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Eel Sauce Recipe (Only 4 Ingredients)

Eel Sauce Recipe (Only 4 Ingredients)

Whip up a batch of this homemade Eel Sauce Recipe in just 15 minutes! Also known as Unagi Sauce (うなぎのたれ in Japanese), this dipping sauce recipe requires just 4 ingredients and makes the best sushi sauce recipe.

Use it on any of these sushi roll recipes and sushi recipes: Tuna Roll, Tuna CrudoSalmon CrudoHawaiian PokeTemaki Sushi, and Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl

What Is Eel Sauce

It’s essentially a soy sauce that’s doctored up to be sticky, sweet and thick, perfect for dipping.

Despite the name, eel isn’t one of the necessary ingredients! It’s named based on the fact it’s traditionally used on grilled eel recipes, such as unagi sushi or unagi don.

Small bowls of mirin, sake, soy and sugar.

Eel Sauce Ingredients

Wondering what’s in this savory sauce? The only ingredients you need to make this sushi sauce: soy sauce, sugar, mirin and sake. That’s it!!

Soy Sauce – Use a high quality brand like Kikkoman.

Sake – Make sure to use a sake you’d drink, to ensure the final product.

Rice Vinegar (Seasoned Rice Vinegar) –  Marukan Seasoned Rice Vinegar and Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar are two popular brands sold in many grocery stores.

How To Make

This easy-to-make recipe takes only 15 minutes, most of it hands off. Essentially the sugar is dissolved in the mirin, sake and soy sauce and reduced down for 10 minutes to thicken. Check out the recipe card below for the full instructions.

Eel sauce in a white bowl with a silver spoon.

Eel Sushi Sauce

There’s nothing like a big batch dipping sauces for sushi nights. Serve it up with any of our favorite sushi, nigiri or sashimi recipes:

Crunchy Spicy Tuna Roll
Spicy Tuna
Sushi Bake
Tuna Tartare Recipe
Tuna Sashimi
Tuna Rolls
Avocado Rolls
Spicy Tuna Rolls
Tempura Shrimp

Tip – serve alongside a bowl of Sriracha Aioli, Honey Sriracha Sauce and soy sauce for a flavorful trifecta.

Expert Tips

  • Keep the heat setting to low to avoid scorching the sugar.
  • Do not over-reduce as it becomes thicker as it cools.
  • Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • We don’t recommend freezing. It takes only 15 minutes to re-make and you want top quality.
  • Is this sauce vegetarian? Yep- all 4 ingredients are plant based ingredients making it not only vegetarian, but vegan as well!
  • Use tamari or gluten free soy sauce to make this gluten free.
  • See our Best Wine With Sushi guide for more sushi and wine pairing tips.

Fresh slices of raw tuna with a bowl of Nitsume.


While commonly paired with raw fish, it isn’t the only application. Here are a few ideas:

Use As A Marinade

Double up on the recipe to use as a marinade. Just make sure to reserve a bit of it to utilize as a dipping sauce. You must cool the sauce before adding to any protein as to avoid cooking it. 

If using as a marinade, keep in mind sugar-based marinades do tend to burn quicker than non-sugar marinades, so keep your eyes peeled when cooking.

Tuna Tartare with cucumber slices.


Spice It Up – Add a hit of Sriracha, chili sauce, Togarashi or even a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

Sweeten It Up – Double up on the sugar for an uber sweet dipping sauce.

Tuna Nigiri being dipped into a white bowl of eel sauce.

Eel Sauce

Whip up a batch of this homemade Eel Sauce Recipe in just 15 minutes! Also known as Unagi Sauce, this dipping sauce recipe requires just 4 ingredients and makes the best sushi sauce. if you love Sweet Soy Glaze, you'll love this one.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Dipping Sauce Recipes, Mirin, Sake, Soy Sauce, Sushi Sauce
Servings: 0.5 cup
Calories: 534kcal
Author: Darcey Olson
Cost: $1


  • ¼ cup Mirin
  • Tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • Tbsp Sake
  • ¼ cup Soy Sauce


  • Add the mirin, sake, and sugar to a small saucepan and whisk over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes to let the sugar dissolve.
  • Whisk in the soy sauce and let gently simmer for 10 minutes until thick. Remove from the heat and let cool to thicken further.


Calories: 534kcal | Carbohydrates: 117g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 7384mg | Potassium: 258mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 90g | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 3mg
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