If you have a recipe that calls for tamari and you don’t have any in the house. It’s OK! These simple (and delicious) tamari substitutes have you covered.
What is Tamari?
Tamari is a type of soy sauce made without wheat. It is a versatile condiment usually associated with Japanese cooking. It adds salty umami flavours and makes things taste amazing.
The Best Tamari Substitutes
1. Soy Sauce
Easily the closest, and most widely available tamari substitute is any soy sauce. There will be slight differences in flavour but generally I find them pretty interchangeable.
2. Fish sauce
If I run out of tamari or soy sauce, my go-to substitute is fish sauce. The flavour of tamari is darker and more caramel than the bright sour saltiness from fish sauce. But they both make food taste more delicious.
Start with about the same amount of fish sauce. Be prepared to add more if needed.
The main purpose of tamari is to season food. And while soy based sauces do bring a lot more than saltiness to the table, salt is the main contribution.
Salt can be the easiest substitute. And you may enjoy the cleaner flavour it provides.
Try seasoning your sushi or sashimi with sea salt flakes to experience how salt can be a more simple alternative to tamari.
4. Miso Paste
Another option to give you the salty umami-rich flavours is the Japanese condiment miso paste. Miso is thicker then tamari so best to mix it with a little water first. Start by substituting 1 teaspoon miso paste and 2 teaspoons water for each tablespoon tamari.
5. Coconut Aminos
If you’re avoiding soy for health reasons, coconut aminos are a soy-free alternative to tamari. The flavour is much sweeter and significantly less salty than tamari. The coconut aminios I have are 37% sugar so I use sparingly! Start with less and add more as needed.
You may find substituting a little coconut aminos and some salt gives the best balance.
A few finely chopped anchovies added to a curry or stir fry can add the savoury saltiness and depth of flavour you’re looking for. It wouldn’t be my first option though.
Delicious Tamari Flavour Pairings
- Chicken & Tamari
- Fish & Tamari (think sushi)
- Chilli & Tamari
- Ginger & Tamari
- Garlic & Tamari
- Rice & Tamari
- Roast Nuts & Tamari
- Green Onions (Scallions) & Tamari
More Ingredient Substitutes
- The Ultimate Guide to Vegetable Substitutes
- Collard Greens
- Miso Paste
- Oyster Sauce
Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.
Have fun in the kitchen!
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