Easy Japanese Steakhouse Hibachi Sauce Recipe

by Jeanne

When I was a kid, my family loved to go to Benihana. The chain’s commercials in the ‘80s and ‘90s were legendary! There’s something so cool about watching your food stir fry and sizzle on that large griddle, so it’s not surprising that people are always looking for a good hibachi sauce recipe. 

It wasn’t until I first traveled to Japan as a teenager that I learned that Japanese hibachi restaurants in the United States and Canada aren’t really authentic. Really, that’s true of most ethnic restaurants. As long as you understand that there is a difference, I think it’s okay to enjoy them in our melting pot of a society. 

What’s in this post:

  • Teppanyaki vs Hibachi Grill
  • A list of supplies you’ll need
  • What I’ve learned from making hibachi at home
  • Easy recipes for your favorite Japanese steakhouse dipping sauce
    • Yum Yum sauce recipes
    • Ginger sauce recipes
    • Keto Yum Yum sauce recipes

What’s NOT in this post:

  • Japanese shrimp sauce
  • Seafood sauce
  • Seafood dishes

I’m allergic to fish and seafood and I try to only share things that I’ve personally tried. Sorry for any inconvenience! 

Heads up – This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, and as an Amazon Associate we may earn a very small commission if you make a purchase through an affiliate link. 

Teppanyaki vs Hibachi Grill

You’ve gone to what Americans refer to as Japanese steak houses. You’ve watched the hibachi chefs do tricks on a hot plate, you enjoyed good food, and maybe it’s become one of your favorite places to have a celebratory meal. Fantastic!

You may have heard by now, however, that this is not an experience that you’ll find in Japan. It’s true that you won’t find what you know as Japanese steakhouse yum yum sauce in Tokyo eateries, but there is something that’s kind of similar — teppanyaki. 

In this style of cooking, food is also prepared on a hot metal plate or flat iron griddle. There’s no egg juggling or flaming onion ring volcanoes. You won’t find that type of theatrical cooking performance. Instead, when people go for teppanyaki, the main difference is that it means they are having a high-end steak dinner where they might feast on Wagyu beef. For more on this, please check out the phenomenal Just One Cookbook website

What You’ll Need

To make American-style hibachi sauce recipes, you’ll need a few simple ingredients that you should be able to pick up for the local grocery store. It’s also best to have a small bowl and food processor handy. We have several, but I use this small one when I make the ginger sauce. 

Here’s a quick ingredient list:

  • Soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar
  • White wine
  • White or yellow onions
  • Mayonnaise
  • Ketchup
  • Granulated sugar
  • Green onions
  • Sesame seeds
  • Garlic or garlic powder
  • Ginger
  • Lemons
  • Onion powder
  • Tomato paste
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Paprika
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Hot sauce

Have an airtight container ready for storing your sauce until you’re ready to eat. Use leftovers within a day or two. 

What I’ve Learned from Making Hibachi at Home

I’ll admit that I’ve only gone to a local Japanese steakhouse a handful of times as an adult. It’s not that I have anything against them (the food is super yummy!) but I prefer making things in my own kitchen. We’ve got a deluxe electric grill which definitely makes things easier, but aside from that we don’t have any special equipment for this. For years, I even used a large skillet and it worked just fine! 

When making hibachi style fried rice, I use medium-high heat. When the hibachi rice is already cooking in the hot pan, I add a chunk of butter on top. You can’t skip this step if you want it to taste like the real thing. It’s also best to have fresh vegetables for this meal for the flavors to pop. I’ve been watching this YouTube tutorial for years and I still love it! 

Also, no matter how well a recipe is rated, it’s always a matter of the right ratios of ingredients. You will need to play around with it and find the taste you’re looking for. Oh, and if you’ve got someone like Josh at your table, stock up on extra yum yum sauce!

Homemade Yum Yum Sauce Recipe

If you’ve ever been to a hibachi restaurant, you’ll know all about the famous Japanese steakhouse sauce. You’ve probably found this post by searching “Benihana yum yum sauce,” “white sauce recipe,” or “pale pink sauce.” While you can buy this popular sauce in many grocery stores, you can easily make it at home. You might even be surprised that you’ll have to use ketchup! You can have this on anything, but it’s my favorite for dipping hibachi steak. 

From the recipes you’ll find on the internet, I’ve found the one from Daring Gourmet to be the best (the image below). If you don’t like it, other good options can be found on The Tasty Marshmallow and Savory Experiments.

Hibachi Japanese steakhouse yum yum recipe

Try this: Yum Yum Sauce (Japanese Steakhouse Sauce)

Ginger Sauce Recipe

When it comes to hibachi chicken, my favorite is the ginger sauce. To be real, I kind of mix it with the yum yum sauce in my own way. It’s a thing, but it’s super delicious! The main ingredient in this sweet sauce is ginger, of course! 

I’ll be honest with you — replicating ginger sauce is MUCH more difficult than yum yum sauce. Some recipes are too dark (high ratio of soy sauce), some are too soupy, and others are too lemony. You will probably have to play around with this and find your own sweet spot. 

From my experience, I like the one from Little Sunny Kitchen (image below). Other good options are on the Daring Gourmet, Simply Happenings, and Bake it With Love websites. 

Ginger hibachi sauce recipe Benihana copycat

Try this: Ginger Sauce (Benihana Copycat)

Keto Yum Yum Sauce

Eating low carb? You definitely want to skip the bottled yum yum sauce you find at grocery stores! They can be really loaded with sugar and derail your macros for the day (or week!). Hibachi is a great meal for people on the keto diet since you can focus on the meat and veggies and skip the rice (or do cauliflower rice!). 

One of my favorite keto-friendly recipe sites is Peace, Love, and Low Carb. Over there, you’ll find a great recipe for keto yum yum sauce. The recipe is similar to the ones above but the most notable difference is that you’ll add butter and replace sugar with a sweetener (we prefer monk fruit sweetener!). 

Easy Keto Yum Yum Sauce Recipe

Try this: Keto Yum Yum Sauce

Learning to make your favorite hibachi sauce is a great way to enjoy this delicious meal until the next time you visit your favorite Japanese hibachi restaurant. It can be a lot of work to do at home, but it’s worth it. We hope your meal is amazing!

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