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Enhance Recipes: 5 BEST Substitutes for Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is a staple in many kitchens, yet sometimes you just run out.

It’s okay; we’ve got your back with the best swaps you never thought of.

These substitutes are easy to find or might already be in your pantry.

Ever find yourself in the middle of cooking and realize the fish sauce is gone?

No sweat. We’re here to help you keep that flavor profile spot-on without missing a beat.

Think of us as your culinary sidekicks.

We aim to keep things moving smoothly in the kitchen.

With these alternatives, your dishes will still sing with flavor.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Fish Sauce

If you wish to avoid fish sauce due to dietary reasons, there are many substitutes that can provide similar levels of umami and savoriness.

Here is a list of some of the best alternatives you can use in place of fish sauce:

1 – Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a beloved condiment all over the world, used to bring umami flavor to all types of dishes.

Originating in China centuries ago, it has since become a pantry staple for many.

It is typically made with fermented soybeans and wheat, allowing it to have a salty, savory flavor that can elevate various cuisines.

While some may think that fish sauce is its only substitute, soy sauce can actually be an even more versatile replacement.

Those who don’t consume fish or prefer something milder than fish sauce can use the same amount of soy sauce and add just a dash of sugar instead to sweeten up their dish while still attaining an authentic flavor profile.

2 – Tamari Sauce

Tamari sauce is a fermented soy sauce that originated in Japan over two thousand years ago.

It is considered to be a high-quality and flavorful condiment, offering a savory and often slightly sweet taste.

Its purpose is more for seasoning than saltiness, making it an ideal alternative to fish sauce when looking for an umami flavor without the fishy notes.

Tamari can be substituted for fish sauce in many recipes and offers an even more powerful flavor when combined with other ingredients like ginger or garlic.

The key to successfully using it as an ingredient is adding it at the end of the cooking process, so it doesn’t lose its flavor and aroma.

3 – Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is a popular condiment used in many Asian cuisines, mainly originating in what is now known as China.

While the flavor of true oyster sauce varies depending on its brand, it has a dark and thick texture with a mild salty-sweet taste that can add depth to stir-fries, vegetables and noodles.

For those looking for an alternative to fish sauce, the oyster sauce can make an excellent substitute.

The intense flavors are more subtle than traditional fish sauces while still adding umami but without overpowering the other ingredients.

4 – Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a condiment with a rich history and a distinct flavor.

Originating in the 18th century in Britain, this thick, dark brown sauce adds depth to many dishes, from steak to salad dressings.

It is made from a blend of malt vinegar, molasses, sugar, salt, anchovies, and other spices that create a complex flavor combination consisting of sweet, sour, salty, and savory elements.

If you are out of fish sauce or just want to mix things up a bit in your cooking, Worcestershire sauce can be substituted as an alternative while still offering full-bodied flavors to your dishes.

5 – Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is a savory condiment with a deeply satisfying flavor.

It comes from traditional Chinese cooking and is made from sugar, vinegar, fermented soybeans, garlic, and spices.

The rich taste and intense aroma of hoisin sauce are a real treat for the senses.

When used as part of a marinade or as a finishing touch to a dish, it is sure to satisfy.

For anyone looking for an alternative to fish sauce, hoisin makes for an excellent substitute that still offers a depth of flavor.

Simply reduce the amount used when replacing fish sauce with hoisin, as it has higher levels of sweetness and saltiness than other sauces.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Fish Sauce

Don't have fish sauce on hand? No worries! These five substitutes will provide the same umami-rich flavor and depth to your dishes, ensuring that you can still achieve authentic Southeast Asian cuisine at home.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Soy Sauce
  • Tamari Sauce
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Hoisin Sauce


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Substitutes for Fish Sauce
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