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What Does Oyster Sauce Taste Like? A Deep Guide To This Food

Quick Answer: What Is The Flavor Of Oyster Sauce?

Oyster sauce is a mix of salty, earthy, and sweet tastes that goes well on many meals, particularly stir-fry. What Does Oyster Sauce Taste Like? It has a combination of barbecue and soy sauce tastes though it has also been compared to fish sauce as well. Oyster sauce is far less salty than those two types of sauces and has a savory and tangy flavor due to its high concentration of umami.

Oyster sauce is a popular Asian sauce that is used in many dishes. It is often used as an effective alternative for soy sauce or fish sauce and provides textures and tastes similar to those toppings.

It has a similar nutrition level but has some benefits that make it a great option for many people.

In this article, we’ll examine oyster sauce taste, highlight its texture, discuss how you can make it at home, and examine three recipes that you can use with this sauce. This should give you all the information you need to enjoy oyster sauce at home and with your family.

What Is Oyster Sauce?

Oyster sauce is a mix made by cooking oysters and drawing the sauce that comes from this process.

It produces a fairly thick sauce that is typically mixed with various other ingredients to thicken it up and add a little taste. Oyster sauce is used in many different meals and cuisine traditions around the world.

For example, it is often used in Chinese dishes, as well Thai, Vietnamese, Khmer, and Malay dishes.

It likely began production in the mid-1870s commercially though it was likely enjoyed by many people in Asia for centuries. Producing it at home creates a useful topping, though commercial oyster sauce is also available.

Oyster sauce is often used in dishes like Kai-Lan, Hainanese chicken rice, lo mein, wonton noodles, Daikon cake, cashew chicken, and Buddha’s delight. Though it is similar to fish sauce, it is also different enough to be used in varying dishes.

What Is The Suitable Oyster Sauce Taste Like?

Oyster sauce has a gentle mix of various sweet and earthy flavors that also have a slight tinge of saltiness as well.

It has been compared to a mix between fish sauce and soy sauce, though far less salty and with more of a kick. Others claim it’s like mixing barbecue and soy sauce.

This tangy tasty gives oyster sauce a rather potent kick which means it often takes over the flavors of other meals on the plate.

As a result, it is important to mix it at a very careful level to avoid overpowering your taste buds and losing your ingredients’ tastes.

If you haven’t tried oyster sauce before, it is a good idea to mix it at a far lower level than you would with fish or soy sauce.

Doing so can help you gauge whether it is suitable for your needs. Furthermore, it can also help you decide how much to use on your meals.

What Does Oyster Sauce Look Like?

Oyster sauce has a fairly thick and syrupy look with a dark brown color. It looks similar to sauce and fish sauces in this way but is far denser.

It isn’t sludgy, thankfully, but it does have a slower pour that makes it useful for coating various foods.

Commercially available oyster sauce usually comes in a brown bottle, like soy sauce, that protects it from UV rays and other damaging elements.

The bottle usually has a red cap that makes it easy to identify in your pantry, though the bottle look may vary by brand.

What Texture Does Oyster Sauce Have?

Oyster sauce has a very thick texture that is comparable to some syrups. It isn’t as thick as maple syrup but does have a slower pour that makes it interesting to use.

When eaten, it should have a very earthy texture, one that produces many aftertastes and undertones on your tongue.

The texture should also lake that potent saltiness you get with soy and some fish sauce. That doesn’t mean it lacks a salty texture all together, simply that it’s less severe than soy sauce.

As a result, it is a great alternative meal option for those who want something a little less severe.

Types Of Oyster Sauce?

Oyster sauce comes in multiple brands that may vary slightly in their ingredient lists and taste. One popular option is Meakrua, which has a fairly thick texture that uses genuine oyster extract rather than an artificial flavor. Artificial flavors are common in oyster sauces and aren’t as tasty.

Other options, like Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce, have a thicker color and a savory flavor that is low in calories.

It is important to look at the bottle to gauge things like calories, sodium, and ingredients. Sauce made with oyster extract is typically better than those without it.

Where Does Oyster Sauce Come From?

Oyster sauce originated in Asia and was first commercially produced around 1870. The first major corporations producing this sauce appeared in China and spread rapidly throughout the continent.

However, farmers and chefs used oyster sauce for many years before this production began.

Soy sauce is produced in large manufacturing facilities where various ingredients are combined to produce this mix.

Traditional oyster sauce is made by boiling oysters in water until the liquid caramelizes and produces a rich and delicious sauce.

Is Oyster Sauce Healthy? Or Dangers Of Eating Oyster Sauce?

