When cooking up flavorful dishes, oyster sauce is a popular ingredient that can add a special flavor and umami taste to your dishes.
However, not everyone is a fan of oyster sauce or may have dietary restrictions that prevent them from using it.
In these cases, it’s good to know the best substitutes for oyster sauce that can still bring fantastic flavors to your dishes.
In this blog post, we’ll share 14 great alternatives to oyster sauce, complete with ratios and how to use them in your cooking.
In short, " What can I use instead of oyster sauce?" Soy Sauce, Teriyaki Sauce, Hoisin Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, Fish Sauce, Miso Paste, Mushroom Sauce, Vegetable Stock, Dark Soy Sauce, Maggi Seasoning Sauce, Veggie Broth, Coconut Aminos, Tamarind Paste, Anchovy Paste.
What is oyster sauce, and what does oyster sauce taste like?
Oyster sauce is a dense, dark brown condiment produced from oysters that have been slowly simmered with soy sauce and spices.
It has a savory, slightly sweet flavor with hints of smokiness and umami.
Uses of oyster sauce
Oyster sauce has many uses in cooking, including as a marinade, stir-fry base, dipping sauce, seasoning or topping for vegetables, or an ingredient for sauces and dressings.
Its natural umami taste makes dishes more flavorful and adds depth of flavor to many classic Chinese dishes like beef with broccoli and Mongolian beef.
It also pairs well with milder flavors like garlic or ginger while adding extra layers of flavor to noodle dishes like lo mein or chow fun.
The combination of savory richness and sweetness lends itself well to seafood dishes like shrimp with lobster sauce and crab stir-fries.
In addition to its culinary uses, oyster sauce is also known for its health benefits thanks to its high levels of iron, protein, vitamin B12 and zinc.
These nutrients can help support healthy bones, skin health, the nervous system and brain function.
It is also low in fat and calories while containing no artificial colors or preservatives, making it an excellent choice for diners looking for healthier options on their plate.
Where to buy oyster sauce?
If you are looking for where to buy oyster sauce, there are a few different places you can go. Many specialty food stores carry it, as do some international grocery stores.
You can also order online from many retailers that provide a variety of diverse flavors and types of oyster sauce.
Best substitutes for oyster sauce
1. Soy Sauce – a good substitute for oyster sauce
Soy sauce is a great substitute for oyster sauce, and it’s also a vegetarian and gluten-free option. It adds a salty and savory taste to your dishes.
Ratio and measurement: For every tablespoon of oyster sauce, you can use one and a half tablespoons of soy sauce.
2. Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki sauce is often used as a marinade for meat and seafood and is another great substitute for oyster sauce. It has a sweet and tangy flavor and is also gluten-free.
Ratio and measurement: Use one tablespoon of teriyaki sauce for every tablespoon of oyster sauce.
3. Try Hoisin Sauce to replace oyster sauce
Hoisin sauce has a salty and sweet taste, and it’s commonly used in Chinese cooking. It’s vegan-friendly and a great option for dishes that call for oyster sauce.
Ratio and measurement: For every tablespoon of oyster sauce, you can use two tablespoons of hoisin sauce.
4. Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce is a pantry staple that can also serve as a substitute for oyster sauce. It adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor to your dishes.
Ratio and measurement: You can use one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce for every tablespoon of oyster sauce.
5. Fish Sauce – a great alternative to oyster sauce
Fish sauce is a popular ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine, and it’s also a great alternative to oyster sauce.
It has a salty and savory flavor and can use in marinades, dipping sauces, and stir-fry dishes.
Ratio and measurement: You can use one tablespoon of fish sauce for every tablespoon of oyster sauce.
6. Miso Paste
Miso paste is a Japanese cooking and adds a savory and earthy flavor to your dishes. It’s a vegan-friendly option and a fantastic substitute for oyster sauce.
Ratio and measurement: For every tablespoon of oyster sauce, use one tablespoon of miso paste and a pinch of sugar.
