Easy Eel Sauce Recipe


If you’re a sushi lover, you’ve probably wondered about the many yummy sauces that come on maki rolls. Some are a soft orange color with a hint of spice, while others are dark and sticky with a savory taste. So what are these sauces, and how can you make them?

Today is your lucky day, as this is a super easy eel sauce recipe that will inspire you to try even more Japanese sauces! Eel sauce is going to be your new favorite addition to your dinner or lunch.

What Is Eel Sauce?

Before getting into the recipe, let’s define eel sauce! Eel sauce is also called Unagi sauce, Unagi No Tare, or Natsume. It is a sweet and sticky sauce often used as a topping on sushi rolls. It has a rich umami flavor similar to soy sauce with a slightly sweeter tang and much thicker viscosity.

As the name suggests, this sauce is frequently paired with eel sushi and dishes, as the two flavors complement each other beautifully. However, it can also be a dipping sauce for gyoza or beef.

It’s worth noting that eel sauce does not taste like an eel. It’s called eel sauce because it’s ideal for enhancing the flavor of eel, but the sauce does not have a fishy taste.

About Ingredients

Easy Eel Sauce Recipe

Eel sauce is one of the easiest Asian sauces to make aside from spicy mayo. So what is eel sauce made of? You only need three ingredients! Eel sauce is a simple combination of the following ingredients:

  • Soy sauce
  • Sugar (white or brown)
  • Mirin

The recipe is equal parts of all three ingredients. You can easily adjust the recipe to make more or less sauce, depending on what you plan to use it for. But once you taste this sauce, you’ll be glad if you made extra.

Traditionally, eel sauce uses white sugar, but brown sugar can add a rich, toasty flavor. It’s up to you!

You may be asking yourself: what is mirin? Mirin is a type of Japanese alcohol. It is a rice wine with a sweet but complex flavor achieved by fermenting rice, koji, and shochu

One last note on ingredients: if you do not have mirin, you can substitute it with rice wine vinegar, but the flavor and consistency will be slightly off.

Easy Eel Sauce Recipe

Easy Eel Sauce Recipe

Before getting into the recipe, let’s define eel sauce! Eel sauce is also called Unagi sauce, Unagi No Tare, or Natsume. It is a sweet and sticky sauce often used as a topping on sushi rolls. It has a rich umami flavor similar to soy sauce with a slightly sweeter tang and much thicker viscosity.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 6 people
Calories 49 kcal


  • ½ cup Soy sauce
  • ½ cup Sugar (white or brown)
  • ½ cup Mirin


  • Place all three ingredients into a small saucepan and stir with a fork or whisk.
  • Place the saucepan on a stove burner over medium heat.
  • Let the ingredients simmer until it boils gently. Stir the sauce occasionally to ensure the ingredients are combined and don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • When the sauce begins to boil, keep it on the heat for around five minutes or until it is a thick texture.
  • Once the sauce is the right viscosity, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool in the saucepan.
  • Wait until the sauce cools to room temperature and then serve it or store it in an airtight container or jar.
Keyword eel sauce, eel sushi, natsume, sushi, unagi, Unagi No Tare

Tips and Tricks for Easy Eel Sauce Recipe

To ensure you execute this eel sauce recipe perfectly, below are a few tips and tricks to help you! While the recipe is simple, these tips will help you make the best eel sauce every time. Once you know how to make eel sauce, you’ll become a pro. Just keep the advice below in mind. 

  • Stir the sauce frequently, so the ingredients combine properly and do not burn in the pan.
  • You can also make the sauce on low heat if you want to reduce it slower, often resulting in a thicker sauce. 
  • You should store extra eel sauce in the refrigerator in a small container with a cover on it. 
  • You can also freeze eel sauce in a glass jar for up to two months! Thaw it out over a few hours or reheat it in a pan. 
  • As the sauce thickens, the amount in the pan will reduce, so don’t expect to have 1.5 cups of eel sauce by the end of this recipe. 
  • Allow the sauce to boil for longer or shorter to make it thicker or thinner according to your preferences. 

If you can’t think of anything to use eel sauce for except for sushi, below are some ideas to try out! Eel sauce has a more versatile and compatible flavor than you may think. Consider using eel sauce as a:

  • Stir fry sauce
  • Pizza sauce
  • Dip for appetizers
  • Protein marinade (beef, fish, chicken, pork, etc.)
  • Sandwich condiment

Eel sauce can also be an excellent replacement for hoisin, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, or even barbecue sauce!

Easy Eel Sauce Recipe

Nutrition Information of Easy Eel Sauce Recipe

Eel sauce is not quite as healthy and low in calories as soy sauce, but it’s still relatively decent if you’re on a diet.

Below is the relevant nutritional information according to this recipe. However, the nutritional values may change depending on how long you boil the sauce and if you made any ingredient substitutions.

  • Serving: 1 serving
  • Calories: 49kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 13g 
  • Protein: 1g
  • Fat: 0.04g
  • Sodium: 615mg
  • Potassium: 21mg
  • Fiber: 0.1g
  • Calcium: 2mg
  • Iron: 0.2mg
  • Net Carbs: 13g


If you love soy sauce or have always wondered what the scrumptious dark sauce on your Unagi sushi is, save this recipe! As mentioned, eel sauce can work with many dishes and recipes, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients to see how they pair with eel sauce.

The best part about this recipe is how quickly you can make it with only a few ingredients. Add this recipe to your repertoire of sauces to impress your friends, family, and your own taste buds.

Join the Conversation

  1. all I can say is yummy!!!! I tried this one over the summer and love it!

  2. GertieGirl says:

    Made this tonight turned out great.

  3. Kathy K. says:

    Excellent flavor, this will be in our regular dinner rotation.

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