Is Ponzu Sauce Vegan? Here’s What You Need to Know…

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Is Ponzu sauce vegan?

If you’ve ever had Asian cuisine you may have asked the question: Is Ponzu Sauce Vegan? Well, we’re here give you the answer!

Here’s what you need to know about the vegan status of ponzu sauce…

Is Ponzu Sauce Vegan?

Depending on where you get your ponzu sauce, it may or may not be vegan.

When we talk about traditional Japanese ponzu sauce, we’re talking about a sauce that mixes ponzu base (rice vinegar, mirin rice wine, bonito fish flakes and kelp) with soy sauce and citrus.

If you’re ordering at a restaurant, there’s a chance you’re ordering the traditional, non-vegan variety of ponzu sauce.

However, many ponzu sauces available at the supermarket are vegan, omitting the fish flakes and just using kelp or seaweed to lend a dash of umami to the sweet and tangy sauce.

For a clearer picture of what ponzu sauce is, we’ll elaborate on the ingredients.

man holding soybeans

What is Ponzu Sauce Made out of?

A homemade ponzu sauce might follow the course of this New York Times recipe:

Ingredients: lemon juice, lime juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, kelp, dried bonito flakes, cayenne.

Dried bonito fish flakes make this recipe decidedly un-vegan.

For comparison, we’ll read the ingredients list for Marukan Yuzu Ponzu sauce (linked above), which can be found in many chain grocery stores:

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Marukan Yuzu Ponzu SauceSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave


Ingredients: water, soy sauce (water, wheat, soy beans, salt), sugar, vinegar, citrus juice (yuzu), salt, konbu extract, concentrated lemon juice, citric acid, yeast extract, natural flavor.

Marukan Yuzu Ponzu is vegan (in case you’re wondering, konbu is kelp, which is 100% vegan).

However, like restaurant ponzu sauces, some store-bought ponzu sauces could contain fish flakes, so read the labels and avoid anything with “bonito,” “fish flakes” or “katsuobushi” (dried and smoked bonito fish flakes) in it.

What Can You Substitute for Ponzu Sauce?

If you can’t find any vegan ponzu sauce, the best substitute is a homemade version. 

That Vegan Couple over on YouTube makes an easy and delicious one with rice vinegar, soy sauce, lime and sweetener:

Try some vegan ponzu sauce with vegan sushi, too. You won’t regret it.

More Vegan Condiments

Psst…there are more fabulous vegan condiments out there!

See our list of must-have vegan condiments.

Also be sure to check out this printable vegan shopping list.

Check these out, too…

Wait! Before you go....

Want to take all of the guess-work around going vegan?

Click here to check out the Vegan Starter Kit.