Ponzu Sauce (Japanese Citrus Dipping Sauce) Recipe

Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt

Why It Works

  • Sweet mirin, refreshing citrus, and smoky/savory bonito flakes and kombu join forces for one flavorful powerhouse.

Ponzu sauce is a classic Japanese citrus sauce that can be used without the addition of soy sauce, but is most commonly served with soy included. It's a great dipping sauce for cold noodles, salads, dumplings, grilled meats and fish, cold sliced meat or fish, or any number of other dishes.

Recipe Facts



Active: 5 mins
Total: 30 mins
Makes: 1 1/2 cups

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  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (1 ounce; 30ml)
  • 1/2 cup mirin (4 ounces; 120ml) (see note)
  • 1 (3- by 3-inch) piece kombu (about 1 ounce; 30g) (see note)
  • 1/2 ounce (15g) shaved katsuobushi (see note)
  • 1/2 cup yuzu juice, or equal parts lemon and lime juice (4 ounces; 120ml) (see note)
  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce (4 ounces; 120ml)


  1. Combine vinegar, mirin, and kombu in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in katsuobushi. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and discard solids (or reserve to make a second batch, using some additional katsuobushi in the second batch). Allow liquid to cool completely.

  2. Combine steeped mirin, citrus juice, and soy sauce. Ponzu will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Special equipment

Fine-mesh strainer


Mirin, kombu, and katsuobushi (bonito) can be found in any Japanese grocery or most well-stocked supermarkets. Fresh yuzu is nearly impossible to find outside of Japan. Bottled yuzu juice works well, but can be pricey. You can cut the bottled yuzu juice with lemon and lime juice to lower the cost, or simply replace it completely with a lemon/lime combination.