The best oyster sauce is savory, salty, and slightly sweet. It has a powerful, condensed umami flavor and a thick, syrupy consistency. The best oyster sauce is complex and possesses a mouth-smacking meaty flavor. We tasted 14 different brands, straight off a spoon, and found the seven best for all your oyster sauce needs.
Oyster sauce is a delicious condiment and cooking agent everybody should have in their fridge. It’s dark and robust, almost like caramel, and is essential for many stir fries, rice dishes, or noodle recipes. Even the smallest pour of oyster sauce instantly adds depth and deliciously nuanced taste. That’s what’s so special about oyster sauce—it’s condensed flavor made by cooking oyster liquid so long that the flavor concentrates, forming something truly special. Both a condiment and an ingredient, oyster sauce is vital to those who love flavor. That’s why we adore it. Here are the seven best oyster sauce brands to search out at the grocery store and online.
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- Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Flavored Sauce
Lee Kum Kee’s premium oyster sauce is so umami rich it practically smacks you upside the head with flavor. It’s expectedly sweet, salty, and sludge-like, but the savoriness is off the charts when compared to other oyster sauces. Also, it should be said, there’s only a few ingredients listed on the label (a sign that this product is well-made), and the first one is oyster extractives. That means that the primary ingredient in this oyster sauce is oyster, which is why the prominent flavor is a lovely, oceanic meatiness. Lee Kum Kee also uses MSG, which explains the added punch of salty umami. Don’t get this twisted with Lee Kum Kee’s Panda brand oyster sauce, which lists oyster extract as the 4th overall ingredient. This is a much more potent product, and quite frankly lives up to the premium label. The best oyster sauce for our money.
- Megachef Premium Oyster Sauce
Megachef is dark, salty, sweet, and rich with pure oyster flavor. The bottle also touts that this sauce won the gold medal at the 2011 Fine Food Awards, so you know it’s a high quality product. Anyway, Megachef tastes purely of oysters without being too fishy. The oyster flavor is just tamed by an underlying sweetness, so it’s not overbearing. Megachef is pricey, and only available online, but if you search it on Google (or Bing! Hi, Microsoft!) you’ll find all kinds of ways to buy it. . It’ll immediately add some meatiness to tofu and vegetables, which desperately need umami.
- Dynasty Premium Oyster Flavored Sauce
Dynasty is dark, brown, and has distinctly sugary notes. It’s rather fishy and sweet, and has three grams more added sugar per serving than Lee Kum Kee. The ingredients also list fish powder, pollock, haddock, and ocean perch, so you are really getting a potent fish flavor. You’re either going to hate it or love it. Personally, I think Dynasty rocks—it’s fishy but that fishiness is full of savoriness that’s tempered by sugar and salt. It also has much less sodium per serving, too. Dynasty is the best oyster sauce for fish lovers.
- Asamurasaki Oyster Sauce
This small lil’ jar of oyster sauce lists seaweed, oyster soy sauce, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients. And man, this oyster sauce is meaty. It’s so rich that it almost reads like a jelly. There are little shreds of fine seaweed in it that add this wonderfully coarse texture. The seaweed flavor is prominent and adds this extra wallop of umami you don’t get with other oyster sauces. It’s expensive, but it’s so damn interesting that if you fancy yourself an oyster sauce lover, you’ve got to check it out.
- Mama Sita’s
This sauce’s garlic flavor is a revelation. It has a roasted flavor that’s not harsh. It works with the inherently savory quality of the oyster sauce. Mama Sita’s oyster sauce is thick, meaty, and pungent. Moreover, that garlic flavor cuts the edge of the fishiness of the oyster sauce itself. If you love garlic, Mama Sita’s is the best oyster sauce for you—it’s a triple threat of flavor (salty, garlicky, fishy) that will enhance any stir fry or noodle dish.
- Maekrua Oyster Sauce Thailand
Maekrua oyster sauce is a product of Thailand that’s smoky, sweet, and savory. I really love that Maekrua tells you exactly how much of each ingredient is in the sauce. It lists 30% oyster extract, 28.8% soy sauce, 11.8% water, etc. It’s rare to see that in a product, as it’s been explained to me by Best Foods that nobody legally has to list the exact amount of each ingredient. There’s no MSG in Maekrua, but it maintains great umami all the same. There is a subtle vegetal quality in this sauce that almost tastes like celery. It’s quite unique—the best oyster sauce for people who like a little smokiness.
- Lucky Foods Organic Vegan Oyster Sauce
This thick-bodied oyster sauce is damn meaty for being vegan, and man is it effing good. The ingredients listed on Lucky Foods’ oyster sauce are just phenomenal. Check out this flavor parade: tamari soy sauce, vinegar, cane sugar, coconut sugar, shiitake mushroom powder, and seaweed powder. That’s a lot of umami, my friends. The result is a funky, salty, sweet, slightly tangy and very savory “oyster” sauce that won’t have you missing oysters at all. It’s just an excellent replacement for plant-based folks. And the best part? No fishy flavor.
Best of the Best
Best with Tofu
Other products we tried: Lee Kum Kee Panda Brand, Wok Mei, Dragon Fly, Healthy Boy, Ka Me, Kikkoman Red Label, Panda Green Label.
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