Is Teriyaki Sauce Vegan? Your Favourite Teriyaki Sauce Might Not Always Be Vegan

is teriyaki sauce vegan?

A perfectionist vegan chef would know what wonders Teriyaki Sauce does for grilled delicacies. A drool of this magical ingredient could add splendor to even a boring lettuce salad. How often have you thought about the numerous ways it can be used in the kitchen? And how often have you wondered, is Teriyaki Sauce vegan?’

Your favourite Teriyaki Sauce may not always be vegan. It may contain a few problematic ingredients at times that you should be aware of. 

It’s important to be on a look out for some ingredients you may not like in your Teriyaki Sauce

Some ingredients are obviously not acceptable for consumption by a vegan. Others are controversial and problematic to some prudent vegans. It is entirely up to you to decide what should comprise your food and what shouldn’t. The contested constituents of Teriyaki Sauce include processed sugar, honey, lactic acid, enzymes, artificial colors, and sometimes fish. We’ll look at them one by one.

Teriyaki sauce

Your whitened cane sugar may have been filtered through bone char

Processed sugar has always remained a topic of debate amongst vegans. Many vegans do not tolerate any processed sugar in their foods unless it is mentioned to be organic. 

It is possible to buy organic or unfiltered or whichever sugar as such from the market but it is really difficult to trace the source of the sugar added to your factory made food. This is where the problem arises.

You are probably aware that a large portion of sugar in America is whitened in factories using a product called bone char. Bone char is an animal based product created by burning animal bones at high temperatures. This process of burning converts bones into highly absorptive carbon which removes the brown coloration typical of cane sugar and turns it into pristine white eye-candy. 

It is indeed true that some factories use other means to whiten their cane sugar. One of the commonest methods utilizes granular activated carbon. It is also true that some sugars are derived from beetroot and coconut instead of cane and are already white. But unless it has been mentioned, you never know which sugar you are consuming.

It may be comforting for you to know that bone char is not passed as a remnant into the final refined sugar that enters your food. Although the use of animal bones is cruel and problematic and this sort of technique makes sugar ethically non-vegan, avoiding sugar still may not be as easy and practical in real life. 

Staying away from dairy, meat products, and eggs turns out to be way more effective in reducing animal cruelty and enhancing an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. 

Sake used as a constituent of Teriyaki Sauce may not always be vegan 

Japan’s ancient rice wine, Sake, is usually filtered using charcoal. But it is possible for breweries to use gelatin at times. You must be aware that gelatin is an animal based ingredient formed by boiling animal bones, ligaments, tendons, and skins in water. The translucent gelatin laden with animal cruelty is present in numerous products avoided by vegans. 

It is advisable to ensure that the sake used in preparing your Teriyaki Sauce is vegan.

Honey is an animal based ingredient and a common sweetener in condiments

Honey is obtained from honey bees and quite a number of them get killed in the process of obtaining their sweet nourishment. Bees do not make honey for us. They spend days and months collecting nectar from flowers all around to then convert and deposit it as honey to feed their queen and larvae and the whole bee hive. We actually steal the product of their hard work just because it tastes sweet. 

Honey is not considered vegan by most standards. You have probably been avoiding honey laden barbecue sauce. If that is the case, you shouldn’t admit honey in your Teriyaki Sauce either. 

Go through the ingredients listed on the back of your preferred bottle of Teriyaki Sauce and ditch it if it has honey.

You are not wrong in having your doubts about lactic acid

This is a controversial vegan ingredient. It is known that lactase can only be derived from animals because animals digest milk and this enzyme breaks it down in their bodies. Things get blurry when it comes to lactic acid. 

A large number of industries claim to produce lactic acid by means of bacterial fermentation. This may also not make it entirely vegan because such bacteria are in turn fed on galactose which is only obtained from animals. It may be worth knowing that lactic acid can be more easily obtained from animal tissues and milk products than by bacterial fermentation and cheaper ingredients are obviously more beneficial to capitalist manufacturers. 

