Best Oyster Sauce Substitutes

Is Oyster Sauce Too Strong Tyr These Substitutes

Made primarily from a mix of boiled oyster juices, sugar, and salt, oyster sauce has the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors with a kick of umami that will give you an interesting spin to your otherwise boring dishes. 

Oyster sauce is a condiment used primarily in Asian cuisines, specifically Chinese and Thai recipes, that are great for marinades, stir-fries, dipping sauces, meat and chicken dishes, and steamed vegetables. 

If you’re making a dish that requires oyster sauce but you don’t have any or you’re allergic to seafood, you might want to consider using the following substitutes just in case: soy sauce, kecap manis, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, teriyaki sauce, and black bean paste.

6 Best Substitutes For Oyster Sauce

Texture and flavor are the main two factors to consider when selecting a good substitute. It’s difficult to accurately capture the earthy flavors and thick, syrupy consistency that oyster sauce has—not to mention its dark caramel color too. 

Don’t fret as this article will give you the best oyster sauce substitutes that are close enough to the real thing. What’s more, is that there are several vegan-friendly options on this list. 

Read more to find out: 

Soy Sauce

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or someone who’s just getting the hang of it, there’s no doubt that you already have soy sauce in your kitchen pantry. It’s also a vegetarian-friendly substitute for those who don’t particularly enjoy seafood. 

Soy Sauce
Soy Sauce

With soy sauce, you can create your favorite Asian dishes such as chow mein and Korean fried chicken. You can also use it for dipping and glazed sauces, casseroles, fish-based recipes, marinades, fried rice, 

Soy sauce, however, is thinner and even saltier than oyster sauce—nothing a little sugar or honey can fix. Remember to add only a small amount to avoid flavor imbalances in your dishes. In stir-fries, use 1 tablespoon of soy sauce for every 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce you typically put.

Kecap Manis

If you want a soy sauce variety that already has enough sweetness in it, you can try your luck with sweet soy sauce, also referred to as kecap manis, a popular Indonesian condiment. It has a similar thick consistency with oyster sauce but with an added bonus of sugar and spice.

Kecap Manis is commonly used in marinades, stir-fries, rice noodles, meat and vegetable dishes, shrimp paste, chilies, fried rice, salads, and udon. 

The downside to this substitute is that it isn’t readily available anywhere. If you really want to try it out, head on over to your Asian grocery stores and markets or, if you’re willing to wait, you can order it online. 

Fish Sauce

Made from fermentation of fish and salt, fish sauce is also rich with a funky, umami flavor. It is often used together with oyster sauce in stir-fry recipes or with lime juice to add an extra layer to the flavor profile of any dish requiring it. 

You can also use fish sauce in savory rich dishes such as fried rice, risotto, and paella, stews, soups, marinades for vegetables, seafood, and meat, egg-based recipes, and any pasta sauce that has a cream, cheese, or tomato base. 

Fish sauce has a thinner texture than oyster sauce with less sweetness and more salt. Pour a little amount of it on your dishes and add gradually as you go according to your preferences. 

Hoisin Sauce

A sweet and salty Chinese condiment and cooking sauce that is fragrant and packed with umami, hoisin sauce has a similar taste to barbecue sauce but like oyster sauce, it has a completely different and complex flavor profile. 

You can use hoisin sauce on stir-fries, egg rolls, noodle soups, sauces and dips, vegetable mixes, and marinades.  

Hoisin sauce has a similar consistency to oyster sauce so you won’t have any problems using it at a 1:1 ratio. However, it may have a more potent or less concentrated taste, depending on the ingredients used in your hoisin sauce. Make sure you add it to your dishes according to your preferred taste. 

Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki sauce uses soy sauce in its base, along with mirin and sugar, and is packed with a salty, sweet, and tangy umami taste. You can try making one at home with the ingredients mentioned earlier plus cornstarch, water, and garlic, but it’s best to buy ready-made ones in your grocery stores. 

This substitute works particularly great in stir-fries, noodle-based dishes, vegetable mixes, rice recipes, marinades, glazes, and dipping sauces. You can also use it for fish, beef, pork, and chicken dishes such as wings, steaks, and dumplings. 

It is recommended to use 2 teaspoons of teriyaki sauce for every 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce you typically use. However, if your taste buds agree, you can also use a 1:1 ratio since teriyaki sauce has a less concentrated taste. 

Black Bean Sauce
Black Bean Sauce

Black Bean Paste

Made from fermentation of black beans, blended with sugar, vinegar, garlic, and soy sauce, black bean paste offers an umami and flavorful depth which has a similar consistency and color to oyster sauce—making it an ideal vegan-friendly substitute. 

If you’re a fan of Korean cuisine or know some Korean pop culture references, you’re probably familiar with jajangmyeon or black bean noodles. You can also use black bean paste in sauces, glazes, dips, and marinades. 

Black bean paste can be used at a 1:1 ratio with oyster sauce. You might want to add it gradually to your dishes, though, just in case you’re not used to its flavor yet. The downside is that black bean paste can be pretty difficult to find unless you have access to an Asian specialty store or market. 

Mix And Match Oyster Sauce Substitutes

If you’re feeling particularly creative and don’t mind experimenting on your dishes, you can try mixing and matching oyster sauce substitutes for an enhanced culinary experience unlike any other. Here are a few that you can try out:

  • Soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, and sugar
  • Soy sauce, fish sauce, and hoisin sauce
  • Fish sauce and teriyaki sauce
  • Fish sauce and hoisin sauce 

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