Yum Yum Sauce

This Yum Yum Sauce recipe is a quick Japanese steak house sauce that’s 1000X better than store-bought, incredibly versatile, and makes everything irresistible from steak, chicken, fish, veggies, burgers and more!

Yum Yum Sauce earned its name by being phenomenally YUMMY!  This Japanese steak house sauce is a luxuriously creamy, sweet, tangy and as spicy-as-you-like mayo based dipping sauce (aioli).  It’s the type of sauce that levels up the meal, and goes with practically everything from meats, seafood, vegetables, burgers, French fries, rice, noodles and more! Yum Yum Sauce is also ridiculously easy to whip up in less than 10 minutes with pantry friendly ingredients and zero chopping!  Best of all, this homemade Yum Yum Sauce recipe tastes 1000X better than store-bought and is make-ahead friendly for up to a week!

Made-from-scratch sauces are easy to make and so much better than any jarred variety!  Think tartar sauce, chipotle sauce BBQ sauce, roasted red pepper sauce, chimichurri sauce, and horseradish sauce.

How to Make homemade yum yum sauce Video

up close of a spoonful of homemade yum yum sauce showing how creamy it is


Yum Yum Sauce FAQS

What is Yum Yum Sauce made of? 

Yum Yum Sauce is made of mayonnaise, ketchup or tomato paste, rice vinegar, sriracha, sometimes butter, and seasonings such as garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.

What does Yum Yum Sauce taste like?

The sauce is rich, creamy, tangy, slightly sweet, slightly spicy served cold. It makes everything taste yummy!

What do you serve with Yum Yum Sauce? 

While no Japanese steak house meal is complete without Yum Yum Sauce, I think you’ll find its rich, sweet and tangy flavors pair well with many different dishes, making them nearly impossible to resist! Homemade Yum Yum Sauce levels up Asian inspired dishes like chicken, steak, shrimp, fried rice, noodles, potstickers, etc. It also makes an excellent dipping sauce for French fries, onion rings, chicken strips, zucchini strips, crab cakes and more, as well as a tasty spread for burgers, wraps and sandwiches.  Honestly, I think you’ll crave the sauce more than the actual food its being served with!

Is Yum Yum Sauce Japanese?

While Yum Yum Sauce was made famous in America by teppanyaki grills, you likely won’t find Yum Yum Sauce anywhere in Japan.  In America and Canada, however, no Japanese Hibachi experience is complete without it!  If you’re not familiar with hibachi-style, sometimes called teppanyaki cooking, it is a cooking method, like Benihanas, in which meat, seafood, and/or fresh vegetables are cooked on a super-hot metal cooking surface.  The seared veggies and meat are always served with Yum Yum Sauce for dipping to bring all of the flavors together.

Why is it called yum yum sauce?

While it is uncertain who invented the famous sauce, chef Terry Ho is the first to bottle, market and mass produce the sauce as “Yum Yum Sauce.”   Chef Ho was serving the sauce at his Japanese teppanyaki restaurant in Albany, Georgia, and realized how very popular it was becoming.  For years, patrons would come to his restaurants asking for 16 or 20 ounces of the sauce which Ho would distribute in Styrofoam containers.  Seeing the potential, Ho started manufacturing and bottling the sauce on a mass scale, calling it “Yum Yum Sauce.”  Today, it is sold in around 30,000 grocery stores nationwide and is growing by 10 to 15% every year.

top view of homemade yum yum sauce garnished with green onions showing the pink-orange color

