12 Best Substitutes For Ponzu Sauce

Sauces can change the flavor, appearance, and texture of any dish, and ponzu sauce is no different. This Japanese condiment is made with citrus juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and mirin. It is known for having a tart flavor that can enhance the taste of many dishes and a very liquid consistency.

Ponzu sauce is the key player when it comes to marinating, dressing, or dipping, especially in Japanese cuisine! So in the rare conditions when you find yourself without this key ingredient and in dire need of a replacement, these ponzu sauce substitutes will save the day.


12 Best Substitutes For Ponzu Sauce

1. Soy Sauce

Soy sauce fills in as an excellent substitute for ponzu sauce because it is the closest thing you will get that gives the same tart flavor to the dishes. One of the best things about using soy sauces is that it is pretty readily available; you can get them from a nearby store if they are not at your house.

Soy sauce is a storehouse of savory taste and has a strong salty flavor. To cut down on the saltiness, you can mix soy sauce with some water or add a pinch of sugar to it. Doing this will also give it a little sweetness, like ponzu sauce. Loaded with protein, it is not only a great alternative to ponzu sauce but is also healthy for you!

How to substitute: Since soy sauce is almost the same as ponzu sauce, you can use it in the same quantity. Do ensure that you do a taste test after adding a small quantity.

2. Orange Juice

Both ponzu sauce and orange juice have a sour and tangy taste, which is why this citrusy drink is one of the best ponzu sauce alternatives. The main difference between the two is that orange juice has a sweetness to it, so keep that in mind when making this switch.

Orange juice gives a sweet, fruity flavor and fragrance that is perfect for fruit-based candies and baked goods. Start by washing the orange nicely and then using a cheese grater to remove the zest. Doing this will help in giving a more intense flavor to your dish.

How to substitute: For each baked dish, use a teaspoon of orange juice in place of 2-3 drops of ponzu sauce. If you don’t want to use the juice, squeeze the orange instead and add 1-2 teaspoons of juice for around 1-2 teaspoons of ponzu sauce.

3. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is an excellent alternative to ponzu sauce as it gives a sour, citrusy flavor to the dish. It also has a slightly sweet taste because of the presence of fructose. If you want to use this as a replacement, make sure that your dish can handle the intense tartness of lemon juice.

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Another thing to remember while using this is that it might make the dish lighter in color than ponzu sauce. Lemon juice is a good source of acid, so people with allergies should avoid it. It’s highly acidic, so be careful while consuming it as a regular alternative.

How to substitute: To replace 1 tablespoon of ponzu sauce, use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Because it is high in acid, too much lemon juice may overpower the entire meal.

4. Shoyu

Well-known in Japan, shoyu is a type of soy sauce made with wheat. Some other ingredients used in shoyu are water, salt, and soybeans. The color of this sauce can range from dark brown to almost black. The best part is that it already has a sour and salty flavor, which is perfect to be used as a ponzu sauce alternative.

Soy sauce is already a frequent ingredient in commercial ponzu sauce as it aids in the stability and shelf life of the latter. You can use this condiment in salads, sushi, or even marinades!

How to substitute: Use one and a half teaspoons of shoyu to replace one teaspoon of Ponzu Sauce. Allow it to cook thoroughly if you’re using it over vegetables.

5. Sake

Also known as Japanese rice wine, sake is made by fermenting rice that has been polished to remove the bran. The main difference between Sake and other alcoholic drinks is that it uses a different brewing process. When used as a ponzu sauce alternative, it gives a slightly nutty taste along with sour and salty flavors.

Sake is mainly used in cooking meat as it helps to tenderize food and also gets rid of any fishy smell from seafood. Do keep in mind that it contains alcohol, so use it accordingly.

How to substitute: You can use Sake in the same proportion as Ponzu Sauce, i.e., 1:1. Just be careful to add a bit of ponzu sauce for flavor when working with stews.

6. Yuzu Kosho

Yuzu kosho receives its name from the citrus fruit yuzu and the Japanese word for pepper, kosho. It is a type of paste that is made by grinding the peel of yuzu with chili peppers. This gives it a sour, salty, and slightly spicy flavor, perfect when used as a ponzu sauce alternative.

