Teriyaki Burgers w/Homemade Teriyaki Sauce – Think outside the bottle

A while back, we were lamenting about how overly sweet and artificial some bottled teriyaki sauces were. With the exception of one that we liked on our teriyaki burgers, most were too sugary. Fake tasting. Processed. Yuck.

With the grilling season underway, we wanted some teriyaki variety to our bbq menu and it was always a struggle to search for a bottle that didn’t look like a goop of sugary, sticky brown blue. We needed to think outside the bottle and needed to be quick about it because guests were coming over in a few hours. Mission: think fast and work fresh.

How difficult was it to make a homemade, fresh teriyaki glaze for our burgers?  Not at all. It was one of the easiest sauce recipes we’ve ever created and can’t believe our bbq’s went without it.

teriyaki burger with mango salsa (salsa recipe will be posted later this weekend)

We originally shared a version of this teriyaki  recipe on GoodBite.com and it took this long to finally write about it. Excuse us for the 11 month delay, but we’ve been so busy at the studios and with another production studio (exciting!!) in the works, this teriyaki post slipped our minds.

Regardless of how long it took to write about this bbq recipe, the reminder to everyone is that this homemade sauce is so fabulous tasting, you’ll never go back to a bottle again. Homemade teriyaki sauce is customizable to your palate of sweetness, tartness and stickyness, or all three. The addition of some extra brown sugar highlights the fruity sweetness of the pineapple and a bit of extra vinegar elevates the teriyaki to extra tang.

This wonderful recipe can also be made with a fresh pineapple or a can of good quality canned pineapple. Glaze it on beef, chicken or vegetable and  poking some sticks in the for teriyaki skewers! Choose your strategy, flavor profile and taste. Do what your want because it’s YOUR sauce, your bbq and your celebration of grilling.

To accompany our burgers, we added some fresh and fruity mango salsa, which turned out great! But we’ll post the mango salsa recipe this weekend for you. Sorry, gotta go back to editing!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

diane and todd

Hamburgers with Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

Yield: 4-6 Burgers

Total Time: 10 Minutes

Add extra sugar for sweetness or extra vinegar for tang. Customize the teriyaki sauce to your taste!


For the burgers:

  • 2 pound ground beef
  • 4-6 hamburger buns
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lettuce, tomato, pickles and other trimmings

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup of fresh, minced pineapple or 1 20 oz. can of quality minced pineapple
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 " knob of minced ginger (about 20 grams)
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of vinegar (apple cider or rice vinegar)
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1 Tbs cold water


  1. For the sauce:

    In a blender, combine: soy sauce, 1 can of minced pineapple  (or 1 full cup of the minced fresh pineapple), ginger, garlic, brown sugar, vinegar, sesame oil. Blend all ingredients until well combined or until pineapple and ginger are crushed very well. At this stage, you can decide if you want a finer sauce by straining the pulp out. If you like the sauce a little thicker with chunks of pineapple, then do not strain.

  2. In small bowl, mix cornstarch and cold water. With fork, break apart cornstarch clumps until liquid is smooth (cornstarch slurry).
  3. Transfer teriyaki liquid to sauce pan. Heat up for about 1 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove sauce pan from heat and immediately stir in cornstarch water mixture. Stir rapidly till sauce thickens. Allow to cool. This will make about 2-3 cups of teriyaki sauce.
  4. For the burgers:

    Add salt and pepper to your ground beef to taste. Form into patties. Grill burger patties, then toss patties in a small bowl containing teriyaki sauce right before you assemble the burgers.

Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Ana Lopez

    Just finished making this recipe, the sauce came out wonderful. 🙂

  2. Carolyn

    I dont eat beef but I will put sauce in my crock w/chicken breast 🙂

  3. Capt. Bluebear

    Hi, I love the sound of using pineapples for Teriyaki sauce – it sounds delish. Can I bottle these lovely sauce and how long will they keep?

    Cap. Bluebear

  4. Mr. Fizz

    Nice post! Beautiful pictures. I thought some might appreciate a suggestion for quickly marinating chicken with teriyaki sauce. Actually, infusing chicken with same. Marinating suggests soaking for a time period, waiting for flavors to be absorbed by the meat. Googling for “pressure infusion marination” will turn up some interesting articles. On good video is found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMQRSJUFuwM. Infusion happens in seconds, whereas marination can take hours (or even days).

    Happy infusing.
    Mr. Fizz

  5. Carolyn

    Just made the teriyaki sauce to put on locally-raised grilled pork chops. OMG. Delicious! Not to mention the fact that my kitchen smells like heaven. This will be a staple in my kitchen from now on. Thanks!

    Carolyn from http://www.cowlickcottagefarm.com

  6. Kristy Kentch

    I know the idea is freshness, and I love it! For a bust mom, do you think I could make a double batch and freeze half of this?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Ya know~we aren’t sure! We’ve never tried freezing the teriyaki sauce. After thinking over of how the sauce may act after thawing out we can’t fully determine if its texture will break down in thawing out or not. It doesn’t seem like it will but sometimes you never know for sure until you try it out. Maybe try a regular batch, freeze some, and if it works next time do the double.
      It does last fairly well, even in the fridge, so don’t worry about using all it up immediately. If we remember, on the next batch we’ll try freezing some and comment on the results, or if anyone has tried and knows how well the sauce freezes, please share the knowledge. Thanks!

