8 Best Substitutes for Tamari


Tamari is one of the best soy sauces which is a perfect pairing for dishes like fish, chicken, and vegetables. You name it, you get to pair it with it. It’s a type of soy sauce that is made without any presence of wheat. It has that excellent umami flavor that elevates the dish all the more.

We’ll find out in this article how you can substitute this as a pairing for other dishes that go well with tamari.

Substitutes for Tamari

1. Soy Sauce

Soy Sauce

Finding something close to tamari for your dishes is easier when you substitute it with a regular soy sauce. This will certainly provide an umami flavor and the right amount of salt for stir-fried dishes, stews, and even as a dip.

Another good thing about it is by using it as a marinade for meats as well. You can mix it with garlic, sugar, and ketchup, then you immediately have a barbecue mix.

2. Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is similar to tamari but a bit mellow in taste and aroma. Tamari can be more salty and strong, so using fish sauce might require you to add some more content if needed.

You’ll probably appreciate the caramel-like taste of the fish sauce without being bothered by the fish smell as opposed to what others may have believed. Therefore, the next time you would like to use this as a substitute, don’t get intimidated.

3. Salt

Table salt

When all else fails, the easiest you can get to substitute it with is no less than salt.

It’s always available in your pantry and saves you a trip to the grocery store. Salt after all is the perfect seasoning for any type of food. If you would like to spice it up, you can also choose the flavored salt variants.

You can pick from garlic salt, onion salt, chili salt, and much more. You might not get that umami taste though but it still works as a great seasoning for food.

4. Miso Paste

Miso Paste

Miso paste is another Japanese classic food seasoning in their cuisine.

Although it doesn’t resemble tamari, it gives off that same umami taste to different foods, especially when you’re making soups just like the well-loved miso soup.

Just be aware that miso paste is a bit thicker than tamari, so make sure you mix it with a little bit of water to lighten it up.

5. Coconut Aminos

This is an excellent substitute for tamari if you prefer a healthier alternative for your food. Tamari can have a great ton of salt if you’re staying away from sodium.

The coconut amigos don’t have soybeans and have a sweeter taste and less salty flavor. If you’re used to the salty tamari, you would be surprised with the coconut aminos’ sweetness.

However, once you get down into it you would be able to pair it with just anything as to how you would use tamari with most dishes. Important tip: Start by adding a few coconut aminos until you find the type of flavor profile that you prefer.

6. Anchovies

Caesar Salad with Anchovies

If salt and other seasoning alternatives don’t work, adding chopped anchovies to your dish will do the magic. Anchovies have that ideal umami, fish, and salty flavor that brings balance to the dish that needs more flavor and kick.

Make sure to not add that much because it might get too salty if you over-add anchovies in the dish. You may also use this as a topping instead of mixing it in the dish, too.

7. Balsamic Vinegar

For a salad dressing, adding some balsamic vinegar is a go-to salad pair-up that everybody likes. It is salty and sour, so it is perfect to mix with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

If you’re looking for a great pairing for your veggies or meat, balsamic vinegar can save the day. Although it’s sourer than tamari, you can mellow it down by adding sugar or honey.

8. Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is quite close to soy sauce and tamari but thicker and sweeter. If you like stir-fried dishes, oyster sauce is such a great addition to add that savory, umami, and sweet flavor to your dish.

In most Asian dishes, it’s widely added in the dish to not only add umami-ness to it but to also add a seafood kick to the dish. Unlike regular soy sauce, it doesn’t add that meaty seafood taste just like oyster sauce does.


Is tamari healthier than soy sauce?

The reason why tamari is often used over soy sauce is because of its great benefits. It has more protein, antioxidants, flavor, and less added preservatives and sodium.

Does tamari have MSG?

Most tamaris don’t have MSG, especially organic ones, so always opt for those made organically. Check the ingredients on the label to see if it has MSG or not.

What does Tamari taste like?

Tamari is lighter because it doesn’t have wheat compared to soy sauce. If you like a great flavor profile in your dish, tamari is a mellower option than using soy sauce. It also has a little hint of sweetness to it that balances the saltiness to it.

Should tamari need to be refrigerated after opening?

To retain its quality and better results, tamari needs to be refrigerated after opening. Also, make sure that you cover it tightly after using it to extend its shelf life. You can store it in the fridge for as long as 3 months when stored well.

Final Thoughts

Tamari is special on its own. In case you don’t have it, opt for some of the substitutes. Comment down below if you have tried any of the recommended substitutes and share your thoughts.

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