Yum Yum Sauce Ingredients

The ingredients for this easy homemade Yum Yum Sauce recipe are minimal and pantry friendly.  Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  • Mayonnaise:  Mayo is commonly used as the base in sauces because it binds the ingredients together and prevents them from separating. It also adds creamy richness. Please use real mayonnaise like Hielamans or Dukes and not Miracle Whip.  
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream:  These lighten and brighten the sauce so it’s creamy but not heavy. You can use full fat or reduced fat.
  • Ketchup: This adds a subtle tangy sweetness but I promise it won’t make your Yum Yum Sauce taste remotely like ketchup!
  • Rice wine:  This adds a sweetness and depth of flavor.  I use “Kikkoman Aji-Mirin: Sweet Cooking Rice Seasoning” which is commonly found in the Asian section of most grocery stores or you can Amazon it. I highly suggest you google image before you head off to the grocery store so you know exactly what you are looking for.  The best substitute for rice wine is pale dry sherry with ½ teaspoon sugar.
  • Rice vinegarThis is different than rice wine.  It is tangy without any sweetness. It is usually located by the other vinegars near the salad dressings at your grocery store.  Make sure to use unseasoned rice vinegar. If you don’t keep it stocked, you may substitute with white vinegar.
  • Sriracha: A kick of heat awakens, balances and complements the rest of the flavors.  So, if you feel like your Yum Yum Sauce is missing something, it is probably heat!  I use sriracha but you can use your favorite chili sauce or cayenne pepper to taste. 
  • Seasonings:  Garlic powder, ground ginger, smoked paprika, ground mustard, onion powder, salt, and pepper awaken all the flavors.  Use more or less to taste.
showing yum yum sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl:  mayonnaise, ketchup, rice vinegar, paprika, ground mustard, ground ginger, garlic powder, salt and pepper
  • Make it lighter: Swap the mayonnaise for light mayo and the sour cream for Greek yogurt.  You can also use all Greek yogurt, but this will make it tangier, so you may wish to reduce the rice vinegar.
  • Make it vegan:  Swap the mayonnaise and sour cream for a vegan kind like Vegenaise.
  • Keep it keto:  Yum Yum Sauce is already low carb, but if you’re following a keto diet, be sure to use mayonnaise that is free of soybean oil such as avocado oil mayo. 
  • Spice it up:  Add additional Sriracha, or use your favorite chili sauce or cayenne pepper to taste.
  • Make it tangier:  Add additional rice vinegar.
  • Make it sweeter:  Add additional rice wine vinegar or a teaspoon or so of sugar or honey.
  • Make it more tomato-forward:  Add additional ketchup.
  • Use tomato paste:  Some recipes use tomato paste instead of ketchup which will make your sauce extra tomato-y, whereas ketchup will give you a sweeter tomato flavor.  If you use tomato paste, add a little sugar to taste, anywhere from 1-2 teaspoons.
  • Control the consistency:  While I like the sauce uber creamy so it really sticks to the chicken, steak or veggies, you can make it runnier by adding either water, oil, or rice vinegar one teaspoon at a time.
  • Add butter:  I find butter overkill with the rich and creamy mayo, but feel free to stir in a couple tablespoons of melted butter if you like.  Please note that if butter is used, the dip tends to firm up if not at room temperature.

HOW TO MAKE Yum Yum Sauce

Are you ready to see just how easy this homemade Yum Yum Sauce recipe is to make with ZERO chopping?!  Here’s how: (Full recipe with measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.)

