Gluten-Free Eel Sauce



I wing it in the kitchen … often. If I don’t have a particular ingredient on hand or have a strong distaste for an ingredient a recipe calls for, I improvise. And that’s just what I’ve done with this Eel Sauce—a tasty drizzle for sushi and one I recommend to serve at your next Hand Roll Sushi Party.

There’s nothing “eel-y” about eel sauce, in fact eel sauce doesn’t even contain eel. Traditionally it’s a sauce for unagi, or eel sushi. I like it slathered on any and all sushi.

Okay, now you want some good eel stories?

I shudder when I think back to the day my friend Aldina and I (we were 5 or 6) came screeching to a halt in her grandfather’s kitchen. There in the middle of the linoleum floor was a five gallon bucket. Coiled inside that five gallon bucket was THE biggest, fattest eel I’d ever seen—a 6-footer at least! He was icky and slimy, and grinned at us with razor-sharp teeth, I was thoroughly grossed out. I remember not asking what was for dinner.

And then there was the time off Wailupe Circle. Us kids would dive off the pier into deep blue. To get back ON the pier you had to swim over a bit of reef. I’ll never forget coming face-to-face with a sizeable Moray eel. If I could have walked on water, I would’ve that day.

Gluten-Free (and eel-free) Eel Sauce

Gluten-Free (and eel-free) Eel Sauce


  • 2 tablespoons RICE WINE
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free SOY SAUCE or coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons HONEY or sugar
  • 1 teaspoon FISH SAUCE (available from Thai Kitchen or Asian markets)
  • 1/2 cup WATER
  • 1 tablespoon ARROWROOT STARCH or corn starch


  1. In a small saucepan bring rice wine, soy sauce, honey, and fish sauce to a gentle simmer.
  2. In a small bowl combine water and arrowroot starch to make a slurry.
  3. Wisk starch slurry into simmering mixture. Heat just until thickened and remove from heat.
  4. Let cool and drizzle over sushi.

More Good Stuff

More Good Stuff


Carolyn November 28, 2012 - 9:47 pm

This made me laugh…and I needed that today!

Michelle November 29, 2012 - 12:53 pm

I just thought I'd mention that traditional eel sauce doesn't have eel in it 🙂 It's called eel sauce because it's what they put on eel (I asked because I feel the same way you do about eating eel!)

Jennie November 29, 2012 - 3:04 pm

Some preparations use eel extract … however that's made:

Jen Hill November 4, 2016 - 8:35 am

THANK YOU!!! 🙂 🙂 We found a great sushi place here that offers GF options so my son could have sushi for the first time (and he loved it). However, anything with eel-sauce contained gluten so those rolls were off limit. Eel sauce is MY favorite and I cannot wait to use this at home!!

Alexa November 7, 2016 - 10:25 am

Hi Jen! You are a woman after my own heart! Nothing like eel sauce to add that perfect umami touch to sushi. Enjoy! And thanks for leaving my site some love.

Paleo & Keto Sushi – Whisk Me Away January 30, 2018 - 3:33 pm

[…] using it in my sushi rolls anyways. If you’re looking to get a bit fancier, try this recipe for Gluten-Free Eel Sauce! (it’s also eel-free, in case that weirds anyone […]

Kayla April 29, 2020 - 8:14 am

How long will this keep? For instance, could I make a double recipe and keep it in the refrigerator to use when I wanted sushi?

Alexa May 4, 2020 - 11:10 am

Definitely a week or two 🙂


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