5 Tamari Substitutes

Tamari is a Japanese sauce that is made from fermented soybeans. It is rich and unique in flavor and can be used for a number of different dishes. It is thicker in consistency than Chinese soy sauce. It is also less salty, but richer. 

5 Tamari Substitutes

If you are struggling to get hold of some tamari when a recipe calls for it then you’ve come to the right place. There are quite a few substitutes you can use in its place and we’ve put together a list of 5 that you absolutely need to try. 

So, let’s have a look at them now! 

1. Soy Sauce

Soy Sauce

It goes without saying really that soy sauce is the most popular choice for a tamari substitute. This is because it tastes almost exactly the same as tamari and it is incredibly versatile in what dishes it can be used in. 

You can experiment with which type of soy sauce as well, depending on how salty of a sauce you want. Lighter soy sauce will be saltier, so if you don’t want that, you can use dark soy sauce instead. 

It works really well if you need something to marinate meats of all kinds and it is also fantastic as a dipping sauce. 

2. Oyster Sauce

Oyster Sauce

Another great substitute is oyster sauce (see also ‘11 Substitutes For Oyster Sauce‘). The name is a little misleading though because this sauce doesn’t taste anything like oysters at all. 

Oyster sauce is incredibly rich in flavor and has a syrupy consistency, similar to tamari. It works really well in stir-fries, as a dipping sauce, and also drizzled over salads. 

Oyster sauce also works really well with meats, especially chicken and pork, which is another reason why it’s a great tamari substitute. 

3. Fish Sauce

Fish Sauce

Made from fermented fish, fish sauce is rich in flavor and also boasts a beautiful earthy taste too. It is so rich in taste that it is actually stronger than tamari, but don’t let the extra strength put you off. 

Fish sauce works really well when you want something to marinate meat and it also works well in stir-fries and salads. 

To make sure the fish sauce isn’t too overpowering when you’re using it as a tamari substitute, make sure you only add a small amount. If you need to add more, do so gradually and taste it as you go. 

4. Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin Sauce

Hosin sauce works so well as a tamari substitute because it is also made from fermented soybeans. 

There are a lot of different varieties of hoisin sauce that are available, each having its own specific ingredients that make them different.

Some variations are made from rice or even sweet potatoes. Some others even taste a bit like American-style BBQ sauce. 

Hoisin sauce (see also ‘13 Best Hoisin Sauce Substitutes‘) is very strong in both taste and smell, it is very rich in salt, but it also has its own unique level of sweetness. It is a bit stronger than tamari sauce, but if you use it in smaller quantities, it makes a great substitute for the real thing. 

5. Miso Paste

Miso Paste

And finally, we have miso paste. It is extremely savory in flavor, boasting a beautiful salty and tangy flavor. There are some variations of miso paste that are quite sweet in flavor though. 

Like tamari, miso paste is also made out of fermented soybeans, which is why it’s such a good substitute you can use. The unique taste of miso paste also comes from a special mold that is used to make it. 

You can purchase miso paste in both a smooth and chunky variety, so if you want to emulate tamari more, you can use either and it will taste just as good. 

Miso paste goes especially well with earthy flavors, so if you’re making any earthy dishes, this is a great tamari substitute to try. 


Because most of these substitutes are made with fermented soybeans, they emulate the taste of tamari really well. You will be pleasantly surprised how well they work when you try them for yourself. 

Give these substitutes a try and see which one you enjoy the most. Each one offers its own unique flare that is sure to work wonderfully in the place of the real thing!

5 Tamari Substitutes

5 Tamari Substitutes

Recipe by Jenna

Are you making a recipe that calls for tamari but you don’t have any available? Well, click here to learn about 5 tamari substitutes you definitely need to try!

Course: Substitutes
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  • Soy Sauce

  • Oyster Sauce

  • Fish Sauce

  • Hoisin Sauce

  • Miso Paste


  • Decided on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video

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