7 Ponzu Sauce Substitute

If you like sauce, you’ve probably heard of ponzu sauce. Ponzu, often known as a citrus twist on soy sauce, is a fantastic complement to many dishes and is frequently used for dipping, marinating, and dressing.

However, supposing a recipe asks for ponzu sauce and you can’t locate any. What kind of substitution would be the most suitable? There are other possibilities, including nam pla prik, Worcestershire sauce, mentsuyu, fish sauce, tonkatsu, teriyaki, and hoisin sauce.

We’ll begin with a quick introduction to ponzu sauce, then offer our favorite replacements before concluding with a handmade ponzu sauce recipe.

What Is Ponzu Sauce?

If you’ve been looking through the Japanese sauces at your local grocery store, you’ve probably come across ponzu sauce, sometimes known as the citrus version of soy sauce.

Its origin is uncertain, although the term has a Dutch flavor to it. Pon is derived from the Dutch word punch, and su means vinegar, exposing one of the sauce’s essential components. The phrases punch and vinegar together describe a sauce with acidic and fruity undertones.

Despite having Dutch roots, the majority of the components in ponzu are Japanese. Kombu, lemon, soy sauce, mirin, bonito fish flakes, and rice vinegar are common ingredients.

The ponzu in your refrigerator is generally made using lemon or lime juice. However, the typical citrus fruits for ponzu are bitter orange yuzu or sudachi mandarin.

Yuzu and sudachi are both tough to come by and rather pricey, but if you can get your hands on one, it will provide an unbelievable depth of acidic and bitter tastes to a handmade ponzu sauce.

Ponzu is a traditional dipping sauce for shabu-shabu, tataki, soba, sushi, or dumplings. Because of the acidity from the citrus, it also works great as a ceviche marinade. A few dashes may also provide a spicy kick to a soup, stew, or stir fry.

Substitutes for Ponzu Sauce

  1. Nam Prik Nam Pla
  2. Worcestershire sauce
  3. Mentsuyu
  4. Fish sauce
  5. Tonkatsu sauce
  6. Teriyaki sauce
  7. Hoisin sauce

Nam Pla Prik

Nam pla prik is a Thai culinary need. It’s quite versatile and can be used to flavor anything from dips and marinades to stir-fries.

Lime juice, spicy chilies, and fish sauce make up this Thai condiment. It has a strong, salty, and somewhat sweet taste. Even though the fiery chilis make it spicier than ponzu, the fish sauce and citrus juice provide a taste profile that is remarkably comparable.

Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is similar to ponzu sauce because of its acidic flavor.

To begin, it contains vinegar, tamarind, and anchovies, all of which have a taste similar to ponzu’s citrus juice and bonito flakes. It has savory and somewhat sweet overtones in addition to an acidic taste.

This sauce is most often used as a marinade or seasoning, but it may also be used in a number of dishes. This alternative will significantly enrich and balance the flavors of rich beef stews, as well as basic grilled burgers. It may also give dull items like tofu a salty, sweet, and tangy kick.


Mentsuyu is a popular kind of Japanese soup base. Some of the components used to prepare it include soy sauce, mirin, sugar, dashi, and salt, which are also contained in Japanese ponzu sauce.

Mentsuyu is somewhat sweeter than ponzu sauce because to the additional sugar. It lacks citrus as well, however many cooks advocate adding a splash of grapefruit or lemon juice to mimic the zesty taste of ponzu.

Shirataki and mein noodles are two meals that go nicely with mentsuyu. Its strong taste is evident straight out of the bottle, so you may want to dilute it with water before combining it with noodles.

Fish Sauce

Ponzu sauce contains bonito flakes, which have a fishy flavor, thus fish sauce is the finest ponzu sauce substitute if you want to mimic that flavor.

This sauce is made from fermented fish and has a strong, salty taste character. It lacks the zesty taste, but you can readily fix that by adding a dash of lemon juice to your dish.

Fish sauce may be used as a dip for seafood meals such as fish sticks or sea bass. You may also use it to marinate meat and prepare it for grilling.

Tonkatsu Sauce

Tonkatsu sauce is a sour Japanese condiment that may be substituted for ponzu sauce.

Soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar are used in the recipe. But that’s not all; this sauce is produced with a variety of fruits and vegetables, including apples, prunes, dates, and lemons, as well as tomatoes, onions, carrots, and celery. It also has at least 10 distinct spices in it.

The taste is overall extremely rich, sweet, and tangy, with a dash of spice. The texture is comparable to ponzu, but if you like a more watery sauce, add a touch of water.

This substitute is perfect for stir-fry dishes and meat marinades. It’s also delicious sprinkled on salads as a dressing.

Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki sauce is a kind of Japanese glaze or sauce. It’s a medium-thick dark crimson liquid with specks of various spices and tastes evident.

Soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, mirin, and rice vinegar are the main ingredients in this excellent ponzu replacement.

It has a sweet and tangy taste, thus mixing it with some lemon juice may result in the ideal ponzu sauce substitute.

