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17 Perfect Tamari Alternatives For Rich And Umami Flavor

Tamari is a soy sauce that originated in Japan, and is made from fermented soybeans that brings umami flavor to several dishes.

However, if you don’t have tamari or can’t find it in your local Asian supermarket, you might be interested to discover some of the best substitutes for tamari.

Find Out The 8 Best Substitutes for Tamari

In this article, I will cover 8 of the best substitutes for tamari. So, next time a recipe calls for it and you don’t have any, you have plenty of options.

Let’s get into it.

There are a variety of different soy sauces from all over Asia, each with their individual flavors and consistencies.

The most notable difference between tamari and other soy sauces is that tamari is most often made without wheat, while soy sauce typically contains wheat.

Due to tamari’s thicker consistency and balanced flavor, it is an ideal dipping sauce.

Is Tamari Healthier Than Soy Sauce?

This depends on what you deem as healthy! However, of the two, tamari contains less sodium than soy sauce.

Is Tamari Gluten-Free?

Yes, the majority of tamari is a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce. This comes down to the fact that tamari contains no added wheat and is made with a higher volume of soybeans. 

Although the majority of brands of tamari are gluten free, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re celiac or struggle to digest gluten, you will want to make sure that you check the ingredients label at the store to double check.

Quick Table: Tamari Substitutes

SubstitutesCalories (Per 100 Grams)
Soy Sauce53
Miso Paste199
Fish Sauce35
Balsamic Vinegar88
Oyster Sauce51
Coconut Aminos40
Liquid Aminos9.8
Shoyu Sauce53
Maggi Seasoning205
Monosodium Glutamate0
Hoisin Sauce220
Umeboshi Vinegar0
Balsamic Vinegar88
Worcestershire Sauce78

Soy Sauce

If you don’t have any tamari, then soy sauce is the next best thing for a substitute. Soy sauce provides the same umami flavor, although it’s somewhat thinner in consistency.

Soy sauce is a highly versatile ingredient, and is great for stir fries, stews, and as a dipping sauce for your sushi. You can substitute tamari for soy sauce in a 1:1 ratio.

You can also use it as a marinade for a variety of different meats. If you combine soy sauce with garlic, sugar, and ketchup, then you have a barbecue mix ready to use!

How To Substitute

With 1:1 in quantity, Tamari can be replaced with soy sauce. With salty and savory flavor, it comes with a strong earth flavor for any recipe. It is a seasoning used in some types of sauces and soups.

Miso Paste

Miso paste is another wonderful substitute for tamari. Commonly used in Japanese cuisine, it will provide your dish with the same umami flavor that tamari offers.

However, you will need to bear in mind that miso paste has a thicker texture than tamari, so you will need to make sure that you combine it with a splash of water to loosen the texture slightly.

Miso is great to add to numerous dishes for a boost of flavor, from soups to broths, and dressings!

How To Substitute

Miso paste is a paste made of fermented soybeans, salt, and koji, which is the fermenting agent in making miso. It can be used as a substitute for Tamari as it is typically used as a condiment or dip, such as in the popular miso soup.

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Fish Sauce

At the heart of a variety of different Thai recipes, fish sauce provides a unique flavor that is similar to tamari.

Fish sauce can take some getting used to, as the fish flavor and aroma it adds to your dish can initially be quite strong and overpowering if you add too much. Bearing this in mind, you will need to use ½ teaspoon of fish sauce for 1 tablespoon of tamari.

Fish sauce can be added to a wide variety of dishes, from soups, to stews, and stir-fries. Not to mention one of Thailand’s national dishes, Pad Thai!

However, when you get the ratio right, it deepens the dish beautifully and provides a delicious, rounded flavor that will make your dish all the more impressive to your guests.

How To Substitute

With salty and pungent taste, fish sauce is a replacement considered for Tamari. Used as a condiment, the flavor of fish recipes often depends on the type of fish used for sauce.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is another suitable substitute for tamari. It has a sour and salty taste, and is a super versatile ingredient to have in your pantry.

While it is more sour than tamari, you can easily mellow balsamic vinegar out by adding a dash of sugar or honey. You will need to use ½ teaspoon of balsamic vinegar for 1 tablespoon of tamari.

