Easy homemade Unagi Sauce

Eel Sauce (Unagi Sauce) Recipe

15 mins
Vadim Rachok
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7 / 10
Health score
Dairy FreeEgg free dishGluten free dishLow FatNut Free DishVegan DishVegetarian Dish

Eel sauce is a sweet and salty sauce that complements a wide range of dishes, enhancing their flavors with its sweet and savory taste. You can make it at home thanks to a simple recipe that you will find below. It will take only 15 minutes of your time. 

Ah, the allure of homemade Eel Sauce, a culinary gem that adds a sweet and savory touch to a myriad of dishes! Crafting this delectable sauce at home not only allows you to tailor its flavors to your liking but also opens the door to creative variations. By playing with ingredients like honey, brown sugar, or experimenting with different soy sauces, you can curate a unique symphony of tastes that elevate your culinary creations. The simplicity of this recipe, coupled with the power to customize, makes it a kitchen essential. Say goodbye to store-bought versions; once you've savored the richness of homemade Eel Sauce, there's no turning back.

Why it is better to make eel sauce at home? Making eel sauce at home allows you to adjust the taste of the sauce to your liking by controlling the proportions of sugar, soy sauce, mirin, and vinegar. Moreover, you can experiment with variations of ingredients like honey, brown sugar, or different types of soy sauce can create a unique flavor. We have prepared a quick recipe for the best eel sauce for you. We assure you that as soon as you try to make this sauce at home once, you will not want to buy it in the store anymore!

Eel Sauce (Unagi Sauce) Recipe

What is Eel Sauce?

Eel sauce is one of the most popular and versatile condiments in Japanese cuisine. It is also known as unagi sauce and kabayaki sauce. Eel sauce usually does not contain eel, despite its name. It contains such ingredients as soy sauce, mirin (a sweet rice wine), sugar, and sometimes sake. You can also personalize condiments tailored to your preferences. 

The preparation process involves simmering all ingredients together to form a thick, glossy sauce with a rich umami flavor. As a result, you will get a savory-sweet glaze or sauce that can be used for various dishes to add depth and flavor. Here are some popular ways to use eel sauce: 

  • Grilled Meats;
  • Stir-Fries;
  • Sushi Rolls;
  • Rice Bowls;
  • Sandwiches or Wraps;
  • Dipping Sauce;
  • Salads.

How to cook Eel Sauce (Unagi Sauce)

Eel Sauce Ingredients

Eel sauce is remarkably easy to make with simple ingredients commonly found in your fridge. Our recipe requires just three basic ingredients, making it convenient to whip up anytime. So you can enjoy its sweet and savory flavors whenever you want with minimal effort and readily available items. Here is what you’ll need:

  • Soy sauce: it offers a fantastic umami flavor that strikes the perfect balance between saltiness and savory richness.
  • Sugar: it is better to get brown sugar. However, you may also replace it with white sugar.
  • Mirin: It can typically be found in the Asian section of most local grocery stores. If unavailable, sake can be a suitable alternative. For a non-alcoholic option, consider using rice vinegar instead.

Tips to make the best Eel Sauce

  • Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the sauce thickens and forms a syrupy consistency.
  • Feel free if you want to add spices or herbs to your sauce. You can use red pepper flakes, minced garlic, or ginger. 
  • For a thicker consistency, consider adding 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Ensure thorough whisking into the mixture to avoid any clumps from forming.

Unagi Sauce Recipe

Storage instructions

You can refrigerate the eel sauce for up to 3 weeks. Before use, give it a gentle stir to prevent slight separation. You can also freeze sauce in a glass jar for up to 2 months.

Of course, since this sauce contains nothing more than simple carbohydrates, namely sugars, I cannot consider it an example of a healthy sauce. However, if you use it in reasonable quantities just to enhance the flavor of the main dish (rather than drowning the dish in sauce as if it were cake frosting), it won't harm your health or figure (remember the 90/10 rule, where 90% of your calorie intake should come from "clean," nutritious, and healthy foods, and 10% can be indulged in sweets, toppings, and everything that brings us true pleasure). So, if you're a fan of Japanese cuisine and truly enjoy eel rolls with unagi sauce, don't hold back and go ahead to prepare this sauce.

Jenny Dobrynina
Jenny Dobrynina
Nutrition Editor
Health score:
7 / 10
Eel Sauce (Unagi Sauce) Recipe
Author:Vadim Rachok
Eel Sauce Recipe: Tasty Japanese Sauce Without Extra Effort!
Easy homemade Unagi Sauce
Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
15 mins
3/4 cup
The ingredients you need:
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup white sugar
½ cup mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
Let’s start !

Heat soy sauce, sugar, and mirin in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until liquid is reduced to about 3/4 cup.

Nutrition Information
Servings Per Recipe: 6 Calories: 121
% Daily Value *
 % Daily Value *
Sodium 1203mg52%
Total Carbohydrate 25g9%
Dietary Fiber 0g1%
Total Sugars 23g 
Protein 1g 
Calcium 6mg0%
Iron 0mg2%
Potassium 47mg1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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Watch How To Make It

When perfecting your Eel Sauce, patience is key. Let the magic happen by allowing the ingredients – soy sauce, sugar, and mirin – to simmer together for 10-15 minutes. This gentle heat transforms the trio into a luscious, syrupy consistency, unlocking layers of umami goodness. If you crave a bolder profile, feel free to infuse your sauce with spices like red pepper flakes, minced garlic, or ginger for an extra flavor kick. For those who prefer a thicker texture, a tablespoon or two of cornstarch, whisked diligently, can work wonders. And here's a secret to preserve your culinary creation – refrigerate for up to three weeks or freeze for up to two months in a glass jar. A dollop of homemade Eel Sauce can turn any dish into a culinary masterpiece. Happy saucing!

Vadim Rachok
Vadim Rachok
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