There are a million ways to marinate a cut of meat, glaze a piece of fish, or stir fry a hodgepodge of vegetables. But teriyaki might be the one to rule them all. This Japanese classic is as much a method as it is a sauce: the word teriyaki literally means “to cook with a shine.” That sheen comes from the mirin and sugar base, which takes on a luster as it caramelizes. Those sweet ingredients also mingle back and forth with the other main component: soy sauce, which adds a salty and savory contrast.
This simple yet spot-on balance makes teriyaki one of those enduring flavors that can be enjoyed any night of the week. To that end, here are seven teriyaki recipes to fill your dinnertime calendar with.
1. Easy Teriyaki Chicken
Fast, inexpensive, and easy to make, chicken teriyaki has conquered cheap eats joints and home kitchens alike. If you’ve never made teriyaki anything before, this is where to start. Get our Easy Teriyaki Chicken recipe.
2. Teriyaki Salmon
Although teriyaki tends to be synonymous with chicken in the U.S., in Japan, you’re most likely to see it used on fish. This recipe stays true to tradition and includes all the elements you need for a one plate meal. Get our Teriyaki Salmon recipe.
3. Flank Steak Teriyaki
Teriyaki has all the hallmarks of a classic grilling sauce: a little bit savory, a little bit sweet, and plenty of big flavor. It’s a natural match for the smoke and flames of the grill, especially on a robust and meaty cut like flank steak. Get our Flank Steak Teriyaki recipe.
4. Teriyaki Tofu and Veggie Stir-Fry
Carnivores don’t have to have all the teriyaki fun. Veggies and tofu also know how to wear the sauce well. This healthy stir fry shows that the secret to a satisfying meal is all about how you dress it up. Get our Teriyaki Tofu and Veggie Stir-Fry recipe.
5. Grilled Teriyaki Pork Chops
Teriyaki on pork chops is a no brainer. But to set it apart, it needs a little extra something on the side that matches. In this recipe, pineapple rings seared on the grill fulfill all of those salty and sweet pairing fantasies. Get our Grilled Teriyaki Pork Chops recipe.
6. Bacon Wrapped Teriyaki Onion Rings
Not that we needed an upgrade to the onion ring, but holy smokes, these bacon-wrapped hoops nail it right on the head. Teriyaki, of course, provides that final layer that takes it over the top, adding a touch of saucy sweetness. Get the recipe here.
7. Black Bean Teriyaki Burgers
In fast food chains across Japan, the teriyaki burger is a menu staple. Although it hasn’t quite caught on stateside just yet, twists like this vegetarian take with black bean patties make the case that it deserves to be next on the boundary-pushing burger frontier. Get the recipe here.
Miki Kawasaki is a New York City–based food writer and graduate of Boston University's program in Gastronomy. Few things excite her more than a well-crafted sandwich or expertly spiced curry. If you ever run into her at a dinner party, make sure to hit her up for a few pieces of oddball culinary trivia.