The Easiest Ever Japanese – Teriyaki Salmon

Today, I am introducing my Teriyaki Salmon recipe. This is the traditional way of Japanese Teriyaki cooking, and at the same time, it is the easiest way. You do not need to purchase nor make a special Teriyaki sauce. All you need is 5 ingredients – Salmon, Salt, Soy Sauce, Mirin and Sake.

Teriyaki Salmon served with pan-fried zucchini and green beans
Easy Teriyaki Salmon by alittlebitofsoy

Firstly let me know explain what Teriyaki means.

Teriyaki is actually one of the Japanese cooking techniques, in which foods are broiled, grilled or pan-fried in a soy sauce based sweet sauce. The sauce is made from soy sauce, sake and mirin. We add sugar to it occasionally. “Teri” means glossy or shinny, and “Yaki” means broiled, grilled or pan-fried. The sugar in mirin (and sugar when it is used) makes the foods glossy and sticky (that’s TERI!) once it is heated (YAKI!). In Japan, the Teriyaki cooking technique is often used for fish and chicken.

So, yeah…,Teriyaki is not sauce and Teriyaki dishes are much easier to cook at home than you might have thought.

All you need is Soy Sauce, Sake and Mirin (and sugar), which are the Japanese usual suspects. The basic ratio is 1:1:1. You can change the ratio and add more sweetness to your liking, depending on the protein you cook with.

You do not need to make the sauce separately. What we do is pour the basic sauce mixture over the protein while cooking and baste until the sauce gets glossy. It takes only 30 seconds. It is a super easy one pan dish.

For Teriyaki Salmon, I go for the basic ratio 1:1:1 without sugar. This way, the salmon stands out and the sauce does not disturb the sweetness of the salmon.

There are only two points that you should not miss for the successful Teriyaki Salmon. One is preparation of salmon, which requires salt. Sprinkle salt over the salmon, wrap it with paper towels and leave it at least for 15 minutes. This helps the fishy smell to go and the umami to remain. Another is turn the heat off 20-30 seconds after pouring the sauce mixture into the hot pan. Do not burn the sauce, otherwise the taste will be bitter.

Before cooking salmon, I recommend cooking some veggies in the same frying-pan, so that you can serve them as a side – a restaurant quality meal!!

Teriyaki Salmon served with pan fried green beans and zucchini
Easy Teriyaki Salmon by alittlebitofsoy

If you prefer punchier flavour like a store-bought Teriyaki Sauce, you can add some garlic and ginger here. However, the cooking method is the same. Very easy.

This is a perfect dish for busy weeknights, special Japanese dinner or technically anything! Hope you try this at home 🙂

Ingredients : serving 4

4 Salmon Fillets – about 120 -130g per potion

1/4 Teaspoon of Salt

1.5 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce

1.5 Teaspoon of Mirin

1.5 Teaspoon of Cooking Sake

<Optional Side Veggies>

Green Beans

Zucchini – slice into 1 cm thick

(or you can just serve with some simple salad)


  • Prep for salmon. Sprinkle salt over salmon fillets evenly. Wrap them with paper towels. Leave it for 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Combine soy sauce, mirin and cooking sake in a small bowl. Put it aside.
  • Heat a frying-pan over a high heat with a small amount of cooking oil. Once the frying-pan gets really hot, turn the heat to a medium.
  • Place the salmon fillets in the frying pan – skin side down. Cook about 5 minutes. Turn them over and cook on the other side for about 5 minutes.
  • Pour the soy sauce mixture over the salmon. Baste the salmon with the sauce for about 20-30 seconds only. Turn the heat off before the sauce gets burned and becomes too thick.
  • Serve the salmon on individual serving plates with the remaining sauce over it.

<Side Vegetables Option>

Pan-fry your choice of vegetables before cooking salmon on the same frying pan. Serve them with Teriyaki Salmon on the same plate (I am using sliced zucchini and green beans here).


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