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The 5 Best Substitutes for Ponzu Sauce

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Have you ever had a dish that was so flavorful that you just couldn’t stop eating it?

Chances are that the dish was made with Ponzu sauce.

Ponzu sauce is a citrus-based sauce that is popular in Japanese cuisine.

The tart and savory flavors of ponzu sauce make it a versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes.

Ponzu sauce can be used as a marinade, dipping sauce, or stir-fry sauce.

It is also a common ingredient in sushi rolls.

If you are looking for a ponzu sauce substitute, there are several options that you can use.

In this article, we will discuss what ponzu sauce is, its common uses, and some substitutes that you can use if you can’t find ponzu sauce.

What is Ponzu Sauce?

what is ponzu sauce

Ponzu sauce is a popular Japanese condiment made from soy sauce, rice vinegar, citrus juice, mirin, and bonito flakes.

It has a tart and tangy flavor that is lightened up by the sweetness of the mirin.

To make ponzu sauce, simply combine citrus juice, soy sauce, and mirin in a bowl and whisk until combined.

You can use any type of citrus juice, but yuzu juice is traditional.

If you can’t find yuzu juice, you can use a combination of lemon and lime juice.

Once you’ve made your ponzu sauce, be sure to use it within a week for the best flavor.

After that, it will begin to lose its brightness and become saltier.

Ponzu sauce can be purchased at most Asian grocery stores, or it can be easily made at home.

This sauce is commonly used as a dipping sauce for sushi and sashimi.

It can also be used as a marinade for meats or vegetables.

For example, chicken or steak can be marinated in ponzu sauce before grilling or stir-frying.

Vegetables such as broccoli or carrots can also be tossed with ponzu sauce before roasting or steaming.

Ponzu sauce can also be used as a dressing for salads or noodle dishes.

When used as a marinade or dressing, it is essential to remember that ponzu sauce is quite salty, so it should be used sparingly.

If you are looking for a delicious, umami-packed dipping sauce or marinade, then you should definitely give ponzu sauce a try.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Ponzu Sauce

If you’re in a pinch and need a ponzu sauce substitute, these five options will do the trick.

1 – Homemade Ponzu Sauce

homemade ponzu sauce

Ponzu sauce is a versatile Japanese dipping sauce made from soy sauce, citrus juice, mirin, katsuobushi (bonito flakes), kombu (kelp), and rice vinegar.

You can easily make this delicious sauce at home with just a few simple ingredients.

The key to making a good ponzu sauce is to find the right balance of tartness, sweetness, and umami flavors.

The citrus juice provides tartness, while the mirin and rice vinegar add sweetness.

The soy sauce and katsuobushi give the sauce its umami flavor.

For a deeper umami flavor, you can add a small number of bonito flakes or dashi stock.

You can use this recipe as a starting point and adjust the ingredients to taste.

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce.
  • 1/4 cup citrus juice (such as yuzu, lemon, or lime).
  • 2 tablespoons mirin.
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar.
  • 1 teaspoon bonito flakes (optional).
  • 1/4 teaspoon kombu powder (optional).

2 – Soy Sauce + Lemon Juice

soy sauce lemon juice

Soy sauce and lemon juice is an amazing combination that can be used in so many different ways.

The soy sauce adds an umami flavor to whatever it is added to, while the lemon juice provides a lovely tartness and freshness.

This combination can be used as a dipping sauce, a marinade, or even just as a seasoning.

It is also a great substitute for ponzu sauce, which can be expensive.

To use soy sauce and lemon juice as a ponzu substitute, simply mix equal parts of each ingredient.

This delicious combination will brighten up any dish.

3 – Soy Sauce + Vinegar

soy sauce vinegar

You might be surprised to learn that soy sauce and vinegar can be used as versatile cooking ingredients.

This combination can be used in place of Ponzu sauce, which is difficult to find outside Japan.

To use soy sauce and vinegar as a Ponzu substitute, simply mix equal parts soy sauce and vinegar with a bit of sugar or honey to taste.

You can also add a citrus zest or juice pinch to round out the flavor.

This mixture can be used as a marinade, dressing, or dipping sauce.

It is particularly good with seafood, chicken, or vegetables.

So next time you look for a Ponzu substitute, reach for soy sauce and vinegar – you might just be surprised at how well they work together.

4 – Mentsuyu + Vinegar

mentsuyu vinegar

Mentsuyu is a concentrated soup base made from soy sauce, mirin, sake, and dashi (fish stock).

It is usually sold in bottles or packets and can be found in the international aisle of most supermarkets.

To use mentsuyu as a substitute for ponzu, simply mix it with equal parts vinegar and water.

This homemade version of ponzu will have a flavor similar to the store-bought variety but slightly less salty.

If you’re looking for a more authentic experience, try using umeboshi vinegar instead of regular vinegar.

Umeboshi vinegar is made from pickled ume fruits and has a sour, salty flavor that pairs well with mentsuyu.

It can be found in Japanese grocery stores or online.

5 – Worcestershire Sauce

worcestershire sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a popular condiment that is used in many different dishes.

The distinctively savory and tangy flavor of Worcestershire sauce is due to the unique blend of ingredients, which typically includes vinegar, anchovies, tamarind, and spices.

While Worcestershire sauce can be used as a dipping sauce or added to soups and stews, it is most commonly used as a flavor enhancer for meats, fish, and poultry.

When substituting Worcestershire sauce for ponzu sauce, it is important to keep the ratio of liquid to solids in mind.

For every 1 tablespoon of ponzu sauce, you will need 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

In addition, you may need to add a little bit of water to thin out the Worcestershire sauce if it is too thick.


In conclusion, there are a variety of substitutes for ponzu sauce that can be used in its place.

Each substitute has its unique flavor that can enhance the taste of any dish.

When choosing a substitute, it is important to consider the flavors that will be present in the dish and select a sauce that will complement those flavors.

With so many options available, there is sure to be a ponzu sauce substitute that is perfect for any dish.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Ponzu Sauce

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: Substitutes


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  • Homemade Ponzu Sauce

  • Soy Sauce + Lemon Juice

  • Soy Sauce + Vinegar

  • Mentsuyu + Vinegar

  • Worcestershire Sauce


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

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