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This vegetarian stir-fry sauce is packed with umami and has the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness. It will add depth of flavor to your favorite dishes and quickly become your secret ingredient for amazing stir-fries!

Vegan Oyster Sauce (Stir Fry Sauce)

I am a big fan of Lee Kum Kee’s vegan oyster sauce, and I used to go through two bottles a month to make marinades or season stir-fried noodles. The thing is, one bottle costs over $5 at my local Asian store (plus, they don’t stock it up all the time)! There is no need to say that it got expensive real FAST.

To cut down on the cost, I decided to develop my own version. After many trials, comparing my homemade version and the store-bought one side-by-side, I came up with a sauce that is not only much cheaper but tastes just AS GOOD as the original!

I’m going to show you below how you can make your own vegetarian oyster sauce in less than 15 minutes with just 6 ingredients. It’s perfect for seasoning noodles and vegetable stir-fries, but you can also use it as a marinade for tofu, vegan chicken, seitan, and tempeh.

⭐️ Why This Recipe Works

As good (if not better) as the original.

I’m not saying this lightly, I went ALL IN to recreate the original sauce that I liked so much. First, I checked the label and wrote down every ingredient. The main ingredients are water, sugar, and soy sauce, followed by salt, cornstarch, yeast extract, and dried mushrooms. Then, I looked at the ratio of sugar and salt on the nutritional information label. That was a good starting point for experimenting.

After several batches, I’m proud to say that my version tastes 90% like the original. It has the same thick texture, comparable levels of sweetness and saltiness, and a similar delicate mushroom flavor.

Now, if you ask me if it tastes like real oyster sauce, I’m afraid I cannot answer as I have never tried the non-vegan version.

A umami-bomb.

My vegan oyster sauce is sweet and salty and packs plenty of umami. On top of that, it has an earthy aroma thanks to the addition of mushroom powder.

This sauce is my top-secret ingredient for creating Asian-style dishes that taste just like the takeaway from your favorite restaurant. Combine 2-3 tablespoons of this sauce with a tablespoon of sesame oil (or chili oil) and you have a wonderful stir-fry sauce that will coat your noodles or sautéed veggies beautifully!

Cheaper than store-bought.

If you are trying to cut down on your grocery spending and cook Asian dishes regularly, this recipe is for you. I calculated that for about the same amount, the homemade version of this sauce costs around $2.5, which is about half of the store-bought version. It’s not even complicated to make as it’s ready in just 10 minutes with 6 basic ingredients.

📘 What Is Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is a dark and viscous sauce that first appeared in China around 1870. The original oyster sauce is prepared with oyster extracts, sugar, and a thickener.

It is commonly used in Chinese cuisine to add sweetness and saltiness to various dishes such as chow mein, noodle stir-fries, sautéed vegetables, or to prepare glazes and marinades.

Vegan Oyster Sauce (Stir Fry Sauce)

🍄 Ingredient Notes

Here are the ingredients that you will need:

Soy sauce

For a ton of umami and a depth of flavor. You can make this recipe gluten-free by replacing the soy sauce with tamari or coconut aminos.

Brand recommendation: I like to use either Kikkoman’s naturally brewed soy sauce or the premium soy sauce from Lee Kum Kee. The saltiness of both brands is on par.

Coconut sugar

To keep this sauce on the healthier side, I used coconut sugar instead of granulated white sugar. I also like the subtle caramel flavor that it brings, creating a deeper and more complex flavor.

You may think that the amount of sugar is high but that’s how this sauce is supposed to be: sweet. You can slightly lower the sugar if you want by using 2/3 cup instead of 3/4 cup.

Mushroom powder

If you have tried Lee Kum Kee’s sauce before, you know that it has earthy and mushroom notes. To recreate that, I ground dried shiitakes in a blender to create a very fine powder. I went with shiitakes but any other dried mushroom will work.

Cornstarch

Oyster sauce is always quite thick and sticky, allowing it to coat any ingredient from noodles to veggies and protein perfectly. To thicken the sauce, I went with cornstarch. You may be able to substitute it with potato starch or arrowroot, but you might have to adjust the amount.

