If you are looking for oyster sauce substitutes, chances are you have run out of this amazing condiment and need to recreate its taste. Oyster sauce is a flavorful condiment that’s been around since the late 1800s. It adds a rich flavor to Chinese, Thai, and other cuisines. So, if you’re looking for substitutes for oyster sauce, I know some.
Oyster sauce has a sweet saltiness to it and the much sought-after umami flavor as well. It is filled with bold and complex flavors. You can add it to meats and veggies. You can mix it with other sauces, condiments, and spices to make flavorful sauces, dips, and glazes. But what would you do if you were out of it?
Look for substitutes, of course! Well, don’t worry. I have some of them right here with me. Some of the best oyster sauce substitutes that you can try are fish sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, black bean paste, and sweet soy sauce.
We’ll get into the substitutes in detail, but first, let’s discuss oyster sauce. Once you know more about it, you’ll understand which substitute will suit the recipes best. So, let’s start with a peek into the oyster sauce.
Quick Peek: Oyster Sauce
This section will discuss everything about the oyster sauce, including its flavor, texture, and health benefits. This will give you a better idea about this flavorful sauce.
What Is Oyster Sauce?
Oyster sauce is said to be originated in China. Legend says that a food stall owner named Lee Kum Sheung was making oyster soup. But he left the soup cook for too long. The result was a thick and luscious sauce that we today know as our oyster sauce.
Oyster sauce is made from oyster juices, salt, sugar, soy sauce, and cornstarch. The oyster juices are reduced until the liquids evaporate and a caramelized sauce is left. Then, sugar, salt, and soy sauce are added to add more flavor. Cornstarch is added to thicken the sauce. You can even make some oyster sauce at home if you know the ingredients’ amounts.
Describing Oyster Sauce: Flavor and Texture
Oyster has an array of complex flavors. If I were to put it simply, the oyster sauce has a sweet saltiness with strong notes of umami flavor. The umami flavor can be described as a mixture of earthy, savory, and tart notes. It adds a delectable taste to your savory dishes. If I were to draw a comparison, its flavor falls between fish sauce and soy sauce.
If we talk about texture, the oyster sauce has a thick liquid consistency, almost like a thick syrup. It has a luscious brown color that will also add color to your dishes, like stir-fries and grilled meats. Oyster sauce has a lot of uses, bringing us to our next section.
Uses of Oyster Sauce
Oyster sauce is a versatile sauce used extensively in Chinese, Thai, and other Asian cuisines. The sauce adds sweet, salty, and umami flavor to the dishes. It is used to flavor stir-fry dishes like beef and veggies stir-fry or saucy dishes like kung-pao chicken.
You can add it too spicy noodles and even mix it with spaghetti sauce to zing up its flavor. Oyster sauce doesn’t add spice but a savory and umami flavor with a mildly sweet and earthy undertone. You can also mix it with other sauces to make meat glazes, marinades, and dips.
Oyster Sauce On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Oyster sauce is not only rich in taste but also rich in micronutrients copper, zinc, and manganese. It also maintains vitamin D and vitamin B12. This promotes good brain health and is also known to effectively improve mood. This sauce also has omega-3 fatty acids known to improve heart health by preventing arteriosclerosis.
It also has potassium and magnesium that help your blood vessels to relax. But oyster sauces us high in sodium, and people with heart diseases, kidney diseases, and hypertension should eat this sauce in small amounts.
Why Use A Substitute For Oyster Sauce
First, you need to look for an oyster sauce because you need to make something, and you have run out of it. The second reason to look for a substitute would be if you don’t eat seafood and want to find an ingredient that emulates the same taste.
There can be two reasons for that as well. The first is simply an extreme dislike of seafood and oysters. The second reason is if you are allergic to shellfish and can’t eat oyster sauce. Whatever the case, the good news is there are a few things that can help you almost recreate the taste of the flavorful and rich oyster sauce.
Other Food Substitutes You Can Try
- Best Chili Sauce Substitutes You Can Try
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- Best Ponzu Sauce Substitutes You Can Try
- Best Light Soy Sauce Substitutes You Can Try
- Best Worcestershire Sauce Substitutes You Can Try
- Best Chili Garlic Sauce Substitutes You Can Try
- Best Plum Sauce Substitutes You Can Try
- Best Dark Soy Sauce Substitutes You Can Try
- Best Marinara Sauce Substitutes You Can Try
10 Best Oyster Sauce Substitutes
Now that all that’s done and dusted, let’s move to the section you came here for; the substitutes. Let’s see what can be your replacements for the oyster sauce in a recipe.
1. Fish Sauce
If we talk about a sauce that resembles oyster sauce in flavor and texture, it is fish sauce. Fish sauce has a savory and distinct umami flavor. It is also more intense than oyster sauce. Oyster sauce has added sugar and salt in it. But the fish sauce is only made with fermented fish and salt.
Due to this, fish sauce lacks the sweetness that oyster sauce has. Fish sauce also has a thinner consistency and lighter color than oyster sauce. When substituting fish sauce for oyster sauce, use a 1:1 ratio but add some sugar to it and then add it.
