Here is a simple homemade recipe for Vegan Fish Sauce! – a savory substitute for Asian fish sauce that adds depth and umami flavor to Asian dishes without the fish or shellfish! Gluten-free adaptable!

How to make Vegan Fish Sauce! - a great substitute for fish sauce that adds depth and umami flavor to Asian dishes. Gluten-free adaptable! | #vegan #veganfishsauce #fishsauce #veganthaifood #thaifood

Fish sauce is a staple in many Asian recipes and many of you have asked for a good plant-based substitute for fish sauce.  Here’s a simple Vegan Fish Sauce Recipe –  that you can easily make at home. It is totally plant-based and very easy! Make a batch and refrigerate – it will keep for months in your fridge – a meat-free, non-fishy substitute for fish sauce that has depth of flavor, and works well in most recipes that call for fish sauce!

After sampling sips of straight fish sauce (this tells you how much I love you!) this is the recipe that  I came up with.

Enjoy our delicious Pad Thai with homemade vegan fish sauce!

Why You Will Love This Sauce!

  1. Plant-based alternative: Vegan fish sauce is a great substitute for traditional fish sauce, making it suitable for those following a vegan diet or vegetarian lifestyle.
  2. Depth of flavor: Despite not containing fish or shellfish, vegan fish sauce still manages to pack a punch when it comes to flavor. It has a deep umami taste that adds richness and complexity to your dishes, similar to traditional fish sauce.
  3. Gluten-free adaptable: For individuals with gluten sensitivities or dietary restrictions, vegan fish sauce can be easily adapted to be gluten-free.
  4. Versatility: Vegan fish sauce works well as a substitute in most recipes that call for fish sauce. Whether you’re making Thai curries, stir-fries, or dipping sauces, this plant-based alternative will provide the same depth of flavor and umami kick.
  5. Long shelf life: Once you’ve made your batch of vegan fish sauce, you can store it in a sealed glass bottle or jar in the refrigerator for several months. The flavors will continue to develop over time, making the sauce even more flavorful.

Ingredient Notes for Vegetarian Fish Sauce

  1. Soy sauce: You can use shoyu, tamari, coconut aminos, or Bragg’s liquid amino acids as a base for your vegan fish sauce. Choose the one that suits your taste preference and dietary needs.
  2. Dried mushrooms: Shiitake mushrooms are the recommended choice for this recipe, as they add a rich and savory flavor. Feel free to play around with other dried mushroom varieties!
  3. Seaweed: Dried kombu, nori, or wakame seaweed can be added to your vegan fish sauce to provide a subtle hint of the sea and enhance the “fishiness” without using actual fish or shellfish.
  4. Garlic cloves: Fresh garlic cloves or garlic powder can be used to add a savory and aromatic element to your vegan fish sauce.
  5. Optional additions: For additional flavor complexity, you can consider adding ingredients like sliced shallots, grilled (charred) onions, roasted garlic, black garlic, a small splash of rice wine, sherry, or rice vinegar. If you can find smoked shoyu, it can be a great option to enhance the smoky flavor of the sauce.

Feel free to experiment and adjust the quantities of these ingredients according to your taste preferences. Remember, the goal is to create a flavorful, umami-rich sauce to use as a substitute for fish sauce in your Asian-inspired dishes.

See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.     

How to make Vegan Fish Sauce

Here is the simple recipe for Vegan Fish Sauce and of course feel free to embellish, leaving notes for other readers in the comments.

How to make Vegan Fish Sauce! - a great substitute for fish sauce that adds depth and umami flavor to Asian dishes. Gluten-free adaptable! | #vegan #veganfishsauce #fishsauce #veganthaifood #thaifood

You’ll need dried mushrooms, and I prefer dried shiitake mushrooms – but know they may be hard to track down for some. I also tried this with cremini mushrooms as you see here, and they were pretty good- but the dried mushrooms added much better flavor.

