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. You state that salt content is sort of critical. Yet you use tablespoons of a particular type of salt that is only available in the USA.
    Grams of any salt (and all critical ingredients) would be much more useful and appreciated.

    1. Hi Aristogiton -You can use any salt you like. 1 teaspoon salt is roughly 6 grams. Hope this helps?

  2. I’m looking forward to making this. I can’t find the dried seaweed sheets but I did find roasted seaweed snacks. They contain oil and salt. Could I use this as a substitute?

  3. Thank you so much for this recipe! This is like magic! I used to live in the UK where I could buy it in stores but here, it’s impossible to find. Tomorrow for dinner I will make your Thai green curry soup so I will try it for the first time!
    I was also wondering if it can replace oysters sauce? I know that it is thicker but in terms of flavor?

    1. Are you looking for a vegan substiute? I’d try soy sauce or even miso. It needs some salty depth.

  4. What’s the shelf life on this sauce? I don’t want to get botulism but I assume since this does not have oil it should be OK with just the garlic?

    1. Yes, correct. I’ve had some in the fridge for 8 months and it is still good.

  5. Thank you so much for a Vegan fish sauce that can easily be adapted to be gluten or even soy free (via coconut aminos or the like). We use tamari since I have a gluten intolerance. Have made this fishless sauce/seaweed sauce three times now. Letting it steep overnight and filtering it right away. Letting it steep overnight is definitely a must! Gives a deeper color and richer flavor. A little goes a long way when using it. Recently I made it with kelp sheets instead of kombu, and I actually like the flavor even more. I usually use a 1 oz package of dried shiitakes, because they are expensive if bought organic. Not sure how many cups that comes out to. We always add a shallot or a quarter of red onion or both! The other thing I love about this sauce is that it can stand in and add those umami flavors that processed Chinese or Asian sauces do in recipes without the preservatives, caramel color, wheat gluten and added sugars. Thank you again!

  6. We need to watch our salt intake. What do you suggest for a lower salt
    alternative to fish sauce and soy sauce? Thank you very much.

    1. Coconut aminos have less salt. We use it in place of soy sauce. Just know it is also slightly sweet, so if the recipe calls for sugar, I reduce the amount.

  7. This is my go-to vegan fish sauce. My husband became a vegetarian 2 years ago after having increasingly horrible digestive issues.

    He is a huge lover of Asian cuisine and we found your sauce and make it in large quantities. We store it in bpa free squirt bottles in our fridge.

    I am half Filipino and use it on any native dish that calls for “Patis”, our traditional fish sauce.

    I even use it in meat-based dishes to add extra flavor. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

    1. This is the recommendation that I needed. I use Patis to make Filipino food and there’s just something totally different about it. If you’re happy with this sauce I’ll make it.

  8. How do you measure 1/2 cup dried shiitakes? Lots of air around those stuff caps & stems! Can you tell us the weight, please?

  9. Wow! Liquid gold, I add both roasted garlic & greatly roasted red onion. So happy to now be able to make my favourite Thai dishes for my vegan and shellfish allergic friends. This fish sauce recipe is even better than the real stuff, cheers

  10. Our vegan fish sauce recipe: we use 1 fresh pineapple (cut in small pieces) , 200g black bean (roasted) , 100g shiitake mushroom, brown sugar, salt (depends on how saltines every one likes and 2 litter water..simmering for almost 2 hours anh filtered …put in dry clean bottles can last up to 4 months

    1. Please provide a weight for the pineapple to use. “1 fresh pineapple” is too vague. Specific weights and volumes of other ingredients are provided.

  11. Is 2 1/2 TABLESPOONS of salt correct in the vegan fish sauce? Seems like a lot. There’s already salty soy sauce in it.

  12. Looks great ! Could I make this without garlic to still get the “fish sauce” result ? Due to garlic intolerance 😔. Or suggest a replacement of the garlic? Thank you !

  13. Waiting on my dried shiitake mushrooms to come in the mail; how long does the sauce keep in the fridge once made?

  14. First, thank you for your wonderful recipes! You have really helped us get through quarantine with sanity. In our household we have both fish and nightshade allergies. Can we make this vegan fish sauce without mushrooms? Is there a substitute? Thank you!

    1. Hey Judy- thanks so much. You could- but not quite sure you would get the depth and flavor here without mushrooms? You could try adding more seaweed, and maybe miso?

    1. Well yes, there is no fish in it, because it is vegan, but in recipes, it is a good substitute.

  15. So I think I used too much seaweed. It was hard to judge an amount since I only had wakame flakes instead of a sheet to work with but boy did it expand to take over the pot. Regardless this recipe seems pretty forgiving because the end result still tastes awesome. Obviously it does not taste like fish sauce but it packs a powerful umami punch which is basically the point anyway. Thank you for providing a great ingredient to add to my vegetarian dishes that were juuuust missing something.

  16. I think I need to try this again! I used fresh cremini mushrooms, and added a sliced shallot and splash of rice vinegar. Even after steeping overnight, it simply tastes like extra-extra salty soy sauce. I think next time I will try dried shitake, bring to a boil before simmering, and use tamari rather than soy sauce, and possibly reduce the salt by a tablespoon as well. Wish me luck!


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