What Does Eel Sauce Taste Like? Some Tips To Make It At Home

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There is a wide range of sauces in the world. One of them is sauce of eel, which is famous in Japanese cuisine. So, what does eel sauce taste like? How is the texture? How to make eel sauce at home?

We will have an in-depth investigation into the taste of eel sauce to help you make delicious meals at home.

What Does Eel Sauce Taste Like?

What does eel sauce taste like

This sauce comes in a myriad of flavors. But the most popular tastes include:

  • Sweet
  • Salty
  • Umami
  • Smoky

These savory and little salty flavors are derived principally from the soya sauce.

With this unique blend of flavors, eel sauce looks like barbecue with a distinct mouthfeel. In theory, sweet, slightly salty barbecue sauce blended with hoisin is an excellent illustration of the taste of eel sauce.

What Does Eel Sauce Mean?

Another name of eel sauce is unagi sauce. It is a Japanese-originated dipping sauce explicitly designed for some foods made with eel.

Although the Japanese sauce is non-vegan, it is regularly vegan. Indeed, occasionally your eel sauce can get made with fish stock and eel eggs, especially in do-it-yourself sauces.

Still, a bulk of eel sauces that you often buy at stores contain no animal ingredients in them. As a result, most vegans are commonly safe with these types of eel sauces.

Eel Sauce Texture

The texture of this deeply brown Japanese sauce is thick, soft, and sticky. Relying on each recipe, you can make your eel sauce more viscous and coagulated than any other sauce.

Do-it-yourself eel sauces may have thinner, runnier features. In contrast, eel sauces at stores are usually profoundly thicker, similar to ketchup. When you dip a piece of food into this type of sauce, it will stick to your food and cannot slide off quickly.

Also Read: What Does Escargot Taste Like?

Homemade Eel Sauce Tips

How do you make eel sauce at home?

It will take the slightest effort to make unagi sauce in the kitchen. Once you complete, it is best to begin testing the flavor on pieces of grilled tofu, tempehs, or eggplants. These dishes are all exceptionally paired with unagi sauces.

Essential ingredients for homemade unagi sauce will include:

  • Use a 2/3 of a cup containing white sugar
  • Four teaspoons of either fish stocks or dashi (for extra flavors)
  • A single cup of shoyu
  • One cup of mirin
  • 1/2 cup of sake
  • 1/2 tablespoon of plain cornstarch
  • Two tablespoons of freshwater

Mix these ingredients in one large-sized pot but not the soy sauce. After you boil the mixture, pour the soy sauce into it. Let all of these ingredients cook for 20 mins and then reduce the heat.

Add some cornstarch and freshwater to make a slurry texture. Next, add this slurry combination to the boiling eel sauce. Keep beating the unagi sauce to consolidate this slurry evenly into your eel sauce.

Turn off the heat while you let the unagi sauce cool down and keep mixing. When the unagi sauce is mainly cooled down, pour this sauce into one bowl and use it.

If you want more practical guidance, watch this video below. It will show you all steps to make eel sauces with primary ingredients. Follow it, and the result will be a rich, thick, and tasty eel sauce for more delicious meals.


If you want more information about eel sauce, let’s look at some frequently asked questions.

1. Is The Taste Of Eel Sauce Like Fish?

All non-vegan eel sauces can taste like fish since they contain fish stock. Yet, as a vegan, you will not eat these kinds of eel sauces by any means.

A vegan eel sauce doesn’t taste like fish at all. It is purely like barbecue. In some cases, some vegan eel sauces can contain seaweed. The result may be an ocean-like taste, but seaweed is not a specific ingredient for eel sauces.

2. Is Teriyaki Sauce Like Eel Sauce?

Teriyaki sauce is also a sweet, slightly salty, savory, and dark-brown sauce in Japanese cuisine. However, it does not resemble eel sauce. These two sauces contain entirely different ingredients.

Teriyaki sauces often contain spice-creating ingredients such as ginger, while eel sauces do not need to become spicy.

Eel sauces have mirin, Japanese-originated rice wine, or anything similar to mirin, while teriyaki sauces mainly do not.

3. Does Eel Sauce Contain Alcohol?

As we have mentioned before, eel sauces do traditionally contain alcohol: mirin. Yet, in specific recipes featuring mirin, the alcohol will mainly or wholly cook out of eel sauces on your stovetop based on the time of simmering it.

The majority of store-bought eel sauces are likely not to contain mirin. Instead, they come in a nonalcoholic ingredient with similar flavors.


The majority of eel sauce comes in sweet and savory flavors. Eel sauces on supermarket shelves are often vegan, but you should always look at the ingredients on the label.

Vegan eel sauces are sweet, smoky, and savory. They are lovely dipping sauces, glazes, or toppers for rolls with creamy avocado, pieces of baked tofu, stir-fried, and grilled vegetables.

Here is a valuable tip for more inspiration: vegans often roast eggplants or grill eggplants topped with eel sauce.

If some tofu-based dishes are often on your everyday meals, here is a pro tip. Keep in mind to remove the excess moisture from every piece of tofu first before you incorporate them into the recipe.