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Can you Substitute Hoisin for Oysters?

If you know, Oyster Sauce sauce was created in China in 1888 when Lee Kum Sheung, the food stall operator, accidentally left oyster soup cooking for too long, resulting in a rich, flavorful sauce. He realized he had discovered something incredible when he tasted it. As a result, one of our favorite sauces was born.

It’s daring, sweet, and complex, and it adds umami flavor to meats, vegetables, and even spaghetti sauce. If you like rich, intense flavors, you can add them to almost any savory dish and end up with something far more delicious than you could have imagined. We keep the oyster sauce on hand in our kitchen at all times to add a salty-sweet punch to whatever we’re cooking. But now and then, the supply runs out, leaving us unsure what to do.

The flavor of oyster sauce is somewhere between a fish sauce and soy sauce, and it has a thick and syrupy consistency and is dark brown. A good substitute should be as close to these flavors and textures as possible.
Have no fear. The following list of oyster sauce substitutes will get you through even the most difficult culinary situations. These alternatives don’t taste exactly like oyster sauce, but they’re close enough that you can skip the real thing. Furthermore, several options on this list are vegetarian-friendly, so even if you don’t usually consume oyster sauce, you can get some of the same flavors. Let us investigate further.

Can you Substitute Hoisin for Oysters?

Yes, you can substitute hoisin sauce for oyster sauce, but it will not be an exact match. The brininess of oyster sauce contrasts with the saltiness of Hoisin. On the other hand, Hoisin is a good substitute for texture and basic flavors.
We can usually substitute hoisin sauce in a 1:1 ratio because it has a similar consistency to oyster sauce. However, depending on the ingredients, it may have a stronger flavor, in which case you should use a smaller amount. Consider substituting hoisin sauce for the oyster sauce in stir-fries and marinades.

Here are Some Top Substitutes

1. Fish sauce : Thai Kitchen Premium Fish Sauce, 23.66 fl oz - One 23.66 Fluid Ounce Bottle of Fish Sauce Crafted for Dressings and Marinades for a Sweet, Tangy and Spicy Flavor :

Fish sauce, another umami-rich ingredient we keep on hand, is perhaps the most obvious oyster sauce substitute. If you are unfamiliar with either sauce, you may be perplexed. Oyster sauce has a thicker consistency and a dark brown color, and it also has a hint of sweetness. On the other hand, fish sauce is thinner, lighter color, and devoid of sweetness. Some people say it has a nuttiness to it.
According to Taste Essence, the Oyster sauce is made from oysters containing salt and sugar. On the other hand, fish sauce is made solely of fermented fish and salt. As a result, it’s understandable that there would be significant differences between the two. However, if you’re using a recipe with many different ingredients, replacing the oyster sauce with fish sauce might not be obvious. A pinch of sugar in the dish may help smooth out the rough edges of the fish sauce.

2. Teriyaki sauce

Enso Teriyaki Sauce 150ml : Grocery & Gourmet Foods
While fish sauce is likely to be bolder and more intense in dishes than oyster sauce, teriyaki sauce is sweeter and less concentrated (via Kitchen Bar). However, it also works well as an oyster sauce substitute. This is partly due to its texture: Teriyaki sauce, like oyster sauce, is thick, making it an even better substitute for oyster sauces than fish sauce in some dishes. Teriyaki sauce is made with soy sauce as the base, sweetened with sugar. In most cases, it also contains sake or mirin.
If a recipe calls for oyster sauce, but you only have teriyaki sauce, Gourmet Sleuth suggests substituting two teaspoons of teriyaki sauce for one tablespoon of oyster sauce. If you have canned or jarred oysters on hand, mix in a teaspoon of liquid.

3. Soy sauce

Lee Kum Kee Premium Dark Soy Sauce Bottle, 500 ml : Grocery & Gourmet Foods
If you’re out of the oyster sauce and need a salty, flavorful substitute, soy sauce may be one of the simplest substitutions. That’s because you almost certainly already have soy sauce on hand. Even if you don’t have a bottle (though you should get one), you probably have leftover soy sauce packets from when you ordered Chinese food. You’re in luck because we can use soy sauce instead of oyster sauce in some cases.
For one thing, soy sauce is much thinner than oyster sauce, which oozes slowly from its bottle. As a result, soy sauce isn’t always the best substitute if the recipe you’re looking at calls for oyster sauce because of its texture. It also lacks oyster sauce’s sweetness. However, this is easily remedied by adding a pinch of sugar to your dish. While this may not be the most authentic-tasting substitute, chances are you already have it on hand, making it an obvious choice in a pinch.

