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Vegan Oyster Sauce Substitutes

Oyster sauce is a staple in Asian cuisines; it is popularly used in a lot of Chinese street foods like Chow Mein, Kung Pao, and other stir fry recipes. The umami-rich condiment adds not only a delicious umami flavor but a dark brown color to whatever it is incorporated into; maybe this adds to the reason why it’s in high demand.

However, if you have a vegan buddy, making a recipe that calls for oyster sauce may become a challenge because, just as the name implies, it is made from oysters. Vegans do not consume any food gotten from animal slaughter or even the byproducts of animal slaughter.

So for this sole purpose, you may need to get a vegan oyster sauce substitute if you want to continue with that recipe, luckily enough, there are some viable alternatives to the oyster sauce, and this article aims to point out how these substitutes can successfully replace oyster sauce in any recipe.

Before we get into these substitutes, let us take a look at what oyster sauce is all about and some recipes where it is used.

Oyster Sauce Nutrition Facts

Vegan Oyster Sauce Substitutes

What Is Oyster Sauce?

Oyster sauce is any sauce extracted from oysters, the most common oyster sauce is the dark brown condiment we use in a lot of stir fry recipes, and it is made from oyster extracts, salt, sugar, and thickened cornstarch water.

The quality of the sauce generally depends on how dark the sauce is; well, at least that’s what everybody thinks, but some oyster sauces are darkened with caramel.

Oyster sauce is said to have been invented by accident in 1888 by a Chinese restaurant owned by the name of Lee Kum Sheung in southern China.

Uses of Oyster Sauce in Recipes

The viscous dark brown condiment known as the oyster sauce is generally used to elevate the flavor of dishes; it gives depth and enhances the umami flavor in savory dishes. Oyster sauce is popularly used in street foods like chow Mein, some American-Asian cuisines, and other Cantonese cuisines.

This sauce can also be used as a topping for some dishes and salads, and it can also be used to add flavor to soups a d sauces.

Below are some examples of recipes that use oyster sauce.

  1. Aubergine with prawns in oyster sauce
  2. Bok choi with oyster sauce & chili
  3. Chilli beef with broccoli & oyster sauce
  4. Beef stir-fry with broccoli & oyster sauce
  5. Self-saucing sticky toffee chocolate pudding
  6. The big double cheeseburger & secret sauce
  7. Chimichurri sauce
  8. Chip shop curry sauce
  9. Satay sauce
  10. Easy vegetable lasagne
  11. Wok-fried duck & oyster sauce
  12. Stir-fried greens with oyster sauce
  13. Skewered beef with oyster sauce
  14. Crispy beef in chili sauce
  15. Chip shop curry sauce

Vegan Substitutes for Oyster Sauce

Following a vegan diet plan means you would abstain from eating meat or any food derived from animal slaughter; this also includes oyster sauce. So you may be wondering how you could cook up your favorite Chow Mein and Lo Mein recipes without oyster sauce. Well, did you know that some plant-based sauces would deliver a similar umami flavor to your dishes? That’s right, you can still make your favorite recipes without necessarily endangering the lives of animals.

Some of these substitutes are slightly different from the real thing, while some may be a perfect replacement for it.

Soy Sauce

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a very popular sauce that is welcomed by vegans and vegetarians all over the world. Since it is a food staple, getting one should not be a problem. You may already have a bottle of soy sauce in your pantry right now.

Soy sauce has a rich umami flavor that is also suitable for savory dishes; the only problem with soy sauce is that it is saltier than oyster sauce, so sugar should be added before use, and it should be used in moderation.

For one tablespoon of oyster sauce, use a half tablespoon of soy sauce.

Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is a good oyster sauce replacement for vegans and vegetarians, especially in marinades and stir fry recipes. It has a flavor similar to that of barbecue sauce and a consistency that is identical to oyster sauce. The flavor of hoisin sauce may be a little stronger than oyster sauce in some recipes, so it may not be a perfect replacement for the oyster sauce in certain recipes. But if you wish to still make the swap, it is ideal to use a reduced quantity first, then work your way up gradually.

Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki sauce is another excellent vegan substitute for oyster sauce, and it has a pretty similar consistency. It is made with sugar, soy sauce, and mirin or sake; this gives it a rather sweeter flavor, so you should keep that in mind when substituting.

If you have teriyaki sauce on hand, you should try using it in noodles and stir fry recipes instead of oyster sauce.

Mushroom Sauce

Mushroom Sauce

Mushrooms are loaded with umami flavor; many vegans even use them as a substitute for meat in many recipes, so why don’t we do the same for a recipe calling for oyster sauce?

You could make your very own homemade oyster sauce using mushrooms as the base for the sauce, or if you are in luck, you may get a mushroom-oyster sauce from the store.

Simply use this as a direct replacement for the oyster sauce in any recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is oyster sauce safe for people on a keto diet?

If you are on a ketogenic diet, then the oyster sauce is one condiment you need to steer clear of. It has a base of sugar and salt which means it is high in carbohydrates.

Is oyster sauce beneficial to my health?

Oyster sauce is a good source of calcium which is beneficial for bone development.

Is oyster sauce gluten-free?

Not all brands of oyster sauce are gluten-free; you may want to see the label before you purchase any oyster sauce from the store.


Oyster sauce is a staple in Asian cuisines; the delicious umami flavor it lends to dishes and the sumptuous dark hue it gives make it one of the most used condiments in Chinese foods. But if you follow a vegan diet plan, you may want a substitute for oyster sauce; luckily, there are some alternatives to this sauce that would give you pretty decent results.