Yum Yum Sauce The famous Japanese steakhouse sauce that’s phenomenal for dipping, drizzling and enjoying with your grilled meats, seafood, vegetables, rice, noodles and more! Super easy to make and at least a hundred times better than store-bought!
One of our favorite places to go for date night is our local Japanese steakhouse for a hibachi grill dinner. Todd usually gets his standard, sushi, while I enjoy sampling the grilled chicken, vegetables, rice and noodles….all drizzled with the deservedly popular sweet and slightly tangy Japanese steakhouse sauce known affectionately as “Yum Yum Sauce.” Here’s our homemade yum yum sauce that captures the flavor you know and love!
Where Did Yum Yum Sauce Originate?
While this sauce is referred to as a Japanese steakhouse sauce, you won’t find it in restaurants in Japan because it is an American invention. But it is a key component to the Japanese restaurant experience in the United States and Canada. It’s uncertain who was the first chef to invent it but chef Terry Ho is credited with being the first to bottle and mass produce it. He had been serving it at his Casual Japanese restaurant and it become so popular that he jumped on the opportunity to bottle it and make it commercially available.
This Japanese-American is also known as white sauce, shrimp sauce, hibachi sauce and yummy sauce. But whichever name you know it by the consensus is that it is indeed YUMMY! No Japanese steakhouse meal is complete without it – whether drizzled on grilled chicken, fried rice and noodles, vegetables and as a dipping sauce for shrimp, potstickers and sushi, it’s simply delicious!
© Sergii Koval| Dreamstime
How To Use It
This sauce is extremely versatile and the flavors pair will a wide variety of foods. It’s similar to what’s known in the U.S. as “Fry Sauce” (mayonnaise and ketchup) but with additional ingredients. You could consider it fry sauce on flavor steroids! Here are a few ways to use it:
- As a dipping sauce for shrimp
- Drizzled over fried rice and noodles
- With grilled chicken, meat and seafood
- Slathered on hamburger and hot dog buns
- With French fries and sweet potato fries
- As a dipping sauce for potstickers and wontons
- As a vegetable dip
- With sushi and rice balls
- In pasta salads
- In potato salads
- As a salad dressing
- On baked potatoes
How To Make Yum Yum Sauce
This popular sauce is a sweet one with a slight bit of tang. The main ingredients for yum yum sauce are standard but every Japanese chef uses different own ratios and some include their own special touches. We recently had the BEST hibachi sauce ever at our local Japanese steakhouse. I asked the chef and he revealed his secret addition: Mirin. It adds flavor and complexity and we’re including it in our recipe.
Mirin is Japanese sweet rice wine used for cooking. It’s similar to sake but is sweeter and has a lower alcohol content. If you don’t have access to mirin you can substitute a dry sherry or white wine mixed with 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Our yum yum sauce ingredients include mayonnaise, sugar, butter, paprika, ketchup, rice vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder and mirin. For a smokier version you can add a touch of smoked paprika. And if you like a little heat add some hot sauce or cayenne pepper. Go easy on the ketchup and the paprika as this sauce should be a very pale pink color (hint, it’s sometimes also called white sauce).
As with most condiments you can buy this sauce in the store but let me tell you, NOTHING beats the flavor of homemade!
Let’s get started!
Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl, stir to thoroughly combine, cover and chill for at least 2 hours before using. For best flavor results let it chill overnight to give the flavors more time to meld. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge and it will keep for up to a week.
For more delicious Japanese condiments be sure to try our:
- Ponzu Sauce (Japanese Citrus Sauce)
- Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese 7-Spice Seasoning Blend)
- Gomasio (Japanese Sesame Salt)
Yum Yum Sauce (Japanese Steakhouse Sauce)
- 1 cup quality mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons water , or until desired consistency is reached
- optional: a few splashes of hot sauce or cayenne pepper for a touch of heat
- optional: a small pinch of smoked paprika for a hint of smokiness
- Thoroughly combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Preferably overnight for best flavor results.Store in an airtight jar in the fridge where it will keep for up to a week.Makes 1 1/4 cups