7. You can use Mushroom Sauce instead of oyster sauce
Mushroom sauce is a plant-based sauce that mimics the umami taste of oyster sauce. It’s made from dried mushrooms and has a rich, savory flavor.
Ratio and measurement: You can use one tablespoon of mushroom sauce for every tablespoon of oyster sauce.
8. Vegetable Stock
Vegetable stock is a universal ingredient that can add flavor to a variety of dishes. It’s also an excellent substitute for oyster sauce and can be used in stir-fry dishes, marinades, and soups.
Ratio and measurement: Use one tablespoon of vegetable stock for every tablespoon of oyster sauce.
9. Dark Soy Sauce – similar to oyster sauce
Dark soy sauce has a thicker consistency than regular soy sauce and adds a deep, rich flavor to your dishes.
It’s a vegan and gluten-free option and a great substitute for oyster sauce.
Ratio and measurement: Use one tablespoon of dark soy sauce for every tablespoon of oyster sauce.
10. Maggi Seasoning Sauce
Maggi seasoning sauce is a popular condiment in Europe and Asia and has a salty and savory flavor. It’s a great substitute for oyster sauce and can also be used as a seasoning for salads, marinades, and stir-fries.
Ratio and measurement: Use one tablespoon of Maggi seasoning sauce for every tablespoon of oyster sauce.
11. Veggie Broth – an ideal replacement for oyster sauce
Veggie broth is another vegetarian alternative to oyster sauce. It can add a savory and umami flavor to your dishes.
However, veggie broth is not as thick as oyster sauce, so you may need to add a thickener, such as cornstarch, to your recipe.
Ratio and measurement: You can use a 1:1 ratio of veggie broth to oyster sauce in your recipes.
12. Coconut Aminos
Coconut aminos is a sauce created from coconut sap that is commonly used as a substitute for soy sauce.
It has a salty and sweet flavor that can use as a substitute for oyster sauce.
Ratio and measurement: Use a 1:1 ratio of coconut aminos to oyster sauce in your recipes.
However, coconut aminos are sweeter than oyster sauce, so you may need to adjust the amount of sugar or honey used in your dish.
13. Tamarind Paste – a decent substitute for oyster sauce
Tamarind paste is a sour and tangy paste that is commonly utilized in Southeast Asian cuisine. It can add a sour note to your dish and can be used as a substitute for oyster sauce.
Ratio and measurement: Use a 1:1 ratio of tamarind paste to oyster sauce in your recipes.
However, tamarind paste is more acidic than oyster sauce, so you may need to adjust the amount of vinegar or lemon juice used in your recipe.
14. Anchovy Paste
Anchovy paste is a salty and savory paste that is commonly used in Italian cuisine. It can add a deep and rich flavor to your dishes.
Ratio and measurement: Use a 1:1 ratio of anchovy paste to oyster sauce in your recipes.
However, anchovy paste is saltier than oyster sauce, so you may need to adjust the amount of salt used in your dish.
Tips on How to Choose the Most Suitable Substitution Option for oyster sauce
When choosing a substitution for oyster sauce, consider the following tips:
1. Flavor profile: Oyster sauce has a unique umami-rich flavor with hints of sweetness.
Look for a substitute that offers similar umami characteristics and a touch of sweetness to replicate the flavor profile.
2. Soy sauce-based alternatives: Many soy sauce-based sauces can use as a substitute for oyster sauce.
Look for sauces like vegetarian oyster sauce (made with mushrooms), mushroom sauce, or soy sauce mixed with a small amount of sugar or honey.
3. Hoisin sauce: Hoisin sauce can substitute for oyster sauce in some dishes.
It has a slightly different flavor profile with a hint of tanginess and sweetness, so it may alter the taste of your dish slightly.
4. Homemade alternatives: If you prefer making your own sauces, you can try creating a homemade substitute by combining soy sauce, a touch of sugar or honey, and some additional seasonings like garlic or ginger to enhance the flavor.
