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Japanese Cuisine: 5 BEST Ponzu Sauce Substitutes

Ran out of Ponzu sauce? No stress.

We’ve all been there, mid-recipe and realizing we’re missing a key ingredient. It happens to the best of us.

You’re ready to whip up an amazing Japanese dish, and boom, the Ponzu sauce is MIA.

Before you toss in the towel or make a supermarket dash, we’ve got you covered with some game-changing substitutes.

These alternatives are not just backups; they might just become your new favorites.

They’re easy to find and simple to use, keeping your culinary game strong.

Get ready to give your dishes a twist that’ll make everyone at the table ask for seconds.

what is ponzu sauce

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.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Ponzu Sauce

Looking to enhance your dish but don't have Ponzu sauce on hand? Fear not! We've compiled a list of the 5 best substitutes that will bring a similar tangy and umami-rich flavor to your culinary creations. Whether you're out of Ponzu sauce or simply looking for alternatives, these substitutes will surely elevate your dish to the next level.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • 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.
Keyword substitutes for ponzu sauce
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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