Oyster sauce isn’t exactly healthy because it has a very high sodium level of at least 670 milligrams per teaspoon serving.

However, oyster sauce has very few calories (often as low as 15 per serving), no fat, minimal sugar, and minimal protein. It provides some vitamins and minerals but in trace amounts.

That high sodium level makes it important to eat oyster sauce in limited levels. Furthermore, the United Kingdom once found high levels of a cancer-causing chemical in oyster sauce in 2001.

Since then, these levels have decreased but remain a concern.

How Do You Eat Oyster Sauce?

You eat oyster sauce by either using it as a basting sauce for various meals, as a topping on other foods, or even as a dip.

For example, you can dip veggies and meats in oyster sauce after cooking them to add to their flavor. Skewered meats are particularly popular with oyster sauce.

Some may even mix oyster sauce in soups to add to their flavor or marinate meats and vegetables with it to make it more delicious.

You can use it as you would soy sauce and produce a similar but different taste. That makes it a diverse and useful cooking ingredient.

How Can I Store Oyster Sauce?

You can store unopened commercial bottles of oyster sauce at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and excessive heat.

Opened oyster sauce can be stored in your refrigerator until it goes bad, which is typically indicated on the bottle after purchase.

Homemade oyster sauce should be stored in airtight containers that have never been used to store non-food items or other food items.

Try to keep the temperature comfortable by storing it in a refrigerator or in a dark and cool area of your home. Doing so should keep it safe.

Can You Freeze Oyster Sauce?

Don’t freeze oyster sauce or other similar items because the cold temperature will likely create a thick and lumpy texture when thawed.

While it may be edible, it will be rather hard to pour and can be unappealing to use in your meal recipes.

Furthermore, the texture and flavor can change heavily when freezing, making it best to store it or throw it away if it has gone bad.

If you have frozen oyster sauce in your freezer before reading this article, just take it out and throw it away now.

How To Tell If Oyster Sauce Is Bad?

When you see mold growing in your oyster sauce, it is time to throw it away. This mold can take on many appearances and may even grow inside the bottle instead of in the sauce itself.

Even mold on the bottle is a problem and requires tossing your oyster sauce away.

You should also throw away oyster sauce that has a sharp or moldy taste with a nasty undercurrent behind it.

A bad smell may also indicate spoiling oyster sauce, which can vary depending on the type of sauce. It is usually fairly moldy or pungent and may turn your stomach.

What Is The Best Way To Use Oyster Sauce

Get the best results cooking with oyster sauce by marinating your meats and veggies in it for at least an hour or more.

Overnight marinating gets the sauce more fully soaked into the meat and produces more delicious flavors. This option also helps produce better overall tastes and textures.

Try to avoid cooking oyster sauce on extreme heat because it can become very bitter if you heat it too highly.

Furthermore, you should avoid adding salt to your meals when using oyster sauce because it will already have a fairly high sodium content.

Is Oyster Sauce Poisonous?

Oyster sauce shouldn’t be poisonous if prepared properly by cleaning the oysters before cooking and carefully boiling them to a high temperature.

Oysters typically don’t have worms but may have bacteria and parasites that the cooking process can help eliminate.

Mercury is a rare problem with oyster sauce because oysters are usually far too small to be dense with this element.

Note that all seafood has this risk, no matter how slight. As a result, you may want to limit your oyster sauce consumption anyway, just to be safe.

Oyster Sauce vs. Fish Sauce

Oyster and fish sauce are fairly salty foods with an umami flavor and are enjoyed throughout several different Asian cuisine types.

Oyster sauce is much darker and thicker than fish sauce. It has a meatier taste than fish sauce, which is much lighter and less overpowering.

It is typically best to use lighter amounts of oyster sauce compared to fish sauce because of its more potent flavor.

Some people may find it harder to enjoy than fish sauce, while others enjoy its bigger kick. Note that you may use both types in similar dishes to produce fantastic results.

How Do You Make Oyster Sauce?

You can make oyster sauce at home by draining oysters and keeping the liquid, and then processing the oysters until finely chopped.

Put the oysters in a small saucepan with the liquid and boil them before reducing the heat and simmering for at least 8-12 minutes on the stove.

Remove the pan from heat and salt while you wait for it to cool. Drain the mixture in a sieve into a saucepan and throw away any pieces stuck in the sieve.

Add two tablespoons of soy sauce and boil again to simmer for 10 minutes before adding it to a jar and sealing it tightly.

This oyster sauce can be kept refrigerated for at least one month before it starts going bad.

