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Sauce Secrets: 5 Best Substitutes for Unagi Sauce

Oh snap, you’ve just realized there’s no unagi sauce in the cupboard. Bummer, right? No worries, though!

We’ve got you covered with some killer swaps that might even knock your socks off.

Ever tried making a dish and it turned a bit…meh, because you missed that one key ingredient?

Yeah, we’ve been there too. It’s like wanting to hit play on your favorite jam but your speaker’s dead.

Total buzzkill. But here’s the good news: whipping up magic in the kitchen doesn’t hinge on having that one sauce.

Think of these alternatives as your culinary lifeline – easy, nifty, and might just pinch-hit for the MVP in your next meal.

Keep reading; it’s simpler than you think and utterly game-changing.

what is unagi sauce

The 5 Best Substitutes for Unagi Sauce

Unagi sauce is a popular Japanese condiment known for its rich, sweet, and savory flavor.

It is commonly used as a glaze for grilled eel (unagi) dishes.

However, if you’re looking for substitutes for unagi sauce due to dietary restrictions or unavailability, there are several options to consider.

In this guide, we will compare the top 5 substitutes for unagi sauce, discussing their key characteristics and suggesting proper ratios to help you find alternatives that suit your needs.

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsProper Ratio
Teriyaki SauceSweet and savory flavor with a hint of umami; versatile and commonly used in Asian cuisineUse an equal amount of teriyaki sauce as a substitute for unagi sauce
BBQ SauceBold and smoky flavor with a touch of sweetness; commonly used as a marinade or glazeUse an equal amount of BBQ sauce as a substitute for unagi sauce
Hoisin SauceThick and fragrant sauce with a sweet and salty taste; commonly used in Chinese cuisineUse an equal amount of hoisin sauce as a substitute for unagi sauce
Soy SauceSalty and savory flavor with a deep umami taste; widely used in various Asian dishesUse half the amount of soy sauce compared to unagi sauce
Worcestershire SauceTangy and savory sauce with a complex flavor profile; commonly used in Western cuisineUse half the amount of Worcestershire sauce compared to unagi sauce

Now, let’s delve into each substitute in more detail:

1. Teriyaki Sauce

teriyaki sauce

First on our list is teriyaki sauce.

This is a popular Japanese sauce made from soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar.

While unagi and teriyaki sauces are similar, teriyaki is slightly sweeter and not as smoky.

In terms of consistency, teriyaki sauce is thinner than unagi sauce and has a more watery texture.

It’s also less sticky, making it ideal for use as a marinade or glaze.

Teriyaki sauce has a versatile flavor with chicken, seafood, and vegetables.

It’s also a popular ingredient in Japanese cooking, so you’ll often find it used in sushi rolls or served as a dipping sauce for tempura.

  • Key Characteristics: Teriyaki sauce offers a sweet and savory flavor with a hint of umami. It is a versatile sauce commonly used in Asian cuisine, making it an excellent substitute for unagi sauce.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of teriyaki sauce as a substitute for unagi sauce. Adjust the sweetness or saltiness based on personal preference and desired taste.

2. BBQ Sauce

bbq sauce

The next time you’re at the grocery store, take a look at the BBQ sauce aisle.

You’ll find a variety of different flavors, all of which can be used as a substitute for unagi sauce.

When choosing a BBQ sauce to use as a substitute, it’s important to consider the flavor profile you’re looking for.

If you want something sweet and savory, look for a honey-based BBQ sauce.

For something smoky, go for a sauce that contains chipotle peppers.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can always make your BBQ sauce at home.

Experiment with different ingredients until you find a flavor combination that you love.

Who knows, you might even come up with a new favorite recipe.

  • Key Characteristics: BBQ sauce provides a bold and smoky flavor with a touch of sweetness. While it may differ slightly in taste from unagi sauce, it can still be used as a substitute, particularly when grilling or glazing meat.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of BBQ sauce as a substitute for unagi sauce. Adjust the flavors by adding a small amount of soy sauce or honey, if desired.

3. Hoisin Sauce

hoisin sauce

Since its creation, hoisin sauce has become a popular ingredient in many cuisines.

It is commonly used as a dipping sauce, a marinade, or even an ingredient in other sauces.

Hoisin sauce is made from various ingredients, including soybeans, sweet potatoes, wheat flour, sugar, salt, and various spices.

The sauce is typically a dark brown or red and has a thick, sticky consistency.

It is also quite sweet, with healthy soybeans and spices.

Hoisin sauce can be found in most Asian markets and many supermarkets.

There are many ways to use hoisin sauce in cooking.

It is often used as a dipping sauce for dumplings or spring rolls.

It can also be used as a marinade for meats, such as chicken or pork.

Hoisin sauce can also be added to other sauces to add a more complex flavor.

  • Key Characteristics: Hoisin sauce is a thick and fragrant sauce with a sweet and salty taste. It is commonly used in Chinese cuisine and can provide a similar depth of flavor to unagi sauce.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of hoisin sauce as a substitute for unagi sauce. Adjust the sweetness or saltiness according to personal preference.

4. Soy Sauce

soy sauce

One of the most commonly used condiments globally, soy sauce is a staple in many pantries.

But what exactly is soy sauce?

Soy sauce is a fermented liquid made from soybeans, wheat, salt, and water.

It has a salty, umami flavor that can enhance other foods.

Soy sauce is used in many Asian cuisines, including Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

Soy sauce is a good substitute if you’re out of unagi sauce.

It has a similar salty, umami flavor.

Soy sauce is also thinner than unagi sauce, so it may not be ideal for dipping sushi.

But it can be used in dishes that call for unagi sauce, such as stir-fries or marinades.

  • Key Characteristics: Soy sauce is a staple in Asian cooking, known for its salty and savory flavor with a deep umami taste. While not exactly the same as unagi sauce, it can still complement dishes requiring a savory element.
  • Proper Ratio: Use half the amount of soy sauce compared to unagi sauce. Soy sauce is saltier, so adjust the quantity accordingly. Add a touch of sweetness, such as honey or sugar, to mimic the sweet component of unagi sauce.

5. Worcestershire Sauce

worcestershire sauce

The last on our list of substitutes is Worcestershire sauce.

This sauce is made from various ingredients, including vinegar, tamarind, molasses, sugar, and spices.

It has a complex flavor that is both sweet and sour, with a hint of umami.

Worcestershire sauce can be used to substitute for unagi sauce in many dishes.

It has a similar flavor profile and can add depth and complexity to a dish.

However, it is important to remember that Worcestershire sauce is much saltier than unagi sauce.

Therefore, you may need to adjust the amount of salt in your recipe accordingly.

Depending on the other ingredients in your dish, Worcestershire sauce can also substitute for soy sauce.

It has a similar umami flavor and can help round out the flavors in a dish.

However, it is important to remember that Worcestershire sauce is much sweeter than soy sauce.

  • Key Characteristics: Worcestershire sauce is a tangy and savory sauce with a complex flavor profile. Although it differs from unagi sauce, it can still contribute to a rich and flavorful dish, particularly in Western cuisine.
  • Proper Ratio: Use half the amount of Worcestershire sauce compared to unagi sauce. Worcestershire sauce has a strong taste, so adjust the quantity based on personal preference and the desired level of tanginess.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Unagi Sauce

Seeking alternatives for Unagi sauce? Your quest ends here! We've compiled a list of the 5 best substitutes that seamlessly capture the essence of Unagi sauce, ensuring your dish maintains its delectable flavor profile.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving

Ingredients
  

  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Worcestershire Sauce

Instructions
 

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