Salt

During my first tests, I only used soy sauce and the end result was lacking saltiness compared to the original. Hence, I added an extra teaspoon of salt to reach the same level of saltiness.

Water

To slightly dilute the sauce and tone down the sweetness/saltiness.

🥣 How to Make It

1. Grind the mushrooms

  1. Add the mushrooms to a blender. Start by adding the dried shiitake mushrooms to a high-speed blender.
  2. Blend on high speed. Next, blend on high speed for 30-45 seconds or until the mushrooms are ground into a fine powder. Set aside.

Note: You will have more mushroom powder than needed for the recipe. This is because I had trouble grinding just a few mushrooms in a blender, so I went with a higher volume to make it easier. You can store the leftover mushroom powder in an airtight container at room temperature for several months and use it to make more sauce or incorporate it into soups or stir-fries to add more flavor.

2. Make the sauce

  1. Add everything to a saucepan. Add the water, sugar, soy sauce, mushroom powder, salt, and cornstarch to a saucepan. Whisk to dissolve the cornstarch.
  2. Thicken. Bring the sauce to a simmer, whisking regularly until it thickens. This step will take 5-7 minutes. As soon as the sauce has thickened, remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes.

📔 Tips

  • Store it in an airtight container. Once the sauce has cooled, transfer it to a clean glass jar or a squeeze bottle. This will make it easier to use and help the sauce keep longer.

🍜 How to Use It

This sauce is incredibly versatile and can be used to make a multitude of dishes. Here is where we like to use it:

  • Noodles: This sauce beautifully coats noodles, giving them the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness. Use 1-2 tablespoons per serving. I love to use this sauce to make lo mein!
  • Fried rice: Toward the end of cooking, stir a tablespoon of the sauce into the fried rice to season it.
  • Vegetable stir-fry: Once your veggies are cooked, stir in a couple of tablespoons of the sauce to coat them.
  • Marinades: Combine 3 tablespoons of the sauce with 1/4 teaspoon of five-spice powder and a teaspoon of sriracha for a delicious marinade! It’s perfect for tofu, tempeh, or seitan!
  • Dipping Sauce: Dilute 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce with 1 tablespoon of water, 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice, and minced garlic. It makes a great dipping sauce for steamed veggies, sushi, or even summer rolls.

❄️ Storing and Freezing

  • To store: You can store this sauce for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
  • To freeze: Transfer the sauce to a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Note: if the sauce is thinner after thawing, you can thicken it again over medium heat.

💬 FAQ

Can I omit the mushroom powder?

Yes, you can omit it. The mushroom powder is not essential to this recipe. The sauce will not taste as earthy, but it will still taste great.

Instead of grinding the mushrooms, can I rehydrate them in water and use the infused water?

Yes, that is an option. In the case you don’t own a powerful blender, you can soak 3 dried shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup of warm water for about 30 minutes. Then, you can use this water to make the sauce. I personally believe that using ground mushrooms yields a superior flavor (it’s earthier and nuttier, just like the original sauce) though.

If you are looking for the best vegetarian oyster sauce, look no further! This Chinese-inspired stir-fry sauce tastes just like the store-bought version, if not better. It’s a must-have if you love cooking Asian dishes!

⭐️ Did you like this recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Note: This recipe was first released in 2021 and updated in May 2024. Just know that unfortunately, my recipe has been copied many times by other blogs. You are on the original page.

Vegan Oyster Sauce (Stir Fry Sauce)
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Recipe
Vegan Oyster Sauce (Stir Fry Sauce)

Vegan Oyster Sauce (Stir Fry Sauce)

4.84 from 6 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Make your own vegetarian stir-fry sauce! It's salty, sweet, packed with umami and so easy to make!
Prep Time : 10 minutes
Cook Time : 1 minute
Total Time : 11 minutes
Servings 1.5 cup
Calories 26 kcal

Ingredients
 

Mushroom powder

  • 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms

Sauce

Instructions
 

Mushroom powder

  • Add the mushrooms to a blender. Start by adding the dried shiitake mushrooms to a high-speed blender. Next, blend on high speed for 30-45 seconds or until the mushrooms are ground into a fine powder. Set aside.
    Note: You will have more mushroom powder than needed for the recipe. You can store the leftover mushroom powder in an airtight container at room temperature for several months.