2. Teriyaki Sauce
If you feel that fish sauce is too intense, you can use teriyaki sauce in your recipes. Teriyaki sauce has a lighter and sweeter flavor. Its thick consistency is the same as that of oyster sauce. Teriyaki sauce has soy sauce and sugar, two ingredients that are also present in oyster sauce.
Teriyaki sauce also has sake and mirin, adding some more flavor and depth to it. It does a great job of replacing oyster sauce in stir-fry recipes, noodle recipes, dips, and marinades. Use it in a 2:1 ratio in your recipes.
3. Soy Sauce
If you are looking for an oyster sauce substitute that is easily available, then soy sauce should be your pick. Soy sauce does not have an exact flavor or consistency that matches oyster sauce. Soy sauce has a savory flavor and lacks the sweet and umami flavor. It also has a very runny consistency and is not thick like oyster sauce.
Soy sauce may not be the best substitute when you are looking for a similar consistency. But you can use it and add some sugar to the recipe to add the sweet taste. There’s no definite substitution ratio for this but add a little to add some taste to your dishes.
4. Sweet Soy Sauce
If soy sauce is what you want to add to your recipes, perhaps you should use sweet soy sauce. Also known as Kecap Manis, sweet soy sauce is an Indonesian soy sauce which sweeter and thicker. It is easily available in Asian markets and can be used in various Asian recipes.
Sweet soy sauce is a good oyster sauce substitute as it has a thick consistency. It also has sweet and savory flavors that can make your dishes flavorful and different. Add half a cup of sweet soy sauce for every cup of oyster sauce.
5. Hoisin Sauce
Hoisin sauce is another Chinese condiment that makes for a good oyster sauce substitute. Hoisin sauce resembles oyster sauce a lot in texture and consistency. It also has an umami flavor and a touch of complexity to its taste. It also has a mild sweetness to it.
It’s always better to check the bottle’s ingredients before adding the hoisin sauce to see if it doesn’t have a lot of overpowering flavors like vinegar, chili sauce, or garlic. You can use it in a 1:1 substitution ratio. If you want a bolder flavor, you can also add a dash of fish sauce.
6. Black Bean Paste
Black bean paste or black bean sauce is another great ingredient of Chinese cuisine that you can use as an oyster sauce substitute. This paste is made with fermented black beans. It has a rich and intense taste, savory flavor, and tangy umami notes. Its consistency is very similar to oyster sauce, sometimes even thicker.
It adds rich color and taste to the recipes but isn’t an exact flavor match. So, if you don’t mind the little taste shift, you can easily use black bean paste in a 1:1 ratio. The best part is that it is completely vegan-friendly.
I understand your hesitation about using anchovies as an oyster sauce substitute, but they are good. They don’t have an intense fishy taste but the savory and umami notes you want. You can melt some anchovies in oil and then use them in sauces and salads. It might be a bit unconventional, but it’s worth it.
If you’re up for using soy sauce as an oyster sauce replacement, you can use tamari. It is a richer and more intense version of soy sauce with savory notes, though it is still less salty than soy sauce. You can add them to your recipes by adding a bit of salt in a 1:1 ratio to your recipes for that savory, rich taste.
9. Mushroom Broth
Mushroom broth is a great oyster sauce substitute as it has a rich umami flavor similar to oyster sauce. You can use store-bought or make some fresh broth with mushrooms and herbs at home. The taste profile matches, but the consistency doesn’t.
In that case, you can add cornstarch to the broth and cook it until it reaches your desired consistency. Once it becomes thicker, you can use it in a 1:1 substitution ratio.
10. Worcestershire Sauce With Soy Sauce And Sugar
If you want the taste of the oyster sauce with the same flavor profile, I say you get ready for some mixing. Mix Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. This will give you the perfect combination of umami, sweet, and savory to replicate the taste of the oyster sauce. Add this mixture in a 1:1 ratio and enjoy your food.
Short Recap For Best Oyster Substitutes
Now, let’s do a short recap of the best oyster substitutes differentiating them into different categories.
Best Oyster Substitutes In Terms Of Flavor-
- Fish Sauce
- Hoisin Sauce
Best Oyster Substitutes In Terms Of Availability-
- Soy Sauce
- Worcestershire Sauce with Soy Sauce and Sugar
How To Use Oyster Sauce Substitutes In Recipes
Oyster Sauce Substitutes
- Fish Sauce
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Soy Sauce
- Sweet Soy Sauce
- Hoisin Sauce
- Black Bean Paste
- Mushroom Broth
- Worcestershire Sauce With Soy Sauce And Sugar
- Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
- Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
- Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
So, these are the oyster substitutes you can use in your recipes. Let me know in the comments which one you think is best. This was all from my side. I’ll see you next time. Until then, happy cooking!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can you use fish sauce instead of oyster sauce?
Yes, you can use fish sauce instead of oyster sauce as they both have an umami flavor and savory notes.
What is oyster sauce made of?
Oyster sauce is made with oyster juice, sugar, salt, and soy sauce.
What are some of the best oyster sauce substitutes?
Some of the best oyster sauce substitutes that you can try are fish sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, black bean paste, and sweet soy sauce.