Substitute for Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is among the ingredients that, while sounding awful, smells disgusting; however, it makes food taste fantastic. While it’s an innovative concept in Western cuisine, it has been utilized throughout Southeastern Asian cooking for hundreds of years. Although the roots of fish sauce aren’t fully established, it is believed to have been used early. The Vietnamese were able to get inspiration for the current Asian fish sauce recipe from Chinese soy sauce. 

The most popular use of it is in Southeast Asian cooking. Fish sauce adds a rich earthy, savory, and umami taste to many recipes, such as pad thai, pho and pad thai, green papaya salad and stir-fries.

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Best Fish Sauce Substitutes

If you don’t have any fish sauce, or you do not enjoy its flavour or if you adhere to an entirely vegetarian diet, then you could think about its alternatives. Here are some great options to replace fish sauce.

Oyster sauce

If you enjoy the flavour of oysters, you’ll surely love oyster sauce as a replacement for fish sauce in a lot of your meals. You can find different kinds of oyster sauce in the market, including certain with more or less salt and some with various flavours. The most effective method to make the oyster sauce is to use it in stir fry recipes; however, it tastes equally impressive in salads. This sauce comes with a thicker consistency, so you may have to dilute it with water depending on the texture you would like your food to possess. 

You can replace the oyster sauce with the fish sauce using a 1:1 ratio if you prefer the richer consistency of the oyster sauce. If you’re looking for the same taste profile to fish sauce, you may look into oyster sauce since it’s also a seafood product. At the same time, it’s not ideal for vegetarians, vegans, and those with an allergy to oysters. Oyster sauce provides a fishy and salty taste like fish sauce, in an identical form.

Oyster sauce has a thicker texture than fish sauce, while fish sauce has a more fishy taste. It is an excellent substitute for fish sauce in many stir-fry dishes since it’s got the same savoury taste. But the oyster sauce is a little thicker and is not an appropriate alternative to dishes that need its thin, spongy consistency. It tends to be heavier and is not a suitable alternative for recipes requiring thin consistency. 

oyster sauce image

Soy sauce

The flavour of Soy sauce is sweeter and darker than the bright saltiness of the fish sauce. However, both of them enhance the taste of food. Start by using lower amounts of soy sauce than fish sauce. Then add more as required. Soy sauce is an excellent alternative to the fish sauce since it’s a liquid condiment produced using fermented components. It is a perfect substitute for the salty flavour of fish sauce. Additionally, it may also be rich in sodium resulting in the same nutritional benefits.

It is the most effective alternative to fish sauce and is convenient to locate. This replacement is an excellent choice for vegans and can be used for both cooked and cold dishes.  Soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans, water salt and wheat, and it’s also suitable for vegetarians.

Because of the amino acids present in soybeans, it offers an umami-rich flavour complemented by an underlying sweetness. It is possible to substitute soy sauce for fish sauce in a ratio of 1-to-1 or mix various other flavours with the soy sauce to get an extra taste.

home made soy sauce image

Worcestershire sauce

While you may not expect it, the fish sauce possesses a sweet taste. Look for Worcestershire sauce when seeking a replacement to recreate that flavour alongside the saltiness. Worcestershire sauce is a sauce that improves the taste of foods such as stews, steaks, marinades, sauces, and many more. While it’s not an ingredient commonly used in Asian cuisine, it is an excellent ingredient in certain dishes, such as dumplings, noodles, marinated meat, and salads. 

It’s less sodium-rich than fish sauce which is why it could be a good choice for those who follow a low-sodium eating regimen. You can use it as a substitute for fish sauce in a 1:1 ratio. Certain brands of this sauce contain fish sauce in their ingredients. However, Worcestershire sauce may be full of other flavours, meaning that the food you eat will taste different.

The umami flavour is evident in this product, and you won’t be disappointed by it. You can include it in any dish that calls for fish sauce, based on your preference. Worcestershire sauce has anchovies, tamarind vinegar, molasses, vinegar, onions, cloves, and many other ingredients that provide a distinct taste. Worcestershire sauce is well-known in England and other countries due to its distinctive savoury flavour. The most important thing to remember to note is that it is delicious in a fishy way. And it indeed does.

It offers an excellent symmetry with the famous Thai dish in terms of ingredients. It also contains tamarind, a naturally sweet and sour tropical fruit native to Africa that is reminiscent of the tastes of the fermentation process used to reduce the size of the fish. We recommend using a lesser quantity in Worcestershire Sauce; otherwise, it can be harmful to your health. 



Seaweed adds a taste of fish to your food. Depending on the kind of form you can find seaweed, it could also impart a salty and sweet flavour to some of your meals. Seaweed can be a fantastic alternative to fish sauce in stews and soups, along with various other Asian dishes. It is excellent in salads and can be used as a base ingredient to create the condiments you want to make.

You can use dried and fresh seaweed instead of fish sauce, and it will improve the taste that your meals have. In terms of the quantity, it is essential to be mindful of your preference when adding seaweed to your dish. Seaweed is a broad term that refers to algae and plants found in the waters. Seaweed is nutritious and rich in the amino acid glutamate that is very rich in umami taste. This is why it’s often added to soups and broths in various Japanese and Korean food items.

