Is Sweet Soy Glaze the Same as Eel Sauce?

Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by Lauren Beck

As a curious palate explorer, I’ve often pondered sauces’ mysteries. A question frequently arises is whether sweet soy glaze and eel sauce are culinary twins or distant relatives. 

Join me on a flavorful journey as we unravel the delicious truth behind these saucy sensations.

Is Sweet Soy Glaze the Same as Eel Sauce?

No, sweet soy glaze is not the same as eel sauce. While both include soy and sugar, eel sauce contains sake and mirin. 

This difference gives eel sauce a more complex flavor. Sweet soy glaze is versatile and can be used as a drizzle, while eel sauce is specifically used to enhance grilled eel dishes and sushi.

Sweet Soy Glaze Ingredients

Sweet soy glaze, or sweet soy reduction, is a glossy concoction of soy sauce, mirin (a sweet rice wine), and sugar. 

This harmonious blend is simmered until it transforms into a thick, luscious syrup that glistens like liquid gold. 

The umami richness of soy sauce marries the gentle sweetness of mirin, while sugar adds a touch of decadence.

Sweet Soy Glaze Substitutes

When your pantry doesn’t quite match the ingredient list, fret not! You can craft a makeshift sweet soy glaze by mixing equal parts of soy sauce and brown sugar, then reducing the mixture to a delightful thickness. 

Alternatively, with its sweet and savory profile, teriyaki sauce can step in as a close cousin to sweet soy glaze.

What Does Sweet Soy Glaze Taste Like?

Sweet Soy Glaze on a Jar

Imagine a dance of flavors on your taste buds – the salty tang of soy sauce intertwining with the gentle embrace of sweetness. 

The result is a balanced melody that enhances dishes with an irresistible glaze and depth of flavor. 

Drizzle it over grilled meats and vegetables or as a finishing touch to sushi rolls.

What Is the Flavor of Eel Sauce?

Eel sauce, often called unagi sauce, is a tantalizing blend of soy sauce, mirin, sake (Japanese rice wine), and sugar. 

The addition of sake imparts a unique dimension, adding complexity to the sweetness of mirin. 

The concoction is then reduced into velvety nectar that beautifully complements the richness of grilled eel.

How Is Eel Sauce Used in Cooking?

Eel sauce is starring in Japanese cuisine, particularly in dishes featuring unagi (freshwater eel). 

The sauce’s deep, savory-sweet character glazes eel fillets during grilling, lending them a glossy sheen and caramelized depth. 

However, eel sauce isn’t limited to eel alone; it can elevate various dishes, from sushi to grilled vegetables.

What Does Eel Sauce Taste Like?

Picture a delicate dance between savory and sweet, where umami-rich soy sauce mingles with the warm embrace of mirin and sake [1]. 

The sweetness is nuanced, allowing the savory notes to shine, creating a symphony of flavors that’s savory, slightly smoky, and utterly captivating.


In the realm of cooking, nuances matter. After our saucy expedition, it’s clear that sweet soy glaze and eel sauce possess unique personalities while sharing a few notes. 

Sweet soy glaze dazzles with its balance, enlivening diverse dishes. Meanwhile, eel sauce reigns in eel-centered delicacies with its rich symphony of flavors. 

So, next time you’re at the stove, remember the subtle variations that keep our taste buds intrigued and our culinary journeys vibrant. Happy saucing!


Lauren Beck
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