4. Kecap Manis (Sweet Soy Sauce) : Kecap Manis (Sweet Soy Sauce) - 600 ml(20.2-Ounce)by ABC. : Grocery & Gourmet Food
If soy sauce lacks the sweetness of the oyster sauce, wouldn’t it be preferable to find a sweet soy sauce? You’re lucky if you have Indonesian kecap manis or sweet soy sauce. Kecap manis is a sweeter and thicker soy sauce that is similar to the texture of the oyster sauce. As a result, one of our favorite oyster sauce substitutes is kecap manis.
However, there is one problem: you probably don’t have any kecap manis at home unless you cook Indonesian food frequently. If you live near an Asian market or a specialty store, you might be in luck — see if they carry this delectable condiment. If you can’t find it in a store near you, you can always order it from the internet. Of course, this is more work than simply purchasing more oyster sauce, but it doesn’t hurt to try this Indonesian staple. You might like it as much as an oyster sauce on its own!

5. The hoisin sauce

TAI HUA HOISIN Sauce (150ml/200g) Product of Malaysia Vegetarian Chinese Sauce for Barbeque, Grilling & STIR Fry : Grocery & Gourmet Foods

Here’s one sauce you might have already considered if it’s in your pantry. Hoisin sauce is another Chinese sauce that we think you’ll enjoy if you like barbecue sauce. It has a complex flavor, similar to oyster sauce. You’ll get plenty of that umami punch, but you might also pick up some tangy flavors. It has a slight sweetness, but it is not particularly intense.

Remember that not all hoisin sauce is made the same way. Some recipes may include garlic, chili paste, or even vinegar. Before using it in many recipes, it’s good to read the list of ingredients on the bottle before adding it to any recipes in place of oyster sauce.

Because hoisin sauce has a similar thickness to oyster sauce, We can use it similarly. Remember that the flavor of hoisin sauce is less concentrated, so you might be missing out on some of the kicks you’re used to, which is why Cuisine Vault suggests adding a splash of fish sauce.

6. Black bean paste

Urban Platter Fermented Black Bean Paste, 500g / 17.6oz [Chunjang, Korean Style, Savoury] : Grocery & Gourmet Foods
Black bean paste is another Chinese substitute for oyster sauce (also known as black bean sauce). It’s made from fermented black beans, which give everything they touch a deep, rich flavor. This is one substitution that packs the same punch as an oyster sauce. What’s more, the best part? Most of the time, it also happens to be vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
While the flavor isn’t identical to oyster sauce, black bean paste shares those key salty and umami notes, and it works as a substitute if you don’t mind a slightly different flavor profile, according to Valuable Kitchen. It has a similar texture to oyster sauce, though it can be thicker. Because of its consistency, black bean paste pairs well with oyster sauce in a one-to-one ratio. However, if you are unfamiliar with the ingredient, you should taste it before adding it to your dish. This way, you’ll have a better idea of how strong the flavor will be and can adjust accordingly.
Black bean paste is not widely available, but you should have no trouble finding it if you have an Asian or Chinese market nearby.

7. Anchovies

Sagara Dry Anchovy Fish - Fully Cleaned Netholi - Ready to Cook - Dressed Head and Tail Removed (200 Grams) : Grocery & Gourmet Foods
This one may be a stretch in some recipes, but it works perfectly as an oyster sauce substitute in others. Some people are put off by anchovies, particularly those who dislike fish. But we’re here to tell you that anchovies are delicious and not fishy, especially when mixed into a sauce or stir-fry. They melt in oil so that you won’t get large chunks of fish in your dish. Rather, the ingredient will impart a salty, umami flavor reminiscent of oyster sauce.
Serious Eats points out that fish sauce is traditionally made from fermented anchovies, so it stands to reason that anchovies, like fish sauce, would make an excellent oyster sauce substitute. What is our recommendation? Purchase the jarred variety and keep some on hand in your kitchen at all times. You’d be surprised what you can do with anchovies. Even if they aren’t a perfect substitute for the oyster sauce in every situation, they are delicious in their own right and deserve to be highlighted on occasion.

8. Tamari

San-J Gluten Free Tamari Soy Sauce, Reduced Sodium | Vegan, Kosher, Non GMO, FODMAP Friendly | Made with 100% Soy | Perfect for Stir Fry, Marinade, & Dipping Sauce | 10 Fl Oz PLUS a Free Gift Instant Ginger Honey Crystals -
Tamari might suffice if you like soy sauce as an oyster sauce substitute but don’t have any on hand. According to Substitute Cooking, We can use the oyster sauce in Tamari in a recipe, so it can also work the other way around. Do you know what makes Tamari different from soy sauce? That’s a great question. They’re both made from soybeans, so they’re quite similar.
On the other hand, Tamari is much less salty than soy sauce. According to MasterClass, it’s also made with twice as many soybeans as soy sauce, giving it a richer, deeper flavor than you’d expect from soy sauce. Tamari is used more frequently in Japanese cooking.
We like how Tamari adds a richer flavor, but it could use a little more salt if you’re trying to replace oyster sauce. But it’s a quick fix, so it’s still a good oyster sauce substitute.

