Japanese White Sauce (Homemade Yum Yum Sauce)

Japanese white sauce (or yum yum sauce) is a creamy, tangy, smoky dipping sauce that pairs perfectly with shrimp and hibachi vegetables. With just a handful of ingredients, this easy homemade version is set to be an instant favourite!

Japanese white sauce, also known as yum yum sauce, is a popular condiment at American-Japanese hibachi restaurants. This creamy, tangy, and slightly smoky sauce is the perfect accompaniment to hibachi chicken, fried rice, and shrimp.

This homemade yum yum sauce recipe is quick and easy to make, using simple ingredients you may already have in your pantry. It’s a great way to recreate a Japanese steakhouse experience at home.

Use this versatile sauce as a dipping sauce for hibachi vegetables, shrimp, French fries or sweet potato fries. It also makes an amazing salad dressing, or serve it with your favourite fried rice and stir-fry dishes for an extra burst of flavour.

Japanese white sauce (yum yum sauce) in a small bowl with a serving spoon.

What is Japanese white sauce?

Japanese white sauce, also known as yum yum sauce or sakura sauce. The famous Japanese steakhouse sauce is a deliciously creamy, tangy, and slightly sweet condiment often served in Japanese hibachi restaurants. Despite its name, the mayonnaise-based sauce is actually a pale pink sauce.

A teaspoon of yum yum sauce with a pale pink colour and smooth, almost runny consistency.

Yum yum sauce is not an authentic Japanese condiment, but rather a creation of American Japanese cuisine. You most likely tried the yummy sauce at your favourite Japanese hibachi restaurant with some hibachi vegetables or shrimp.

The sauce is very deserving of its double yum. The exact ingredients vary depending on the recipe or the restaurant, but it’s typically a base of mayonnaise mixed with various seasonings, such as tomato paste, sugar, garlic powder, paprika, and rice wine vinegar.

Yum yum sauce ingredients and substitutes

Ingredients for yum yum sauce (Japanese steakhouse sauce) including mayonnaise, tomato paste, melted butter, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, and paprika.

One of the best things about Japanese white sauce is that it requires only a few simple ingredients you most likely already have:

  • Mayonnaise: This is the main ingredient and I recommend using a good-quality, real mayonnaise with a thick and creamy texture for best results. You can use Japanese mayo (Kewpie mayo) if you have it, but regular mayonnaise works just fine. Use vegan mayo for a plant-based version.
  • Tomato paste: The tomato paste adds a subtle sweetness and tanginess to the sauce. If you don’t have any, you can use ketchup instead. Use two tablespoons of ketchup to replace the one tablespoon of tomato paste and omit the sugar and vinegar.
  • Rice vinegar: I use unseasoned rice vinegar (rice wine vinegar). If you don’t have any, you can substitute it with apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.
  • Butter: The melted butter helps to add richness and depth of flavour to the sauce. You can substitute it with olive oil for a vegan yum yum sauce.
  • Garlic powder: I like to use garlic powder in this sauce for a more savoury flavour. But you can use onion powder if you prefer, or go half-half.
  • Smoked paprika: This adds a subtle smokiness that complements the tanginess of the sauce. If you don’t have any, you can use regular paprika or omit it altogether for a lighter-coloured sauce.
  • Granulated sugar: A big of granulated sugar adds a touch of sweetness to balance out the tanginess of the sauce. You can use maple syrup or your favourite sweetener
  • Ground cayenne pepper or hot sauce (optional): If you like a little heat (like I do), you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper or a splash of your favourite hot sauce to the sauce. I add a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper – see cayenne pepper substitutes for alternatives.
  • Water: This helps to thin out the sauce to your desired consistency. Add water one tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency, I add two tablespoons.
  • Salt: Add salt to taste to enhance the flavour of the sauce. I recommend starting with a small amount and adjusting to your liking – I add half a teaspoon.

Store any leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Give it a good stir before serving.

The sauce is naturally gluten-free, but you need to use plant-based mayonnaise and substitute the butter if you want a plant-based yum yum sauce.

How to make Japanese white sauce

It’s so easy to create your own version of Japanese steakhouse white sauce, you’ll never opt for a store-bought version again!

Step 1: Mix the ingredients together. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, tomato paste, rice vinegar, melted butter, garlic powder (or onion powder), smoked paprika, sugar, and cayenne pepper or hot sauce (if using) until the sauce is smooth and well combined.

If the sauce is too thick, you can add a splash of water, one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency. I usually add two tablespoons of water.

Step 3: Adjust the seasonings and consistency. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, until the sauce reaches your desired consistency – I add two tablespoons of water. Taste the sauce and salt to taste – I add half a teaspoon of salt.