Enzymes in the ingredient list always irk vegans

This is because we are always kept absolutely unaware about where the enzymes in our foods come from. They may or may not be derived from animals, who knows? Many manufacturers state that they obtain their enzymes from fermenting bacteria but they obviously don’t classify the process as vegan. This is a tightrope vegans need to keep walking.

Beware of the presence of fish in your sauces

It is common for some manufacturers to proudly include anchovies and other small fishes in their sauce recipes. People unaware of different fish names would have been consuming them endlessly. As a vegan, you definitely don’t want fishes in your food, definitely not in your Teriyaki Sauce. It is essential to thoroughly go through the ingredients before you bring any food item home.

Always ask the restaurant if the Teriyaki Sauce they use is vegan

You cannot just assume anything when it comes to vegan food. Always ask the restaurant owner whether the Teriyaki Sauce they use is vegan or not. Every restaurant will probably have sugar in their recipe but we’d like to suggest you to not worry about it. Avoiding sugar in your food isn’t as impactful as avoiding the bigger culprits like meat, eggs, and honey. 

Another thing you’d want to inquire of is honey. While it is understood that honey is not a cheap ingredient so many restaurants will probably not be using it, it will suffice you to ask. 

It is acceptable if you don’t feel like relying upon the store- bought Teriyaki Sauce with numerous tricky ingredients which may or may not be vegan. If this is how you feel, we assure you it is possible to make excellent premium quality Teriyaki Sauce at home.

Just a few simple ingredients, and dang! 

Making Teriyaki Sauce at home isn’t so difficult as you may have imagined. We’ll help you prepare perfectly vegan Teriyaki Sauce for yourself and your loved ones so there’s never any guilt when it comes to food. Follow this simple recipe

Collect the requisite ingredients

You’ll need a small bowl of low sodium soy sauce, some maple syrup, machine-ground ginger, machine-ground garlic powder, balsamic vinegar, and cornstarch. This is all you require. There are no non-vegan ingredients here.

  • In this recipe, maple syrup will replace processed sugar and honey as your sweetener. This will also render your sauce essentially sugar-free. It is advisable to add the maple syrup slowly to other boiling ingredients in order to achieve the perfect blend. 
  • If you are concerned about your health, it is great to use low-sodium soy sauce in preparing the Teriyaki Sauce. 
  • You will attain a sauce of smoother consistency by adding ground ginger and garlic. You can also use freshly chopped ginger and garlic if you like the thickness and granular structure they provide. 
  • Be classy and join some vegan mirin in your ingredients. A small portion of this wine will give your sauce the classic Teriyaki flavour. You may also choose to add balsamic vinegar instead. It surely works just as well. 

Make the first step

Add some water to the cornstarch and whisk until it forms a smooth paste.

Boil some ingredients, there you go!

Take the rest of the ingredients and bring them all to boil in a saucepan. After they have boiled over and mixed altogether, add the cornstarch paste to it and keep whisking until the required thick consistency is attained. 

That’s all! This Teriyaki Sauce will be as delicious as it is unbelievable.

So is Teriyaki Sauce vegan?

Now that you know how to make it yourself, your homemade Teriyaki Sauce is definitely vegan. In case you want to still explore the supermarket aisle for possibly available vegan options, we have the requisite list for you. 

  • Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Less Sodium Marinade and Sauce: Processed sugar is the only problematic ingredient in this sauce which we would advise you to let be. 
  • Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade and Sauce: The wine used in this product is probably vegan.
  • Mr. Yoshida’s Sweet Teriyaki Marinade and Cooking Sauce: This product has lactic acid and mirin which better be vegan.

It is important to understand that it is okay to consume the ingredients which are only doubted to be non-vegan. You can guiltlessly get that factory-made Teriyaki Sauce which relishes your taste buds. You are doing your bit to save the planet.

Joe became a vegan after watching Cowspiracy. He always knew something was off with the way we consume animal products, but watching the documentary made him realized how bad it actually is. Joe is now making sure that every product he buys is 100% vegan!