This insanely tasty yum yum sauce recipe is like you'd find at a Japanese steakhouse, but it's simple to make at home with less than 10 minutes of prep time! It's really versatile and pairs with so many things.
Love making bold dips and sauces in your own kitchen? Try my Cajun Remoulade Sauce Recipe.
What is yum yum sauce?
It's a mayo-based sauce that's often served in Japanese hibachi restaurants. It's creamy, tangy, sweet, and savory all in one perfectly balanced, easy to make sauce that goes especially well with meat! It isn't exactly what you'd call an authentic Japanese recipe. It's a very North American thing and was actually invented here in steakhouses, so you're unlikely to find it in Japan.
Yum yum sauce is also so much better homemade than from a bottle at the grocery store since it's fresh and you know exactly what's in it. It's inexpensive to make and a fraction of the cost of eating out at your favorite Japanese restaurant!
What you'll need
- Mayo - I just use Hellmann's, but you're welcome to use Japanese mayo if you can find it
- Ketchup - mayo and ketchup are an iconic combination. It just works!
- Butter - adding melted butter makes it extra luxurious
- Sugar - for a touch more sweetness. You can use less if you wish.
- Smoked paprika - I love the smoky quality this gives it, but you can use regular
- Rice vinegar - for a bit of tang. Apple cider vinegar is fine as well.
- Garlic powder and onion powder - for additional savory goodness
- Hot sauce - optional but recommended for a little kick, not enough to make it spicy. If you do want it spicy, however, feel free to add more.
- Salt & pepper - as needed
- Everyone makes it slightly differently or likes different variations, but it's one of those recipes that with a little experimentation is simple to adjust to your personal taste preferences.
- I've made this sauce without the melted butter and it's still good, but I'd say the butter adds another rich layer of flavor that is definitely worth including! It makes it restaurant quality and special.
- I highly recommend leaving it in the fridge overnight or at least a few hours so the flavors have a chance to meld. It's worth it.
What to serve with yum yum sauce
- It's delicious with homemade hibachi chicken or regular grilled chicken or even chicken patties or chicken burgers, grilled vegetables, steak, and most seafood.
- Hibachi sauce also complements fried rice, potstickers, wontons, and other Asian favorites really well.
- This addictive sauce makes a wonderful dipping sauce for pretty much anything. We love it with shrimp and fresh veggies, but it even works with French fries!
Questions about this recipe? Let me know in the comments below!
Yum Yum Sauce
- 1 cup mayo (use Japanese mayo if you wish)
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 dash hot sauce optional
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Water (as needed)
- Microwave the butter in a small bowl to melt it, then let it cool for a few minutes. Add all the ingredients to a medium bowl (or a measuring cup like I did in the photo) and stir/whisk the sauce together until smooth. Give it a taste and adjust ingredients as needed. You can add some water to thin it (start with a tablespoon at a time) if needed.
- Transfer to a sealed container and store in the fridge (it'll last about a week or so). The flavors will meld the longer you leave it, so I highly recommend letting it sit overnight or at least a few hours before using if possible.
- I estimated the serving size to be about 2 tablespoons/person for the nutrition info.
- I used Hellmann's mayo in my recipe.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.