Seaweeds aren’t very calorific, but they do contain antioxidants and nutrients. They are a fantastic source of umami flavour because of the glutamate content, and this is why Kombu seaweeds are frequently used to enrich sauces and broths in Japanese Foods. You must follow your personal preferences when you decide to use Seaweed in your recipes as an alternative to Fish Sauce.

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Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki is the Japanese term used to describe meat preserved for some time in Teriyaki Sauce. The sauce comprises four main ingredients: sake, soy sauce, sugar, and ginger or its replacements. You can marinate your meat or fish, vegetables or tofu for up to half an hour before cooking. The mixture will become more dense and glossy, and it will also become sticky when you lower the quantity. You can also use Teriyaki at the exact proportion of 1:1.

Teriyaki-Sauce image

Hoisin sauce

Hoisin sauce is one of the options that you could use if you lack fish sauce in your kitchen. It is made from fermented soybean paste, sesame seeds, rice vinegar, garlic, salt and other ingredients based on the manufacturer that makes it. You can use it in the same amount as fish sauce, but the taste will differ because of sesame seeds. Use it in the same amount for salad soups, stews, dressings or even stir-fries since it tastes delicious.

Hoisin sauce has the fermented flavour of fish sauce and the salty flavour characteristic of soy sauce. It is a rich sauce typically used as a glaze or dip sauce. It has a slightly sweet taste, so it is often compared with barbecue sauce made in the American style.

Hoisin sauce is a condiment with an umami taste. You can happily use it as a replacement for fish sauce. To substitute for fish sauce, use a mix of hoisin sauce and soy sauce in a 1:1 ratio, which will offset the sweetness of the hoisin sauce. You can then use the mixture to substitute the fish sauce with equal amounts.

hoisin sauce image


Tamari is a non-gluten traditional Japanese alternative to soy sauce and, therefore, you can use it to substitute for the fish sauce in a recipe. Tamari is like soy sauce, and in many regions across the world, it’s even regarded as a kind of soy sauce. It is processed differently from traditional soy sauce by using various ingredients, including salt, water, and miso paste that contains soybeans. 

It is possible to use it in fish sauce considering its flavor is more intense. If you enjoy the taste of tamari, make use of the same amount as fish sauce. But, if you’re looking to lessen the sour taste, add half a cup of Tamari to one cup of the fish sauce. Then mix in water until you get the desired texture. In contrast to soy sauce, it’s a low-calorie sauce that doesn’t contain wheat, making it a good choice for people who don’t want gluten. Just make sure you check the ingredients label before you buy.

Tamari has a more prosperous and robust flavor and a less salty umami taste than soy sauce due to its higher protein content of soybeans. You can substitute Tamari with fish sauce at a 1:1 ratio or begin by adding a bit less and adding more according to your preference. This could be a fantastic option as a vegan alternative to Fish Sauce.

substitute for tamari

Coconut aminos

It is an easy substitute for Fish Sauce, but it may not be readily available. You will find this substitute to be sweeter than fish sauce; however, it’s dark-colored, which is quite similar. If you opt to use coconut aminos, it is possible to add salt as this ingredient isn’t the same as a fish sauce in the amount of salt. Coconut aminos could substitute for the fish sauce despite these slight variations while maintaining the same ingredients in your dishes.

The coconut aminos originate from coconut sap’s fermentation, a simple element to add to all kinds of dishes. They’re full of umami; they have a dark hue and are slightly more sweet than fish and soy sauce. Coconut Aminos are gluten-free, soy-free, as well as high in sodium. This is why Coconut Aminos make a great alternative to fish Sauce.


Anchovy paste

Anchovy paste is a thick, greyish paste made from anchovies, olive oil, and salt. Although it is thicker than fish paste, its savory and umami taste and profile are very similar. However, it would help to be cautious when substituting anchovy paste for fish sauce.

The umami flavor can be overwhelming when used in large quantities. However, 1/2 teaspoon mixed with water can give you all the flavors and savory goodness that fish sauce has to offer. Anchovy paste can be used in sauces, marmalades, and marinades.

anchovy paste

The health benefits of fish sauce:

  • Fish sauce is a good source of amino acids.
  • Natural vitamins can be added to your diet.
  • Fish sauce is a great way to add iron to your diet.
  • It is also a great source of omega 3.
  • This delicious fish sauce will help to remove fishy odors.

Frequently Asked Questions about fish sauce

Which is better, Soy sauce or Fish sauce?

Fish sauce enhances the flavour of any dish and doesn’t make it taste fishy. You can surely use fish sauce as a replacement for soy sauce. The flavor is unique with a fantastic taste. Fish sauce is healthier than soy products and contains vital nutrients to improve your nutritional status.

Are fish oil and fish sauce the same?

The primary difference between fish oil and fish sauce is how each is consumed, and fish sauce can enhance the flavor of dishes. As a dietary supplement, fish oil is rich in Omega-3.

What is fish sauce high in?

The sodium content of fish sauce is well-known, and experts say that a single tablespoon of fish sauce contains approximately 62 percent of the daily recommended sodium intake.

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