Balsamic is great for making salad dressings, such as Caprese salad, and can even be used as a dipping sauce. It doesn’t get much better than dipping a fresh loaf of bread into olive oil and balsamic vinegar!

How To Substitute

Balsamic vinegar is a dark, sweet vinegar made from cooked grapes. It is a great option to be substituted with Tamari. It gives a slightly syrupy texture to recipes and is often used in cooking and in dressings.


Believe it or not, adding finely chopped anchovies is a great way to achieve a similar flavor profile that tamari provides. Although anchovies tend to be a love it or hate it kind of food, there’s no denying how versatile they are as an ingredient.

Anchovies are great for deepening the flavor of a dish as they provide an ideal balance of umami, fish, and salty flavors that pack a punch and take your dish to the next level. From pasta sauces to caesar salad, anchovies are a handy ingredient for several dishes.

However, you will need to make sure that you don’t add too many, as the dish can become overly salty quickly if you go overboard with anchovies. They can also have quite a dominant flavor, which you won’t necessarily want if you’re not huge on the fishy flavor they provide.

If you’d rather, you can also use anchovies as a topping instead of mixing them through the dish for a more subtle flavor.

How To Substitute

Anchovies are a type of fish with a salty, slightly fishy taste that can be substituted with Tamari. Anchovies are often used in fish dishes such as fried or in pasta dishes. These delicious, salty, pickled fish are the perfect addition to many dishes.

Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is very similar to soy sauce and tamari, however it is thicker in texture and sweeter in taste. 

Made by cooking oysters, oyster sauce has a rich, syrup-like consistency. It is commonly used in Asian cuisine, especially Chinese cuisine, to give it a distinct savory flavor. It is great in numerous foods, such as vegetable stir fries and rice dishes. 

Oyster sauce is a fantastic addition to add that sweet, salty, and umami flavor to your dish that is quintessential of Chinese cuisine.

How To Substitute

Oyster sauce is commonly served as dipping sauce and can be used to add flavor to the recipe. The oyster sauce recipe gives a savory and umami flavor that enhances the taste of any dish. It is an easy substitute option for Tamari.

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Coconut Aminos

Find Out The 8 Best Substitutes for Tamaris

Coconut aminos have a very similar flavor to tamari, and contain no soy if you’re trying to avoid soy or have a soy allergy.

In addition to this, coconut aminos contain 73 percent less sodium than soy sauce, making it a more favorable choice for those trying to cut down on their salt intake.

When using coconut aminos as a substitute for tamari, you will want to do this in a 1:1 ratio. 

That being said, you will need to keep in mind that coconut aminos are less salty than tamari, so you may need to add a little more to appreciate the flavor fully.

How To Substitute

With no added sugar and fresh coconut taste, coconut aminos can be a great replacement for Tamari. With a variation of healthy and delicious alternatives, the coconut aminos can be added to give light and mild flavor to the recipes.

Liquid Aminos 

Liquid aminos are another excellent substitute for tamari. Liquid aminos are very similar to soy sauce, but tend to be less salty, milder, and slightly sweeter in terms of flavor.

Unlike coconut aminos, liquid aminos are derived from soybeans. If you don’t have a soy allergy, this is a great gluten-free product to have in your pantry.

It is the most comparable to soy sauce when you consider the salty flavor, so you may need to use a little less than the recipe recommends depending on your tastes.

How To Substitute

With a slight salty and savory flavor, liquid aminos can be used in place of Tamari. The liquid aminos come in many flavors and can be added as a low-sodium substitute. Use half the quantity of liquid Amino when compared to Tamari.

Shoyu Sauce

Soy sauce is a condiment made from a fermented mixture of soybeans, wheat, salt, and water that is aged for several months to years. This sauce is commonly used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisine.

Shoyu is a Japanese soy sauce with a slightly sweet and salty taste. 

Shoyu sauce is produced by fermenting soybeans, wheat, and salt. It has a deep, savory flavor and a darker color than the light-colored soy sauce. The dark color comes from the soy sauce’s longer fermentation time.

Shoyu is often described as the most versatile condiment in the world. The salty, umami flavor of soy sauce enhances the flavor of many dishes. For example, it is a dip for sushi, a marinade for chicken, or a dipping sauce for tempura.

