You can’t have a hibachi night at home without some of this Japanese white sauce! Also known as yum-yum sauce, hibachi white sauce, or shrimp sauce, this creamy dipping sauce uses basic ingredients, takes 5 minutes to make, and will make you feel like you’re in a Japanese steakhouse. Serve with hibachi fried rice, hibachi vegetables, and your protein of choice!
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I love recreating restaurant experiences at home, and hibachi night is a great one to replicate. To me, the essentials are Japanese steakhouse veggies (zucchini and onions) and simple sesame hibachi fried rice, along with some sort of protein like hibachi steak or hibachi shrimp.
But let’s be honest. There would be no hibachi night without this Japanese white sauce, popularly known as yum yum sauce.
You know when you go to a hibachi restaurant and they give you three little sauce bowls for dipping? One for this Japanese steakhouse white sauce, one for ginger sauce, and maybe a hibachi sauce? Yeah, forget the other two. Give me three bowls of white sauce.
That’s why making it at home is amazing. Because it makes enough for allll your dipping (and pouring, and drenching) needs.
I’ve been making this recipe for years and it’s just as good as in the restaurants! I tried storebought once and they added so much sugar I couldn’t eat it. This recipe is the real deal.
What is yum yum sauce?
Yum yum sauce is a pinkish-white creamy mayo-based dipping sauce you’ll find at a Japanese steakhouse. It’s known by many names, including Japanese white sauce, pink sauce, shrimp sauce, hibachi white sauce, or Japanese steakhouse sauce. It’s the creamy pinkish white sauce you’ll find at a Japanese hibachi steakhouse.
While this sauce is pretty universal in Japanese steakhouses like Sakura, it’s not actually a Japanese recipe (surprise!). It’s an Americanized condiment, and it’s delicious on anything you’d get at a hibachi restaurant.
Yum Yum Sauce Ingredients
Japanese white sauce typically made with a mayo base, with the pink color coming from a touch of tomato paste or ketchup, as well as paprika and a dash of cayenne pepper. It’s also flavored with garlic, melted butter, and a bit of sugar.
Your local Japanese steakhouse’s white sauce recipe may be a bit different, so you can customize your yum yum sauce to whatever flavor you’re used to!
- For a sweeter sauce: use ketchup instead of tomato paste, or add extra sugar.
- For a smokier sauce: use smoked paprika.
- For a darker/pinker sauce: add more tomato paste.
- For a tangier sauce: sub some of the water for a splash of rice vinegar.
- For more of a kick: add extra cayenne pepper.
How to make Japanese White Sauce
Easy as pie! Easier than pie, even.
First, melt the butter and let it cool. Make sure the butter has cooled off a bit after melting so it doesn’t break the mayonnaise emulsion.
Then all you do is mix all the ingredients together.
After that, let it rest in the fridge so the flavors can meld. Overnight is best but a couple hours is fine.
And if you don’t have time and you’re reading this recipe right before dinner, don’t worry. It’ll still taste great however long you can let it chill.
What goes well with yum yum sauce?
Oh my goodness, just about anything. Treat it almost like you’d use a fry sauce or a burger sauce (which is also mayo-based and mixed with a tomato product like ketchup).
Classically, you’d serve Japanese white sauce with anything you’d get at a hibachi dinner.
- Hibachi fried rice
- Simple Hibachi Vegetables (Sautéed Zucchini and Onions)
- Teriyaki chicken
- Hibachi Shrimp and Broccoli
- Hibachi Steak and Mushrooms
But it would also be great with anything else that needs a dip or sauce.
- French fries
- Chicken nuggets
- A hamburger
- Crab cakes
- Potatoes in just about any form
- Fried okra
- Fried green tomatoes
I don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding ways to use your Japanese white sauce once you make it. It’s addictive!
Japanese White Sauce (Yum Yum Sauce)
- 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise Hellmann's or Best Foods
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- dash cayenne pepper
- Heat the butter in a small microwave safe bowl for about 30 seconds or until melted. Let it cool to lukewarm before adding it so it doesn't break the mayonnaise.
- Combine all ingredients together with a fork or whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Refrigerate sauce for at least 2 hours or overnight to give flavors time to meld.
- Enjoy with a hibachi dinner at home!
- Store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.