Yum Yum Sauce

Can’t get enough of delicious yum yum sauce? Found in your favorite restaurants, you can make this tangy and savory sauce at home in just minutes.

a bowl of homemade yum-yum sauce with grilled chicken

Japanese Restaurant Yum Yum Sauce

Walk into any Japanese-American hibachi restaurant, and you will immediately notice something unusual. On almost every table is at least one shallow bowl full of a slightly pinkish sauce with the oddly chosen name of White Sauce.

For those of you who are sadly uninitiated into the wonders of US hibachi restaurants, the sauce enjoys a bit of a cult following. In fact, this mysterious condiment seems to be causing quite a stir online where it often goes by the name Yum Yum Sauce.

What is Yum Yum Sauce (and More Importantly, What is It Not)?

Let’s get it straight out of the way. Yum Yum Sauce is about as traditionally Japanese as table-side culinary juggling feats and building onion volcanoes.

That is to say that this much-beloved sauce is not truly Japanese in origins at all, and remains wholly unknown in its supposed country of birth to this day. The real history of the sauce lies much closer to home, and that becomes very apparent when you consider the name of the recipe.

If the white sauce is not Japanese, where did the sauce come from, and why did it end up in US hibachi restaurants in the first place?

Those are not easy questions to answer. But two things are clear. One, there is a long history of sauces based on mayonnaise including, Fry Sauce, Comeback Sauce, Aioli, and Remoulade Sauce, to name just a few. Two. Japanese people are obsessed with mayonnaise. It was bound to happen.

Where Did the Name Yum Yum Sauce Come From?

Although the mystery of who was the first to serve white sauce at a hibachi restaurant remains, uncovering the source of the name Yum Yum Sauce is simple. To answer that question, we only need to look back to 2012.

Terry Ho, a Taiwanese immigrant and owner of multiple hibachi restaurants in the US, found the guests at his restaurants were obsessed with his white sauce. Customers routinely purchased pints of the stuff from the staff. Ho was no fool, and he knew he was on to something that could become the next big US condiment. But there was a big problem when it came to the name.

While the sauce was appealing, the name was certainly not. It didn’t take Ho long to come up with a new name he liked: Terry Ho’s Yum Yum Sauce.

What’s in Yum Yum sauce?

At its most basic, the sauce is nothing more than doctored up mayonnaise, and mayonnaise did even appear on the shores of Japan until 1925. This disproves once and for all that white sauce is an ancient Japanese recipe. It isn’t.

What is yum yum sauce made of? For this recipe, the ingredients are:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Tomato paste
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt

Using butter and tomato paste instead of ketchup is what makes this the best yum yum sauce recipe. It’s thick, rich, and deeply flavored with garlic, onion, and cayenne.

mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, and more

How to Make Yum Yum Sauce

  • Simply stir all the ingredients together. How easy!
  • For best flavor, let the sauce sit for at least 30 minutes prior to using.

Tips For Making and Serving Yum Yum Sauce

  • Do you like it spicy? Feel free to increase the amount of cayenne pepper to your liking.
  • How to use Yum Yum Sauce: You can use the sauce as a dip for raw veggies, french fries, or just about anything else. It also works well as a salad dressing or sandwich spread.
savory sauce for grilled chicken

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a bowl of homemade yum-yum sauce with grilled chicken

Yum Yum Sauce

Learn how to make creamy Yum Yum Sauce you enjoy at Japanese hibachi restaurants with this quick and easy recipe.
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Sauces
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Yum Yum Sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 20
Calories: 86kcal


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Sauce is best if you allow it to rest at least 30 minutes before serving.


Calories: 86kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 141mg | Potassium: 19mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 58IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Andrew

    going to have to object to saying Terry Ho created it, because a local japanese steakhouse here in Lynchburg has been calling it that since at least the mid 1980s, i was born in 88 and theyve been calling it that since before my first ever visit there as a small child so i dont think Terry Ho made the name, he likely did however become the first one to mass produce and sell the product in stores

    but everyone in this city has called it Yum Yum Sauce since will before the 2000s and the restaurants also called it that, its how we learned the name

5 from 8 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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