Top 13 Oyster Sauce Substitutes

Top 13 Oyster Sauce Substitutes

Oyster sauce is a dark sauce produced from sugars, salt and oyster juices. It has a thick consistency, a sweet, salty and earthy taste and has a rich umami flavour. Various vegetable and meat dishes in Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Cantonese dishes use it. It had a unique history and was discovered in 1888 by Lee Kim Sheung, a Chinese food stall owner who accidentally kept a pot full of Oyster soup boiling for a long time.  

Top 13 Oyster Sauce Substitutes

Not wanting to waste it, he tasted and added it to his dishes and named it Oyster Sauce. It is not a regular kitchen ingredient, and many people experience allergies to shellfish, e.g., oysters, and finding a replacement for these sauces becomes critical. 

We are introducing 13 different sauces for these people as replacements for oyster sauces. Continue reading to delve into different substitutes for oyster sauce that complement the culinary creations. 

Why does one need to substitute the oyster sauce?

Many reasons cause a person to substitute oyster sauce with other sauces. The exact reasons vary from person to person. The common reasons are;

Allergies

Oysters are not an option for people who are allergic to shellfish. Likewise, people with celiac disease are not allowed oysters due to their gluten content. Such people must find a gluten-free sauce and substitute it with oyster sauce.

Veganism

Oysters are included in the shellfish and are non-vegetarian. So, the vegans need to substitute it with a plant-based sauce. A delicious alternative to traditional oyster sauce in vegan cooking is using mushrooms to create a rich, savoury sauce that mimics the umami flavour. 

Available issues

Sometimes, people love to take oyster sauce, yet they run out of it and can't buy more due to availability issues. Such people must substitute it with another sauce and use one of the substitutes mentioned here. 

People wanting something new

The oyster sauce substitutes are perfect for people trying to do something new in their kitchen. Such people must try some alternatives mentioned here and find their best umami flavour.

Top Oyster Sauce Substitute

The best oyster sauce substitutes in the market are; 

Teriyaki sauce 

It contains soy sauce, sugar (occasionally honey), and mirin and has a less complex flavour with a sweetish taste compared to oyster sauce. Its umami flavour and slightly thick consistency make it an ideal replacement for oyster sauce in the dishes, e.g., stir-fries and noodles. Moreover, it is effective as a glaze or marinade for various meat dishes, e.g., teriyaki chicken. 

Top 13 Oyster Sauce Substitutes

It is available at most stores and is easy to prepare from the simple ingredients mentioned above. All one needs are one cup of water, ¼ cup soy sauce, five teaspoons of packed brown sugar, one tablespoon of honey,  ¼ cup cold water, two tablespoons cornstarch, ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder and ½ teaspoon ground ginger. 

However, one needs a larger quantity, and two tablespoons of teriyaki sauce are necessary for dishes that need only one tablespoon of oyster sauce. Try this substitute in your next stir-fry and taste the difference.

Hoisin sauce

Its usage and flavour are similar to the oyster sauce, and it is often possible to confuse it with the oyster sauce. Like oyster sauce, it is darker and thicker in consistency and is vital with various Vietnamese and Chinese dishes. It is used with vegetables and stir-fries, as a dipping sauce for egg rolls and as a marinade for spareribs.

Moreover, its subtle sweetness and umami flavour make it best for various barbecue recipes. However, its tangy flavour lacks many original ingredients and mixing it with an equal amount of soy sauce is necessary. Add Hoisin sauce to your pantry and elevate your cooking.

Tamari 

It is like a Japanese soya sauce with great popularity in Asian cuisines. Like soya sauce, it contains soybeans and has an umami flavour. It is less salty and gluten-free and has a more pronounced umami flavour with a thicker texture. Its umami flavour makes it a perfect enhancer for marinades, noodles, soups, dumplings and stir-fries.

Although the thick consistency of oyster sauce is missing, it works similarly due to its original ingredients. In any recipe, the effective ratio for tamari and oyster sauce is 1:1. Experiment with this option to discover a new favourite ingredient. 

Fish sauce 

It contains seafood, e.g., crabs, krill, shrimp, shellfish, and raw/dried fish. Although oyster sauce has a similar origin, the fish sauce is much saltier than the soy sauce. Its strong and savoury flavour makes it an ideal replacement for oyster sauce with minor modifications.

For someone searching for the same consistency, looking at the other options in this list is necessary. More modifications are required to adjust to the lack of sweetish flavour. Incorporate this substitute into your marinades for an extra flavour boost.

Soy sauce 

It is a common condiment and a reasonably good substitute for oyster sauce. It is a pantry Staple and packs an umami flavour like the original ingredients. It is slightly saltier and has a thinner consistency than the oyster sauce. It is mixed with the sugar to make it sweeter, and cutting the quantity in half is necessary.

Moreover, it is vegan-friendly, which adds much value and allure. It is an ideal condiment for dipping and as a flavour enhancer and makes vegan and vegetarian dishes much richer. Give this option a shot in your recipe and impress your guests. 

Top 13 Oyster Sauce Substitutes

Worcestershire sauce + sugar + soya sauce  

The appearance and flavour of Worcester sauce are very similar to the oyster sauce as it is slightly sweet and salty, with a thicker and darker consistency. It is seen with many Western dishes, e.g., casseroles, pies and stews, and the likelihood of having it in the pantry is very high. However, it contains vinegar and tamarind that adds a hint of tang to it.

To increase its suitability, add equal parts of soy sauce and 1-2 teaspoons of sugar to cover up the sour taste. Swap in this substitute and enjoy a delicious, umami-rich meal.

