Don’t have fish sauce, or want to keep your recipe vegan or vegetarian? Here’s the best fish sauce substitute to use in recipes.

Fish sauce substitute

Making a recipe that calls for fish sauce and don’t have it? Or, want to find a vegetarian or vegan fish sauce alternative? Fish sauce is a condiment made from fermented fish that’s used often in Southeast Asian cuisine like Thai food. Fish sauce is used to bring umami (savory flavor) to recipes. It’s got a funky, tangy and salty flavor that’s hard to replace. Don’t have time to shop for it? Here are some substitute ideas.

Best fish sauce substitute

1. Soy sauce + rice vinegar (& miso)

The best substitute for fish sauce? A combination of soy sauce and rice vinegar. This helps to mimic the savory umami and tangy flavor of fish sauce. Use equal parts soy sauce and rice vinegar. If you happen to have miso on hand, you could stir in a little to mimic that funky flavor.

  • For 1 teaspoon fish sauce, use ½ teaspoon soy sauce and ½ teaspoon rice vinegar.
  • If you have it onhand, stir in a ½ teaspoon miso paste until it dissolves.

2. Vegan fish sauce

The next best substitute for fish sauce? Vegan fish sauce! If you’re substituting fish sauce for a vegan or vegetarian diet, you can easily make your own. Here’s a vegan fish sauce recipe using dried mushrooms, seaweed and soy sauce to mimic the umami of fish sauce.

3. Omit it entirely

Fish sauce is often a supporting ingredient that adds a funky intrigue to the flavor in a dish. Typically it’s used in small quantities, so you can often omit it. We use it in our Coconut Shrimp Curry and Best Fried Rice to add a back-end umami, but list it as optional. It’s an ingredient that really amps up the flavor, but is not needed if you don’t have it or your diet doesn’t allow.

Related recipes

Here are some recipes where you could use this fish sauce substitution:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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