Best Oyster Sauce

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Let's switch gears a bit from our "typical" oyster topics and look another type of oyster food product! Are you looking for the perfect Oyster Sauce to add an Asian twist to your mealtimes? Then look no further.

Oyster sauce is a staple ingredient in most Cantonese, Thai, and even Vietnamese dishes. Despite being made with boiled down oyster juice, it does not taste strongly like oysters or fish.

It's sweet and salty, and it gives the food a distinct umami flavor.

Oyster sauce describes a number of sauces made by cooking oysters.

The most common in modern use is a viscous dark brown condiment made from oyster extracts, sugar, salt and water thickened with cornstarch. 

Some versions may be darkened with caramel, though the high-quality oyster sauce is naturally dark.

Using oyster sauce in foods is probably the easiest way to improve its flavor without the expertise of a professional chef.

Purchase your bottle of sauce today and transform any meal into a classic Chinese takeout.

With so many different oyster sauces on the market to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one is the very best.

Check out our list below of the top-rated oyster sauces to take your cooking to a whole new level!

OUR TOP PICK

This premium-label oyster sauce from Lee Kum Kee is considered the best of the best in the world of Asian sauces.

This oyster sauce is made from natural oyster extracts and wheat.

The brand incorporates its unique secret recipe that is also used in the processing. This is a sauce you should consider if you enjoy making omelets, various meaty meals.

It also works great as just an all-purpose seasoning.

This sauce has a rich savory flavor with a hint of sweetness, making it a sauce shelf essential for lovers of Asian cuisine Whether it's fried rice or chicken wings, a drop or two of this Lee Kum Kee premium oyster sauce is all that's needed to make it taste like authentic Chinese take-out.

The funny thing about "oyster sauces" is that most of them are made without oysters! This one is the best by far and is made from oysters.

It has a deep, intensely savory, salty flavor that the others cannot match. A little goes a long way.

The brand makes several different types of oyster sauce, but this premium bottle is the only one that contains real oysters. 

Thanks to the sauce’s premium consistency, fresh taste, and mess-free packaging, the brand remains a firm favorite among oyster sauce connoisseurs.

It does, however, include MSG and, because it is made with wheat flour, it is not gluten-free. This sauce contains a lot of sodium.

Use it sparingly in your recipes. Begin with half a teaspoon and mix thoroughly; add more only if necessary.

Pros

  • Consistent quality and has hundreds of positive reviews
  • Made from real oyster, not just flavoring
  • It’s versatile- perfect on its own or incorporated into an Asian sauce
  • A little goes a long way so you won’t have to replace it too often
  • The authentic dark color and thick consistency

Cons

  • This oyster sauce contains MSG
  • This oyster sauce is not gluten-free, as it contains wheat flour

EDITORS CHOICE

The Maekrua Thai Oyster Sauce brand is a great choice. It's low in calories and sugar, and it's fat-free.

While it contains sodium, it does not contain as much as some of the others available on the market. 

The flavor isn't overpowering, but it is perfect for seasoning a variety of meals. Despite the fact that this oyster sauce does not include MSG, it lasts a long time.

It has a lovely, thick consistency and a sweet flavor. You don't need a lot of it to season a dish for you and your family, and you'll probably get multiple uses out of a single bottle.

Because the Maekrua Thai oyster sauce contains gluten and soy, it is not suited for those who are allergic to such ingredients.

However, it works well as a substitute for fish sauce. Because it has more flavor than fish sauce, you will not need to use as much of it to have the same effect with your dish.

The bottle is wrapped in heavy bubble wrap. However, despite the protective wrapping, the bottle has occasionally arrived shattered.

When unpacked hastily, the bubble wrap can peel off the label. As a result, it is important to proceed cautiously when opening up the package.

When it comes to oyster sauce, the Maekrua brand is one of the most well-known. It's incredibly adaptable and comes with a lot of servings per bottle.

It goes well with stir-fry and can be used to thicken soups. As a result, it's a good sauce to keep on hand all year round.

However, due to the viscosity of the sauce, some reviewers found it difficult to get it out of the bottle, especially after it has been sitting in the fridge. 

