Tempura Sauce (Tentsuyu)

By: takestwoeggsPosted: 11/09/2023 Updated: 28/11/2023
Prep 1 minute
Cook 4 minutes
Total 5 minutes
This five-ingredient easy and authentic Japanese tempura sauce is salty, sweet and packed with umami flavors that only takes 5 minutes to make!
Tempura Sauce (Tentsuyu)

This five-ingredient easy and authentic Japanese tempura sauce is salty, sweet, and packed with umami flavors that only takes 5 minutes to make!

Someone dipping a shrimp tempura into a small ramekin of tempura dipping sauce.

If you’ve got tempura, you know you will have to pair it with a delicious and easy-to-make homemade tempura sauce. This tempura dipping sauce is made with only five ingredients for a delicious sweet, salty, and umami punch.

Tempura with its light and delicate batter that coats shrimp and vegetables needs a captivating savory sauce that complements and enhances the experience of every bite. This tempura sauce recipe is really easy to make and can be ready in 5 minutes!

Homemade tempura sauce is always best because you can control what goes into it and alter it based on your preferences! You can serve this tempura dipping sauce with homemade ebi tempura (shrimp tempura). And if you are looking for more Japanese sauces, check out our unagi sauce or homemade katsu sauce.

What is tentsuyu?

Tempura sauce, or tentsuyu(天つゆ), is a classic Japanese dipping sauce that is usually served alongside vegetable or shrimp tempura. Tensuyu sauce is an essential component in eating tempura since it adds a burst of umami flavor and moisture to the crispy fried tempura.

Tentsuyu is made with dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. It can also include other elements such as daikon radish or chopped scallions for more flavor and texture.

A small ramekin with tempura sauce for dipping.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Here are the top 4 reasons why you’ll love this tempura sauce recipe:

  1. Customizable flavor: When you make your sauce from scratch, you have complete control over the ingredients and their proportions. You can adjust the taste according to your preferences.
  2. Quality Ingredients: You will have complete control over selecting high-quality ingredients. Choosing premium authentic ingredients will yield a more authentic and refined flavor.
  3. Versatile: Tentsuyu sauce is most commonly served with tempura but you can also serve it with other Japanese dishes like udon, soba noodles, or grilled meats and vegetables.
  4. Quick and easy: You can make this tentsuyu sauce from start to finish in under 5 minutes with only 5 easy-to-find ingredients!

Kitchen Equipment

You will only need one piece of kitchen equipment to make this tempura dipping sauce recipe.

  • Small saucepan: All you’ll need to make this tempura sauce recipe is a small saucepan to cook everything together.

Ingredients

All of the ingredients for this tempura dipping sauce recipe can be found at your local Japanese grocery store or online. I’ve linked all the ingredients below.

  • Dashi Powder: Dashi is the foundation of Japanese flavor that adds a delicate, complex, umami flavor to the tempura dipping sauce. Dashi powder is the easiest method to make dashi instantly.
A box of dashi powder for making stock.
  • Soy Sauce: soy sauce adds a salty, and savory flavor that is the main flavoring component.
  • Mirin: Mirin or Japanese sweet rice wine adds a mild sweetness and depth to the tentsuyu.
  • Sugar: A splash of sugar tempers the saltiness in the soy sauce while also creating a delicious balanced finish.
All the ingredients to make a tempura sauce for dipping.

Substitutions and Additions

You can customize your homemade tempura sauce with the following substitutions and additions I’ve listed below.

Substitutions

  • Dashi: Instead of using dashi powder, you can make dashi from scratch instead with kombu, and bonito flakes.
  • Tamari: You can use tamari instead of soy sauce for a milder, smoother flavor.
  • Liquid Aminos: For a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce you can use liquid aminos.
  • Mirin alternative: Instead of mirin you can mix one part rice vinegar with one part sugar for a sweet, slightly acidic substitute for mirin.
  • Honey: Instead of sugar, you can use honey instead. It will slightly alter the flavor of the sauce but it could work.

Additions

  • Grated daikon: Some recipes include a small amount of grated daikon for a sweeter finish.
  • Grated ginger: You can also add grated ginger for more of a spicy aromatic kick.
  • Chili: You can add red chili peppers or chili flakes for a spicy tentsuyu sauce.

How to Make Tempura Sauce

Here are the steps on how to make tempura sauce. This easy recipe can be completed in under 5 minutes!

  1. Make dashi stock. In a small saucepan, mix together the dashi powder and water over medium heat.
Simmering doshi stock in a sauce pan.
  1. Add remaining ingredients. Once the dashi stock reaches a simmer, add the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Tempura sauce simmering in a sauce pan.
  1. Serve. Remove from the heat and serve with your favorite tempura.
Someone dipping a shrimp tempura into a small ramekin of tempura dipping sauce.

Tips for the Best Tempura Dipping Sauce

  • Quality ingredients: Since this tentsuyu sauce only has 5 ingredients, using high-quality authentic Japanese ingredients will ensure that you’ll have the best flavor.
  • Adjust to taste: Every person will have a different preference. For the perfect balance of flavors, adjust the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar to your liking.
  • Simmer the mirin. Since mirin has alcohol in it, simmering the sauce when you add the mirin will allow the alcohol to burn off leaving the rich sweet flavors behind.
  • Allow the sauce to cool. Tentsuyu is typically served at room temperature. After making the sauce, allow it to cool before serving so the flavors have time to meld together.

Storage Instructions

You can store this tempura dipping sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Frequently Asked Q’s & A’s

What is tempura sauce called in Japanese?

Tempura sauce is called “tentsuyu” (てんつゆ) in Japanese.

What are the main ingredients of tempura sauce?

Tempura dipping sauce is made with dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Together this creates a balanced flavor profile of savory, sweet, and umami flavors.

How do I serve tentsuyu sauce?

Tentsuyu sauce is typically served cold or at room temperature to complement the hot and crispy tempura.

Can I make gluten-free tempura sauce?

Yes! You can easily make gluten-free tempura sauce by using gluten-free soy sauce like tamari or liquid aminos.

Did you make this Tempura Sauce recipe?

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Someone dipping a shrimp tempura into a small ramekin of tempura dipping sauce.

Tempura Sauce (Tentsuyu)

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
This five-ingredient easy and authentic Japanese tempura sauce is salty, sweet and packed with umami flavors that only takes 5 minutes to make!
Servings: 4 servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Make dashi stock. In a small saucepan, mix together the dashi powder and water over medium heat.
  • Add remaining ingredients. Once the dashi stock reaches a simmer, add the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Simmer for 3 minutes to burn off the alcohol in the mirin.
  • Serve. Remove from the heat and serve with your favorite tempura.

Notes

  • Quality ingredients: Since this tentsuyu sauce only has 5 ingredients, using high-quality authentic Japanese ingredients will ensure that you’ll have the best flavor.
  • Adjust to taste: Every person will have a different preference. For the perfect tempura sauce, adjust the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar to your liking.
  • Simmer the mirin. Since mirin has alcohol in it, simmering the sauce when you add the mirin will allow the alcohol to burn off leaving the rich sweet flavors behind.
  • Allow the tempura sauce to cool. Tentsuyu is typically served at room temperature. After making the sauce, allow it to cool before serving so the flavors have time to meld together.
  • Storage Instructions: You can store this tempura sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition:

Calories: 44kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 0.03g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 982mg | Potassium: 34mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 0.1IU | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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