Mushroom sauces 

It is another vegetarian-friendly substitute for oyster sauce, with soybeans as the vital ingredient. Besides, it contains many preservatives, salt, sugar, caramel colouring and mushroom flavours for a balanced savoury flavour. Moreover, its earthy flavour and signature umami taste are common to many Asian dishes. 

Top 13 Oyster Sauce Substitutes

It has two varieties, stir fries and broth sauce, and its thin consistency makes it the best sauce for soups. It sours the noodles and stir-fries due to its concentrated umami flavour. Both the sauce and broth alternatives are used in a 1:1 ratio with the oyster sauce. Use this alternative in your sauces for a unique twist on classic dishes.

Vegan oyster sauce 

The vegan options are more suitable for all foods, even the sauces. The vegan oyster sauce contains mushrooms and has many similar functions, e.g., a darker brown colour, thicker consistency and rich umami flavour. Due to these striking resemblances, there is no problem using it like the regular oyster sauce.

It is best for marinades, broccoli, beef and fried rice. There is another plus point. It needs to be used like the regular oyster sauce for better results. Enhance your culinary skills by trying this versatile substitute.

Homemade oyster sauce 

Seeing many bottles of oyster sauce doesn't mean that a person can't make it at home. The recipe is easy, and one can make a healthier and user-friendly product at home, although it takes some time. The homemade oyster sauce offers many benefits over the real one.

Share your culinary creations using Homemade oyster sauce substitute with friends and family.

Sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis)  

It is more salty and less sweet, and its consistency resembles maple syrup. The Kecap Manis has all the qualities of an oyster sauce substitute. This condiment is common in Indonesian cuisine and contains soya sauce and palm sugar that are complex by adding aromatic spices, e.g., star anise, makrut lime and lemongrass.

Like the original product, it makes different steak cuts, flavours the marinades and makes the marinades. It is a great substitute for oyster sauce due to its umami flavour and sweetness. For a person looking for a substitute in desperation, add just 1/2 tablespoon of Kecap Manis for every single tablespoon of Oyster sauce. Upgrade your cooking game by incorporating this flavorful option.

Coconut aminos 

Coconut aminos are worth trying for someone looking for a healthier alternative to the oyster sauce. It is a vegan, keto-friendly, soy-free product and MSG-free and non-GMO. This amino is a two-ingredient product containing sea salt and coconut sap to make it gluten-free and vegan.

Its consistency is similar to soy sauce, with an umami flavour and a unique taste. Its strong umami flavour makes it an effective alternative to oyster sauce for dishes, e.g., stews, soups, stir-fries, fried rice, dip sushi and wontons. 

Top 13 Oyster Sauce Substitutes

However, its unique flavour needs some time to get used to it, and it is necessary to give it a taste before adding it to the diet. The recommended ratio as an alternative to oyster sauce is 1:1. Don’t hesitate to use this substitute in your favourite recipes today.

Black bean paste 

It is a worth-trying substitute that deserves to be added to the list and has a savoury taste and rich flavour due to fermentation. It is slightly sweeter and has a sharp flavour. For this reason, mix just one tablespoon with a drizzle of mushroom broth and one teaspoon of sugar to make its flavour profile similar to the oyster sauce.

It is used at a ratio of 1:1 in the meat, vegetables, soup and stew recipes. Discover the magic of this substitute in your next cooking adventure. 

Bragg liquid aminos 

This seasoned-based sauce product contains water and non-GMO soy. Mixed with coconut sugar and honey, it becomes one of the best alternatives to the oyster sauce.

Moreover, it contains minimal ingredients and is easy to use daily with numerous dishes. It pairs well with Asian dishes and serves as an effective salad dressing.

Transform your dishes with this easy and tasty oyster sauce substitute. 

Frequently Asked Questions  

What does oyster sauce contain? 

Oyster Sauce contains water, sugar, and oyster extract. Cornstarch thickens all these ingredients. Other ingredients are yeast extract and caramel colour.

Are oyster sauce and soya sauce the same? 

For someone with a bottle of oyster sauce, it works similarly to soya sauce due to its thicker consistency. However, oyster sauce is sweeter as it has sugar, and it is necessary to cut the sugar from dishes before using oyster sauce. 

What is a healthy substitute for soy sauce? 

Coconut aminos or liquid aminos are the best substitutes for soy sauce. Liquid aminos are developed from soybeans, while coconut aminos are from fermented coconut sap. 

What are the low-sodium substitutes for oyster sauce? 

The Worcestershire sauce substitutes oyster sauce and has a low sodium content. Furthermore, its liquid consistency makes it a replacement for the oyster sauce in an equal ratio. 

Is oyster sauce best for health? 

Oyster Sauce is a nutritional powerhouse with numerous vital vitamins and minerals for health. Additionally, it is an ideal source of calcium, potassium and iron. So, it is generally good for health except for the allergic people. 

Top 13 Oyster Sauce Substitutes

Bottom-line 

When looking for a substitution for oyster sauce, consider the dietary needs of the desired dish and the flavour profile. Fish sauce, hoisin sauce and soy sauce are different flavour options, while oyster sauce and mushroom sauce are vegetarian options that offer various plant-based alternatives.

The other options, e.g., teriyaki sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and various other homemade sauces, mimic the umami flavour and richness of the oyster sauce. Experimenting with these substitutes helps a person achieve the desired texture and taste and ensures the satisfaction and deliciousness of culinary creations.

Try these oyster sauce substitutes in recipes to elevate the dishes to a whole new level of flavour, and check our Food Intolerance Test for different food allergies.  

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