Oyster Sauce Substitute: 5 Best Alternatives to Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce substitutes

Before we look into the Oyster Sauce substitutes, let’s know more about the Oyster sauce, how is it made.

Oyster Sauce, also called ho yau in Cantonese is one of the essential ingredients used in Asian food. It is a fermented and pungent soft mixture and is used widely for Chinese and Thai dishes.

Oyster Sauce adds a distinct flavor, but that does not mean that oyster sauce substitutes are not available.

It provides salty and sweet flavor to meals but is generally not affordable to many people. They are also available only in well-stocked grocery stores.

Therefore, it is always wise to know about the substitutes for oyster sauce.

Oyster sauce substitutes

What are the Ingredients in Oyster Sauce?

Previously, oyster sauce was made by combining salt, water, and oysters. The oysters were simmered in water slowly. The juices of oysters used to caramelize and turn to a thick and brown sauce with a flavor.

With time, processing techniques have been advancing rapidly. Now, shortcuts help to prepare the oyster sauce. They save both money and time. Salt and sugar serve as a base, and cornstarch thickens the same.

Other ingredients are soy sauce, mushroom extract, modified starch, and glucose syrup. MSG and preservatives are also added to add flavor or color (1).

The vegetarian oyster sauce is prepared using oyster mushroom which gives a matching flavor and taste.

Alternatively, there are many other procedures which can make an oyster sauce substitute. Keep reading to know more about them.

Oyster Sauce Substitutes

Any dish which requires oyster sauce as an ingredient cannot be prepared without the same. Therefore, it is good to keep a substitution recipe for oyster sauce handy.

The vegetarian Oyster sauce can be one of the options, but it does not contain oyster. Fish sauce, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce are other substitutes for oyster sauce. Let us look at them in detail.

1. Fish Sauce

Fish Sauce

Fish sauce has a similar taste as oyster sauce. It also has the similar texture, and therefore it is one of the best replacements for oyster sauce.

The source for the fish sauce varies according to the area. Specific variety or a combination of many types of fish help to prepare the same.

You can choose your fish oil according to your use. The fish is kept in a wooden box and then pressed slowly to bring out the liquid.

2. Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin Sauce

The hoisin sauce also works as a substitute for oyster sauce.

Hoisin is a Cantonese word, and it means seafood. This sauce is commonly known as pecking sauce or Chinese barbecue sauce.

The standard uses of hoisin sauce are glazing, dipping and marinating. It is dark, thick, and reddish brown. The source does not contain any seafood. Thus, it serves as an ingredient in seafood dishes.

3. Soy Sauce

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is also a suitable oyster source replacement. It is a vegetarian alternative for oyster sauce. The original sauce is slightly sweeter than the soil source.

Therefore, you can add a half teaspoon of sugar for every one tablespoon of soy sauce added instead of oyster sauce.

You can also add a few drops of Worcestershire sauce to soy sauce. The soy sauce has a salty taste and is dark brown.

4. Mushroom Sauce

Mushroom Sauce

The mushroom sauce is generally known as a vegetarian oyster sauce. It is one of the best alternatives for oyster sauce, especially regarding flavor and color.

One can prepare it by combining various types of mushrooms and vegetable proteins. It is an ideal oyster sauce substitute.

Related Reading: Are Mushrooms Vegetables?

5. Mushroom Soy Sauce

Mushroom Soy Sauce

Mushroom soy sauce is the mixture of mushroom sauce and soy sauce. If you want to know what can you substitute for oyster sauce, mushroom soy sauce is one of the best options.

You can make it by fermenting Soya beans and mushrooms. It provides you a deep mushroom flavor with a slightly sweet taste like the oyster sauce.

The above substitutes are the primary oyster sauce substitutes and can come to use if you run out of oyster sauce.

The vegetarian alternatives for the oyster sauce can be an advantage for the vegetarians. Instead of the above, you can also prepare oyster sauce at home. Keep reading to know the process for the same.

Homemade Oyster Sauce Recipe

Homemade Oyster sauceYou can also prepare oyster sauce at home.

It won’t be the same but can be very similar to the oyster sauce available in the market.

Let us now look at the recipe for preparing oyster sauce at home.

Ingredients required:

  • Two teaspoons of granulated sugar
  • Four teaspoons of liquid from canned oysters
  • Eight teaspoons of soy sauce/teriyaki sauce (Soy sauce can be light or dark)


Take four teaspoons of liquid from canned oysters in a small bowl. Add soy sauce or teriyaki sauce to it. Whisk the solution thoroughly.

Add granulated sugar to the mixture. Let it dissolve. Taste the substitute and add more sugar or oyster liquid if required. You can also add more soy sauce if needed but be careful not to make the oyster sauce substitute too salty.

If you do not wish to use the extra sauce instantly, please it in a plastic bottle. You can store the oyster sauce for one week.

Keep it refrigerated. If you are a vegetarian, you can also prepare the vegetarian version of the oyster sauce.


Oyster sauce is not very readily available in the market. There may be times when you require oyster sauce for a dish, and you realize that you do not have it handy.

If you are preparing the meal at home, you may realize it in the midway that you do not have any left. At such times, these oyster sauce substitute can play a significant role.

Don’t forget to taste your substitute before adding it to the final dish.

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