Ponzu Sauce Substitute You Can Use For Your Recipes

Finding the right ponzu sauce substitute may seem tricky.

After all, it’s a tart citrus-based type of sauce with a thin consistency. And it is not always too simple to find a good alternative to it.

But if your recipe calls for ponzu sauce, and you just don’t seem to have it at the moment, don’t fret – we’ve got you covered! We have a number of options for you to find the best substitute for ponzu sauce that will make your dishes just as amazing!

What Is Ponzu Sauce

Ponzu sauce is a staple in Japanese cooking. It is nearly bland but with some tart taste to it. Many people use it as a dipping sauce for steamed foods while others add it to their favorite Asian main course meals or as a marinade to meats and vegetables.

ponzu sauce substitute

Unfortunately, there are some times when you may find yourself running out of this sauce. But at the same time, you may have just the best substitute for ponzu sauce that you never knew was possible.

With that being said, let’s have a look at the following alternatives to ponzu sauce that you may want to use as a substitute. Here they are:

1. Soy Sauce

Salty and tart, soy sauce has the familiar umami flavor that ponzu sauce boasts of. This is why you can easily use this as a substitute for ponzu sauce without any problem.

It may have a different texture but at the same time, you can easily get the taste you are searching for. Just mix soy sauce with cornflour, and this will make it thick enough for a marinara sauce. Make sure you don’t put too much cornflour, though, since the last thing you want is to make it extra thick!

How to Substitute

Since both ponzu and soy sauce are closely similar in terms of texture and flavor, a little goes a long way. You can use the exact same quantity you want and add a bit more when need be.

Here’s a video on how to use soy sauce in your recipes

2. Rice Vinegar

Another suitable ponzu sauce substitute, rice vinegar, is typical in various parts of Asia. It is a must-have in various recipes including some rice dishes, soups, and some stir-frys. The flavor is fruity and sweet while having an acidity to it.

Rice vinegar comes from matured rice or aged rice, and it is a fine add-on to your mixed green salad dressings.

How to Substitute

An equal amount of rice vinegar is all you need as a substitute for ponzu sauce. For that extra flavor, mix (2) 3/4 teaspoons of rice vinegar with a quarter teaspoon of soy sauce.

Check out these amazing tips on how to make rice vinegar that you should never miss!

3. Lemon Juice

Speaking of acidity, lemon juice is another good choice when you have run out of ponzu sauce but in need of this ingredient. With its low pH level and fruity taste and notes, you can easily use this in place of ponzu sauce.

Lemon juice helps to enhance flavor in your meats, fish, and sweet recipes. Plus, the acidity level aids in prolonging the shelf life of an ingredient, which is a bonus.

How to Substitute

A tablespoon of lemon juice for a tablespoon of ponzu sauce required in a recipe is all you need. But avoid adding more lemon juice than you should since the flavor may be too overpowering due to the high acidity level.

Here’s a quick and easy lemon juice recipe including fish that you should try!

4. Orange Juice

Since ponzu is a citrus-based, tart sauce, it is not a surprise that orange juice is on our list of the best substitutes for ponzu!

We love the fruity flavor and citrusy aroma that orange juice offers, which is why you can easily use it for your baked goods and treats.

Adding an orange zest further enhances the taste, and you can simply do it with a cheese grater. Whether you are making biscuits, cakes, or other recipes, orange juice can make a huge difference in your recipe.

How to Substitute

If you prefer to use orange juice as a ponzu sauce substitute, you will need a heaping teaspoon of it for every 2 to 3 drops of ponzu. But you can also just press an orange and use up to 2 teaspoons. In addition to the sweet and sour flavor, this also adds a citrus scent to your recipe.

Find out how to use orange juice your recipes right here:

5. Seaweed

Loaded with vitamins and minerals, seaweed is another noteworthy alternative to ponzu sauce. It is a good option for vegetarians and vegans since the flavor is quite similar but without any fat or calorie content.