This technique is good enough to produce a relatively thick and delicious oyster sauce, though it may differ from the taste you typically get from commercial oyster sauce brands.

Nutritional Value Table

Nutritional Value of One-Teaspoon Oyster Sauce Serving
Fat0 grams
Carbs3 grams
Fiber0 grams
Sugars1 gram
Protein1 gram

Quick Table: 3 Oyster Sauce Recipes

RecipesCaloriesPreparation Time
Chicken And Vegetable Stir Fry19040 Minutes
Chinese Broccoli With Oyster Sauce4715 Minutes
Vegan Oyster Sauce23 15 Minutes

1. Chicken And Vegetable Stir Fry


One Tablespoon Of:

  • One-quarter teaspoon of baking soda
  • One teaspoon sugar
  • One-pound chicken cut into pieces

Recipe Information

This stir-fry recipe is perfect as a beginner option for oyster sauce. Start by mixing all of your ingredients in a bowl and coating the chicken with every topping. Marinade for about 15 minutes before cooking the ingredients to perfection in a wok on medium heat.

This meal works perfectly for those who want a quick dish or someone who isn’t used to the potency of oyster sauce. It should blend well with just about any preference and is something that kids and adults alike will enjoy when served with white rice or even couscous.

Calories Per Serving: 190

Preparation Time: 40 Minutes

RELATED: Where Are Chicken Oysters & What Are They?

2. Chinese Broccoli With Oyster Sauce


  • One bunch of Chinese broccoli
  • Six tablespoons of water
  • One tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • One tablespoon of cooking wine

Recipe Information

If you love broccoli and want to create a rich meal, try this recipe! It’s perfect for people who want a healthy vegetable-based dish that fits many tastes and preferences.

Start by trimming and cleaning your broccoli before steaming it and drizzling the oyster sauce over the broccoli.

You can use this as a main or side dish for a more extensive meal. Try to serve it with rice or other grains to give it even more taste.

The simplicity of this meal is perfect for those days when you want a snack but also need to be a little healthier with your meals.

Calories Per Serving: 47

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

3. Vegan Oyster Sauce


  • Five dried shiitake mushrooms
  • One cup of water
  • Two-thirds cup of brown sugar
  • One-half cup of soy sauce
  • One teaspoon of kosher salt
  • One tablespoon of tapioca starch

Recipe Information

If you’re a vegan who wants to try oyster sauce, this alternative is a great choice for you! It uses mushrooms and soy sauce to create a taste very similar to oyster sauce. Soak the shiitake mushrooms in boiling water for 10-15 minutes and blend them with the sugar, soy sauce, and salt.

Next, mix the tapioca starch in with this slurry and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Wait for it to cool entirely and thicken before storing in a glass jar. You can now mix this sauce with your favorite vegetable and meat dishes!

Calories Per Serving: 23

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

Frequently Asked Questions

How Will Oyster Sauce Affect Meal Color?

Oyster sauce can add a darker and browner look to your food that can make it more appealing and appetizing. This use is common in stir-fry dishes but can also be used when pan-frying various meats and vegetables.

This makes oyster sauce very useful for veggie dishes because these meals are often rather bland in color and look and can be unappealing to some people.

What are Other Popular Oyster Sauce Serving Methods?

You can drizzle oyster sauce on top of finished meals to add just a little extra flavor after it is done cooking. For instance, steamed broccoli and oyster sauce go very well together, as you can add a little oyster sauce on top and get a delicious result.

You can also add oyster sauce to a salad, though you should only use a small drizzle to achieve the best results.

Can You Eat Oyster Sauce Raw?

Oyster sauce has already been cooked in the preparation, so you are technically not eating it raw. But that means that you don’t have to cook it separately and can use it as a dip or even a sauce.

However, you can still cook oyster sauce in various meals, such as marinating dishes with it or adding it to various mixes to produce a more delicious and high-quality flavor.

What Foods Mix Best With Oyster Sauce?

Try to add oyster sauce to meats like pork and chicken, as well as vegetable meals. Oyster sauce is a great option if you’re not much of a vegetable fan and need to roast them to add to their flavor.

Oyster sauce also mixes well with any other savory ingredient, so try to add it to a myriad of different dishes to see what results you can get with it.

What Does Oyster Sauce Taste Like? A Deep Guide To This Food

Oyster sauce is a common ingredient in Chinese cuisine. But what does it taste like? And is it the right sauce for your dish? Learn everything about it here.


  • Pick a recipe from the list above
  • Click the recipe name and visit the website
  • Collect the ingredients and cook the food
  • Enjoy – don’t forget to leave a review

Recipe Video

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