Bachan’s Japanese BBQ Sauce at Costco – Stand Up to the Hype?

Japanese barbecue sauce, also known as tonkatsu sauce, is a salty and savory marinade and dipping sauce inspired by Japanese cuisine.

Traditional tonkatsu sauce is made with fruits and vegetables along with a long list of spices such as ginger and garlic. Tonkatsu typically contains tomatoes, prunes, dates, apples, lemon juice, and more. However, as you’ll learn below, most of the Japanese barbecue sauce options on the market have adopted a fairly different recipe.

Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue Sauce at Costco Size

Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue Sauce Is one of the most popular brands of Japanese barbecue sauce in the world, distributing its giant bottles of sauce all over the globe. The company was founded only a decade ago in 2013 by a man named Justin Gill who was inspired by his mother Judy Yokoyama, also known as Bachan.

However Bachan’s take on Japanese BBQ sauce strays a bit from traditional tonkatsu recipes. While this sauce does contain tomato paste and several spices, it’s primarily made from soy sauce.

Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue Sauce at Costco Price

If you’re curious to try a bottle of Bachan’s famous sauce, you can find one for just $9.79 at your local Costco Warehouse. Each bottle contains a whopping 34 ounces of sauce. You can also shop online directly from Bachan’s here, but you will pay about $3 more per bottle.

The Costco item number for this product is 1566350.

Ingredients & Nutrition

Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue Sauce at Costco Nutrition Facts

As you can see, this sauce is made from non-GMO soy sauce (which contains soybeans, wheat, and salt), cane sugar, mirin (made from rice, koji seed, and sea salt), as well as tomato paste, organic ginger, green onion, organic rice vinegar, organic garlic, sea salt, and organic toasted sesame oil.

While the recipe does contain about 50% organic ingredients, the sauce itself cannot be labeled organic since it contains non-organic soy, wheat, and green onion.

Unfortunately, this sauce is not gluten free. However it is 100% vegan (as is all traditional tonkatsu sauce). If you’re determined to try a gluten-free version of this sauce, you can find one for sale on Bachan’s website for $12.99 per bottle. This version is made with tamari, which is naturally gluten free, instead of soy sauce, which is made with wheat.

Each bottle of this Japanese barbecue sauce contains 35 calories per one tablespoon serving. In each serving you will be consuming 520 mg of sodium, as well as 8 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of added sugar.

Some customers have commented that the high levels of sodium in this sauce make it far too salty. It’s good to be aware that too much sodium in your diet can be harmful to health, especially for those who struggle with high blood pressure or anyone at risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke.

The FDA recommends limiting daily sodium intake to 2,300 mg, so be careful about how much of this sauce you use on your food.

How To Use Japanese BBQ Sauce

The most traditional use for Japanese barbecue sauce is to drizzle it over breaded and fried pork cutlets. But it can also be used as a glaze, marinade, or dipping sauce for things like coconut shrimp, tempura, or sushi. You can even use it for things you might not imagine.

According to, tonkatsu is great on anything you would normally pair with ketchup or traditional barbecue sauce.

If you’re looking for some specific ideas for how to use your bottle of Japanese Barbecue Sauce, Bachan’s has you covered. On their website, you can find a database of dozens upon dozens of recipes using their line of sauces. You can even sort the recipes by protein type, choosing from tofu, beef, pork, chicken, turkey, or seafood. You can also search through recipes that only contain vegetables.

Some of the most delicious sounding recipes include…

If you want to try a traditional tonkatsu recipe, check out this one from The Spruce Eats for Tonkatsu Japanese Fried Pork with tonkatsu sauce.

DIY Recipes

While some of you are probably already getting in the car to head to Costco, others might be interested in making some tonkatsu sauce at home.

Oddly, all of the tonkatsu sauce recipes online vary a lot in the ingredients they call for. While traditional tonkatsu sauces are made with a variety of different puréed or juiced vegetables and fruits, the most popular recipes online take a different approach. 

This one from uses ketchup, soy sauce, and brown sugar, while this one from Just One Cook Book calls for Worcestershire sauce, sugar, ketchup, and oyster sauce (making it a non-vegetarian version of tonkatsu sauce).

The highest-rated homemade tonkatsu sauce recipe I was able to find online comes from Pickled Plum. This one calls for just four ingredients–ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and soy sauce.

What Do Shoppers Think?

Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue Sauce at Costco Display

Overall, the Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue Sauce at Costco has a small yet dedicated following. Based on the reviews I was able to find on Reddit, most people who have tried this sauce have loved it.

Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue Sauce at Costco Review 2

However, an article published on last year makes the case that some customers find Bachan’s sauce too salty. But I wasn’t able to find many (or really any) bad reviews of this stuff myself.

It’s possible that those who find it too salty have been using it as a dipping sauce rather than a marinade. According to some input from several Reddit users, the sauce can come off as a little too salty when used as a dip…

Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue Sauce at Costco Review

That said, these users are still big fans of the sauce despite its high sodium content. 

By and large, the Costco shoppers I encountered on Reddit are absolutely raving about this massive bottle of tonkatsu, calling it “phenomenal,” “delicious,” and “insanely good.”

In case you need any more convincing, we’ll end with this amazing review from a Reddit user who simply can’t get enough of Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue Sauce…

Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue Sauce at Costco Review 3

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