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The 5 Best Substitutes for Eel Sauce

Have you ever tasted the deliciousness of Eel Sauce? If not, you must try it at least once.

This thick, rich sauce goes well with a variety of dishes and adds an incredible depth in flavor.

But if you don’t have it readily available, what can be used as a substitute?

Luckily there are many options for substitutes for eel sauce that work just as well.

Here we’ll look at how to cook and use eel sauce and discuss the top five best substitutes for eel sauce so that you have options when you run out of your favorite cooking condiment.

What’s Eel Sauce?

Eel sauce is a simple but delicious condiment with a unique flavor.

Many Japanese restaurants offer it as an accompaniment to their dishes, along with soy sauce and wasabi.

It is made from a combination of eel extract, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar that are cooked together until thick and glossy.

The result is a thick, glossy brown sauce with a slightly sweet and salty taste that pairs well with sushi and grilled eel dishes.

Its sticky texture makes it ideal for drizzling over sushi or adding to sauces or dressing salads.

For those who’d like to give this intriguing sauce a try at home, it can be found in most large grocery stores or Asian markets – so go ahead and have fun experimenting.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Eel Sauce

If you’re a sushi lover, then you’ve probably heard of and tasted eel sauce.

But what do you do if it’s not available? Well, don’t worry.

Here we have compiled the five best substitutes for eel sauce that will still give you all the flavor and deliciousness without having to go searching high and low for eel sauce.

1 – Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki sauce is an essential condiment in Japanese cuisine, providing a unique umami flavor to a variety of dishes.

Its sweet and savory combination adds instant depth and richness that can’t be replicated with any other sauces.

This thick and glossy glaze has a hint of garlic, which works perfectly with chicken, beef, pork, or fish.

The texture is velvety smooth that almost melts in your mouth.

If you don’t have access to eel sauce, you can easily substitute Teriyaki sauce to make sushi-like dishes at home.

Simply mix it with sake and mirin for the signature salty-sweet flavor typical of eel sauces.

Experiment by adding fresh ginger or crushed red pepper flakes for a little bit of heat.

2 – Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is an Asian condiment beloved by cooks and diners alike all around the world.

The combination of sweet and savory flavors lends depth to stir-fries, wraps, and salad dressings alike.

It originates from China as a mix of fermented soybeans, vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, chili peppers, and other spices that come together to create a flavor profile unlike any other.

Hoisin’s creamy texture makes it a particularly pleasing addition to dishes – although its intense umami flavor might be overwhelming to some palettes.

If you can’t find hoisin in your local store or you want something with a bit more sweetness, eel sauce is an ideal substitute.

Simply cut back on the amount used since eel sauce tends to have an even stronger kick than hoisin – doing so will ensure maximum deliciousness with every bite.

3 – Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is one of the most widely used ingredients in Asian cuisine.

It’s known for its deep, savory flavor and a slightly sweet umami note, making it the perfect addition to a variety of dishes.

A classic blend of oyster extract, liquid sugar, soy sauce, and other seasonings, oyster sauce, is traditionally used to help bring out the best flavors in meats like pork and chicken.

Its thick texture also makes it excellent for stir-fries or as a dip for appetizers.

If you’re unable to get your hands on oyster sauce, eel sauce can be an excellent substitute.

Just remember to adjust for sweetness, as eel sauce has more of a salty taste than traditional oyster sauce does.

Mixed with chili oil and fresh herbs, it can make an incredibly flavorful stir-fry or a delicious dipping base.

4 – Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is an indispensable condiment in many Southeast Asian cuisines.

It is made from fermented anchovies and is used as a seasoning or an ingredient to introduce a pungent, salty flavor component to dishes.

When tasted on its own, it can be fairly overwhelming and doesn’t taste very good – the smell of it brings up associations with fishiness or the sea.

However, when used sparingly and blended with other ingredients, the fish sauce adds an umami flavor to steamed rice dishes, soups, salads, or sauces.

The complexity of this traditional condiment is truly remarkable.

If you’re finding that eel sauce isn’t currently available, you can substitute it with fish sauce – just remember not to use too much because even then, it can overpower your dish.

5 – Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a delicious, salty condiment used to enhance the flavor of dishes.

It’s believed to have first been invented in China over 2,500 years ago and, since then, has become a popular condiment all around the world.

Soy sauce is usually made with fermented soybeans and wheat that is combined with salt and some combination of spices.

This gives it a savory taste and thick, semi-liquid texture that make it an ideal addition to many different dishes.

As its own flavor profile can be quite intense, soy sauce makes a wonderful substitute for eel sauce that can be used to top sushi or liven up other dishes.

To substitute for eel sauce, simply make your favorite eel sauce recipe but add one tablespoon of soy sauce instead of two for a slightly milder taste.


In conclusion, there are many excellent substitutes for eel sauce that can be used to make delicious dishes with a unique flavor profile.

Teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce are all excellent options for adding depth and umami to your dishes.

Remember to adjust the amount of each sauce used depending on how strong or mild you want the flavor to be.

With these options, you can find the perfect flavor to please your taste buds and create a dish that is sure to be remembered.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Eel Sauce

The 5 Best Substitutes for Eel Sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Fish Sauce
  • Soy Sauce


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

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