The Top 10 Alternatives to Oyster Sauce

Southern Chinese cuisine frequently makes use of oyster sauce. The taste is salty and sweet, while the texture is rich and velvety.

The Japanese term “umami” describes a flavor profile that is “rich, hearty, and the full profile of savory.”

The Vietnamese, Cantonese, and Thai cuisines are particularly likely to include it into hearty dishes. It’s widely used in stir fry because it brings out the best in vegetables and meats by bringing out their inherent tastes.

Although oysters are used to make this sauce, you won’t taste any other fishiness. It will have a more muted flavor and leave an aftertaste. It has the appearance of dark chocolate, but the flavor will be more earthy than sweet.

Any savory food can benefit from a splash of oyster sauce, and you should always keep a bottle on hand. But if you go out, then what? Have no fear! We explain the efficacy of different alternatives to oyster sauce.

Can You Recommend an Alternative to Oyster Sauce?

There are a number of scenarios in which you’d benefit from finding an alternative to oyster sauce. Oyster sauce is not suitable for vegans. The same holds true if you have an allergy to shellfish. It’s almost time for supper, but you realize you forgot to get oyster sauce for the new recipe you’re trying. Or maybe you’re all out and need a quick fix. There’s a chance you’ll require a gluten-free choice, but every single one on the shelves of your grocery store is made with wheat or soy.

You can trust that these alternatives to oyster sauce will have the same delicious flavor and savory properties.

Fish Sauce:

Fish sauce is a fantastic stand-in for soy sauce because the two share a similar flavor profile. The fishiness in oyster sauce is more overt than in authentic fish sauce, although the two are otherwise comparable. The sweetness of fish sauce will be reduced, and it will have a higher salt content. Also, remember that fish sauce will have a waterier consistency. The distinctive texture of oyster sauce is one of its distinguishing features. Fish sauce completely negates that.

However, fish sauces can be used to achieve a flavor profile comparable to that of substantial dishes. It’s more at home with sautéed fish than with meat, but it’ll enhance the flavor of either.

If you’re using fish sauce as a substitute for oyster sauce, you can improve the flavor and texture by adding sugar and cornstarch. Fish sauces can range from being gluten-free to having gluten, so those with gluten sensitivities should read labels carefully.

Hoisin Sauce:

Some people consider hoisin sauce to be a BBQ sauce. It has a similar texture to oyster sauce but is tangier and sweeter in flavor. However, it is typically a vegan replacement, and the combination of soybeans and garlic that forms the sauce’s basis pairs wonderfully with the sweet flavors.

Add this to chicken lettuce wraps or spare ribs for a delicious meal. The subtle flavors of the white meats complement the bolder tones of the hoisin sauce. Again, if you have a sensitivity to gluten, check the ingredients list before making a purchase.

Soy Sauce:

Soy sauce can be used as a stand-in for oyster sauce in a pinch. First of all, it’s a widely used sauce (perhaps the most widely used sauce in Asian cuisine), therefore you can get it at most grocery stores. Second, it’s a vegan alternative to oyster sauce, so you can use it in place of that if necessary. It’s much more salty and has a thinner consistency than oyster sauce. Soy sauce can be made less salty and more similar in flavor to oyster sauce by adding a spoonful of sugar.

You can use it to enhance mild-flavored foods and products. Because chicken is so versatile, it pairs particularly well with soy sauce. Noodles prepared by boiling them, tossing them in soy sauce, then topping them with things like scrambled egg, fresh green onion, and bok choy are a quick and healthy snack. Green onions would be a great addition to the noodles because of the sweetness and herbaceousness they would provide to the dish, complementing the saltiness of the sauce.

Teriyaki Sauce:

Like oyster sauce, teriyaki sauce has a thick consistency. The flavor, however, leans more toward sugary and sour notes than savory ones. Like so many other sauces, teriyaki sauce will be widely available. You can even get variations of teriyaki sauce at your standard American supermarket. If you want the flavor profile of oyster sauce in your dish, you can use teriyaki sauce instead.

Vegetables, stir-fries, and meats can all benefit from being marinated in teriyaki sauce, regardless of the type. The addition of mushrooms will enhance the dish’s delicious flavor. Teriyaki is a vegan option for sauces, but it typically contains soy sauce, so if you need a gluten-free version, look for one that uses tamari instead.

Refried Black Beans:

Fermented black soybeans are the base for black bean paste, along with sugar, chicken or vegetable broth, and lots of garlic. Spicy sweet undertones from the garlic and sugar will accompany the savory base. Dishes from the Sichuan, or Southwest, area of China are likely to feature this ingredient. Sichuan cuisine, or Szechuan cuisine in English, emphasizes spicy and hot flavors.

