This salty, umami rich soy sauce based Korean barbecue sauce is perfect slathered over burgers, tofu, tempeh, veggies and more.
It’s easy to make using pantry friendly ingredients. And if you don’t already have these ingredients on hand, they’re definitely ones you want to consider adding!
Ingredients you need for Korean BBQ sauce:
Soy sauce. I actually like to buy low sodium tamari and use that in my cooking. Tamari is a Japanese soy sauce, and it is gluten free.
You can use a different soy sauce, but if you use full sodium soy sauce you may want to decrease the soy sauce to 1/3 of a cup just to keep the sauce from getting too salty.
Brown sugar, garlic, ginger. You can sub white sugar, turbinado sugar, or coconut sugar. The sweetness balances out and enhances the salty flavors.
The ‘specialty’ ingredients:
Gochujang, a Korean pepper paste. Most are vegan, some are gluten free. Read the label to check and meet your dietary needs!
If you don’t have gochujang you can either (a) leave it out or (b) substitute with a different hot sauce or chili. Sriracha, sambal oelek, or even red pepper flakes will work!
That being said, gochujang is amazing, and you should try it sometime!
Rice wine vinegar (aka rice vinegar). You can substitute rice wine or mirin if you’d like. This is usually as easy to find at the store as soy sauce.
Toasted sesame oil. Like sesame oil, but even better! This stuff is delicate and so, so delicious.
Doenjang (Korean soybean paste). This is similar to miso, so if you don’t have it or can’t find it then substitute miso.
To thicken the BBQ sauce:
To make the Korean BBQ sauce, add all of these ingredients listed so far together and bring to a simmer over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
As is, the sauce will be on the thin side, almost watery in consistency (but not flavor!). If you want to get a glaze you can brush onto things, we need to add a cornstarch slurry.
Mix a bit of cornstarch and water together then add it to the ingredients and let it simmer for a minute or two until thick.
That’s it! You’re ready to enjoy a Korean BBQ feast now!
If you make this Korean BBQ sauce, leave a comment below and rate the recipe on the recipe card. And please share your photos with me on Instagram, tag @thecuriouschickpea and #thecuriouschickpea. I love seeing your recreations!
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- 1/2 cup low sodium tamari or other soy sauce*
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp gochujang (substitute another chili sauce or paste)
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp doenjang (Korean soybean paste, substitute miso)
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
- Mix together all ingredients in a small pot except cornstarch and water.
- Bring to a simmer over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Mix together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl, then add it to the pot.
- Whisk sauce together and let simmer until thickened, 1-2 minutes. If needed, thin with additional water.
*If using a full sodium soy sauce, cut back on the soy sauce by 2 tbsp.
Microwave directions: mix everything but cornstarch slurry together in microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each time. When sugar dissolves add cornstarch slurry and microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each increment, until thickened.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 59Total Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 688mgCarbohydrates: 10gSugar: 7gProtein: 2g
Nutrition is calculated automatically so should be used as an estimate.
Want other Korean inspired recipes?
Well, good thing I’m gochujang obsessed!