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13 Tamari Substitutes You Need to Know

Last Updated on January 15, 2024

Top 13 Tamari Substitutes you need to know to save your dishes! Tamari is a type of Japanese soy sauce, that is used in many recipes as a substitute for soy sauce. But what if you don’t have any tamari at home? What should you do?

Well, there are plenty of other options out there, let’s dive right in!


Tamari (たまり) is derived from the byproducts of miso paste and is a Japanese version of soy sauce.

There are many types of tamari, but the most common ones are made from soybeans. The other two main types of tamari are tuzu shoyu (made from wheat) and ponzu shoyu (made from daikon radish).

There is also natto shoyu, which is made by fermenting soybeans with natto (a type of fermented soybean).

In contrast to soy sauce, it contains no wheat and is exclusively used in Japanese cooking. Additionally, it has a milder flavor and less salt than soy sauce.

A number of dishes use it, including tofu, sushi, rice, noodles, and dumplings. It’s also a favorite seasoning sauce for people on a gluten-free diet.

Tamari Substitutes

Have you run out of tamari or don’t have any on hand? Select a Tamari substitute from the list below, and you’re good to go.

1. Soy Sauce

If you’ve ever tried to make a recipe with tamari, you may have wondered what the difference is between it and other soy sauces.

In fact, they are pretty similar in terms of consistency and flavor. There is a lot of variety in the types of soy sauces on store shelves, but they all fall into two main categories: light soy sauce and dark soy sauce.

Light-colored soy sauces tend to be less salty than their darker counterparts and often use more wheat in the fermentation process.

If you have a gluten intolerance, you need gluten-free soy sauce. In general, you can replace tamari with soy sauce 1:1. ratio.

Darker varieties are also sometimes called “red” or “black” as well as by other names such as: doubled black soy sauce or red soy sauce.

2. Kecap Manis (Sweet Soy Sauce)

Kecap manis is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce that’s used in Southeast Asia as a condiment.

If you don’t like the taste of regular soy sauce, you can use Kecap manis instead. It has a stronger flavor than regular tamari. Always taste before adding and see if more is needed.

3. Coconut Aminos (GF, Soy-Free)

Coconut aminos is a soy sauce alternative that’s made from sap extracted from coconut trees.

It has a light flavor with hints of sweetness and umami, making it an ideal substitute for soy sauce in dishes like stir-fried rice or noodles. You can find coconut aminos in most health food stores or online.

4. Liquid Aminos (GF)

Liquid Aminos is a soy sauce alternative that’s been around for over 50 years, but it’s recently gained popularity among vegans and people with wheat allergies.

It’s made from non-GMO fermented soybeans, sea salt, and water; it has no gluten or additives like sugar or preservatives.

Although liquid aminos have a similar taste to tamari, they have their own unique flavor when added to salads and dressings.

5. Mushroom-Flavored Liquid Seasoning

Mushroom-flavored liquid seasoning is a combination of mushroom concentrate, soy sauce, and vinegar that has been reduced over time until it becomes thick and syrupy—kind of like an Asian balsamic glaze!

6. Vegan Fish sauce

In Asian cuisine, vegan fish sauce is made from fermented soybeans or Shiitake mushrooms, It mimics the flavor of real fish sauce but without the fishy taste.

Because it’s made from soy which gives it a similar flavor to tamari, you can substitute it for tamari by adjusting the amount.

Each vegan fish sauce brand has a slightly different ingredient list and taste profile (some are saltier or sweeter than others). Choosing one you like is the key.

7. Hoisin Sauce

I add Hoisin sauce to my corn ribs sauce.

Keep in mind that the flavor of many varieties of hoisin sauce is quite different from tamari. If you don’t have tamari but only hoisin, you can still use it by adjusting the amount.

Hoisin has a more complex flavor, with hints of sweetness and smoke. It can be used as a dipping sauce, marinade, or glaze sauce.

Hoisin is made from various ingredients like soybeans, wheat flour, spices, and sometimes mushrooms. When using, a little at a time will achieve the right level of saltiness.