How To Substitute

Umari is a Japanese condiment often served with rice and vegetables. It is made from fermented soybeans and usually contains seaweed and kombu. It has a distinctive salty, slightly sour flavor that is difficult to replicate with other ingredients.


Teriyaki is a Japanese word for cooking meat or vegetables in a sweet soy sauce and Japanese-style breading.

The flavorful sauce adds a sweet and salty taste to rice, vegetables, noodles, and protein, providing several nutritional benefits for you effectively. 

Teriyaki sauce comes as part of our daily cooking routine. Teriyaki sauce is a popular condiment in Japan with a taste similar to that of sweet and sour sauce.

It is often used as a marinade or dipping sauce for meat, seafood, vegetables, and rice.

Teriyaki is a Japanese cooking technique, and the name of the resulting dish is made by simmering sugar, soy sauce, and mirin mixture in a pot with strips of lean beef or pork.

How To Substitute

The traditional Japanese Umari sauce can be substituted with a teriyaki sauce to make a Japanese-inspired dish. For a quick and easy recipe, mix two teaspoons of teriyaki sauce with two teaspoons of soy sauce and then add to a rice bowl.

Maggi Seasoning

Maggi seasoning is a flavorful, zesty blend of spices and herbs that can be added to dishes to enhance the flavor.

Maggi seasoning is a unique, rich, savory blend of onions, carrots, celery, and ginger. It is widely used in Italian cooking and is especially popular with seafood. Maggi is known for its consistency, high quality, and delicious flavor.

Maggi seasoning is a unique, rich, savory blend of onions, carrots, celery, and ginger. It is widely used in Italian cooking and is especially popular with seafood. Maggi is known for its consistency, high quality, and delicious flavor.

How To Substitute

Maggi is a type of seasoning typically used in instant noodles and contains MSG. If you want to substitute the umami flavor of umari, add some Maggi seasoning.


Salt is used for food preservation, condiments, and seasoning. Salt is also used in water treatment, de-icing, and metal ores extraction. 

Salt is a type of seasoning that is used in many dishes. Salt can also be used to prevent foods from spoiling. Salt is also used to remove clothing stains and help keep a person’s skin hydrated.

It has many uses, including flavoring, preserving, and preserving food. It can also be used as a preservative in other foods.

Salt is a mineral compound that occurs naturally in many forms, but it is most commonly seen as a crystalline solid produced by the evaporation of seawater.

How To Substitute

Substituting the umari flavor with salt is a great way to reduce sodium. The umari flavor comes from dried shrimp paste, which can add a lot of sodium to your dish. Substituting the umari flavor with salt is a simple, easy way to reduce sodium.

Monosodium Glutamate

Monosodium Glutamate is a flavor enhancer that gives your food that extra bit of umami. MSG is made from table salt and glutamic acid, a naturally occurring amino acid found in tomatoes and mushrooms.

 It also helps enhance the umami taste commonly associated with cheese, soy sauce, and beef. 

This flavor enhancer has been controversial, with many saying that it causes the body to release excess glutamate, which can lead to headaches, muscle weakness, and other health problems.

It’s also commonly used in soy sauce production, as it’s a significant component. MSG is also a flavor enhancer in many Asian dishes, especially seafood ones.

How To Substitute

The best way to replace umami with MSG is to add the powder to soups, sauces, or braises at the end of cooking. One easy recipe to make and use as a substitute for umami is tomato soup with mushrooms.

Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is a spicy, dark brown sauce made with soybeans, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and spices.

This delicious Asian-inspired sauce is made from the finest ingredients. It is dark, thick, and rich with a robust flavor. The sauce is not too sweet and is an excellent addition to many dishes. 

The traditional Chinese condiment is made from soybean paste combined with five spices, including garlic, ginger, sugar, and five-spice powder.

The flavor of Hoisin sauce is complex and intense, with notes of caramel, cloves, and star anise. The sauce is traditionally served with grilled meats and vegetables.

How To Substitute

To make hoisin sauce, add 1/4 cup of soy sauce to 1/4 cup of hoisin sauce and heat in a saucepan until the sauce starts to bubble. Then add the soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and water to the saucepan. Heat for a minute then stirs until it boils.

Umeboshi Vinegar

This condiment is made with fermented, salted, and pickled ume plums. It has a sour, salty flavor that adds a tangy note to various dishes. It can be used as a marinade or as a dressing for salads.

