Tamari Substitute: What Can You Substitute for Tamari Sauce?

Are you planning to make a delicious Japanese dish or something gluten-free? When you’re looking through the recipe, you may have come across tamari, a special type of soy sauce without wheat. But wait, what if you have no tamari at home; will this ruin your dish?

We know that not everyone has this ingredient on hand right away. Not only that, but a quick trip to the grocery store won’t also suffice because they might not have this particular ingredient. That’s alright; we’ve got you covered with the best tamari substitute list, so read on!

The Best 10 Tamari Substitutes

image of Tamari Substitutes

Also called tamari shoyu, tamari is a Japanese soy sauce made without any wheat or grains, having a lighter and mellower taste than soy sauce since it has no wheat. (*)

However, it’s darker and richer compared to Chinese soy sauce. It adds the unique umami flavor we look for in several dishes, especially in Japanese cuisine.

Because of this, tamari makes a yummy dipping sauce because it won’t overpower your dish’s other ingredients. You can also use it as a seasoning or marinade mixed with different spices and sugar.

If you can’t find any tamari or ran out, don’t worry. Here are a couple of tamari substitute options to try:

1. Soy Sauce

image of soy sauces as good tamari substitute

This is the best tamari substitute, but only for those who can eat soy and gluten.

You may have a recipe that calls for tamari because it’s gluten-free. But if you aren’t on a special diet, soy sauce is the way to go.

You can use soy sauce in a 1:1 ratio, but you may want to start with ¾ of the amount needed since it’s a bit saltier than tamari. There are light soy sauce versions with less sodium, which have the similar mellow taste tamari has.

2. Fish Sauce

image of fish sauce as good tamari substitute

Fish sauce is made from fermented fish used in many Southeast Asian cuisines, such as Filipino and Thai food. It brings out the umami flavor in many recipes with the tangy flavor that reminds us of miso paste. (*)

Fish sauce has very strong flavors, so we recommend you only use half a teaspoon of fish sauce for every one tablespoon tamari required in a recipe.

3. Coconut Aminos

image of coconut aminos as good tamari substitute

Do you have a gluten or soy allergy? The next best tamari substitute is coconut aminos.

These have no soy and have the similar tamari flavor you’re looking for, but a bit sweeter. You can use coconut aminos with salt to balance out the sweetness.

You can replace it using a 1:1 ratio, but coconut aminos are less salty than tamari, so you might want to add more coconut aminos as needed.

4.  Liquid Aminos

Liquid aminos contain soy but are gluten-free. This is a good tamari substitute if you don’t have a soy allergy but need a gluten-free recipe.

Like coconut aminos, it has the same tamari flavor but is just as salty as soy sauce. Start with ¾ of the amount required and add more to taste if desired.

5.  Miso Paste

You can get the umami flavors you expect from tamari with miso paste. It is thicker than tamari, so we recommend that you mix it with a bit of water.

When using this as a tamari substitute, use one teaspoon miso paste and mix it with two teaspoons of water. This is a suitable replacement for every one tablespoon of tamari needed.

6.  Salt

The main reason why we add tamari to our dishes is to season our food. Soy-based sauces would bring a bit more to the dish, but salt is the primary flavor at hand.

This makes salt the easiest and most convenient tamari substitute, and you may enjoy its cleaner flavor. After all, who doesn’t have salt in their kitchen?

Season your dishes using sea salt flakes and see how it tastes like! Add just a pinch first, then use more until you reach the desired flavor.

Besides sea salt flakes, you can use other types of salt, such as onion, garlic, chili salt, and more!

7. Anchovies

You only need a tablespoon of finely chopped anchovies to replace tamari. Anchovies can add the saltiness and flavor you want from tamari.

Granted, this isn’t our first option, but a good alternative if you’re in a pinch and need something for your curry or stir fry dish.

Avoid adding too many anchovies since this would increase the salty flavor drastically. You can also add anchovies as a topping to dishes instead of mixing them while cooking.

8.  Balsamic Vinegar

If you plan on using tamari for salad dressing, then balsamic vinegar is a good alternative. It has a salty and sour flavor, so you can mix this with salt, pepper, and olive oil.

You can also pair balsamic vinegar with your meat and veggies. While it’s sourer than soy sauce and tamari, you can add a bit of sugar and honey to mellow down the flavor.

9. Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is a bit closer to tamari and soy sauce but tastes sweeter with a thicker consistency. It’s best used for stir-fried dishes, bringing out the combination of sweet, savory, and umami flavors in any dish.

However, it won’t add the meaty seafood taste compared to soy sauce, so you might want to add other seasonings with it. Furthermore, since it’s a bit thicker, you can add a bit of water for better consistency.

10. MSG

Also known as monosodium glutamate, MSG can give a tamari flavor to the food. Tamari offers more than salt and savory flavors, but these are two significant elements to its flavor profile, which MSG has.

Plus, MSG is quite versatile and easily accessible, working in any recipe that calls for tamari.

Wait – there’s more to learn about tamari! We’ve got frequently asked questions to help you know more about this fantastic condiment, so keep going.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about tamari and what you can do with it in our frequently asked questions.

1.   What can you make with tamari?

There are many different types of dishes you can pair with tamari, such as:

·     Chicken dishes

·     Fish, especially sushi

·     Chili, ginger, scallions, and garlic

·     Roast nuts

·     Rice

They are a great addition to Asian cuisines, particularly Japanese.

2.  Is tamari a healthier alternative to soy sauce?

Tamari is a bit healthier compared to soy sauce, and it isn’t only because it doesn’t have wheat. Tamari offers more antioxidants, protein, fewer preservatives, and sodium, yet it still provides a lovely flavor to dishes.

Furthermore, tamari doesn’t have any MSG, especially if you get the organic variety. If you’re using tamari for health benefits, the best alternative is coconut aminos. (*)

3.  How do I store tamari?

We recommend that you refrigerate the tamari after opening it. Besides that, you must cover your tamari container tightly to have it last longer.

You can store tamari in the fridge, and it can last for up to 3 months.

Wrapping It Up

You’ll be surprised with the many tamari substitutes you can choose from, which offer the rich and savory flavor you need.

Hopefully, you got to learn more about what tamari substitutes you can use.  Look into any of these substitutes and let us know the best one based on your experiences.

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Up Next: Pancetta Substitute: 9 Best Options You Can Try!

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