather than sweeter sauces. Ginger-based sauces can bring out more flavor from the chicken, which can sometimes taste a bit bland.

Test ② Pork

Test ② Pork

We tested pork in a similar way, trying the grilled pieces of meat with each of the sauces and had our experts grade each product on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0.

Highlights: Sauces With a Strong Sesame Flavor Pair Well With Pork

Highlights: Sauces With a Strong Sesame Flavor Pair Well With Pork

We found that sauces with a strong sesame flavor paired excellently with pork. Our testers commented that the fragrance and creamy flavors of the yakiniku sauce pair well with the pork for an appetizing taste.


Consider a yakiniku sauce that has a large amount of sesame in it to have a flavorful yakiniku experience.

Yoko Tsujii
Seasoning Sommelier
Yoko Tsujii

Pork matched perfectly with yakiniku sauces that used plenty of sesame. These sauces have a great fragrance, and can really draw out the flavors of the meat. I also think they'd work great with stir-fried vegetables!

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.

Highlights: Beef and Garlic is a Winning Combo

Highlights: Beef and Garlic is a Winning Combo

Our experts noted that it takes a strong flavor like garlic to mellow out the equally strong flavor of beef.


Yakinku sauces that had a strong garlic or soy sauce flavor really drew out the flavors of the beef, making it hard to stop eating.


The hot flavors in spicy sauces tend to overpower the garlic flavors, so if you want to fully enjoy beef, we recommend choosing a medium-spicy sauce.

Megumi Yoshida
Food and Wine Expert
Megumi Yoshida

Yakiniku sauces that had a strong garlic flavor matched beef the best. Additionally, yakiniku sauces that not only used garlic, but also plenty of sesame, were also able to make full use of the beef flavors.

Not only are these sauces great for grilling beef, but also for stir-fried beef and vegetables.

How to Use Yakiniku Sauce

When most people think of yakiniku sauce, they think of a dipping sauce for meat or vegetables. However, yakiniku sauces can also be used as a marinade to add more flavor to your meat. Since manufacturers don't sell yakiniku sauces exclusively for dipping or to be used as a marinade, it's up to you to decide how to use your yakiniku sauce.

Marinate Your Meats With Yakiniku Sauce for More Flavor

Marinate Your Meats With Yakiniku Sauce for More Flavor

Any seasoned pitmaster knows that the key to a great barbecue lies in the prep work. Marinating your meat before grilling it is a great way to use your yakiniku sauce. Acids in the sauces, like mirin, sake, wine, or even fruit juices can make your meat softer and juicier, while the spices and salt in the sauce add tons of flavor. 


The time you let your meat marinate can play a big role in how tender and flavorful it is, so if you want to make sure your meat is nicely marinated, make sure to marinate it for at least an hour before grilling.


Marinated meats are both tender and flavorful, making them perfect for kids, too!

Use Yakiniku Sauce as a Dipping Sauce

Use Yakiniku Sauce as a Dipping Sauce

Similar to how you might dip some french fries into ketchup, yakiniku sauces are great dipping sauces for grilled meat and veggies. Many think that there's no better combination than grilled meat dipped in yakiniku sauce and enjoyed with a bowl of white rice.

If a yakiniku sauce is too overpowering for your taste buds to be used as a dipping sauce, try squeezing some lemon or thinning it down a bit with a touch of water.

Yakiniku Sauces Are Versatile

Yakiniku Sauces Are Versatile

Yakiniku sauces can be used for a variety of dishes. Not only are they great for seasoning vegetable stir-fries, you can use a yakiniku sauce with a strong garlic flavor to marinate chicken and make Japanese-style fried chicken.


You can also make a bowl of unique fried rice using yakiniku sauce to season your rice. Additionally, you can use a soy sauce-based yakiniku sauce to marinate regular steak, chicken, or pork chops and cook it in a smoker or grill for an American-style barbecue with some Japanese flavors.

Other Great Japanese Condiments to Try

Looking for other Japanese delicacies? How about products for your Japanese barbecue? Our culinary experts have reviewed some other Japanese foods so you know you’re getting the best.

  • Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more mybest recommendations! For questions or comments, leave us feedback via a Google Form on our Contact Us page.

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