This Japanese staple has a savory and tangy flavor that compliments various dishes. It’s typically served with sushi, sashimi, or as a dipping sauce for soba noodles.

Umeboshi vinegar is often used as a dipping sauce for tempura or with sashimi, but it can also be used as a marinade or dressing.

This vinegar is made from fermented ume plums. It has a unique tart and sour flavor. Umeboshi Vinegar is an excellent addition to Asian dishes, especially salads and dressings.

How To Substitute

Umeboshi Vinegar is a type of vinegar made from pickled ume fruits. The umari flavor is created by adding pickled plums and a small amount of salt, sugar, and koji (a fungus) to the vinegar. Umeboshi Vinegar can be used as a condiment for many dishes, such as sushi and sashimi.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a thick, dark brown, sweet-sour liquid with a rich, slightly bitter flavor. It is made by reducing white wine vinegar with grape juice and then aging it in wooden barrels. 

It is a crucial ingredient in traditional Italian cooking, imparting an intense flavor to salads, sauces, and meats.

One of the most popular uses is in salad dressings, where it adds a unique flavor to the salad. It can also be used as a marinade or on top of desserts such as ice cream or yogurt. Balsamic vinegar can also be used as a glaze or in cooking.

How To Substitute: One of the most popular methods for adding flavor to your food is to use vinegar. Vinegar is a popular ingredient that adds flavor and makes food more tender.

For example, to replace the umari taste with balsamic vinegar, you can mix it with soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, or even mirin.

How To Substitute

Condensed milk is a substitute for eggs as it gives you a sweet and milky flavor with reduced water content. The syrup texture is perfect to add in desserts or drinks.

Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a dark brown liquid condiment with a rich, savory flavor and tangy, sweet, and garlic-like aroma.

It is commonly used as a condiment for meats and seafood dishes and is often added to recipes for sauces and soups. The sauce combines vinegar, water, molasses, anchovies, salt, and spices.

Worcestershire sauce is a condiment made from fermented vinegar, anchovies, salt, and sugar. It is often used as a seasoning or dip for meat, fish, vegetables, and chips.

With perfect alternatives, the sauce is most commonly served with grilled or barbecued meat, but it can also be used as a dipping sauce or to season gravies.

How To Substitute

For a delectable umami flavor, try Worcestershire sauce. Worcestershire sauce combines vinegar, herbs, spices, and salt. It is a famous sauce that goes well with seafood and beef. For the umami flavor, use two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce mixed with two tablespoons of soy sauce.

In Summary 

Tamari is a highly versatile ingredient to add to a variety of dishes to provide them with an umami flavor. 

However, next time you’re using a recipe that calls for tamari and you don’t have any, you have a few options to choose from.

Happy cooking!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Tamari Taste Like?

Tamari has a rich, deep umami flavor that is on the more mellow side than soy sauce. 

Made with a high concentration of soybeans, tamari has a thick, syrupy texture. Typically speaking, it is considered to have a more nuanced flavor due to its salinity when compared to other soy sauces.

Does Tamari Contain MSG?

The majority of organic tamari brands do not contain preservatives or MSG, making it an additive-free condiment. However, you will need to ensure that you opt for organic, which can be more expensive.

If you’re trying to avoid foods that contain MSG, you should always read the ingredients label to gauge whether the tamari contains MSG or not.

Do You Need To Refrigerate Tamari After Opening It?

Yes, like many other sauces you will need to refrigerate tamari after you have opened it. You can store it in the refrigerator for as long as 3 months when it is stored properly.

You will need to make sure that you place the lid on tightly after using it to extend its shelf life.

17 Best Substitutes For Tamari 

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Are you curious to know what you can use in place of tamari? Keep reading to find out the 8 best substitutes for tamari.


  • Soy Sauce

  • Miso Paste

  • Fish Sauce

  • Balsamic Vinegar

  • Anchovies

  • Oyster Sauce

  • Coconut Aminos

  • Liquid Aminos

  • Shoyu Sauce

  • Teriyaki

  • Maggi Seasoning

  • Salt

  • Monosodium Glutamate

  • Hoisin Sauce

  • Umeboshi Vinegar

  • Balsamic Vinegar

  • Worcestershire Sauce


  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith