Yuzu Sauce With Japanese Beer

Yuzu sauce is a delightful and versatile condiment that has been gaining popularity in kitchens worldwide. Its unique, citrusy flavor can elevate various dishes, from sushi to grilled meats. But what exactly is yuzu sauce made of? Let’s explore the components and culinary uses of this intriguing sauce.

Is Yuzu Sauce the Same as Ponzu Sauce?

Although they share some similarities, yuzu sauce is not the same as ponzu sauce. Yuzu sauce is primarily made from the juice and zest of the yuzu fruit, combined with other ingredients like soy sauce, vinegar, and mirin (sweet rice wine). This creates a bright, tangy, slightly sweet sauce with a distinctive citrus flavor.

On the other hand, Ponzu sauce is a Japanese condiment that combines soy sauce, citrus juice (often from yuzu, but also other citrus fruits like lemon or lime), vinegar, and dashi (Japanese stock). While ponzu can include yuzu, it’s not exclusive to it and has a more complex, umami-rich profile than the straightforward citrus punch of yuzu sauce.

What Does Yuzu Fruit Taste Like?

Yuzu fruit has a unique and captivating flavor that sets it apart from other citrus fruits. It combines a grapefruit’s tartness, a mandarin orange’s sweetness, and a lemon’s aroma, resulting in a complex and fragrant citrus profile. The intense and aromatic flavor makes yuzu an excellent ingredient for sauces, dressings, and marinades.

Where Can I Find Yuzu Juice for Yuzu Sauce?

If you live in the United States, you might find it challenging to get fresh yuzu fruit because of import restrictions. However, you can still enjoy yuzu’s unique flavor by seeking alternative products. Asian markets often carry yuzu juice and frozen yuzu puree, which can be used to make yuzu sauce. These products capture the essence of fresh yuzu and are convenient options for creating delicious yuzu-based dishes at home.

Can I Use Yuzu Juice Instead of Fruit for Homemade Yuzu Sauce?

Yuzu juice is a perfect substitute for fresh yuzu fruit. Many recipes call for yuzu juice rather than the whole fruit, as it is more readily available and easier to work with. You can achieve the same bright, citrusy flavor that fresh yuzu provides when using yuzu juice. Simply combine yuzu juice with soy sauce, vinegar, and a touch of sweetness from mirin or sugar to create a delicious yuzu sauce.

Best Substitutes for Yuzu in a Pinch

If you can’t find yuzu juice or puree, don’t worry—there are several substitutes you can use to mimic its unique flavor:

  • Lemon and Lime
  • Grapefruit and Orange
  • Meyer Lemon

These substitutes won’t perfectly replicate yuzu’s distinctive taste, but they can provide a similar citrusy brightness to your dishes.

What Do You Eat With Yuzu Sauce?

Yuzu sauce is incredibly versatile and can be paired with various dishes. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Sushi and Sashimi
  • Grilled Meats
  • Salads
  • Seafood
  • Vegetables

Experimenting with yuzu sauce can open up a world of culinary possibilities, allowing you to enjoy the vibrant flavors of this unique citrus fruit in many delicious ways. One delicious way to enjoy yuzu juice is in Japanese rice lager.

Super Easy Homemade Yuzu Sauce


1 piece of kombu (seaweed-2 inch square)
4 oz shiitake mushrooms (dried)
2 oz Japanese rice lager, such as Diebolt’s Maneki-Neko
4 oz low sodium soy sauce
Splash of rice wine vinegar
4 oz yuzu juice


Drink the rest of your Maneki-Neko as you fill a 16 oz mason jar or other re-sealable container with all of your ingredients. Shake well. Put the jar in the fridge and let it marinate for at least 24 hours. Then, strain the mushrooms and the seaweed out of the mixture. Reseal your container and use your sauce for up to six weeks (keep it in the fridge).

Beer Drop Alert: Japanese Rice Lager

We’ve discussed Japanese beers before in detail. We’re probably experts, we don’t know. Don’t take our word for it, though. In addition to our Sorachi Ace Pilsner, we’re dropping a Japanese lager this month: Maneki-Neko made with flaked rice and, you guessed it, yuzu. 

can of craft Japanese lager with lucky cat on the label.
<strong><em>Bright refreshing crisp all the words to mean this yuzu flavored lager is a real thirst quencher <em><strong>

The yuzu juice adds a distinctive citrusy character to the lager, enhancing its flavor profile with notes of tart grapefruit, sweet mandarin orange, and aromatic lemon. The natural acidity and brightness of yuzu juice complement the light and crisp nature of the rice lager, creating a harmonious balance between the beer’s smooth base and the zesty, refreshing citrus overtones. 

In other words: it’s FRESHHHH. And look at that label, would you? A little lucky cat, smiling at you against a serene yellow backdrop. We’re keeping this one even after it’s empty. 

Stop by our brewery on Mariposa to try this beauty for yourself, and be sure to take one or eight cans home with you. It might just be your new favorite. 

Japanese Beer Lesson: bīru wa oishīdesu! (bee-rew wha oh ee shee dess)

Translation: Beer is delicious! 

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Heather Kleinman

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