Yum Yum Sauce is a favorite hibachi-style sauce that is requested in double servings at the popular Japanese steakhouse restaurant chains! No matter what you call it, white sauce, shrimp sauce, pink sauce, sakura sauce, the tasty Yum Yum Sauce has earned its most commonly used name as it's terrifically yummy!!
Yum Yum sauce has gained popularity here in the States as a condiment for hibachi-style foods at both Japanese steakhouse restaurants and at home thanks to its delightfully tangy flavor!
If you have yet to try this sauce with your hibachi meals, it's definitely a good time to add it to the menu!
❔ What Is
Yum Yum Sauce (white sauce, shrimp sauce, pink sauce, or sakura sauce) is a slightly sweet, slightly spiced sauce served at Japanese hibachi or teppanyaki restaurants here in the United States.
This pink mayonnaise-based sauce varies between restaurants like Benihana, Kyoto, Shogun, and Kobe (as well as MANY other local hibachi and teppanyaki-style Japanese restaurants where the foods are grilled tableside).
Where Did Yum Yum Sauce Originate?
The fan-favorite sauce is an American original started by US-based hibachi restaurants. It is not an authentic Japanese condiment. If you were dining in Japan, you simply wouldn't find yum yum sauce on any menus.
The addictive hibachi Yum Yum sauce uses eight staple household ingredients! It's quick and easy to make but turns out best if you can plan ahead and refrigerate the Yum Yum Sauce overnight before serving.
- Mayonnaise - the base of the sauce and what makes yum yum sauce so creamy!
- Water - just a bit of water to thin out your mayo!
- Butter - to add rich, delicious flavor!
- Sugar - slightly sweetens the mayo-based sauce to contrast with the added spices. If using Kewpie mayo, the sugar can be omitted.
- Tomato Paste - adds rich tomato flavor with a bit of sweetness as well! Tomato sauce and ketchup are poor substitutes, which is why I always buy a tube of tomato paste now 🙂
- Garlic Powder - the rich and unique garlic flavor is a perfect addition!
- Paprika - preferably smoked paprika to add that amazing smoked flavor to your yum yum sauce!
- Cayenne Pepper - to add the right amount of 'zing' without being overpowering!
💭 Tips & Recipe Notes
I mention the better brands of mayonnaise that will yield the best flavor results for your homemade pink sauce, other brands will not taste the same. Duke's brand mayonnaise is one of the preferred and best mayo's in the South. Hellman's is considered the best throughout many states but is also known as Best Foods mayonnaise on the west coast (West of The Rockies).
If you have Kewpie mayonnaise, the best mayonnaise option, you can omit the additional sugar.
Using ketchup in place of the tomato paste and sugar can be done, but is not recommended for this sauce recipe.
This sauce takes only minutes to make, but the flavors come together best after being refrigerated overnight. Refrigerate before using for at least 30 minutes, as it will be better than served at room temperature.
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
- Melt your butter while you gather your other ingredients. This way it can set aside and cool slightly before being mixed into the sauce.
- Either in a small bowl or a food processor, measure out your ingredients and combine (mayonnaise, water, melted butter, sugar, tomato paste, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper) and whisk or blend until you have a smooth sauce.
- Refrigerate for best results, preferably overnight, or your sauce will still have a strong mayonnaise taste.
Keep your yum yum sauce in an air-tight container and store it in the refrigerator. Your hibachi sauce can be stored for up to 7 -10 days but is best used within the first 5 days.
Likely nothing is wrong with the sauce that you made. Each Japanese steakhouse has its own yum yum sauce recipe, so the flavors depend on your favorite restaurant's unique combination and quantity of ingredients. Adjust this recipe as a base to make your best hibachi sauce.
Use what you have! Smoked paprika adds a rich, smoky flavor but paprika will add a wonderful flavor as well.
Certainly! Use this recipe as your base, and increase seasoning, sugar amount, tomato, etc as needed to suit your tastes better.
No. I do not advise freezing any mayonnaise-based sauce.
Please post any additional questions you may have in the comments below. Enjoy!!
You can find all of my Hibachi Sauces and more on the Hibachi Recipes page! I have gathered a great assortment of main dishes, sides, soup, dressing, and condiments to make your hibachi dinner at home complete!
Yum Yum Sauce
- 1 ¼ cups mayonnaise (use Duke's mayo or Hellman's aka Best Foods if not using Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise)
- ¼ cup water
- 1 Tbsp butter (salted, melted)
- 1 ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- Melt butter and allow to set aside and cool for a moment before combining into the sauce.
- In a small mixing bowl, measure out all ingredients ( mayonnaise, water, melted butter, sugar, tomato paste, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper ) and whisk until you have a smooth sauce or combine in a food processor.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!