The flavor you can expect from seaweed is pungent and tasty, which makes it perfect for Japanese or Korean dishes.

How to Substitute

To use seaweed in place of ponzu sauce, simply ground it up and maintain a 1:1 proportion (1 teaspoon of ground seaweed for 1 teaspoon of ponzu sauce). If you want to increase the flavor profile, feel free to do so as the extra taste and aroma won’t hurt at all.

Here are some easy seaweed recipes that are definitely worth a try today:

6. Yuzu Kosho

Next up, we have the Yuzu Kosho, which is basically the skin of the yuzu fruit and green chili. It is a citrus fruit that has a unique fragrance while at the same time not too hot or peppery. The flavor is slightly more fruity and more intense than ponzu sauce.

You can use yuzu kosho for your sashimi, noodle dishes, and steak. In fact, many people in Japan use it more than ponzu sauce.

How to Substitute

One tablespoon of yuzu is all you need for two teaspoons of ponzu sauce. But you can also use the exact same amount of yuzu for ponzu, depending on your preferred flavor.

Check out this video on how to use yuzu kyosho in your recipe

7. Sake

Another alternative to ponzu sauce that we would like to recommend is sake. It is made from matured rice, just like rice vinegar, and it comes with a fruity and nutty flavor that’s not as strong as wine. You can use it as an alternative to ponzu for your meat dishes.

But you don’t have to limit the use of sake for meat. You can also use it in your sweets, mixed drinks, and rice dishes.

How to Substitute

A cup of sake is used for a cup of ponzu sauce. But if you are making stew, then you can add a little bit more sake for that extra zing to your food. The flavor is pleasant and refreshing, which is just what you would like to achieve.

Not sure how to use sake in your recipes? Here’s a video that tells you exactly how to do it.

8. Worcestershire Sauce

One of our favorite substitutes for ponzu is worcestershire sauce. We like that it has a vinegar content while having that unique flavor profile closely similar to ponzu.

It is strong as this sauce is made from a fermented liquid. But at the same time, we like the elegance and delectable flavor that it brings to your meals.

How to Substitute

Since worcestershire sauce has nearly the same flavor as ponzu, you can most definitely use the same amount when substituting. But for a larger batch of recipe, just add a little more for that extra kick in flavor.

Looking for the best worcestershire sauce recipes? Here are some ideas to help get you started:

9. Shoyu

We highly recommend shoyu when you want a sauce that is similar to ponzu sauce’s flavor. It improves the usability and stability of the taste, which is why you should definitely try this.

For the most part, we love shoyu as a marinate. But you can also add some lemon juice and vinegar when using shoyu as a dipping sauce to enhance the acidity level.

How to Substitute

To use shoyu, just add one and a half teaspoons of this sauce in place of a teaspoon of ponzu. You will need to cook your ingredients a little bit longer when you use this sauce.

Discover these easy tips on using shoyu for your delicious recipes

Additional Tips

If you are looking to create your very own ponzu sauce, you can most definitely combine a few ingredients to achieve the similar flavor and aroma you want.

For instance, you can combine mirin, kombu, bonito drops, citrus juice (orange juice or lemon juice) and rice vinegar. Others may want to add some sake, as well. Heat the ingredients in a pan and immediately serve once cool.

The same quantity of your homemade ponzu sauce is all you need as a substitute for store-bought ponzu. But don’t limit yourself to it – you can freely add more if you desire.


substitute for ponzu sauce

Ponzu sauce is a tart sauce that is a combination of vinegar, soy sauce and citrus juice. It is a bit similar to the flavor of many sauces such as worcestershire sauce, yuzu, and shoyu, to name a few. This is why it should be easy to find the right substitute for it when you don’t have ponzu on your kitchen counter or pantry!

We hope this post has been helpful for you in guiding you towards picking out the perfect alternative to ponzu sauce. Now, you can go ahead and use regular kitchen ingredients that should make a great improvement to your recipes!

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