5. Consider dietary restrictions: If you have dietary restrictions or preferences, such as vegetarian or vegan, look for plant-based alternatives that provide a similar umami flavor, such as mushroom-based sauces or soy-based alternatives.
6. Experiment and adjust: It’s always a good idea to taste-test and adjust the flavors as needed when using a substitution.
Start with small portions and gradually add more until you achieve the desired taste in your dish.
Remember, while substitutions can mimic the flavor of oyster sauce, they may not provide an exact replica.
Adjusting the seasonings and experimenting with different combinations will help you find the most suitable alternative for your specific recipe.
Homemade Oyster Sauce Substitutes
Making homemade oyster sauce can be a complex process, as it requires simmering and reducing various ingredients to achieve the desired flavor.
Here’s a simplified version of a homemade oyster sauce recipe:
– 1 cup soy sauce
– 2 tablespoons brown sugar
– 1/2 cup water
– 1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional for thickening)
– 1 teaspoon sesame oil
– 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1. combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, water, sesame oil, garlic powder, and white pepper in a saucepan.
2. Stir the mixture well and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
3. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. If you prefer a thicker consistency, mix the cornstarch with a small amount of water to create a slurry. Count the slurry to the sauce and stir well. Continue simmering for another 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
5. Release the sauce from the heat and let it cool completely.
6. Once cooled, transfer the sauce to a sterilized jar or container and store it in the refrigerator.
7. homemade oyster sauce can be used in stir-fries, marinades, and other dishes that call for oyster sauce.
Please note that homemade oyster sauce may not have the exact flavor and consistency of commercially produced versions. Adjustments to the recipe may be necessary based on personal preferences.
What can I use instead of oyster sauce in stir-fry?
One great alternative to oyster sauce in stir-fry dishes is a combination of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and Chinese cooking wine.
This mixture gives the dish a savory flavor with hints of sweetness reminiscent of oyster sauce.
To make this homemade version, mix two tablespoons of soy sauce with one tablespoon each of hoisin and cooking wine.
To bring out the umami flavor even more, add a bit of sugar or a teaspoon of fish sauce.
When making an authentic stir-fry, it’s important to use high heat so that ingredients are cooked quickly and evenly without losing their crunchy texture.
Adding these flavorful sauces at the end helps to enhance the overall taste profile.
fish sauce vs. oyster sauce substitute
Fish sauce and oyster sauce are both popular condiments used in Asian cuisine. Both sauces provide a complex, salty flavor to dishes, but they differ in terms of their ingredients and overall taste.
Fish sauce is produced from fermented anchovies or other small fish that have been salted and left to ferment for several months.
This fermentation process gives the sauce its unique umami flavor and aroma. It is typically pungent and has an intense fish taste that some people may find off-putting.
On the other hand, oyster sauce is made from steamed oysters that have been reduced to a thick paste with added sugar, salt, and spices.
Unlike fish sauce, it does not have a strong or overpowering smell or taste, though it does still have a savory flavor with hints of sweetness.
When choosing between these two sauces as substitutes for one another, it’s important to consider what flavors you want to achieve in your dish.
If you’re looking for something more savory with intense umami notes, then go with fish sauce; if you want something milder with subtle sweetness, then opt for oyster sauce.
Vegan Oyster Sauce substitutes
1. Coconut Aminos
A great alternative to oyster sauce, coconut aminos, is produced from the fermented sap of coconut palm trees.
It has a salty, slightly sweet flavor similar to soy sauce and offers a variety of health benefits due to its increased nutrient content.
To substitute one tablespoon of oyster sauce with coconut aminos, use one tablespoon of coconut aminos plus 1/4 teaspoon of sugar.
2. Tamari or Soy Sauce
Tamari or soy sauce can be used as a great vegan substitute for oyster sauce.
Both sauces are salty and have a strong umami flavor, which makes them ideal replacements in stir-fries and other dishes that call for oyster sauce.
As a general rule, when substituting tamari or soy sauce for oyster sauce, use three tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce instead of one tablespoon of oyster sauce.
