7 Best Oyster Sauce Substitutes

Need a last-minute oyster sauce substitute? These best seven ingredient alternatives will get you out of trouble.

oyster sauce substitutes

Oyster sauce is a thick condiment made from cooking oysters, reducing them to a salty-sweet sauce with a strong aroma and syrup-like texture. It’s particularly popular in Chinese and Thai cuisine, often found in dipping sauces, stir-fry recipes, and bok choi dressings.

Oyster sauce is easy to replace because it doesn’t taste too much like fish or seafood. The juices extracted from oysters are boiled down and caramelized to make the sauce, providing a sauce that’s both sweet and salty in flavor. It’s has a dark brown color and thick consistency.

A good oyster sauce alternative should also have this syrupy texture and rich taste, without tasting too fish-like or bitter. These are the best oyster sauce substitutes to use for your next recipe.

The Short Answer

The best oyster sauce substitutes are mushroom stir-fry sauce, hoisin, fish sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. These ingredients all have a delicious balance of salty-sweet flavors with the iconic dark color that’s associated with the condiment. They are all well-suited to Asian cuisine, and can easily be used in noodle dishes, stir-fries, and marinades alike.

Mushroom stir-fry sauce

This sauce gives a great alternative, especially if you have shellfish allergies. It mainly consists of flour, cornstarch, a soybean base, mushroom flavor, sugar, salt and preservatives, and mushroom flavor. 

It makes an excellent substitute for the oyster sauce as it is similar in texture and flavor. You can replace one with the other using a ratio of 1 to 1. So if your recipe calls for one teaspoon of oyster sauce, you can use one teaspoon of mushroom stir fry sauce. 

Kecap manis

Kecap Manis is another name for Indonesian sweet soy sauce. You may find it with this name in some supermarkets. 

It’s an everyday staple in Asian dishes. It is often likened to soy sauce, but the main difference is that this sauce is sweeter and thicker. 

That makes it more similar to oyster sauce. Kecap Manis has palm sugar in it, and this is what makes it a sweeter sauce. If this is a bit too much for you, there’s the option of balancing it out with soy sauce. 

This sauce easily replaces oyster sauce because it has a similar sweet flavor and consistency as the oyster sauce.  It works well as a sauce for basting and marinades. You can use ½ the number of Kecap Manis as you would need oyster sauce. 

So if your recipe calls for one tablespoon of oyster sauce, you can use ½ a tablespoon of Kecap Manis. From here, you can then keep adding a bit of sauce to taste if it hasn’t quite hit the spot. 

Black bean sauce

Just like oyster sauce, this is a common ingredient in Chinese dishes. It is made from fermented black beans. The black soybeans are boiled, and then they are infused with mold spores and left to dry in the sun. 

The beans are then stored either in brine or kept dry. You can use black bean sauce in various dishes such as Asian coleslaw, wraps, and stir-fries. 

It makes a good substitute for oyster sauce because it is similar in texture. It also has salty and savory flavors, which makes it easy to use in oyster sauce dishes. It goes exceptionally well with noodle recipes. You can replace the oyster sauce with black bean sauce using a 1 to 1 ratio.

Soy sauce

Say sauce is often used in place of salt because of its saltiness. It is made of fermented soybeans with wheat and is a common feature in Chinese cuisine. 

It is often served as a condiment and can be found in different varieties. There are different types of soy sauce as well as various manufacturers that make it. 

While this can replace oyster sauce, it is not the best choice because it lacks the sweet flavor that oyster sauce has. 

You will need to add some sugar to boost the sweetness. To replace the oyster sauce with soy sauce, you can use half the amount you need to use the oyster sauce. 

Hoisin sauce

This is a fermented soybean sauce made to be served as a condiment. It’s a vegan option which means that it does not have any animal products in it. It has a fragrant and sweet flavor to it, making it an excellent substitute for oyster sauce. 

It has a thick texture, slightly more viscous than oyster sauce. This is something that you will need to keep in mind. 

This sauce also has an acidic twist to it, and this makes it more of the star of the show rather than a supporting act, which oyster sauce is. 

However, the similarity in texture and sweetness makes hoisin sauce a suitable replacement for oyster sauce. You can use an equal amount for the substitution. 

Fish sauce

Fish sauce is made from fermented fish. The process length can vary. It takes time to break down the fish and get the resultant fish sauce. It is often used because of the earthy, umami flavor, with savory notes. It is also characteristically fishy.

It makes a good substitute for the oyster sauce as they are both based on fish dishes in theory and do great in stir fry dishes

Other than that, the two don’t have much in common. When replacing oyster sauce with fish sauce, you will only need a few drops, as it is pretty intense. Less is more when it comes to using fish sauce. 

Hoisin & soy sauce mix

You can use a half and half mixture of hoisin and soy sauce. You can use the two sauces to offset flavors that may throw your dish off and bring the flavors closer to what you would experience with oyster sauce. It makes an excellent substitute for oyster sauce because of the similarity in sweetness and also texture. 

You can use this mixture in equal amounts to replace oyster sauce. The advantage of using this half and half mixture is that it has considerably more flavor than oyster sauce. 

It also has a delicate balance of sweet and salty flavors. It also pairs well with various dishes that call for oyster sauce.