Due to the use of cornstarch, black bean paste will have the same texture as oyster sauce. But the black bean paste really turned up the fire. Black bean paste is more garlicky, with mild sweetness and pockets of heat, than sweet and savory oyster sauce. If you want to spice up your meals over the fire, use this.

Kecap Manis (Sweet Soy Sauce):

This sauce, which has its roots in Indonesian cuisine, can be used to highlight the natural sweetness of whatever you’re cooking. Oyster sauce is traditionally used to achieve a more balanced umami flavor. In contrast, kecap manis features both sweet and sour undertones thanks to the addition of sugar and vinegar.

A thick sauce is made by gently simmering soy sauce, sweeteners, and spices. In Indonesia, it fills the role of balsamic vinegar, enhancing the flavor of a wide variety of dishes.

The possibilities are vast when working with kecap manis. It works great as a salad dressing or glaze in addition to the usual applications (satays, fried rice, stir-fry noodles). Adding savory and full-flavored veggies and proteins will help counteract the sweetness of the sauce.

Mushroom Stock:

Mushroom broth can stand in for oyster sauce on vegan menus. Mushroom broth is made in a very similar fashion as oyster sauce and is similarly rich, velvety, and umami-rich. It’s easy enough for a beginner cook to make from scratch, but you can also buy it and keep it on hand for when you need it.

Because of their robust flavor and meatiness, shiitake mushrooms are a common ingredient in this sauce. In comparison to oyster sauce, the color of which is more like dark molasses, mushroom broth is more like a lighter caramel. The naturally savory flavor of mushrooms ensures a harmonious blend of sweet, salty, and savory in any dish. If you’re looking for a vegan alternative to oyster sauce, try using mushroom broth instead.

Added sugar and soy sauce to Worcestershire sauce:

The anchovies in Worcestershire sauce give it the same base of fish flavors as oyster sauce, albeit with a bit more of a kick. You can achieve a more umami profile by balancing the richer fish flavors with soy sauce and sweetness. This sauce will be watered down compared to oyster sauce, yet it will still complement a wide variety of foods.

Use Worcestershire sauce with caution. A few drops are all that are needed to impart a strong flavor. The marinade can also be used as a topping for cooked noodles or as a pre-cooking marinate for meats.


Anchovies are a little fish with a salty, savory, and full flavor that can be utilized to brighten up heavy recipes with a delightful fishy brightness. It’s a key component of caesar dressing and helps strike a harmony between the pepper and garlic flavors. You can achieve the same results by subbing in some anchovies for the oyster sauce.

Trying to make a salty dish that still needs a little something extra? Throw in some anchovies for flavor. You don’t have to consume them whole to reap the benefits of their vibrant flavor when you use them to cook. You may make a simple and light sauce full of flavorful balance by sautéing them with noodles and then adding soy sauce and sugar.


If you’re looking for a sauce that won’t mess with your diet, try Tamari. It uses fermented soybeans instead of wheat, which is an ingredient in traditional soy sauce. It’s more well-balanced than soy sauce, and it’s thicker and darker in color. Soy sauce has more of a salty flavor profile, while tamari strikes a nice harmony between its saltiness, sweetness, and savory undertones.

A Good Vegan Substitute for Oyster Sauce?

Both mushroom broth and tamari would work well here. They both have great flavor harmony and are vegetarian and gluten-free. In comparison to tamari, the mushroom sauce will be slightly more savory and hearty

Mushroom broth is a great option if you’re looking for something to add to a meal while it’s cooking. However, tamari is the way to go if you want a finishing sauce that won’t compromise on flavor.

Tofu-based oyster sauce: how’s it made?

Vegetarians, rejoice: oyster sauce exists! Instead of oyster liquid, shiitake mushrooms are used as a foundation.

Is there a vegetarian alternative to oyster sauce?

Many of the dishes are suitable for vegetarians. The non-vegetarian (but pescatarian!) choices are fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and anchovies. If you’re looking for a mushroom broth for a dish that calls for chicken broth, make sure to check the ingredients list.

When compared to oyster sauce, what distinguishes fish sauce?

Both fish sauce and oyster sauce share a common origin in the juices of fish and shellfish. Oysters, on the other hand, are shellfish and have a more robust, earthy flavor than fish. In comparison to oyster sauce, the fish flavor in fish sauce will be more robust. Oyster juice has subtler aromas that linger at the back of the mouth.

Does Fish Flavor Come Through in Oyster Sauce?

Simply put, no. These earthy elements, absent in the taste of fish, are provided by oyster fluids. You can detect the shellfish, but the flavor is mild and understated.

The Summing Up:

Achieving an umami taste can be done in numerous ways. If you don’t have any oyster sauce on hand, you may fake it by adding the right amount of salt, sugar, and savory tastes. Finding a sauce that complements your taste and gives you a sense of satisfaction is of utmost importance.

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