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Is Oyster Sauce Gluten-Free?

It depends. Traditionally, oyster sauce only contained oysters, sugar, and salt, but today soy sauce is commonly added. Soy sauce is usually 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 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 oysters.

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

How to Make a Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce Alternative

What if a 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.

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