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5 Tamari Substitutes + Ratios

5 Tamari Substitutes + Ratios

Need a list of Tamari substitutes? We have you covered here with five alternatives you probably already have in your pantry.

When it comes to Asian cooking, you can expect Tamari sauce to be considered a pantry staple. 

Tamari sauce is a Japanese soy sauce with plenty of umami and savory flavor.

If you’re planning to cook Asian dishes, there is an excellent chance that you will need some Tamari sauce.

It’s used in various ways: as a dipping sauce, as an added flavor for stir-fry, and even as a marinade. 

However, we must admit that Tamari sauce is not a staple in most homes and is not always easy to find, especially if there are no Asian stores near you.

Luckily, even if you find yourself in a situation with no Tamari sauce, you will not need to scrap your whole recipe.

There are actually various Tamari substitutes that you can use in your recipes, depending on what dish and taste you’re looking for!

The best thing about substituting Tamari sauce is that most of its substitutes are easy to find and likely already in your pantry.

Below are five Tamari substitutes that can deliver similar taste and make your recipes seem like they have Tamari sauce.

SubstituteRatio to Tamari
Soy Sauce1:1 ratio
Fish Sauce1:½ ratio
Shoyu Sauce½:1 ratio
Miso Paste1 teaspoon miso = 1 tablespoon tamari
Hoisin Sauce½:1 ratio
A square, ceramic bowl filled with tamari sauce sits on a bamboo frame.

What is the flavor of Tamari?

Tamari is known for its rich, umami flavor, basically a deep, enhanced meaty flavor. 

For those who aren’t familiar, umami is a flavor that is closest to being “savory.”

However, it has a more meaty and complex flavor in addition to being savory.

The flavor of Tamari is usually likened to the flavor of soy sauce but with less salty taste.

Substitute Soy Sauce for Tamari

Soy sauce is easily the closest and most widely used substitute for Tamari sauce.

Much like Tamari, soy sauce is salty and savory, so it’s not hard to mimic the taste of Tamari in dishes that call for soy sauce.

Soy sauce is used in practically the same way that Tamari is used because many people consider Tamari a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce.

  • Soy sauce: 1:1 ratio

Substitute Fish Sauce for Tamari

The bright and salty flavor of fish sauce is a good substitute for Tamari’s dark and salty flavor.

Although fish sauce will not give the same umami effect that Tamari has, it’s a good substitute to help add complex flavors to dishes.

Additionally, fish sauce is a great substitute if you’re supposed to use Tamari as a dipping sauce.

You may need to add more fish sauce to get a closer Tamari flavor.

  • Fish Sauce: 1:½ ratio

Substitute Shoyu Sauce for Tamari

Many people interchange Shoyu sauce and soy sauce because Shoyu sauce is a traditional Japanese soy sauce.

However, it is more of a type of soy sauce that is sweeter and more complex. 

It is a great sauce for adding deeper, umami flavors to dishes, so it’s also widely used as a Tamari sauce substitute.

Shoyu sauce has a stronger flavor than Tamari, so it’s best to use less when substituting Tamari. 

  • Shoyu sauce: ½:1 ratio

Substitute Miso Paste for Tamari

The salty and umami flavor is also present in the Japanese condiment, miso paste.

Miso paste also has a slight nutty flavor in addition to its Tamari-like flavors.

It’s commonly used for sauces, dressings, and marinades.

When using miso paste, it’s best to be cautious of the amount you’re using because it’s so much thicker than Tamari.

You can also mix a little bit of water into the miso paste to make it have a more Tamari-like consistency.

  • Miso Paste: 1 teaspoon of miso paste = 1 tablespoon of tamari

Substitute Hoisin Sauce for Tamari

Hoisin sauce is widely used for Chinese dishes and has a complex flavor that gives Chinese cuisine its unique taste.

The flavor of Hoisin sauce is packed with very sweet, deeply dark-fruit flavor that is also salty.  

The distinct complexity of the Hoisin sauce make it a great substitute for Tamari sauce.

However, it has a certain sweetness to it that you don’t get with Tamari. 

Although the amount you substitute will most likely vary depending on the recipe you’re making, it’s best to remember that Hoisin sauce has a more complex flavor, so it’s best not to use as much of it as you would with Tamari.

  • Hoisin sauce: ½:1 ratio

The bottom line

Tamari sauce substitutes can be used for countless recipes you can do yourself – even without any Tamari sauce.

Even if getting your hands on any Tamari sauce is difficult, you shouldn’t be discouraged. 

Although the flavor of Tamari brings out a unique taste in different dishes, it’s not hard to replicate the complexity that it adds.

Various alternatives allow you to be more flexible with the dish you’re creating. However, you can be sure that they will still provide that umami flavor.

More About Sauce Substitutes

Tamari Substitutes

Tamari Substitutes

Here are five Tamari substitutes and their ratios that will allow you to feel confident making your next Asian-inspired recipe.


Here are the substitutes and ratios to Tamari sauce:

  • Soy sauce: 1:1 ratio
  • Fish sauce: 1:½ ratio
  • Shoyu sauce: ½:1 ratio
  • Hoisin sauce: ½:1 ratio
  • Miso paste: 1 teaspoon of miso paste = 1 tablespoon of tamari


  1. Choose the substitute you have on hand.
  2. Check your recipe that calls for Tamari.
  3. Use the ratio we show above for your Tamari substitute.
  4. If possible and safe, do a taste test and make allowances accordingly.
  5. Finish your recipe.

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A small brown bowl filled with tamari sauce

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