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In fact, many people prefer this over the ponzu sauce for its intense flavor profile. Yuzu kosho is used as a seasoning in many Japanese dishes. It can be used to flavor soups, seafood, or even vegetables!

How to substitute: For every teaspoon of ponzu sauce, use 1/4 teaspoon of yuzu kosho paste. Depending on how spicy you want the dish to be, you can also add more or less.

7. Rice Vinegar

Produced and used widely in Asian cuisines, rice vinegar is made by fermenting the sugars present in rice. It has a milder flavor as compared to other kinds of vinegar like apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. The main advantage of using rice vinegar is that it doesn’t alter the dish’s taste too much.

This makes it perfect to be used as a ponzu sauce substitute. While it doesn’t have the same health benefits as apple cider vinegar, it is still a good source of antioxidants.

How to substitute: You can use rice vinegar in the same proportion as ponzu sauce, i.e., 1:1. It helps you draw out the acidic flavor of a dish.

8. Nam Prik Pla

Nam prik pla is a type of fish sauce that is popular in Thai cuisine. It is made by fermenting the flesh of small fishes with salt, lime juice, and hot chilies. This gives it a strong umami flavor, perfect for those who want to add a savory dimension to their dishes.

Nam prik pla can be used as a dipping sauce or even a marinade. It is also a common ingredient in many Thai curries but can be quite an adjustment in Japanese cuisines, especially because of the hot chilies.

How to substitute: You can use a large teaspoon of Nam prik pla to substitute 2 tsp of ponzu sauce. The intense umami flavor of this sauce goes well with seafood dishes.

9. Seaweed

One of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, seaweed is a type of algae that grows in the ocean. It is a common ingredient in many Asian cuisines and is known for its intense umami flavor. Seaweed can be used as a ponzu sauce alternative because of its salty and savory taste.

In fact, it is even used to make many types of sushi! Even though seaweed isn’t a sauce, per see, it can be used to flavor dishes in a similar manner.

How to substitute: You can use 1 teaspoon of ground seaweed to replace 2 teaspoons of ponzu sauce. If you have the entire crop, replace one teaspoon of ponzu sauce with two seaweed.

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10. Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a popular ingredient in many British dishes. It is made by fermenting the Anchovies, Tamarind, Onions, Garlic, and Salt with Vinegar and Sugar. This gives it a savory and tangy taste which works well as a ponzu sauce alternative.

The only drawback of using Worcestershire sauce is that it contains Anchovies, which some people may be allergic to. If you are one of those people, it is best to avoid this ingredient.

How to substitute: You can use Worcestershire sauce in the same proportion as ponzu sauce, i.e., 1:1.

11. Mentsuyu

Mentsuyu is a type of soup base that is commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It is made by simmering Kombu (seaweed), Konbu, Bonito flakes, and Mirin (sweet rice wine). What makes it the best ponzu sauce substitute is the fact that it already contains all the key flavors that are found in ponzu sauce.

This makes it very easy to use as a replacement. All you need to do is dilute it with some water, and you’re good to go! Mentsuyu has a variety of tastes and aromas, so you may adjust the quantity of mentsuyu while mixing it in with a bit of vinegar to vary the taste.

How to substitute: To use in the dishes, add mentsuyu to the recipe as desired, testing for taste until it reaches your preferred levels. In many cases, one to two teaspoons of mentsuyu is enough to replace one teaspoon of ponzu sauce.

12. Homemade Ponzu Sauce

Homemade Ponzu Sauce

Last but not least, you can always make your own ponzu sauce at home when in shortage or when your nearby store doesn’t have it! This is the best option if you want to ensure the quality of the ingredients used. Plus, it allows you to customize the taste according to your preferences.

To make your own ponzu sauce, simply mix together Rice Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Lime Juice, Mirin (sweet rice wine), and Yuzu juice (or any other citrus juice). Heat them in a pan together, let it cool before serving, and you’re good to go!

How to substitute: You can use this homemade ponzu sauce in the same proportion as the store-bought version.

These were the best ponzu sauce substitutes that we could combine for a seamless replacement. All of these sauces and ingredients work in the same way as the ponzu sauce giving you the desired taste without any compromise.

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