What Is the Greatest Replacement for Oyster Sauce in Any Dish?

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Oyster sauce is a staple in many Chinese, Thai, Cambodian, and Vietnamese cuisines, and it goes well with a variety of meat and vegetable combinations, including chicken, fish, broccoli, and bok choy in stir fries, spicy noodles, soups, and more. Oyster sauce may also be used as a finishing or dipping sauce for vegetables and adds flavor to dull meals like tofu.

If you’re halfway through making a stir fry and realize you forgot to purchase oyster sauce the last time you went to the grocery store, or if you’re having trouble finding it at a local shop, there are a few substitutions you may use in its stead. In general, soy sauce is the greatest alternative for oyster sauce since it has a comparable color, tastes, and saltiness to oyster sauce. It is also sold at regular grocery shops.

Some alternatives to oyster sauce include hoisin sauce, fish sauce, kecap manis, fish sauce, mushroom sauce, and, if you have some oysters on hand, a simple homemade oyster sauce.

Just What is Oyster Sauce?

Oyster sauce is a result of oyster cooking. After the oysters are cooked in water, a broth is left behind, which is reduced until it is brown in color and thick in texture. Initially, this sauce was bottled and used as is, but commercial oyster sauce today has additional sugar, salt, soy sauce, and preservatives. It may also be thickened with cornstarch and is often flavored with oyster essence. Oyster sauce is a black, syrupy sauce with a sweet, salty, somewhat earthy, and umami taste, similar to a sweeter, less fishy soy sauce. The simplest way to explain oyster sauce is to say it tastes like a cross between soy sauce and barbeque sauce.

Unlike other traditional sauces, oyster sauce is a relative newcomer, having been discovered by accident in 1888. Lee Kum Sheung, the proprietor of a food stall, left his pan of oyster soup simmering for much too long, and when he remembered to check on the soup, he discovered that it had turned into a wonderful, caramelized, and rich sauce. He opted to offer it as a rice flavoring instead of the oyster soup it should have been. This new sauce quickly proved famous, and he was able to establish his own firm, Lee Kum Kee, to market the oyster sauce. Oyster sauce is still one of the Lee Kum Kee company’s best-sellers today.

What Should You Think About Before Substituting Oyster Sauce?

If you are unclear if you have consumed oyster sauce, If you’ve had Asian cuisine in the past, it’s recommended tasting one of the numerous branded oyster sauces available first to get a sense of the taste. This implies that when you run out of oyster sauce, you’ll have a better notion of which of the following substitutions to use instead.

Alternatively, if you’re acquainted with oyster sauce and the sauces listed below, what you use as a replacement will depend on what you currently have on hand, your taste preferences, and the meal itself.

Substitute 1: Soy Sauce

While soy sauce is thinner and saltier than oyster sauce, it may readily be substituted in most recipes. It also imparts the umami that oyster sauce does. As proteins degrade and a particular molecule from the protein called L-glutamate connects to certain receptors on our tongue, we feel umami, often known as the fifth sensation. Umami is a delicious or pleasant savory flavor that may be found in many Asian meals as well as foods such as steak, shellfish, and aged cheeses.

Traditional soy sauce is created from softened soybeans fermented with a biological culture, salt brine, and cereals such as wheat. When allowed to ferment for up to a year, the cultures and brine break down the soybeans to produce hundreds of additional chemicals that give soy sauce its characteristic taste. Traditional sauces may then be boiled or pasteurized. Certain commercial sauces are now created in a new technique that enables them to be made in a matter of days.

While there are several varieties of soy sauce, they generally fall into one of two categories: light or dark. A light soy sauce may be highly salty and is often used for dipping and in stir fries. A black soy sauce is aged for a longer period of time than a light soy sauce and may incorporate molasses, caramel, and corn starch to produce a sweeter and less salty soy sauce.

Low-sodium sauces, in which the soybeans are fermented in a different process that uses less salt, and tamari, a Japanese soy sauce composed entirely of soybeans, are also commonly available.

Replace oyster sauce with half the quantity of excellent quality soy sauce, taking into mind the kind of soy sauce if required, and if you want a little more sweetness, add a little honey or brown sugar as well. Some people like to add a little Worcestershire sauce for added flavor depth.

