9 Best Oyster Sauce Substitute That Will Make You Surprised

Oyster sauce is an ingredient found in most dishes of East Asian Cuisine, which is used to enhance the flavor of the food. It is often used to marinate meat, sauté, or grill.

If your diet is vegan, is there any substitute to use? – Of course, yes! Let’s dive into this blog and pick the best oyster sauce substitute on our list now!

What Is Oyster Sauce?

What Is Oyster Sauce
Oyster Sauce

It is also called háo yóu – a dark brown condiment made from sugar, salt, and thickened water with cornstarch. Originally, it was extracted from oysters, but today it is industrialized and does not require this ingredient anymore.

Asian cuisine often uses this seasoning, intending to make the dish more flavorful. So, is it healthy? Absolutely yes! It contains huge nutritions, especially zinc.

In addition, háo yóu contains substantial amino acids, which are important components, constituting different proteins responsible for many roles and functions in the body.

Top 6 Substitutes For Oyster Sauce

In case you can’t find it, what ingredient can you use instead? Read on to discover!

1. Soy sauce

Soy Sauce
Soy sauce

This is an oyster sauce alternative that can be easily found in any store. It is a product fermented from soybeans (also known as soybeans), which is added with spices such as sugar, monosodium glutamate, and fermented salt. In fact, this is the best oyster sauce vegetarian substitute.

The relish is usually thinner and saltier than háo yóu. Therefore, if you are using it as a sub for oyster sauce, consider adding sugar. Here is a note for you: Turn on the stove and stir the condiment well, then adjust the amount of sugar to suit your taste.

2. Fish sauce

Fish sauce
Fish sauce

This condiment, in common sense, is to drain the molasses from the whole fish, which has been salted for a long time. So, it is not considered the best oyster sauce substitute vegan.

The salinity of fish dip is very high, while our  háo yóu has a slightly salty and sweet taste. Therefore, add some sugar to create a slight sweetness in case you want to use it.

3. Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire is a popular Western condiment, which is made from anchovies. It has a taste of umami that you can find in the Chinese brown syrup-like option.

Mix this condiment with soy condiment and sugar to form a thick paste that is salty and sweet. This mixture contributes to the richness of the dish.

4. Hoisin Sauce

hoisin sauce substitute
Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin is a thick paste, which is normally used in Chinese cuisine. It is often used to spread on a barbecue, used as a seasoning for stir-fries, and as a dip. You will find it in dishes like roast duck or grilled ribs.

Hoisin is dark in color, salty and sweet. Are there any differences between hoisin vs oyster sauce? In fact, the difference in taste is small because both of them are sweet and salty. The factor that makes one different from the other is the ingredient; hoisin is sweeter than the other due to the variety of ingredients it is made from.

The main ingredients of hoisin are soybeans, chili, and garlic. It is perfectly suitable as a vegan alternative to oyster sauce.

5. Umami sauce 

Umami sauce
Umami sauce

Umami is a food flavor category that corresponds to the taste of glutamates (especially monosodium glutamate), which are naturally found in many foods such as meat, fish, vegetables, and dairy products.

We recommend you use this condiment in stir-fries for flavor enhancement.

6. Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki sauce

Teriyaki is made from soy condiment, mirin, sake, and sugar, sesame seeds, or garlic. Therefore, it is the best gluten free substitute for oyster sauce.

Usually, teriyaki is favored by chefs in combination with grilled dishes because of its beautiful, iridescent color as well as the seductive and characteristic aroma that it brings.

7. Kecap Manis

Kecap Manis
Kecap Manis

This is a sweet, flavored, dark, syrup-like sweet condiment. It is because of these characteristics that people mostly used it in plates that are required for the háo yóu.

However, the ingredient of this relish contains more sugar – more than háo yóu. To make it taste more similar, you should add a little fish relish to increase the saltiness.

8. Hoisin & Soy Sauce

hoisin sauce substitute
Hoisin & Soy Sauce

What can you use instead of oyster sauce in the dish without creating the slightest difference in flavor? – The mixture of soy condiment and hoisin!

As mentioned above, Hoisin relish is salty, sweet, and thick. Meanwhile, soy relish is thinner but has a stronger salty taste. Mix them together, and your guest won’t even recognize the difference!

9. Black Bean Sauce

Black Bean Sauce
Black Bean Sauce

Black bean relish is also quite common in Chinese cuisine with its sweet, salty, and spicy taste. Unlike the brown syruplike option, this condiment has a little spicy taste. You should add a little sourness from vinegar to soften the spicy taste if you want to use it as the alternative.

How To Make Oyster Sauce?

How is oyster sauce made is a question many people are interested in. For a perfect homemade oyster relish, you should only use fresh oysters. Please refer to the ways below:

Step 1: Wash oysters and soak in salt for 5 minutes to remove all dirt. Then, chop (or grind) the ingredients, put them in a pot of boiled water, and let them cool.

Step 2: Ray the mixture through the rail to make it smoother. Heat the mixture with two tablespoons of diluted soy condiment.

Step 3: Add black condiment, then boil for about 5 minutes.

Step 4:  Cool and store in a suitable temperature place.

If you are a vegan and wondering how to make oyster sauce without oysters, here is the answer: Simply use shiitake mushrooms to replace the original ingredient! Moreover, this recipe brings greater benefits for your health than those products you get from the supermarket – there are no flavor and additives enhancers in the mushroom broth!


Oyster oil is a symbolic condiment of Asian cuisine with its unique aroma, dark color, and thick texture. If you hate its sweetness or just simply because your diet is vegan, you can simply opt for those listed alternatives without changing the flavor of the dish!

So, which one from the above list do you think is the best oyster sauce substitute? Make sure that you take note of our small tips for the adjustment in ingredients for the best taste!

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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