8. Vegan Oyster Sauce

Vegan oyster sauce is soy sauce-based. It’s made with mushrooms, salt and sugar. You can often find it near other Asian condiments like hoisin sauce and red chili paste.

You may also see it called mushroom stir fry sauce or vegetarian oyster sauce on some labels.

9. Chinese Black Vinegar

Chinese Black Vinegar is a unique vinegar that has been made for over 1,000 years in China. It’s made from glutinous rice, wheat, and millet which are fermented with the mold Aspergillus oryzae.

The final product ranges in color from completely black to dark brown with an earthy flavor similar to soy sauce.

You may have had it before if you enjoy Asian food or pickled vegetables like Asian cucumber salad and Garlic Chilli Noodles.

10. Yellow Soybean Paste

Chinese soybean paste (also known as Doenjang) is a fermented soy product with a distinctive smell and flavor.

It’s an essential ingredient in many Chinese dishes, including tofu, dumplings, and Mapo tofu.

You can also use it to make sauces for stir-fries or soups. However, you need to add water to dilute it before using it since it is very salty.

11. Teriyaki Sauce

If you’re new to the world of sauces, you may be wondering just what teriyaki sauce is. We’ll tell you: it’s sweet and savory, with a hint of umami (which is basically how our brains translate the taste of protein).

You can use it as a replacement for tamari in stir-fries, drizzle it on your sushi, and even add a dollop to your ramen bowls.

12. Miso Paste

Miso paste is a fermented bean paste that’s made by combining soybeans, salt, and koji mold. The mixture is then left to ferment for several months.

The longer it sits, the more concentrated and flavorful the paste becomes. It can be added to soups or sauces to give them a deeper flavor and umami boost.

On the other hand, tamari is a by-product of miso paste, so there is no doubt you can use miso paste to replace tamari in your recipes. Considering how salty it is, it needs to be diluted with water before it can be used.

13. Salt

If you don’t have any of the above in your pantry, you can simply swap tamari for salt. Since the primary purpose is to season your food, I don’t see why not?

Although these two aren’t necessarily interchangeable. Replacing tamari with something else might not be as simple as just adding a bit of salt to your dish.

In A Nutshell

Tamari is a delicious gluten-free sauce. However, It’s important to keep in mind that tamari substitutes will never taste as good as the real thing.

Have you tried any tamari substitutes in your cooking? Which one you like best? Let me know in the comment below.

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Q: What is tamari sauce made of?

Tamari is a by-product of miso production that is similar to soy sauce. This gluten-free soy sauce is traditionally made with only soybeans (and no wheat), making it more similar to Chinese-style soy sauce.

Q: What does tamari taste like?

Tamari sauce tastes earthy, umami, and rich. As a result, it has a less intense flavor than soy sauce.

You can really taste the complex flavor profile of fermented soybeans since it isn’t overly salted. Many different types of dishes can benefit from this unique way of adding earthy flavor.

Q: What’s the difference between tamari and soy sauce?

Tamari is a Japanese sauce, and soy sauce is more commonly known as Chinese soy sauce. There is a difference in texture and saltiness between tamari and soy sauce, which is a little thicker and less salty.

Q: Is tamari the same as soy sauce?

Tamari has a richer, deeper flavor than soy sauce. What is this? Unlike soy sauce, there is no light or dark variety of tamari. Tamari is also available in low-sodium forms.

Q: Is tamari sauce healthy?

Tamari is one of the few condiments that actually has some health benefits. A tablespoon serving has nearly two grams of protein and antioxidants that are good for you.

Q: Does tamari need to be refrigerated?

Keep the product refrigerated after opening to ensure the best quality. If the product has been opened, it is suggested to use it within three months for cooking use.

For long-term storage, keep unopened tamari away from low temperatures and high heat. Keep out of direct sunlight.

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Tamari is a type of Japanese soy sauce, is used in many recipes as a substitute for soy sauce. But what if you don’t have any tamari at home? What should you do? Well, there are plenty of other options out there, let’s dive right in!
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  • Add a little at a time will achieve the right level of saltiness. However, for the pastes, you need to add water to dilute them before using, since they are very salty in general.


Note: It’s important to keep in mind that tamari substitutes will never taste as good as the real thing.

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