Substitute 2: Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce, often known as Chinese barbecue sauce, is created from fermented soybean paste and spices. Hoisin sauce, which is traditionally served with Peking duck, has a tangy, sweet, and spicy taste, as well as umami richness. While the name hoisin is derived from the Chinese word for fish, it does not include any seafood or animal components, making it vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Hoisin sauce is an excellent alternative for oyster sauce in stir-frying and as a dipping sauce for appetizers like spring rolls. Since it has a strong taste, it may be diluted with oil or water. If you’re substituting oyster sauce with hoisin sauce, use the same quantity, but start with a bit less, taste, and add more if necessary.

Substitute 3: Soy Sauce and Hoisin Sauce

If you have a bottle of each of these in your refrigerator or pantry, combine equal parts soy sauce and hoisin sauce to make a salty, sweet, and umami sauce that can be used in lieu of oyster sauce in most dishes.

As with most substitutes, start with less oyster sauce than called for, taste, and add more if necessary.

Substitute 4: Kecap Manis (Sweet Soy Sauce)

This Indonesian sweet soy sauce, similar to oyster sauce, is less likely to be a popular pantry condiment. It’s made using soy sauce, palm or coconut sugar, and fragrant spices including ginger, cloves, and star anise, as well as garlic. It is reduced down to form a dark colored and thick sauce, comparable to soy sauce, and is used in various meals, including mie goreng (fried noodles) and nasi goreng (fried rice) (fried rice).

If you haven’t tried kecap manis before, it’s a good finishing or dipping sauce, dressing for Asian-style salads, may be used to grilled meats, fish and shellfish, corn on the cob, or even simply used to give depth to scrambled eggs.

Substitute 5: Fish Sauce

Fish sauce has a long history and was a mainstay of the Ancient Roman diet. Fish sauce, or garum as it was called in Roman times, is a fermented sauce that is created in various fashions for various cuisines. The most frequent forms in the United States are nam pla (Thai fish sauce), which is used in pad Thai, and nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce).

Fish sauce has a deep, robust, and umami taste that may be likened to oyster sauce and soy sauce, with saltiness, caramel-sweetness, and fishiness. It is often created with anchovies that have been cured in barrels with salt for up to a year. The salt dries out the fish as natural bacteria break it down, resulting in a savory and salty liquid that is drained, dried, and aged in clay urns before being bottled. Purer fish sauces will include just fish and salt, whilst others may include sugar or preservatives.

If you wish to use fish sauce on its own, try it in pasta meals with fish or shellfish, soups, stir fries, and vinaigrettes. Use sparingly as a stronger sauce; a few drops are generally enough to provide more flavor.

Fish sauce may not be suitable for all foods due to its strong taste, however for stir fries and similar meat or fish dishes, up to half the quantity of fish sauce may be substituted with oyster sauce. Remember that fish sauce is frequently saltier and has a sharper taste than oyster sauce, which is sweeter.

To increase the sweetness and consistency of fish sauce, stir in a little hoisin sauce.

Substitute 6: Mushroom Sauce (Vegan Oyster Sauce)

You may prepare your own oyster sauce if you wish to replace it with a vegan-friendly and seafood-free alternative. To half a cup of water, combine one mushroom broth cube, two teaspoons of brown bean sauce, and one tablespoon of raw sugar. Bring it to a boil, then add 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 teaspoon cold water. Continue to whisk the sauce until it thickens and is ready to use.

A mushroom sauce may also be made using dried shiitake mushrooms, sesame oil, peanut oil, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. After cooking, combine everything into a paste, season to taste, and use this umami-rich sauce as a like-for-like alternative for oyster sauce in stir fries, grilled meats, noodles, rice dishes, and more.

Substitute 7: Homemade Oyster Sauce

If you have any oysters on hand, you can prepare your own sauce. Together with the liquid, weigh out half a pound of shucked and cooked oysters, or chilled or jarred oysters. Take the oysters from the liquid, chop them, and combine them with the liquid and an additional tablespoon of water in a pan. Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a low heat for 10 minutes, covered. Turn off the heat, add a teaspoon of salt, and set aside to cool completely. Sieve it through a fine sieve into a measuring jug and add 2 teaspoons light soy sauce for every half cup of sauce.

