Sake Ginger Glazed Salmon

Sake ginger glazed salmon recipe, marinated in a Japanese yakitori sauce and fresh ginger.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Marinating time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4



  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free version)
  • 1/2 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
  • 2 Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • A dash of red chili pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup white sugar


  • 1 1/2 pounds of salmon fillets
  • Olive oil


1 Marinate the salmon: Mix the soy sauce, sake, mirin, ginger, garlic, chile flakes, and sugar in a medium bowl.

Place the salmon fillets in a sturdy freezer bag. Pour the marinade into the freezer bag with the fish. Seal the freezer bag and place in a baking dish (so that if the bag leaks it doesn't get all over your fridge).

Place in your refrigerator and chill at least an hour, preferably several hours.

2 Simmer marinade, reduce by half: Remove the salmon fillets from the marinade. Place the marinade in a small saucepan and heat it until it simmers.  Simmer it for several minutes or until the sauce has reduced by half.


3a Grilling method
Brush the grill grates with olive oil; pre-heat your grill to medium heat. Place salmon fillets on a piece of aluminum foil (brushed with olive oil) over the grill grate, skin side down. Brush the salmon with the marinade glaze. Cover the grill.

Cook the salmon 6-10 minutes (depending on thickness of the fillets), brushing again with the marinade halfway through the cooking, until the salmon is just barely cooked, and easily flaked with a fork.

3b Pan frying method
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the salmon 3 to 4 minutes per side, basting frequently with the marinade. Serve once the salmon is just barely cooked through and is easily flaked with a fork.

3c Baking method
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking dish with aluminum foil. Brush the top of the foil with olive oil. Place salmon on the foil, skin side down. Brush with marinade.

Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how thick the fillets are, basting frequently with the marinade, until the salmon is barely cooked through and is easily flaked with a fork.

Click on the comments you'd like to print with your recipe. Grayed out comments will not print.


  • Benjamin

    Whats every ones preferred salmon of choice for this. I have sockeye aka red and also pink salmon.

  • Steve

    Oh, I did use honey instead of sugar, and added some chopped cilantro also, and used less soy reduced sodium, because it can be powerful, be careful….

  • Steve

    Made salmon many times on the grill, which has been very good. The marinade for this was outstanding, and then making it into a reduction sauce was incredible. I’ve had my moments with trying to make reduction sauce, but this just fell into place, my wife loved it. Served it up with a Sriracha slaw with roasted corn from the grill, awsome. Once again Thank YOU!

  • Helene

    This dish was a great hit at our dinner table last night. Our guests were trying to guess the ingredients of the marinade :) We served them with pan fried asparagus over a miso butter (butter + miso paste + a dash of sherry vinegar).
    Went home at lunch time to get the marinade started and it was definitely worth it.
    Will try to re-use the left over marinade with another fish or even chicken this week-end.
    A real keeper!

  • Sammy

    I have now made this dish twice, and it is the best tasting salmon ever! Question: When cooking the salmon in a pan, which side do you cook first? I tried both ways and it seemed like the fish stayed together better when I cooked the skin side down first, but maybe that was a coincidence. Thank so much Elise!

    I don’t think it matters, but whatever works for you, go for it! ~Elise

  • Claudia

    This was wonderful made with low sodium soy sauce — my standard kind since I often find dishes too salty.

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Rumi – I used to live in Kyoto and loved the way fresh grated ginger was added to so many dishes. Yum!

    Hi Nellcote – I honestly don’t think there is a lot of choice in the Asian cooking section of most grocery stores in America when it comes to sake for cooking.

    Hi Theresa – Honey would probably work just fine, though I don’t know, haven’t tried it. You might try this glaze first with a bit of chicken and see how it works, rather than experiment with the somewhat pricier sockeye salmon shown here.

  • Theresa

    I have an intolerance for processed sugar, will this still work without the sugar, or is there something else that can be used, maybe honey?

  • nellcote

    This sounds wonderful, but I don’t know anything about sake. Is there a certain kind that works better than others in this dish? Suggestions please –

  • Robyn

    A tip for Mike: you might try using low-sodium soy sauce. That way you get the flavor without all the salt. This recipe sounds great, I’ll be trying it soon!

  • Mike

    I made this, and while it was good (the sauce/marinade smelled great on the grill), I was concerned about the amount of soy sauce, but not knowing much about Asian-styled fish, I followed the recipe. The end result was overly salty for my taste. I would recommend less soy sauce.

  • Rumi

    Hi! This is the first time I’ve left my comment here. I’m Japanese who live in Japan.
    Yakitori marinade with the addition of some finely grated fresh ginger is really useful sauce on Japanese dishes. We put it on pan fried pork, chicken, yellow tail, etc. Try them, if you like.

  • Mazz

    Yum, I like to make Yakitori the Japanese way, with chicken on skewers. Negima is best (alternate scallion slices and chicken pieces on the skewer).