Pros

  • Low in calories, sugar, and it’s fat-free
  • Strong oyster flavor without being too overpowering
  • No MSG or preservatives, but still stays fresh for a long time
  • Thick consistency, great for soups and seasoning
  • Lots of servings per bottle

Cons

  • The sauce is very thick so it can be difficult to get out of the bottle if it’s refrigerated
  • It’s not the most affordable option
  • Some packaging issues

BEST VALUE

How many times have you had to skip the Chinese food because it wasn't vegan? Well, not anymore! 

This oyster sauce is made using mushroom extract. It incorporates all of the great characteristics of oyster sauce, but without the presence of shellfish.

This also makes it safe for those who are allergic to seafood.

However, as this sauce isn’t made from real oysters, it’s not considered an “authentic oyster sauce.”

If you have a fish allergy, you can still enjoy the benefits and flavors of traditional oyster sauce.

The sauce is from Taiwan, and it contains water, soybeans, wheat, mushrooms, and other ingredients. The sauce itself is thick and rich which adds a subtle savory twist to pretty much any dish.

You can use it in a stir fry, on the grill, or as a dip. It also works well in soups and other dishes where you want to add flavor and thicken sauces. 

Unfortunately, the Wan Ja Shan vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce is not gluten-free or soy-free. However, It doesn't contain MSG, and you don't need to use much of it to achieve a good flavor.

If you add too much to a dish, it can get a touch too salty. You can store the sauce in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life, but this will make getting it out of the bottle more difficult.

Pros

  • Contains no MSG but still long-lasting
  • Suitable for vegans and vegetarians
  • Suitable for those with seafood allergies
  • Thick sauce with a rich, savory flavor
  • Versatile- it’s great in stir fry or as an all-purpose seasoning

Cons

  • It contains soy and gluten
  • It doesn’t contain “real oyster”
  • It’s a little salty

RUNNER UP

This sauce is an excellent marinade for meats and veggies.

Its strong umami flavor enhances the richness of everyday Asian foods such as rice bowls, wraps, sandwiches, and salads.

It is created with natural liquor derived from raw oysters. 

This is the liquid found inside raw oysters. This fluid keeps oysters alive and fresh after they have been removed from seawater.

Because of this, Kikkoman's sauce has a balanced flavor that is powerful but not overbearing.

This oyster sauce, unlike most others, does not include high fructose corn syrup or MSG.

It's also free of gluten and soy, making it a more appealing alternative for a wider range of oyster sauce enthusiasts.

It has a thick consistency and gives your stir-fried Chinese broccoli, wok-fried green beans, or chicken wings an Asian twist.

It’s important to note that Kikkoman does not sell authentic Asian oyster sauce.

It's more suited to Americans, which isn't necessarily a fault.  It's ideal for yummy Asian-American recipes.

Pros

  • It’s pre-thickened which helps with adding body to sauces and soups
  • Rich and pleasant umami flavor
  • Low in calories and free from MSG
  • Made in the USA, perfect for Asian-American cuisine

Cons

  • A few customers have complained about damaged packaging

RUNNER UP

While most gluten-free diets require you to avoid oyster sauce, Wok Mei is suitable for those with intolerances and allergies.

It delivers a gluten-free oyster sauce, allowing you to enjoy the flavor without jeopardizing your health. 

The sauce is made with water, cane syrup, and salt. GMO-free cornstarch, caramel color, vinegar, maltodextrin, and oyster extract.

Wok Mei oyster sauce does not include refined carbohydrates or sugars, and it is free of MSG and other additives.

The sauce is of high quality and tastes similar to other store-bought oyster sauces. Two jars of sauce are reasonably priced, saving you more money.

The sauce can be used in a variety of meals, including chow mein and other Asian cuisines.

It can also be used in other handmade dishes, allowing you to experiment with different flavors. It can add richness to your food while not overpowering other flavors. As a result, it creates a great gravy or marinade foundation.