9. Mushroom broth : Pacific Foods Organic Mushroom Broth, 32oz : Grocery & Gourmet Food
All vegans and vegetarians are invited! This is the one for you, and you won’t believe how simple it is. Instead of oyster sauce, you’re going to use mushroom broth. According to Hungry Huy, mushrooms and oyster sauce share a rich umami flavor, making them ideal candidates for swapping places. You can either buy the premade stock at the grocery store or make your shitake mushroom & herb broth at home (feel free to leave out the herbs if you don’t think they’ll work with your recipe).
While this is a great start in flavor, you may be looking for a consistency similar to oyster sauce. If that’s the case, combine some cornstarch with the mushroom broth to thicken it up. And there you have it: the vegan oyster sauce replacement of your dreams.

10. Worcestershire sauce : Lea & Perrins The Original Worcestershire Sauce (5 fl oz Bottle) : Grocery & Gourmet Food

If you’re willing to experiment in the kitchen, you can make a fairly accurate substitute for oyster sauce. Even if it doesn’t taste exactly like the real thing, this sauce mixture is good enough to use in your cooking. According to Hungry Huy, it’s a combination of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and sugar.

What Recipes can I Make?

Chicken and Corn Stir-Fry

Oyster sauce is full of umami but never overpowering, adding tonnes of depth to stir-fries like this one, boosts flavor in marinades, and is incredibly delicious. Is there no ripe corn at the market? Replace the peppers with peas, mushrooms, or summer squash.

Pineapple Pork Adobo

Adobo, a beloved and popular Filipino dish, is typically made with chicken or pork braised in vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic. We can alter the recipe to suit each cook’s style and taste preferences. Some people add coconut milk, others spices, and others use salt instead of soy sauce.

Blistered Green Beans With Fried Shallots

Crispy fried shallots round out the dish, and they don’t even have to be made from scratch. The folks at Minneapolis’ Union Hmong Kitchen swear by the large jars of fried shallots available at Asian markets and online, but any fried onion will do.

Grilled Brisket with Scallion-Peanut Salsa

Brisket is typically associated with long, slow cooking—perhaps on a winter afternoon—but we’re making a case for throwing it on the grill. Listen up because it works, especially with the peanut topping. The only hard thing is that freezing the brisket makes it easier to slice it against the grain, eliminating the ropy texture and exposing more surface area to the flavorful marinade.

Phat Sii Krong Neua (Thai-style short ribs)

Brisket is typically associated with long, slow cooking—perhaps on a winter afternoon—but we’re making a case for throwing it on the grill. Listen up because it works, especially with the peanut topping. The only hard thing is that freezing the brisket makes it easier to slice it against the grain, eliminating the ropy texture and exposing more surface area to the flavorful marinade.

How does Oyster Sauce Taste?

Unlike fish sauce, which tastes strongly of fish, licking a dollop of oyster sauce off your finger will not make you think, “Wow, oysters!” Test kitchen director Chris Morocco says it is “absolutely loaded with flavor.” It’s delicious and also salty. However, the flavors go much deeper than that. The sweetness is dark and developed, like caramel, rather than one-noted or cloying. The saltiness is more like ocean water than table salt (“in a good way,” says YuChen). The oyster flavor adds tons of umami and rich savoriness to the sauce, like anchovies. “It’s like four sauces in one,” says Christina Chaey, senior food editor.

Is Vegetarian Oyster Sauce Available?

Because most oyster sauces contain oyster extract, they are not vegetarian. There are vegetarian ‘oyster’ sauces on the market, and my local supermarket sells one with only an oyster flavor. I would choose a traditionally fermented soy sauce as a vegetarian substitute for oyster sauce.

Is Oyster Sauce and Soy Sauce the Same?

Because it is a pantry staple, soy sauce is an easy substitute for oyster sauce. It’s also vegan and vegetarian, making it ideal for those who avoid seafood. On the other hand, Soy sauce is saltier and thinner than oyster sauce. If you use it in a recipe for oyster sauce, consider sweetening it with sugar.

How Spicy is Hoisin Sauce?

Hoisin sauce, also known as Peking sauce, is a commercially prepared, thick reddish-brown sauce used in Chinese cuisine as a cooking ingredient and a table condiment. It is sweet and spicy and is made from soybeans, flour, sugar, water, spices, garlic, and chili.


We’ve already discussed the color and flavor similarities between soy sauce and oyster sauce. Worcestershire sauce, like fish sauce, is made with anchovies, so you know you’ll get plenty of that umami flavor you crave. A pinch of sugar will help replicate the sweetness found in oyster sauce. Plus, since most of this is likely already in your kitchen cabinets, you won’t have to run out to the store to get anything new. Don’t you adore a simple swap?