Home » Ingredient Substitutes » Tamari Substitute (11 Good Alternatives).

Tamari Substitute (11 Good Alternatives).

Here is a tamari substitute list for you. This will be useful when you can’t get a hold of tamari bottles at the local grocery store.

A few different options can substitute this delicious and thick sauce. You’ll find them below, along with some tips on how to use these substitutes in the recipes.

table top with two bottles labeled "tamari soy sauce" and small glass dish filled with dark brown liquid

What Is Tamari?

Tamari is a soy sauce made with fermented soybeans, wheat, and salt. It’s one of the many Japanese soy sauces available on the market. This sauce is also known as dark soy sauce.

Compared to regular soy sauce, tamari is much thicker and richer. This sauce provides a rich, umami flavor to any dish.

Creating tamari is a much easier process than soy sauce as it is the runoff from miso paste. The sauce is collected as it oozes out of the miso paste. Generally, it’s mainly made from soybeans, though some companies add preservatives.

This Japanese sauce is ideal for savory dishes with a thicker consistency. For example, it is best in dips and sauces. Tamari sauce is also excellent for flavoring stir-fry.

Tamari Varieties

A few varieties of tamari are available. There are wheat-free options and those that have wheat included. No separate name is known for each of these beyond wheat-free or with wheat. While tamari doesn’t need to contain wheat, it is done so for flavoring purposes. It alters the taste to be closer to soy sauce with a slightly sweet flavor.

Both types are found at the grocery store. Those who follow a gluten-free diet should read the labels carefully. This is because the inclusion of wheat changes from brand to brand.

There is also a low-sodium variety of tamari available. Generally, the flavor will be the same with low sodium tamari. This option works well for those who need to consume less salt for dietary purposes.

Tamari Substitutes and Alternatives

1. Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is one of the best substitutes for tamari. It’s also created from soybeans, so similar flavor notes will be present. Yet, wheat is added during the processing phase of soy sauce. This ingredient gives soy sauce a sharper flavor than tamari.

When using it as a swap, the salty flavor will still be noticeable in recipes. This widely used replacement works in any recipe that calls for tamari. Keep in mind; that this option is not gluten-free.


This tamari sauce substitute provides a similar flavor. Plus, soy sauce is versatile, so you can use it for any recipe that requires tamari.


Soy sauce offers a more salty flavor, so you may need to alter any additional salt in the recipe. You’ll also find that soy sauce has a slight sweetness not present in tamari.

Cooking Tip: Use a 1:2 ratio to substitute tamari with soy sauce. Add more if needed.

2. Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is a widely-available tamari substitute that tastes sweet and salty. Since this sauce is made from fermented fish, expect a fishy taste. Unlike tamari, it has a bolder flavor, so it’s best in small doses. Fish sauce is an excellent cooking option if you don’t mind the extra fish flavor.

Use this tamari replacement in salad dressing and stir-fries. They’re also perfect for marinades, stews, and other similar dishes.


The fish sauce provides a complex flavor to recipes.


Fish sauce has a more intense taste than umami. It is easy to go overboard with this flavoring agent, causing an unpleasant flavor. Ensure you add this sauce in slowly for the best results.

Cooking Tip: To substitute for tamari, start with a 1:2 ratio. Adjust as needed.

3. Miso Paste

As tamari is a by-product of this paste, you can bet some flavors are the same. Wide miso paste varieties are available. But white miso and mixed miso will provide the closest flavor match. Avoid red miso, if possible, as it has a much saltier flavor.

Use miso paste in stews, soups, and salad dressings. As it has a thicker consistency, this paste does well with recipes with higher liquid content.


Miso paste is an excellent source of umami flavors for recipes. It also provides a richness that other tamari replacements do not offer.


You must alter the paste in a 1:2 ratio with water for flavoring noodles or rice dishes. This alteration adds a step to recipes.

Cooking Tip: Use a 1:1 ratio with the altered paste.

4. Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos are another good tamari sauce substitute.

It has a thinner consistency, like soy sauce, too. This makes it a great replacement for marinades and soups.

Expect a delicious umami taste when using this swap. You’ll also find coconut aminos have a much sweeter flavor than tamari. That said, there may be a noticeable taste difference in specific recipes.


This swap is another excellent option as it offers a delicious meaty taste like tamari. It’s a perfect soy-free option for those who have dietary restrictions.


Because it is sweeter, less salty, and lighter in texture, the uses for coconut aminos are limited.

Cooking Tip: Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing tamari with coconut aminos.

5. Liquid Aminos

Liquid aminos are like coconut aminos in flavor, though they offer a milder taste. They are less salty and only slightly sweet. That said, liquid aminos have a closer flavor to tamari than coconut aminos.

You can use liquid aminos for various dishes, including rice and noodle recipes. It also bodes well in meat marinades and salad dressings.

This option is much pricier than tamari at the grocery store. For this reason, it is not a good swap for everyone’s budget.


This swap provides a similar flavor to dishes.


Liquid aminos can be challenging to find.

Cooking Tip: Use a 1:1 ratio for this tamari alternative.

6. Worcestershire Sauce

Like the above options, Worcestershire sauce is another good substitute for tamari sauce. This is because it has an almost similar flavor. But it also gives a tangy, spicy taste to dishes that tamari does not.