Return the mixture to the pan, add the tablespoon of dark soy sauce, and heat to a boil. Let it to boil for about 7 minutes before serving. After cool, the sauce is ready to use or may be stored in a sterilized jar in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

You may use the same quantity of homemade oyster sauce as store-bought oyster sauce.

Summing Up Oyster Sauce Substitutes

If you’ve run out of oyster sauce or can’t find it, soy sauce is a good alternative in most recipes since it has the same umami and saltiness as oyster sauce and has a comparable hue. Alternative alternatives to oyster sauce include hoisin sauce, kecap manis, or fish sauce, as well as vegan-friendly mushroom sauce or homemade oyster sauce.

Each of these alternatives will provide umami to the meal as well as various amounts of sweetness, saltiness, and taste depending on the substitute, or even combination of substitutes, you use to replace oyster sauce.


What’s the difference between hoisin sauce and oyster sauce?

They have extremely distinct flavors. Oyster sauce is derived from oyster extract, while hoisin sauce is made from fermented soybean paste. Hoisin sauce is sweet with a toasted spice scent, whilst oyster sauce is salty with an ocean-like flavor.

How much Worcestershire sauce to substitute for oyster sauce?

Worcestershire sauce, because of its liquid nature, may be used in lieu of oyster sauce in a one-to-one ratio. Worcestershire sauce is traditionally made with fish, such as anchovies or fish sauce, however fish-free versions may be sold in certain places.

Can I substitute oyster sauce for Worcestershire sauce?

Oyster sauce (19). Oyster sauce, made from caramelized oyster fluids, sugar, and soy sauce, and occasionally thickened with cornstarch, is a go-to for rapidly adding umami and sweetness to stir fries and sauces. It may also be used in a 1:1 exchange to replace Worcestershire.

Can I substitute oyster sauce for hoisin sauce?

Sauce à l’oyster

It has a similar consistency to hoisin sauce, but the taste is quite distinct. If you’re searching for an easy 1:1 equivalent for a seafood meal, oyster sauce might be a fantastic alternative.

What sauce is most like oyster sauce?

Since it is a pantry staple, soy sauce is a simple substitution for oyster sauce. It’s also vegan and vegetarian, making it ideal for individuals who avoid seafood.

How do you imitate oyster sauce?

What Are Some Decent Substitutes for Oyster Sauce?
Sauce with fish. Because of the taste backbone similarities, fish sauce is an excellent substitution…. Hoisin Sauce…. Soy Sauce…. Teriyaki Sauce…. Black Bean Paste…. Kecap Manis (Sweet Soy Sauce)… Mushroom Broth…. Worcestershire Sauce with Soy Sauce and Sugar.
More to come…

What is a cheap alternative to oyster sauce?

4 oyster sauce substitutions
Soy sauce. Soy sauce lacks the syrupy consistency and, unexpectedly, sweetness of oyster sauce.
Hoisin sauce… Sweet soy sauce…
Hoisin with soy sauce.
May 26, 2020

What does oyster sauce add to a recipe?

Together with taste, oyster sauce lends a dark caramel hue to any meal, which is known as “the sauce color” in Mandarin, according to assistant food editor Jessie YuChen. It’s a color you’ll see in a variety of Chinese meals, including stir-fried broccoli, Cantonese beef chow fun, and lo mein.

What is hoisin sauce made of?

Ingredients for the Hoisin Sauce

Sugar, water, soybeans, salt, sweet potato, sesame seeds, cornstarch, garlic, wheat flour, chili pepper, and spices are used to make hoisin.

Can I substitute oyster sauce for teriyaki sauce?

Since they have a similar taste profile and consistency, oyster sauce is an excellent alternative for teriyaki sauce. Like teriyaki sauce, the sauce is salty, sweet, and somewhat savory, making it an excellent compliment to meats and vegetables. It’s very good in stir-fries.

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