You can also add more cayenne pepper for a spicier sauce or more rice vinegar for a tangier flavour.

How to use yum yum sauce

This delicious sauce is not only super easy to make, it’s also very versatile.

  • Dipping sauce: Serve this sauce with hibachi steak, shrimp, or chicken for a tasty dipping sauce that will elevate your meal. It also pairs well with fried rice, vegetables, and even dumplings.
  • Salad dressing: Yum yum sauce makes a great salad dressing for any salad. I especially love it with a rainbow slaw sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.
  • Seafood sauce: The mayo-based sauce is more than just a hibachi shrimp sauce, it is delicious with any seafood. Add it to a lobster roll for the ultimate indulgence.
  • Grilled meats: You don’t need a hibachi grill to enjoy yum yum sauce with your favourite meat. Serve it with grilled chicken, steak, your favourite burger, or as a seafood sauce.
  • With fried rice or stir-fries: For a quick and easy meal, drizzle Japanese white sauce over a bowl of steaming hot fried rice for a delicious and creamy topping – it’s amazing with gochujang fried rice. Or serve it alongside stir-fries – try it with teriyaki chicken.
Rainbow slaw drizzled with yum yum sauce.

Frequently asked questions

What is Japanese white sauce made of?

Japanese white sauce, also known as yum yum sauce, is a creamy and tangy condiment commonly used in American Japanese hibachi restaurants. It is typically made with mayonnaise, tomato paste, garlic powder, paprika, and butter.

Is yum yum sauce and white sauce the same thing?

Yum yum sauce and Japanese white sauce are the same thing. Yum yum sauce is simply another name for Japanese white sauce, which is often used in hibachi restaurants. The term white sauce can also refer to béchamel sauce.

Is yum yum sauce just sriracha mayo?

No, yum yum sauce is not just sriracha mayo. While both sauces may contain similar ingredients, yum yum sauce typically has a creamier and tangier taste due to the addition of tomato paste and butter whereas sriracha mayo is typically spicier.

What does yum yum dipping sauce taste like?

Yum yum dipping sauce has a creamy and tangy taste with a hint of sweetness and sometimes a smoky, slightly spicy flavour. It is essentially a pink mayonnaise sauce with tomato paste and mayonnaise as the main ingredients.

More Japanese sauces

Japanese white sauce (yum yum sauce) in a small bowl with a serving spoon.

Japanese White Sauce (Yum Yum Sauce)

5 from 5 votes
Print Pin
Japanese white sauce (also known as yum yum sauce, sakura sauce, hibachi sauce or Japanese steakhouse shrimp sauce) is a favourite at Japanese restaurants. The sauce is creamy, tangy, and slightly smoky dipping sauce that pairs perfectly with fried rice, shrimp, and hibachi vegetables.
Recipe byAdri
Yield cups
Servings10
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup mayonnaise*
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste , or ketchup*
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder , or onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • cayenne pepper (optional) , or a splash of hot sauce
  • water , 1 tablespoons at a time
  • salt , to taste

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, tomato paste, rice vinegar, melted butter, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and sugar. Whisk until well combined and smooth.
  • If the sauce is too thick, you can add a splash of water, one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency – I typically add 2 tablespoons of water.
  • Taste the sauce. Add salt to taste – I typically add ½ teaspoon of salt. I also like to add a ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, but you can omit it, or add more for a spicier sauce.
  • Serve the yum yum sauce as a dipping sauce for shrimp and veggies, or use it as a drizzle over your favourite dishes.

Notes

  • You can use Japanese mayo (Kewpie mayo) if you have it, but regular mayonnaise works just fine. Just use a good-quality real mayo with a thick and creamy texture.
  • You can use ketchup if you don’t have a tomato paste. Use 2 tablespoons of ketchup to replace the 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and omit the sugar and vinegar. See ingredients and substitutes for more suggestions.
  • Store leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Make sure to give it a good stir before serving.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 2 tablespoons Calories: 167 kcal Carbohydrates: 1 g Protein: 0.4 g Fat: 18 g Saturated Fat: 3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 10 g Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g Trans Fat: 0.1 g Cholesterol: 12 mg Sodium: 164 mg Potassium: 29 mg Fiber: 0.2 g Sugar: 1 g Vitamin A: 172 IU Vitamin C: 0.4 mg Calcium: 3 mg Iron: 0.2 mg

4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This yum yum sauce came out super good. I had no idea it would be so easy to make at home. I’ll be using this recipe ore often now.

    1. I’m so happy you loved it, Lauren! It’s such an easy sauce to make at home, next time you won’t even need the recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    We love Yum Yum sauce and your version is no exception. It is very good and I think we found our new favorite :)

5 from 5 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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