Pros

  • It is gluten-free and suitable for those with certain allergies and intolerances
  • It’s affordable and you get 2 jars per pack
  • No additives or MSG, but it still has a long shelf life
  • Rich and powerful flavor without being overwhelming

Cons

  • Very sweet compared to other sauces, making it unsuitable for those who plan to make savory dishes
  • Very little real oyster extract is used

Best Oyster Sauce Buying Guide

When looking for the best oyster sauce brand, there are a few factors to consider.

Many manufacturers produce outstanding oyster sauces, but some have distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from the rest of their competition.

Best Oyster Sauce

What you plan on using it for

You should think about how you intend to use the oyster sauce. If you wish to thicken soups, for example, you'll need a thicker oyster sauce.

However, if you're just adding it to a stir fry, the consistency isn't as important.

Oyster sauce type

Many people are unaware that there are two types of oyster sauce available. Bottled oyster sauce, often known as oyster-flavored sauce, is one of them.

The second form of oyster sauce isn't as potent; it's a prepared sauce that incorporates oyster-flavored sauce but isn't the only ingredient in it.

To distinguish between them, we'll call one bottled oyster sauce and the other cooked oyster sauce.

So, as we all know, the bottled oyster sauce contains oyster extracts or essences, soy sauce, brine, salt, and typically sugar. It's umami-rich, thick, salty, and has a dark hue.

However, cooked oyster sauce has a plethora of additional ingredients.

Sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, meat broths, fortified wine, and other ingredients may be included. 

All of these ingredients are in addition to any oyster extracts or essences that may be used. Corn starch is also often used to thicken cooking sauces.

Oyster sauce taste

The majority of oyster sauces taste like oysters, but some have a more obvious fishy undertone.

When it comes down to it, whether you prefer a fishy flavor in your oyster sauce or not is completely subjective. 

If an oyster sauce contains fish protein extract, it will usually taste "fishy." If you don't like the flavor of oyster extract, simply look for one that doesn't contain it.

Oyster sauce ingredients 

As you can tell from our list above, no two oyster sauces are the same and the ingredients usually always differ slightly.

For example, some oyster sauces are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

These oyster sauces are made without using oyster extract and instead are usually made from an alternative flavoring that doesn’t contain any animal-derived ingredients. 

It is critical to consider the ingredients, particularly if you have specific dietary needs. Oyster extract is not found in all sauces, despite the name.

While many kinds contain gluten and soy, there are a whole host of great alternatives available on the market. You should also examine your other health requirements.

Even if you can normally eat anything you want, you might prefer an oyster sauce that is low in sodium. You can also use a richer sauce if you don't want to use it as much.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is oyster sauce used?

Oyster Sauce can have a strong flavor, so use it sparingly unless you've developed a taste for it. Food experts recommend using it sparingly as a garnish, with something very bland or blended with other seasonings.

One of the most common ways oyster sauce is used in Cantonese cuisine is to sprinkle it on top of steamed green vegetables, along with sesame oil and vegetable oil.

In this situation, the oyster sauce lends some sweetness/saltiness to add richness to an otherwise bitter vegetable. Many leafy greens would work well with oyster sauce.

Another possible method is to serve oyster sauce with bland meals, such as tofu.

As tofu has little flavor on its own, it serves as a vehicle for the oyster sauce and other tasty toppings like sliced green onion, dried pork, and fried shallots. 

It's a quick and simple addition to a summer supper, and it's also perfect for breakfast.

How long does oyster sauce last?

The shelf life of oyster sauce depends on the best before date and how it is stored. If stored in the pantry, the oyster sauce can last around 1 year from the best before date printed on the packaging.

However, if it is stored in the refrigerator, you can expect to get around 6 months of use out of your oyster sauce.

If the product was correctly stored, you may use it for flavoring purposes after the best before date has passed, but try to use it before the consume-by date.

How do you know if oyster sauce has gone bad?

Because of the oxidation process, the quality of the oyster sauce will deteriorate over time, with the color becoming deeper and the flavor becoming stronger.

As a result, the peak flavor of oyster sauce is when it is initially opened. The separation of liquid from the other ingredients is usually the first sign that oyster sauce is going bad.

Old oyster sauce may change the color, flavor, and/or texture, but it is safe to ingest unless a foul odor or mold develops. If it develops mold or a foul odor, you should throw it away immediately.