You can use Worcestershire for flavoring marinades, soups, stews, and salad dressings. This replacement option also works best for meat and seafood dishes.


Many already have this kitchen staple in their homes, making it an accessible option. It also offers a complex, bold flavor to recipes.


Worcestershire sauce has a thinner consistency. That said, it is not a good alternative for all recipes.

Cooking Tip: Use a 1:1 ratio to replace tamari with Worcestershire.

7. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar offers a bold flavor as well. It also provides a richness not found in all swaps and a slightly thicker consistency. Other flavors that are present include fruitiness and smokiness.


This vinegar is easy to find in local grocery stores. Most people already have some in their kitchen, making for an easy swap. Balsamic vinegar provides a rich, meaty taste like umami. Because of this, it works well in salad dressings and meat marinades.


While it offers some flavor notes present in tamari, this vinegar has much tangier, acidic flavors. This taste profile limits the recipes that you can use this substitute.

Cooking Tip: Start with a 1:2 ratio and increase as needed.

8. Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is salty, sweet, thick, and full of umami flavor. This sauce does not provide a bold fishy flavor compared to fish sauce. Instead, this substitute made from caramelized oyster juices offers a light seawater taste.

This sauce makes the best substitute in Asian dishes because of its versatility. Use oyster sauce for any recipe, from stir-fries to marinades. It also makes a great seasoning for vegetables.


Using this tamari replacement offers complex, savory flavors to any dish. It’s an easy-to-find alternative with many uses.


There will be a difference in taste when using oyster sauce over tamari. This is due to the sweetness and “oyster” flavor. While you can use this swap for many dishes, it’s not a perfect replacement. It will not bode well with all dishes.

Cooking Tip: Use a 1:1 ratio when using oyster sauce instead of tamari.

9. Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki sauce is another great option when considering the best sub for tamari. It is sweeter, though subtle umami flavors are present. Since this sauce is thicker, you can use it for many recipes. It’s perfect for a marinade or flavoring agent for meat, stir-fry, and noodle/rice dishes.

While teriyaki provides different flavors to dishes, it is still a good swap. Expect a noticeable flavor and consistency difference when using this replacement.


This sauce swap, like tamari, is thicker and provides a similar flavor. Use this sauce to flavor salmon, chicken, and noodle dishes.


There is a distinct flavor and consistency when using this sauce. Because of this, teriyaki is not a perfect match for all recipes that need tamari.

Cooking Tip: Use a 1:1 ratio to replace tamari with teriyaki sauce.

10. Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is also made from soybeans. That said, you can expect similarities in flavor when using this tamari alternative. Hoisin sauce also provides a sweet, tangy, spicy, umami flavor.

Use this replacement for tamari for marinating meat, seafood, and poultry. Remember that hoisin tastes more intense than tamari, so you’ll want to use a smaller quantity.


Besides sharing an umami flavor, hoisin also provides richness to dishes. Use hoisin for a similar thicker consistency and complex taste.


Because of its strong flavor, the use of hoisin is limited to marinating various proteins.

Cooking Tip: Start with a 1:2 ratio and increase the quantity to your flavor preference.

11. Umeboshi Vinegar

This vinegar, made from pickled plums, provides a salty, sweet, tangy, and meaty taste. While not a perfect flavor match, it does offer some of the flavor notes present in tamari.

Use umeboshi vinegar to enhance fish recipes and salad dressings. Avoid it for sauces and dips as it is too thin.


Umeboshi vinegar provides a similar flavor found in tamari. It offers a delicious fruity taste to meals like salads and steamed veggies.


This vinegar is much saltier than tamari. So, it is easy to use too much and create an overly salty dish. This option is challenging to find in stores unless you live near an Asian market.

Cooking Tip: Start with a 1:3 ratio and adjust as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Tamari vs. Soy sauce

Soy sauce has a much thinner consistency than tamari. Soy sauce is made from wheat and fermented soybeans. On the other hand, tamari is generally made from fermented soybeans alone. Because of this, it is a darker, thicker, decadent sauce.

Can I Use Soy Sauce Instead of Tamari?

You can use standard soy sauce to replace tamari in any recipe that calls for tamari. Remember that soy sauce is saltier and sweeter, so there will be a slight taste difference. However, the umami flavor makes soy sauce one of the best tamari substitutes.

Can I Use Worcestershire Instead of Tamari?

Yes, Worcestershire is another good replacement for tamari. This replacement offers an umami flavor. Because of this, it is ideal for replacing tamari in marinades. There is also a thinner consistency with Worcestershire sauce. So, it will not be a good swap for dips or condiments that are meant to be thicker.

What Ingredients Are in Tamari Soy Sauce?

Some tamari soy sauce brands only contain soybeans, water, salt, and alcohol. The alcohol is used only to preserve the seasoning and offer a longer shelf life. But, the ingredients will vary depending on the brand.


All of the above tamari substitutes provide a delicious umami taste to recipes. But, there are some factors to consider before using one of these options. For example, you should look at consistency and extra flavor notes. Doing so will ensure that it blends well with the other ingredients in your recipe.

Soy sauce remains the top option. This will be your best bet if you’re reaching for a tamari substitute and aren’t sure which to choose. Plus, you likely have soy sauce in your fridge or pantry already.

More Ingredient Substitutes

Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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