15 Best Substitutes for Tamari

Best Substitutes for Tamari

Your favorite Asian dishes are just not the same without Tamari, but since you’re avoiding gluten in your diet. You might have cut it out of your life completely.

However, you can use several delicious substitutes for Tamari in its place. Here are the best substitutes for Tamari and how to use them in your everyday cooking routine.

Let’s read through it together. 

  1. Soy Sauce
  2. Coconut Aminos
  3. Oyster Sauce
  4. Molasses
  5. Liquid aminos
  6. Fish Sauce
  7. Vegetable Broth Powder
  8. Worcestershire Sauce
  9. Mirin
  10. Monosodium Glutamate
  11. Anchovies
  12. Miso
  13. Hoisin Sauce
  14. Umeboshi Vinegar
  15. Balsamic Vinegar

Soy Sauce

First on our list of substitutes for Tamari is soy sauce. The all-purpose soy sauce makes one of the best substitutes for Tamari.

It has a lighter flavor than Tamari and is commonly used as a seasoning in dishes. It is not an added flavoring agent.

Furthermore, if you’re going to use soy sauce to substitute Tamari, you should use twice as much when measuring.

For example, one tablespoon of soy sauce can be substituted with two tablespoons of Tamari. Soy sauce also has less sodium than Tamari.

In addition, it can have added flavors depending on its variety (such as garlic or sesame). When using soy sauce in your recipes, it’s best to start with lower amounts first.

Then adjust if needed. You don’t want your dish to taste too salty!

Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos are another one on our list of substitutes for Tamari. If you’re looking to cut back on your sodium intake, coconut aminos could be just what you need.

It is made from sap produced by coconut trees. Also, it tastes similar to soy sauce but is a lot lower in sodium. It has 80 milligrams of sodium per serving compared to 360 milligrams in soy sauce.

You can use it as a meat tenderizer and flavor enhancer or add it to stir-fries and marinades. Furthermore, It also contains 17 amino acids that promote muscle growth and repair.

It’s not recommended if you have gluten intolerance or celiac disease due to its high carbohydrate content. However, many people without these conditions can eat coconut aminos without adverse effects.

Oyster Sauce

Think of oyster sauce as a sweet and savory liquid full of umami. The fifth flavor (savoriness) is often lacking in vegan food. It’s generally made with oyster extract, salt, sugar, cornstarch, and water. 

Additionally, the resulting rich concoction can be used to add an extra layer of umami-rich flavor to stir-fries. You can use even use it for vegetables such as broccoli. Most commercial brands are not vegetarian or vegan because they contain fish extracts. 

Fortunately, several good commercially available options are available, including Lee Kum Kee’s vegetarian oyster sauce. Another option is Annie Chun’s organic vegan version. Other substitutes for Tamari include coconut aminos or soy sauce.

Molasses

Soy sauce, or Tamari (as it’s commonly known), is traditionally made from fermented soybeans. However, its strong taste makes it a versatile condiment.

It can add an umami note to dishes ranging from chicken wings to vegan chili. Besides, if you love bold flavors but don’t want to eat animal products, you can try molasses.

Molasses can be used to substitute for soy sauce in your marinades and sauces. It brings sweet, salty, earthy, and rich flavors to dishes in place of salt. 

Also, try substituting Dijon mustard for Worcestershire sauce in stir-fries or French onion soup. You can try wine vinegar for soy sauce on steamed vegetables.

Also, balsamic vinegar with olive oil drizzled over roasted vegetables is good. Finally, These are excellent substitutes for Tamari put together for you! It would help if you tried them to have a better and stress-free cooking experience.

Liquid aminos

One of the simplest and best substitutes for Tamari is liquid aminos. Typically, Tamari is a more decadent, darker soy sauce specifically made to be wheat-free.

Liquid aminos are usually lighter in color. However, they’re much saltier and don’t have that distinct soy flavor that you’ll find in Tamari.

It is a great substitute when you need a flavorful seasoning but doesn’t want a rich taste. You can also use it as part of marinades or as a general condiment on vegetable sides.

Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is an anchovy-based condiment. It’s salty, tangy, and packs a big umami punch. It also has a strong flavor, smells fishy, and substitutes for Tamari well!

Also, some things are not precisely appealing for a topping for your salad or dip for your crackers. Fortunately, there are substitutes for a fish sauce that can mimic its saltiness and savory taste in recipes.

Don’t worry. It doesn’t give up on its signature fishy smell or overpower other flavors with its pungency.

Vegetable Broth Powder

Vegetable broth powder makes a delicious alternative to soy sauce. This seasoning is packed with umami flavor, and it’s also naturally gluten-free.

You can find vegetable broth powder in most grocery stores or make your own. Furthermore, combine one teaspoon of dried parsley, 1⁄4 teaspoon of dried thyme, and two teaspoons of onion powder.

Grind them until they resemble fine sand using a spice grinder or food processor. Grind them until they resemble fine sand. Combine two tablespoons with 1 cup water to substitute for 1⁄2 cup soy sauce in any recipe. 

Finally, vegetable broth powder is one of the most amazing substitutes for Tamari. All you need to do is get the recipe right!

Worcestershire Sauce

They are made from fermented anchovies, vinegar, and spices. Worcestershire sauce packs a spicy, savory punch. It can be used as a marinade or added to Asian recipes.

Soy Sauce is more popular than Worcestershire sauce in most Asian countries (and many other non-Asian cuisines).

Also, soy sauce is made from brewed soybeans, wheat, and salt and is considered by many chefs to be an essential ingredient in most pantries.

Fish Sauce is a staple ingredient in Thai cooking, and it adds saltiness and savory umami flavor to food. In addition, Oyster Sauce is traditionally used in Chinese cuisine.

Oyster sauce gives dishes a delicate sweet/salty taste and adds richness to fried rice or egg rolls. It’s one of the substitutes for Tamari that never disappoints.

Mirin

This is a sweet, low-alcohol wine made from glutinous rice. It gives Asian dishes a glistening sheen without a lot of added sugar.

To use as one of the substitutes for Tamari in Asian cooking, do this. Swap out one tablespoon of mirin per teaspoon of Tamari called for in your recipe.

Note that mirin is very strong, so use it sparingly when seasoning soups and stews. You’ll also want to add extra soy sauce or fish sauce to balance its sweetness. 

Finally, cover and refrigerate overnight if too much mirin has been added to a dish already made with Tamari. The flavor will mellow dramatically. Mirin is one of Tamari’s best substitutes, which always comes in handy.

Monosodium Glutamate

Glutamate has been long used as a food additive in Asian cuisine, but its origins are chemical. It’s produced from starch through fermentation and hydrolysis.

This is done essentially by breaking down a large protein molecule into smaller amino acids. Furthermore, MSG is most commonly found in Chinese restaurants or Asian restaurants that cater to American tastes.

MSG may be labeled on food packages as spices or hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) in the US. This kind of vegetable contains MSG and salt. 

Also, most processed foods have glutamate; it enhances flavor and makes foods seem savory. Are these suggested substitutes for Tamari helping out? Let us know!

Anchovies

If you’re a fan of Tamari and fish sauce, you’ll be happy to know that many brands contain anchovies. Swap in your favorite flavor of anchovy-based fish sauce.

It gives a saltier taste to dishes but will not overpower other seasonings. Additionally, to make sure you’re buying a quality product, it’s best to stick with major brands like Red Boat or Three Crabs.

Buy in small bottles so that your supply won’t spoil before you can use it all. I recommend anchovies as one of the substitutes for Tamari you might need.

Miso

 Miso paste is an excellent addition to broths and marinades. It can also be used as a flavorful replacement for soy sauce. It has an especially strong taste, so use it sparingly. 

However, different types of miso pastes do have varying levels of saltiness. They’re all made from fermented soybeans and are high in protein and vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B12.

Each brand will vary in its salt content, but it’s still one of the best substitutes for Tamari. Also, check your labels to see which miso paste is best if you’re watching your sodium intake.

One tablespoon of most miso pastes provides about 1 gram of protein. It also gives over 100 milligrams of sodium.