Teriyaki sauce may be marinated or glazed over meats and seafood. It is well-known for its combination with grilled chicken and stir-fry. It may also be poured over salads or used as a dipping sauce. It’s also a wonderful addition to burgers or ribs.

Hoisin Sauce

Garlic, soybeans, and spices are used in the popular hoisin sauce recipe. The sauce’s thick texture and sweet and acidic flavor are similar to ponzu sauce.

Hoisin sauce complements meals from every cuisine and tastes exquisite.

It works well as a marinade or glaze for meats and tofu. It’s also great in stir-fries or fried rice. It may also be used as a dipping sauce for shrimp, chicken wings, or roasted veggies.

Homemade Recipe for Ponzu Sauce

While store-bought sauces may add a delicious taste to a meal, we can all agree that homemade sauces outperform anything available in shops.

Ponzu sauce is a simple sauce that requires few ingredients and little time to prepare. If you don’t have the store-bought variety, we dare you to create it yourself. Let’s get this party started!


  • 4 oz (120 ml) soy sauce;
  • 1 oz (30 ml) rice vinegar;
  • 4 oz (120 ml) lemon and lime juice;
  • 4 oz (120 ml) mirin;
  • 1 oz (30 g) kombu;
  • oz (15 g) bonito fish flakes;

Equipment: Small saucepan and fine-mesh strainer;

Prep time: 20 minutes

Combine the vinegar, kombu, and mirin in a small saucepan. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then turn off the heat. Then stir in the bonito fish flakes well. Allow the pan to rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Then strain it and let the liquid to cool.

Meanwhile, squeeze the lemon and lime juices. After the mixture has cooled somewhat, stir in the citrus juice, mirin, and soy sauce for a few seconds. It’s all done! Refrigerate the sauce in a firmly sealed container for up to one week before using.


There you have it! The greatest collection of ponzu sauce alternatives. The issue is, which would you pick?

If you wish to stick to the recipe, we suggest making your own ponzu sauce since there is no better or tastier alternative.

If you don’t want to create your own ponzu, you may select for one of the other sauces on our list, which range from teriyaki and hoisin to nam pla prik and mentsuyu.

Some of these may have an effect on the overall taste of your food, so be sure they compliment one another. Don’t forget to add a dash of lemon juice to any alternatives that need a zesty kick. Good day!


What can you replace ponzu sauce with?

Soy sauce is the greatest ponzu sauce alternative in our opinion. In terms of use, if not taste, the two are comparable. They are both quite adaptable, compliment similar kinds of cuisine well, and may not only provide their own taste to a meal but also accent crucial flavors of other foods.

What if you can’t find ponzu sauce?

If you’re short on time and need a ponzu sauce alternative, these five choices will suffice.
1 – Ponzu Sauce (homemade).
Soy sauce + lemon juice = 2.
3 – Soy sauce and vinegar.
Mentsuyu + Vinegar = 4.
Worcestershire sauce, number five.

Can you sub ponzu for soy sauce?

Ponzu, a Japanese sauce comprised of soy sauce, rice vinegar, citrus, bonito flakes, and mirin, is sweeter and tangier than soy sauce but may be substituted. How to Replace: Ponzu is not often cooked with; instead, it is traditionally used as a dip, therefore substitute it for soy sauce when dipping meals.

What’s the difference between hoisin and ponzu?

Hoisin sauce is a popular ingredient in Chinese cooking, notably in the province of Guangdong. Japanese ponzu sauce is deliciously tart, created with soy sauce, vinegar, and the juice of Asian citrus fruits such as yuzu.

Is ponzu similar to teriyaki sauce?

Ponzu Dressing

This ingredient combination is quite close to how teriyaki sauce is created. As a result, it has a similar sweet and savory taste character. One of the significant distinctions is that ponzu sauce has citrus overtones that teriyaki sauce does not.

What is ponzu sauce made of?

Ponzu Sauce, a traditional Japanese condiment, is a citrus-based sauce with a tart-tangy taste comparable to vinaigrette. It’s made with ponzu (citrus juice from sudachi, yuzu, and kabosu, as well as vinegar), soy sauce, sugar or mirin, and dashi.

Is ponzu just soy sauce?

One item is noticeably absent from the list: soy sauce. Confusion reigns since the term “ponzu” is now used to refer to both the light citrus dressing prepared without soy and the considerably darker spice sauce created with soy.

Does ponzu taste like soy sauce?

What is the flavor of Ponzu? Kikkoman ponzu sauce is made with natural soy sauce, lemon, vinegar, and sugar. It offers a wonderful blend of sweet, tangy, and salty flavors. It is fat-free and ideal for vegetarians and vegans.

Does Trader Joe’s have ponzu sauce?

If you’re searching for ponzu sauce, you can purchase it at Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and even Amazon.

Can I substitute hoisin sauce for ponzu sauce?

The Hoisin Sauce

To make it taste like ponzu, combine the hoisin sauce with rice vinegar, lemon, or lime juice. When substituting hoisin sauce for ponzu sauce, use one tablespoon for every tablespoon of ponzu sauce.

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