Home » The Gluten-Free Diet » Is It Gluten-Free? » Is Oyster Sauce Gluten-Free?
Download the Gluten-Free Getting Started Guide

Is Oyster Sauce Gluten-Free?

A bowl of oyster sauce in front of half a lime. It depends. Traditionally, oyster sauce only contained oysters, sugar and salt, but today soy sauce is commonly added. Soy sauce is traditionally made with wheat, and is not suitable for those with celiac disease unless it is explicitly labeled gluten-free.

If you have celiac disease, only eat oyster sauce labeled gluten-free. You may be able to find gluten-free versions in your local grocery store or on online retailers.

What is Oyster Sauce?

Oyster sauce is made by boiling oysters and mixing the liquid with sugar and salt. Today, oyster extract may be used instead of raw oysters, and soy sauce is often added, as is corn starch (to thicken the sauce) and MSG (to improve taste). Some oyster sauces are darkened with caramel. Vegetarian versions of oyster sauce substitute mushrooms for the oysters.

Oyster sauce is most commonly used in Asian cuisine, such as Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese dishes. It is cooked most often with meat and vegetable dishes, such as stir fries, and noodle dishes, like chow mein.

How to Make a Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce Alternative

Recipe calls for oyster sauce but you don’t have any gluten-free bottles on hand? Try these substitutes!

  • Fish sauce will give the taste of seafood, but it’s saltier than oyster sauce. Add a bit of sugar to offset the saltiness.
  • Gluten-free soy sauce or tamari Again, these are saltier than oyster sauce, so offset that by adding a bit of sugar.
  • Teriyaki sauce This is a bit sweeter than oyster sauce, so be careful not to add too much.

Think you may have celiac disease?

Symptoms Checklist