  • Step 1: Mix everything together.  Whisk together the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, ketchup, rice wine, rice vinegar and all seasonings.
  • Step 2: Chill.  Time permitting, chill the Yum Yum Sauce for 2 hours before serving.
  • Step 3: Enjoy!  See below for all sorts of serving options!
showing how to make yum yum sauce recipe by mixing all of the ingredients together in a bowl until smooth
  • Adjust to taste.  This recipe is so incredibly simple, you really can’t mess it up!  The only way it won’t taste right is if you don’t play with it to make it right for you.  Feel free to add more or less ketchup, sriracha or rice wine to your taste. See above section for variations.
  • Chill in the fridge.  Refrigerate the sauce for at least 30 minutes, even better if you have 2 hours, or overnight! This will give the flavors a chance to meld together.
  • Rice wine substitute:  Mix 1 tablespoon white wine, dry sherry or vermouth with 1 teaspoon sugar.
  • Meal Prep:  The recipe is made with ingredients with a long shelf life, so it’s great to make ahead to have on hand!
homemade yum yum sauce in a bowl made with mayonnaise and ketchup
scooping up yum yum sauce recipe with a spoon showing how thick and creamy it is
  • Any protein:  Dunk or drizzle any protein from steak to chicken to pork in homemade Yum Yum Sauce for instant YUM. It’s especially good with protein hot off of the grill.
  • Grilled or roasted veggies:  Dunk your grilled, roasted, steamed, or sautéed vegetables in this recipe and you’ll never have bland veggies again!  The recipe is also fabulous on grilled veggie kabobs, corn on the cob, grilled zucchini, roasted carrots, roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted broccoli, roasted cauliflower, roasted asparagus, etc.
  • Fried seafood:  Yum Yum Sauce is tasty with fish sticks (check out my oven/air fryer recipe!)crab cakes, salmon patties, fish and chips, fried shrimp, fried clams, fried calamari and fried oysters to compliment the crunchy, crispy texture.
  • Crispy baked or fried chicken:  Try it with popcorn chickenbaked fried chicken, or chicken strips.
  • Fried rice and noodles:  Drizzle some sauce over top for an instant punch of flavor.
  • Asian appetizers:  Use it as a dipping sauce for potstickers, wontons, egg rolls, sushi and rice balls.
  • French fries and onion rings:  Think of it as fry sauce with more flavor!
  • Crispy baked or fried appetizers:  Fried pickles, fried green tomatoes, hushpuppies, zucchini fries, etc. love a dunk in the silky sauce.
  • Crudité platter:  Serve the Yum Yum Sauce recipe as a dip with your favorite fresh veggies (celery sticks, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, bell pepper strips, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, baby corn, asparagus spears, sugar peas, cucumber slices, etc.), on a platter along with some pita bread.
  • Potatoes: Drizzle, dollop or dunk roasted potatoes, smashed potatoes, baked potatoes and mashed potatoes with the sauce.
  • On burgers, sandwiches and wraps:  Swap your mayo, hummus or tzatziki for this Yum Yum Sauce recipe instead.  We especially love it in classic burgersGreek burgers, chicken gyros, doners, and po’ boy sandwiches. 
  • Egg condiment:  Top your scrambled, fried, sunny side or deviled eggs with this sauce and sink your teeth into an explosion of flavor.
  • Salad: Use it as the dressing in tuna salad, lobster salad, crab salad, ham salad or egg salad.
showing how to serve homemade Yum Yum Sauce recipe by dipping hibachi chicken in the sauce




©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Yum Yum Sauce

Yum Yum Sauce earned its name by being phenomenally YUMMY!  This Japanese steak house sauce is a luxuriously creamy, sweet, tangy and as spicy-as-you-like mayo based dipping sauce (aioli).  It’s the type of sauce that makes the meal, and goes with practically everything from meats, seafood, vegetables, burgers, French fries, rice, noodles and more! Yum Yum Sauce is also ridiculously easy to whip up in less than 10 minutes with pantry friendly ingredients and zero chopping!  Best of all, this homemade Yum Yum Sauce recipe tastes 1000X better than store-bought and is make-ahead friendly for up to a week!
Servings: 1 ¼ cups
Total Time: 10 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes

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  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream (may sub more mayo)
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon mirin/sweet Japanese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon sriracha (may sub cayenne to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp EACH garlic powder, ground ginger, smoked paprika, onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp EACH salt, pepper, ground mustard


  • Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  • Cover, and chill for 2 hours before serving, best if overnight. Taste and adjust to taste with additional sriracha for spicier, rice vinegar for tangier or rice wine for sweeter.
  • Store in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.

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  1. Erinn says

    This sauce is the boss! We absolutely love this on hamburgers, it’s now a stable in our fridge. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jen says

      Yesss! I love this recipe is a staple, that makes me so happy!