Sauce

  • Add everything to a saucepan. Add the water, sugar, soy sauce, mushroom powder (only use 2 teaspoons of the powdered mushrooms), salt, and cornstarch to a saucepan. Whisk to dissolve the cornstarch.
  • Thicken. Bring the sauce to a simmer, whisking regularly until it thickens. This step will take 5-7 minutes. As soon as the sauce has thickened, remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  • You can store this sauce for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Store it in an airtight container. Once the sauce has cooled, transfer it to a clean glass jar or a squeeze bottle. This will make it easier to use and help the sauce keep longer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 tbsp | Calories: 26 kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.6 g | Protein: 0.3 g | Fiber: 0.1 g | Sugar: 5.7 g
Course : Condiment, Sauce
Cuisine : Asian
Did you make this recipe? Tag @fullofplants on Instagram and hashtag it #fullofplants
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

Learn more ➜

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5 stars
Thank you very much for such a wonderful recipe !!!

I’m going to have to try this!

5 stars
Amazing!!!!!!!!! Used this to make the sauce used for chicken and cashew nuts and it was bang on!! Very impressed!! I couldn’t find mushroom powder so bought some dried mushrooms and blended those bad boys

thanks so much ♥️

I made this today but come across a few issues not mentioned… I bought shiitake mushrooms just for this and on arrival the instructions read “wash before use” and when doing further research online people were divided on this. If I don’t prepare and make the mushroom powder from scratch should I clean the mushroom before use? If I do I won’t be able to get a powder like needed.

The cornstarch made lumps so I had to strain it out… how do I avoid this next time?

So I soaked the mushrooms, added everything (I only used a quarter cup of coconut sugar) minus the cornstarch to a blender cup and blended on max… and I essentially had my ”oyster” sauce and i thickened afterwards and I used ALL of it in my stir fry and it tasted great! I will make it again but hopefully as instructed once I get answers. Thanks 😊

I’m allergic to mushrooms and I’m trying to find a substitute in place of the mushroom powder! Any suggestions at all would be amazing! Really want to give this a go!

5 stars
Yum! How long will this last?

4 stars
I made this yesterday to use in your easy lemongrass tofu recipe. It came out well and tastes great. HOWEVER, for anyone making this, it makes a LOT, especially considering most of my recipes that call for it only need a teaspoon or so. I realized after I had started already but figured I could freeze it in cubes and always have some in the freezer. But it does not freeze solid and since my ice cube trays are intricately shaped silicone molds (mostly paw prints and Space Invaders!!) it was impossible to get a lot of it out of the molds and into a jar so I ended up wasting about 1/3 of the recipe.

Thomas I always enjoy your recipes but tell me for this one can you substitute the soy sauce for something for diabetics

I have a bag of premade mushroom seasoning that I purchased grom Amazon. Could I use that in place of the mushroom powder and just omit the salt from this recipe?

Thanks so much! I love these homemade sauce recipes 🙂

5 stars
Great recipe, so easy and so tasty. My go-to stir fry sauce, thank you!

5 stars
This recipe bring a new taste to your meals. Thank you for sharing.

Hi. Can I use another mushroom besides shiitake?

I want to try roasting fresh shiitaki mushrooms and saving the liquid that runs off the mushrooms while they roast. When they are roasted down, I would put them in a blender with mushroom liquid and the roasted mushrooms and the rest of your recipe. Fresh shiitake mushrooms are easier for me to get than dried. What do you think?

Thank you for your quick reply! And thank you as well for your good advice – I will try it with 2 mushrooms. I think your site is wonderful!

Thank you for this recipe! I am going to make it but I am wondering if I could replace the cornstarch with something else? Perhaps Arrowroot Powder or Tapioca Flour, do you think this would work with the same measurements?Thanks again!

I just read a note that said you can substitute it with Arrowroot, thanks!