Smoked Shoyu adds even more complexity if you can track it down. Miso paste, grilled or roasted onions, black garlic, or roasted garlic add even more depth. You can get pretty crafty when you start thinking about creating depth and umami, so please, feel free to experiment and play around.

In a nutshell,  you’ll make a very condensed broth of dried mushrooms, kombu seaweed, soy sauce (or use GF Bragss or Shoyu) and garlic, simmering this down until the flavors intensify.

Let this steep, preferably 24 hours (or longer) then strain out the solids.

Vegan Fish Sauce Faqs

What is a vegan substitute for fish sauce?

It’s basically a very condensed broth infused with soy sauce -shoyu, tamari, or gluten-free Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, dried mushrooms, seaweed, and a few garlic cloves. The broth is simmered and reduced, and flavors become very concentrated. What remains is a very intense salty briny liquid with a deep umami flavor, that to me, comes pretty close to fish sauce. The seaweed really hints of the sea and gives it the “fishiness” it needs without the fish!

Can I use any type of dried mushroom for the vegan fish sauce recipe?

Dried shiitake mushrooms are the best for this recipe. You can also try using other types of dried mushrooms like cremini. However, keep in mind that different mushrooms will add different flavors to the sauce, so the taste may vary slightly.

How long can I store the vegan fish sauce?

You can store the vegan fish sauce in a sealed glass bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator for several months. In fact, the flavors will continue to develop and the sauce will become even more flavorful over time. Some people have successfully kept their vegan fish sauce for over a year!

Can I use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari instead of regular soy sauce?

Absolutely! You can use gluten-free soy sauce, tamari, or even Bragg’s Liquid Aminos as a substitute for regular soy sauce. This will make the recipe gluten-free and suitable for individuals with dietary restrictions.

More Recipes You May Enjoy

How to make Vegan Fish Sauce! - a great substitute for fish sauce that adds depth and umami flavor to Asian dishes. Gluten-free adaptable! | #vegan #veganfishsauce #fishsauce #veganthaifood #thaifood

Store in a sealed container and store 3-6 months in the fridge!

Remember, feel free to experiment and add your own twist to the recipe. Enjoy your homemade vegan fish sauce!

This vegan fish sauce substitute will keep for months in the fridge and actually gets more flavorful with time. I’ve had mine for over a year!

Love this recipe? Please let us know in the comments and leave a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below the recipe card.

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Vegan Fish Sauce Recipe

Vegan Fish sauce

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.7 from 25 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: sauces, condiments,
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Diet: Vegan


How to make Vegan Fish Sauce! – a plant-based substitute for fish sauce that adds depth and umami flavor to Asian dishes. Gluten-free adaptable.


Units Scale
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce– shoyu, tamari, or Braggs liquid amino acids
  • 1/2 cup dried mushrooms (like dried shiitakes)
  • 1 4 x 8 inch sheet of dried kombu (seaweed) or wakame seaweed
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • optional additions- 1 fat shallot sliced, grilled (charred) onion, roasted garlic, black garlic, small splash rice wine, sherry, or rice vinegar. Smoked Shoyu if you can find it, is a great option for the soy sauce.


  1. Bring all to a low boil and turn down to a simmer in a medium saucepan, uncovered, over medium heat. Simmer on low until reduced by half.  You should have about 2 cups of liquid.
  2. If you have time, let this steep overnight, or up to 24 hours, covered on the counter. Then strain into a bowl and pour into a clean glass bottle or jar.
  3. ***If the liquid is less than 2 cups, add water to make it 2 cups. This will ensure the right amount of saltiness.
  4. Store in the fridge and use as you would fish sauce, one to one.


  1. The Vegan Fish Sauce will keep up to 3-6 months in the fridge. Probably longer. 🙂
  2. Smoked Shoyu adds even more complexity if you can track it down. Grilled or roasted onions, black garlic, or roasted garlic add even more depth. You can get pretty crafty when you start thinking about creating depth and umami, so please, feel free to experiment and play around.


  • Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
  • Calories: 1
  • Sugar: 0.1 g
  • Sodium: 206.2 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.2 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg



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  1. What on earth? If I didn’t make this myself, I’d never believe it was vegan. Thank you so much for this recipe. I’ve been missing that fish sauce element to certain dishes I love to make but now I don’t have to worry.

  2. Should add some brown sugar or rice vinegar to make this really taste like Pad Thai….. also a little hot oil would be good.

  3. My vegan fish sauce is similar…
    1 TBS Dark Soy Sauce
    1 TBS Chinese Mushroom Powder (ground dried shiitake)
    1 TSP White Miso
    1/2 sheet dried Japanese Kelp (Kombu) cut into 4 peices.
    125ml Boiling Water

    Combine in large jam jar, microwave with lid off for 60 seconds… seal with lid, cool — leaving in kelp sheet. Transfer to fridge. Use as Fish Sauce in recipes.

  4. Amazing taste! Thank you so much for this! I had to have my non-vegan husband sample this because it was so good and he was very impressed. Very true to fish sauce flavor with no compromise 🙂 God Bless!

  5. This is great! My Vietnamese husband loves it and he uses fish sauce in EVERYTHING. I used fresh shiitakes from the Asian market and held it overnight as suggested. This will be a staple in our home. THANKS!

  6. Hi Sylvia! So excited to try this as I think your combination of ingredients packs the most umami punch I have been able to find in plant based fish sauce recipes so far. Quick question – I have some black garlic that I want to use in this. About how much do you think would be good to add?

  7. I’ve made this a few times now and it’s the best vegan fish sauce recipe I’ve found. I highly recommend the addition of roasted garlic, but a tiny dash of liquid smoke works too. Thanks so much for sharing it! My tom kha soup finally tastes the way I want it to 🙂

    1. They are not the same, but feel free to use it, it will disintegrate, but I think that’s ok. Just strain or blend.

  8. This sounds great, I’ve been trying to eat more vegan meals, but I don’t want to miss out on my favourite foods! Will definitely try this.

  9. Isn’t 2 1/2tbsp salt a little bit too much? Sounds like a lot to me since the kombu is already full of iodized salt or do you need that much salt for some reason? 🙂
    I would be happy to get a response and I wanna thank you for the recipe 🙂

    1. Hi, yes it is a lot but wanted to match the salt level in fish sauce, so it works when substituting. Feel free add less. But I’ve found this works.

  10. Does this need to be strained or can it be blended together and let the solids sit on the bottom?

    1. You could try blending- my only concern would be about its shelf life with the solids in there?

  11. This was pretty yummy tho not exactly the flavor of fish sauce . Do you know how long it last in the fridge or freezer?

  12. I think I love you more and more with every new recipe I find! After my recent discovery that I’m intolerant to gluten, dairy, and cane sugar, I’ve been looking for new staples to cook at home. Family members are also allergic to fish and soy, so finding dishes everyone can eat AND enjoy (without “labels” 😉 ) is a bit of f a challenge. I’m SO EXCITED about this soy-free, vegan condiment! My fish-allergic husband, vegan Indian son-in-law, and gluten-free/dairy-free siblings can ALL eat this! It may become Christmas gifts as well!

    Thank you Sylvia! Your recipes are helping me completely change the way I eat. So, yes, you ARE a life-saver, a tasty one at that!

  13. I didn’t think it was possible. Thanks I’ve recently taken up a plant based vegan diet and was wondering if if have to give up Thai dishes

  14. Made this to go on vermicelli bowls and egg rolls. Amazing!! Added 2-3 Thai chilies and a couple of tablespoons of sugar and used fresh crimini and shiitake mushrooms. Was a wonderful substitute for the Vietnamese style fish sauce my mother in law taught me to make.

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