Tamari is the Japanese version of soy sauce that’s made from fermented soybeans. It has no wheat content(unlike your traditional soy sauce) and has very little to no gluten in it. Tamari has a little bit richer taste and a darker color(much like dark soy sauces) than Chinese soy sauce but it’s still used the same way as regular soy sauce.
It makes a perfect addition for dipping sauces, meat, poultry, seafood, fish, vegetable dishes, and any dish in Asian cuisine. This Japanese sauce is also a great soy substitute.
If you’re having trouble finding this sauce in your local grocery sauce, here are the best Tamari alternatives that would be much easier to find.
Substitutes for Tamari sauce are
- Soy Sauce
- Liquid Aminos
- Fish Sauce
- Coconut Aminos
- Oyster Sauce
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Miso Paste
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Hoisin Sauce
- Plum Vinegar/Umeboshi Vinegar
Want to know how to use these alternatives to Tamari sauce? Keep on reading these articles to find out exactly how.
Tamari Sauce Substitutes
Soy sauce has the closest flavor to Tamari since they are closely related to each other. Tamari has a bolder flavor than the traditional soy sauce but they both give your dishes that rich umami flavor.
You already know that soy sauce is used for all types of Asian dishes like stir-frys, soups, stews, and even in some Asian sauces and dips. Soy sauce also makes a great addition to your meat or fish marinades as it gives your meat a sweet and salty flavor.
There are different types of soy sauces you can choose from but the two main ones are light soy sauce(low-sodium soy sauce), dark soy sauce(which gives color and a rich Umami taste to dishes). You can find these sauces in big supermarkets or health food stores.
Liquid aminos are seasoning with a savory taste made by treating soybeans with acid to break them into amino acids. Liquid aminos are very similar to soy sauce and are used to give a salty flavor to your savory dishes.
This is a perfect alternative for Tamari and it’s suitable for people that are on a gluten-free diet or a vegan diet. They can use this product with no problem.
Another great alternative to Tamari is fish sauce. Granted, Tamari is a mixture of a salty and sweet flavor(like a caramel flavor profile) and fish sauce has a more salty taste to it. Fish sauce is made out of fermented fish(mostly anchovies to get that salty taste)and it does add a little fishiness and a deep umami flavor to your dishes.
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Coconut aminos are a soy-free substitute for either Tamari or soy sauce. This seasonings’ flavor isn’t like the salty sauce that Tamari is. Coconut aminos have a much sweeter and less salty taste than Tamari.
And believe me when I say that this Tamari sauce substitute is very sweet with a very deep flavor and you should use it lightly in your dishes. It’s always better to start with less and a bit more if it’s needed.
Coconut aminos could give your dishes a slight coconut taste which goes amazingly in most Asian dishes. If you’re going for a healthier alternative or you’re on a vegan diet, then I definitely recommend using coconut aminos.
Oyster sauce is a thick, dark sauce that has a sweet, salty, and earthy flavor. It has a syrup-like consistency(much like soy sauce or Tamari) and it’s made out of salt, sugar, and caramelized oyster juices/liquids.
Oyster sauce is used in stir-frys, meat marinades, to give a stronger flavor to vegetable dishes, and for lots of dipping sauces. It will give your dishes a little bit of a seafood kick that you will definitely notice but won’t dominate the whole dish.
Balsamic vinegar is a dark, concentrated vinegar that originates from Italy. It is mainly used on top of salads, in vegetable dishes, or marinades. Balsamic vinegar has an acidic and salty taste that diminishes when you cook with it aka use heat over it.
It is a decent substitute for Tamari but I recommend using it as a substitute for Tamari in marinades or sauces as it can easily find its place there.
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Teriyaki sauce is a good Tamari substitute and it has four main components; brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, and sake. It gives a rich flavor and a subtle sweetness to every dish that’s put into and it resembles Tamari sauce greatly.
The great thing about this sauce is that it has a long shelf life so you don’t have to use it all up quickly. Teriyaki sauce gives a great caramel taste in stir-fried dishes, marinating meat, fish, and tofu.
Miso paste is a paste made from fermented soybeans. The more the soybeans are fermented the darker this paste gets. Miso adds a savory element to many Asian recipes and since it’s fermented, it contains healthy bacteria that can boost your immunity and promote gut health.
Types Of Miso Paste
White Miso Paste- This light paste has a mild taste that is best for whisking into a salad dressing or sauce.
Akamiso or Red Miso- Red miso is the type of paste that has been through the fermenting process for a longer time and therefore it has a stronger, more dominant taste and a higher salt content.
Awasemiso- This is the paste you want to use when you’re looking to substitute soy sauce with something less salty but still want to get that soy sauce-like flavor.
If you need to add a little bit of saltiness to your stir-fries, anchovies are a completely good way to do so. Anchovies are the main ingredient in a fish sauce so they can be used as a substitute for Tamari.
Worcestershire sauce is a combination of molasses, anchovies, chili peppers, sugar, salt, vinegar, and tamarind extract. This Tamari substitute produces the same umami taste like soy sauce but it contains much less sodium and is completely gluten-free.
Hoisin sauce is an aromatic, thick sauce that makes a great addition for stir-frys, marinades for meats and fish, and dipping sauces. It has a very strong, sweet, and salty taste, and it shares a close resemblance to American barbecue sauce. Hoisin sauce is used as a barbecue substitute for grilled dishes, in marinades, and of course, stir-fried dishes.
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Umeboshi vinegar is made from pickled plums and it’s used as a seasoning and it’s a major part of Japanese cuisine. You can use it in salad dressings, marinades, vegetable dishes, dips, and salads.
If you have absolutely nothing out of this list of substitutes and you want to add at least something to your dish, you can use salt to get that salty taste that Tamari has. But, don’t be that hopeful that your dishes will taste exactly the same as they would with the use of Tamari sauce.