Hoisin Sauce

One of the perfect substitutes for Tamari is hoisin sauce. It’s made from soybeans, garlic, and chiles. You can use it in stir-fries or marinades and as a dipping sauce with dumplings and spring rolls.

Also, a  few tablespoons of hoisin sauce can replace about two tablespoons of Tamari, which is 1/4 cup. Beware, hoisin is much sweeter than Tamari. 

Therefore, you’ll want to use a little less if you decide to use it as a direct substitute. If you’re not sure how much to use at first, try adding it in increments of 1 tablespoon. You can do this until you get it right.

Umeboshi Vinegar

Umeboshi vinegar is one of the vegan substitutes for Tamari that’s available. The tart, salty taste of umeboshi vinegar is derived from ume plums.

Use it as a salad dressing or marinade by mixing it with olive oil. Also, try sprinkling a little over-baked fish or tofu before roasting in your oven.

You can buy a bottle of umeboshi vinegar at most natural grocery stores and Asian food markets. You can also make your own. See our Umeboshi-Vinegar Vinegar recipe.

Balsamic Vinegar

To take advantage of balsamic vinegar’s sweet, tangy flavor without soy sauce, do this! Use a 2-to-1 ratio of balsamic to Tamari and add your choice of herbs.

You can also buy garlic-infused varieties that are delicious on tofu or mixed with olive oil. They can also be drizzled over steamed vegetables. It’s one of the best substitutes for Tamari!

However, if you’re looking for extra umami, you might want to try caramelized balsamic. Balsamic vinegar is cooked until it develops a deep, rich flavor or truffle balsamic (also called gourmet vinegar). These kinds of vinegar start around $20 a bottle but are definitely worth their price!

Uses of Tamari

In any cooking process, a staple ingredient must be salt. Salt is used to enhance flavor, bring out specific tastes, and aid digestion.

However, different cooks choose different types of salt, and some people may even try to avoid it entirely. However, if you’re trying to cut back on your sodium intake or avoid gluten (more on that later), that’s fine.

Just read on for ideas about using substitutes for Tamari as an ingredient in your favorite recipes. Finally, we’ll share some information about when it’s okay (or not) to use reduced-sodium or gluten-free alternatives. You’ll know how to use them in place of regular ingredients.

Conclusion

Our favorite substitutes for Tamari are coconut aminos, fish sauce, and shoyu (if you’re not allergic). They all add a nice umami flavor without too much salt. Both fish sauce and shoyu are fermented soy products (like Tamari). Each has many health benefits, as well. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Tamari contain MSG?

It’s a common misconception that Tamari, made with fermented soybeans and wheat, contains monosodium glutamate (MSG). However, that’s not true. MSG is a chemical additive used to enhance flavor in foods. Additionally, it’s an ingredient in some soy sauces since Tamari does contain naturally occurring glutamates from fermentation. Unless you have allergies or sensitivity issues to foods containing high levels of glutamate, you can enjoy Tamari. Read more about how different types of gluten-free soy sauce compare here.

Is Tamari and soy sauce the same?

Soy sauce and Tamari are used in many recipes as a flavorful addition to Asian dishes. It is important to note that these two ingredients are not interchangeable. Here’s why. Mainly, soy sauce is a liquid condiment made from brine-cured soybeans, roasted wheat, barley, water, and salt. It’s rich in flavor and protein and gluten-free! On the other hand, Tamari is a naturally brewed soy sauce that contains little to no wheat. Finally, you can substitute Tamari for soy sauce by simply using half as much of whichever you choose. Just keep in mind that they won’t taste exactly alike!

How to preserve Tamari?

Since it’s soy sauce, Tamari is high in sodium. That’s why it’s a good idea to store your Tamari in a cool place. You can even stick it in your fridge (make sure you don’t freeze it, though). Also, if you don’t use Tamari often, try finding one that comes with an airtight lid to keep out humidity and oxidation. For freshness purposes, I recommend getting small bottles when possible. Please note that you should never reheat opened Tamari. Doing so can kill off certain nutrients and vitamins. Finally, keep it refrigerated and eat within three days for best results once opened and cooled down.

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