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The 5 Best Substitutes for Tamarind Puree

Tamarind puree is a paste made from the fruit of the tamarind tree.

It’s used in many cuisines across Asia and Africa, but it can also be found on some Mexican dishes.

You use it as a sauce or condiment to flavor chicken, seafood, and vegetables like eggplant or okra.

What you should know about tamarind puree is that it has a sour, sweet, and tangy taste.

It’s rich in sugar and acidity, which makes it refreshingly delicious.

But do not mistake its distinctive flavor for being overly acidic because even people who are used to eating strongly flavored food find the taste of tamarind puree unusual.

Some people even make it a point to enjoy the particular sourness and the unique taste of tamarind puree whenever they can.

If you’re looking for a tamarind puree substitute, you’re in luck.

There are plenty of delicious flavors that can lend a similar taste to your dish.

Here are five of the best substitutes for tamarind puree. Enjoy.

What is Tamarind Puree?

what is tamarind puree

Tamarind puree is a tangy, rich, and sour dish that can be used as an appetizer or side.

It’s made from the pulp of tamarind pods that grow on plantains in tropical rainforests across India, Mexico, and Central America.

The fullest flavor comes when it contains fewer than eight seeds per pod – so look out for those.

The flavor has been described by some people who’ve tried them both ways – tasting like candy with almost no kick whatsoever, while others say that being served up some fresh tamales after curing mode left their mouth-watering yet again due to how good everything felt inside-out stomach.

Tamarind puree can replace vinegar or wine in cooking and is an easy way to add some depth of flavor – especially when it comes to meat.

It’s mainly used as a souring agent, but it can also replace vinegar or grape juice in recipes.

It’s an easy way to add some depth of flavor.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Tamarind Puree

When you’re in a pinch and need a quick substitute, try out these options.

1 – Lime Juice

lime juice

The next best substitute for tamarind puree is lime juice.

Lime juice has a distinct taste, and it adds a hint of sourness to your meals.

This is why it can be used as a substitute for tamarind puree, especially for poultry dishes.

You’ll enjoy the flavor that lime juice gives your dishes.

It is highly recommended, especially in summer salads.

Not only does it add sourness to your dishes, but it also adds a hint of sweetness.

If you’re looking for a perfect substitute that will give you the same taste as tamarind puree, then lime juice is the way to go.

2 – Mango Chutney

mango chutney

Mango chutney is another perfect substitute for tamarind puree.

However, it’s not always available in the market.

Mango chutney is a favorite among many people worldwide because of its intense flavor and sweet taste.

It can be used as an appetizer or side dish for any meal.

For example, you can use the chutney to top up some cheese on toast for a quick snack.

Mango chutney requires ripe mangos, sugar, vinegar or lemon juice, salt, and spices.

You can get creative with these ingredients to give your dish an exotic flavor.

Mango chutney also contains chopped onions.

If you’re looking for a substitute with an oniony flavor, then this is it.

3 – Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another great substitute for tamarind puree.

It has a tangy and sour taste that’s similar to tamarind puree.

In addition, it also enhances the flavor of your dishes, especially meats.

In addition to adding sourness, apple cider vinegar has other health benefits.

It is loaded with antioxidants that help fight free radicals.

This vinegar can be used in salad dressings, marinades, sauces, and pickling brines.

It’s great for making coleslaw because it gives the dressing a tangy flavor.

4 – Lemon Juice

lemon juice

Lemon juice can also serve as a substitute for tamarind puree.

However, it has a distinct taste slightly different from tamarind puree.

This type of juice tastes sour, and it’s used to flavor many dishes.

When using this as a substitute, make sure you add just enough for the intended taste.

The acidity in lemon juice can help enhance the flavor of your dish.

In addition to adding flavor, it also adds a nice yellow color to your food – especially fruits and vegetables.

Also, remember that a lemon is always an option when you’re making marinades or sauces for fish dishes.

5 – Worcestershire Sauce

worcestershire sauce

Worcestershire sauce is another popular choice for a substitute.

If you like the flavor of tamarind puree, then this is perfect.

You can use it when making burgers or sandwich spreads.

Conservative cooks recommend that you add just enough Worcestershire sauce to get your dish’s right taste and flavor.

Worcestershire sauce contains apple cider vinegar, water, molasses, sugar or corn syrup, salt, anchovies (optional), garlic powder, onion powder, tamarind extract (optional), spices, and other flavorings.

The Anchovies give this sauce a strong flavor, while the garlic and onion powder add spicy notes.

The tamarind extract serves as an alternative to tamarind puree.

It also gives the sauce a slightly sour taste, similar to tamarind puree.


So there you go, five substitutes for tamarind puree.

If you want to enjoy the tangy and sour flavor of tamarind puree in your dishes but don’t have any in stock, then these substitutes will do the trick.

They all vary in flavor and intensity, so use them just enough to get the most out of your dish.

Make sure that you read the labels of your substitutes carefully to avoid complications in the kitchen.

You can then get creative with your dishes or enjoy them as is, depending on what kind of dish it is.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is similar to tamarind sauce?

Tamarind sauce is a tart and flavorful condiment made from the pulp of the tamarind fruit.

A good substitute for this sauce would be a combination of honey or brown sugar, lime juice, and white vinegar.

This mixture will have a slightly different flavor than tamarind but still be delicious on many dishes.

Can I use soy sauce instead of tamarind?

While both soy sauce and tamarind are commonly used in Asian cuisine, soy sauce is not a great substitute for tamarind.

Soy sauce has a salty flavor, while tamarind is more tart. The closest alternative that can capture the same tangy taste of tamarind is a combination of white vinegar, lime juice, and honey or brown sugar.

What can I use instead of tamarind paste in curry?

Tamarind paste is a key ingredient in many curries, giving it its signature tangy flavor.

If you don’t have tamarind paste on hand, a good substitute would be a mix of white vinegar, honey or brown sugar, and lime juice.

This combination will still provide the same tartness that is characteristic of tamarind paste.

What is a good substitute for tamarind concentrate?

Tamarind concentrate is an essential ingredient in many Indian dishes that gives them their unique flavor.

If you don’t have tamarind concentrate, a great alternative would be combining white vinegar, honey or brown sugar, and lime juice.

This substitute will provide a similar flavor and texture to tamarind concentrate.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Tamarind Puree

The 5 Best Substitutes for Tamarind Puree
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Lime Juice
  • Mango Chutney
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Lemon Juice
  • Worcestershire 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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