3. Hoisin Sauce
Hoisin sauce is another popular replacement for vegan recipes that call for oyster sauce, and it tastes quite similar to the original ingredient due to its sweet and savory flavor profile.
To substitute one tablespoon of oyster sauce with hoisin, use two tablespoons of hoisin instead.
4. Miso Paste
Miso paste is produced from fermented soybeans, salt, and koji (a type of fungi).
The combination gives miso a rich, umami flavor that’s perfect for replacing the flavors found in traditional oyster sauces and marinades.
To substitute one tablespoon of oyster sauce with miso paste, use two tablespoons of miso paste mixed with two teaspoons of mirin (rice wine).
This combo will give your dish an authentic flavor without sacrificing any nutritional quality!
5. Mushroom Paste: For an ultra-savory vegan alternative to oyster sauces, try mushroom paste!
It’s made from mushrooms simmered in vegetable stock until it forms a thick paste with concentrated flavors.
It is perfect for adding depth to stir-fries or marinades without the need for animal products!
As a general rule, when substituting mushroom paste for oyster sauce in recipes, use four tablespoons of mushroom paste instead of one tablespoon of the original ingredient!
Conclusion on substitute for oyster sauce
In this article, we explored 14 substitute alternatives for oyster sauce that you can use in your cooking.
Whether you are a vegetarian, allergic to shellfish, or simply cannot find oyster sauce, these alternatives will help you create flavorful dishes.
Always keep in mind to adjust the ratios of the substituted ingredient and adjust it according to your recipe’s taste and consistency.
These alternatives may not precisely match the oyster sauce, but they will undoubtedly add depth and flavor to your dishes.
Experiment with different combinations of substitutes and find your favorite flavor profile. Happy cooking!
FAQs on substitute for oyster sauce
Q1. What is similar to oyster sauce?
Similar to oyster sauce, fish sauce is a salty and savory condiment that works well in stir-fries.
Fish sauce is produced from fermented anchovies and can use as a substitute for oyster sauce because of its similar flavor profile.
Other alternatives to oyster sauce are soy sauce, hoisin sauce, mushroom seasoning, Worcestershire Sauce or a combination of lemon juice and brown sugar.
Q2. What can I use instead of oyster sauce veggie?
An excellent substitute for oyster sauce is hoisin sauce. Hoisin is a sweet and savory sauce made from soybean paste, garlic, chilies, sugar, and vinegar.
It has a thick texture and a complex flavor profile that adds depth to dishes. Hoisin sauce is generally used in Chinese cuisine for stir-fries, glazes, or marinades.
It can also be used as an ingredient in dipping sauces or added to noodles or other dishes to give them added sweetness and umami flavor.
For a vegetarian-friendly version of oyster sauce, try replacing it with hoisin sauce for a similar taste and texture.
Q3. Can I substitute oyster sauce for soy sauce?
Yes, you can substitute oyster sauce for soy sauce in some recipes. While the flavor will be different, the oyster sauce has a similar umami flavor to soy sauce and can provide an interesting twist to a dish.
It is a little sweeter than soy sauce and has a thicker consistency. It also contains sugar, salt, and other seasonings such as garlic, onion, and ginger.
Oyster sauce is usually used when cooking with proteins like beef or pork but can also work well in vegetable-based dishes.
Keep in mind that it may alter the flavor of the dish overall, so you may need to adjust the amount of other ingredients used.
Q4. What sauce is closest to the oyster sauce?
When it comes to sauces that are similar to oyster sauce, Hoisin sauce is the closest in terms of flavor.
The two sauces share many of the same ingredients, such as oyster extract, garlic, sugar and soy sauce.
However, hoisin differs in that it usually also contains chili peppers and Chinese five-spice powder.
While both are used for stir-fry dishes or as condiments for meats, Hoisin will often be spicier than oyster sauce due to its added spices.
Additionally, Hoisin is thicker and sweeter than oyster sauce.