Tamari Substitute: 8 Best Substitutes for Tamari

Tamari Substitute

If you can’t find tamari at the store, try any of the tamari substitutes listed in this article to continue your cooking.

Tamari is a Japanese sauce that offers dishes both salty and sweet flavors. Tamari is a widely used ingredient found in many recipes. 

Top 8 Tamari Substitutes

1. Miso Paste

Miso Paste - Tamari Substitute

Miso paste is also another traditional Japanese seasoning. Since tamari is a byproduct of miso paste, it makes a suitable substitute.

It also has a variety of versions. Red miso has aged longer than white miso, giving it a richer and saltier flavor. White miso paste also has a lighter texture. Mixed miso is the combination of the two.

Miso paste has a taste comparable to tamari. Even so, since miso is a paste, you need to add water or another liquid to the dish to create a texture identical to tamari.

You may also opt to dilute miso paste with a little water before adding it to your recipe. To do this, combine 2 teaspoons of water with 1 teaspoon of miso paste.

2. Soy Sauce

Soy Sauce

Got some soy sauce on hand? You can easily replace tamari with soy sauce. Any soy sauce will suffice, but a darker soy sauce, which has the caramel taste found in tamari, will make a better fit.

Although the taste will not be exact, it should still work in any recipe that calls for tamari.

Soy sauce also has the advantage of being more readily available and less costly than tamari.

3. Coconut Aminos

Coconut Aminos

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Coconut aminos could be the right choice for you if you want to stay away from soy products. It is a sauce that comes from coconut trees’ fermented sap, which is often used to make coconut sugar.

Though not as dark as tamari, its appearance is close enough to serve as a suitable substitute.

When substituting with coconut aminos, please note that they contain a lot of sugar, so start with a small amount and work your way up to avoid overpowering your recipe.

4. Fish Sauce

Fish Sauce

Another ingredient that can act as a substitute for tamari is fish sauce. Fish sauce comes from salted and fermented anchovies. It is a popular seasoning in Southern Asia that gives foods a pungent, savory flavor.

Although the aroma of fish sauce might be offputting on its own, it can balance savory tastes.

Fish sauce is a decent tamari alternative since it contains glutamates which create an umami flavor.

5. Oyster Sauce

Oyster Sauce - Tamari Substitute

Enjoy the distinct flavor profile of oyster sauce in your recipe. It is a thicker, sweeter version of tamari. If you like stir-fried meals, oyster sauce is a fantastic way to incorporate sweet, savory, and umami flavors into your meal. It is commonly used in several Asian dishes to give a seafood kick in addition to an umami flavor.

6. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar - Tamari Substitute

Balsamic vinegar comes to the rescue if you are searching for a decent pairing for your meat or vegetables. Since it is sourer than tamari, you can use sugar or honey to sweeten it.

Using balsamic vinegar as a salad dressing is a common pairing enjoyed by many. Since it has both a sour and salty taste, it pairs well with salt, pepper, and olive oil.

7. Salt

Salt

Salt is a must-have in every kitchen, and you probably have some on hand. In fact, salt is a major ingredient of tamari, so you can conveniently use it to replace the saltiness of the sauce.

Another advantage of salt is that it is very cost-effective since it is much less expensive than tamari.

You can choose from a variety of salts, including garlic salt, chili salt, and onion salt, among many others. Even without the umami flavor, it is always a perfect seasoning to use in cooking.

8. Anchovies

Anchovies

Anchovies have the perfect salty, fishy, and umami tastes that balance out a dish.

These tiny fish are also easy to buy since they are sold in almost every grocery store. You can even purchase them online. Besides, they are much less expensive than tamari.

When substituting anchovies for tamari, keep in mind that your dish will lack the caramel taste that tamari provides. Anchovies can also have a strong odor that does not appeal to all.

The Bottom Line

When looking for a substitute for tamari in your recipes, there are plenty of options available. You can choose from the list above that shares similar flavors, textures, or other characteristics with tamari.

We hope you find the one that fits your dish.

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