  7. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    Making your own teriyaki sauce just highlights how awful most of the bottled sauces are. I often wonder whether that’s the way sauces are made for the American marketplace, or whether bottled teriyaki is the same semi-solid sugar water everywhere.

  8. PBSwine

    While it may always be a good time to eat a burger, I’m going to step your sauce recipe up a notch. First I’m going to use a nice roll, crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. Next, I’m going to use plenty of your sauce. Last but not least, I’m going to use a burger-sized Rib Eye steak, about 1″ thick and cooked to medium rare instead of a burger!!! Thanks for the recipe, and the memories and smiles to come!!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      PBSwime- were drooling over your comment!

  9. J2Kfm (Malaysian Food Blog)

    No matter how cloyingly sweet the artificial teriyaki sauce may be, I kinda liked McDonald’s samurai burger back then. Not sure whether this was available in the other countries, but here in Malaysia, they were such hits! Combining their signature grilled beef patties with teriyaki sauce, the ensemble was heavenly ….

  10. Jessica

    I never thought people could and would make their own teriyaki sauce! On my to do list!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Jessica- funny how we overlook things like this. After making the sauce fresh, it’s hard to go back to the store bought bottle!

  11. emily s

    FINALLY a teriyaki recipe that I can make! with no strange unfindable ingredients! making this for sure! Thank you guys for the great recipe … the pictures are extremely tasty!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      emily s- the recipe is easy to make and it’s so good!

  12. Jane

    I was planning on turkey burgers for Memorial Day, your teriyaki sauce sounds like the perfect addition. Can’t wait to read your mango salsa, that was also in my burger plan.

    Love your blog and Happy Memorial weekend!

  13. Lynn

    I’m making all my own sauces these days. I’m persoally nterested in limiting salt since a normal dose of almost any commercial sauce is more than a day’s level. Moreover, all the sugars in my sauces are from complex natural products–not refined sugar. Fruit based sauces fill the bill. Most recent successes were mango, tamarind, molasses and rhubarb with ginger and 5-spice powder among many other things. These will be posted in a few weeks at Lynn in the kitchen’s blog.
    I hope you will think of checking me out in the near future.

  14. Christina

    This looks delicious. Beautiful photos too.

  15. A Canadian Foodie

    I make everything from scratch if I can, and this is a wonderful looking recipe. This kind of sauce I have never made, but will now. Thank you for the idea and the recipe/

  16. Carolyn

    Hi Diane and Todd:

    Happy Memorial Day weekend! Just a note to let you know how much I enjoy your site. As an avid organic gardener, cook, dog mama and most recently, a blogger, we share many passions. Your site is one of my favorites, and I refer to it regularly and look forward to your new posts. I hope you come and visit my website, too! Even though we live in north Florida, we grow many of the same fruits and vegetables that you do.

    I am going to make your teriyaki burgers tomorrow!

    Best wishes,

    Carolyn from Cowlick Cottage Farm

  17. Half Assed Kitchen

    You are so right about homemade bbq sauce: far, far superior. And teriyaki to boot. I’m excited about this one. Thanks!

  18. Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle.com

    This sauce sounds delicious and I’m wondering why I’ve never thought of making my own teriyaki sauce; maybe it sounded too exotic? I haven’t had a bottled salad dressing in the hours for years as I love making my own…so this is now on the list…and I mean the grocery list. Thanks…and have a safe and fun weekend.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Barbara- we ever really thought about making fresh sauce either, until we were finally frustrated with the overly sweet bottled sauces! have fun.

  19. bunkycooks

    There is nothing better than burgers on the grill, except the ones with your homemade teriyaki sauce and mango salsa! I totally agree that fresh is best and can’t wait to try this recipe. Have a great weekend!

  20. deeba

    Love the freshness of the sauce and the burgers too … how exciting! YUM!!

  21. nina

    Gosh that is posh nosh…I have never seen a burger looking that good!!!

  22. Tokyo Terrace

    Oh my gosh. Yum. Yum. YUM! I want that burger in my belly right now.

    I love making my own sauces. There are so many bottled varieties out there that are exactly as you describe them: Yuck. Not to mention all the crazy ingredients that I can’t pronounce! I’ll try this recipe out on the fam this summer. Thanks!

  23. Kalyn

    That top photo of the finished burger is just beautiful!

  24. Fran

    The sauce sounds great. I’d never have thought of using pineapple. Perfect! I love love love the shot of the burger bun with grill marks. It really made me wish I could take a bite right now.

  25. marla {family fresh cooking}

    Homemade sauces are always so much better than bottled. My goal is always to control sugar, so working with individual ingredients is always best! These burgers looks wonderful. Have a great weekend.

  26. Cheryl

    This sauce sounds perfect and I want to try it right now 🙂 I’ve had burgers on the brain lately. Maybe it is just the time of year?

    We usually grill pineapple rings to put on our burgers, so this sounds right up our alley. Also, though, I think I am going try this recipe the next time we make pulled pork sandwiches.

    Is it time to eat yet?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Cheryl- definitely it’s always a good time to eat a burger! 😉

  27. Maggy@ThreeManyCooks

    These look delicious! I’m thinking there’s a lot of things I could put that sauce on. Gorgeous photos too.

  28. Cookin' Canuck

    Now this is the way to do a burger! I like to add some rice wine to my teriyaki sauce, but really need to try the fresh pineapple. The grilled hamburgers buns in your photo are the perfect touch.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Cookin’ Canuck- I have rice wine vinegar to the recipe but Chinese rice wine sounds like a great addition. I’ll have to try that.

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