Oyster Sauce Vs Soy Sauce (Differences, Uses, Which Is Better + More)

Many Asian recipes call for soy sauce and oyster sauce, both of which elevate dishes by adding flavor and color.

However, you may be wondering what the difference between soy sauce and oyster sauce is. I did the research, and here’s what I learned!

Oyster Sauce Vs Soy Sauce

Oyster sauce is a thick, dark sauce with earthy, salty, and sweet flavors created from oyster extract, typically used in stir-fries. Soy sauce is a liquid condiment made from fermented soybeans, and soy sauce has many uses in the kitchen. In certain cases, soy sauce can replace oyster sauce, but they are not the perfect replacement for each other.

Do you wish to learn more about soy sauce and oyster sauce? Keep reading the rest of the article to find out more!

What Is Oyster Sauce?

Oyster sauce is a dark brown or nearly black thick sauce with a syrup-like texture that comes from China that is made from oyster extract.

Despite the name oyster sauce, this sauce does not taste like oysters, but the oyster sauce has a distinct salty, earthy, and slightly sweet taste.

Oyster sauce is made by boiling down caramelized oyster juices with sugar and salt, but some manufacturers add soy sauce and a little cornstarch into their oyster sauce.

What Is Soy Sauce?

Soy sauce is a traditional Chinese condiment made from fermented wheat, soybeans, salt, and water.

Normally, soy sauce is used as a seasoning, but soy sauce can also function as a marinade, coloring, dip, and more.

Moreover, many types of soy sauces have unique flavors, colors, and consistencies, and soy sauces often come from different countries.

Typically, soy sauce’s main flavors are salty and savory, but other flavors like sweet and sour can be included depending on the kind of soy sauce.

What’s The Difference Between Soy Sauce And Oyster Sauce?

Oyster sauce and soy sauce have different consistencies because the oyster sauce is very thick while most soy sauces have a liquid consistency.

Moreover, oyster sauce and soy sauce have different flavor profiles because the oyster sauce is earthy with a distinct taste while soy sauce is primarily salty and savory.

Additionally, soy sauce is safe for vegans and vegetarians to eat because soy does not contain any animal products whereas oyster sauce traditionally contains oyster extract.

However, certain oyster sauces do not actually contain oyster extracts or other animal products, making oyster sauce safe for vegan and vegetarian diets.

What Do Soy Sauce and Oyster Sauce Have In Common?

Soy sauce and oyster sauce are both salty condiments that can add color to foods, particularly if it is dark soy sauce.

Certain soy sauces, like sweet soy sauce, share the same thickness as oyster sauce since sweet soy sauce has a very thick consistency.

What Is Oyster Sauce Used For?

What Is Oyster Sauce Used For?

Oyster sauce is typically used for Chinese recipes to add a salty, savory, and earthy flavor to vegetable and meat dishes, which include stir-fries and chow mein.

Moreover, oyster sauce is used in stir-fry recipes to add color because oyster sauce deepens the color of these dishes.

What Is Soy Sauce Used For?

Soy sauce can be used as a table condiment, but many people use soy sauce in many recipes as a seasoning, marinade, and more.

However, the type of soy sauce that you use will typically decide what purpose the soy sauce will serve.

For instance, light soy sauce has a thin consistency with a mellow and salty flavor, making light soy sauce perfect for seasoning soups, meats, etc.

On the other hand, sweet soy sauce is dark with a thick consistency and a very sweet flavor, so sweet soy sauce is ideal for stir-fries like satay.

Which Is Better, Oyster Sauce Or Soy Sauce?

Neither soy sauce nor oyster sauce is better than the other because they both have different uses in the kitchen where each condiment can shine.

For instance, a chop suey recipe will typically call for oyster sauce because oyster sauce adds lots of flavors while helping create a thick sauce.

On the other hand, soy sauce is more liquid, making soy sauce an excellent way to season soups, meats, and more.

Therefore, it would be best to have both oyster sauce and soy sauce in your kitchen because these condiments can be used in a variety of recipes.

Can Oyster Sauce Replace Soy Sauce?

Oyster sauce can replace soy sauce if you need a salty and savory flavor in your recipe, but how you will use the oyster sauce will depend on the recipe.

For instance, you can use oyster sauce as is if you want to use oyster sauce instead of soy sauce in a stir-fry.

However, the oyster sauce may not be ideal to season meat that should have a thin sauce because the oyster sauce has a very thick consistency.

You may use a bit of water to dilute the oyster sauce before adding the oyster sauce to your recipe, but this may water down the oyster sauce flavor.

Can Soy Sauce Replace Oyster Sauce?

Soy sauce can easily replace oyster sauce to add flavor to your dishes because they both have savory and salty tastes.

However, soy sauce is thinner and saltier than soy sauce, so soy sauce may only work to add flavor but not texture to your dish.

Can I Use Soy Sauce And Oyster Sauce Together?

Certain recipes like stir-fry can include both oyster sauce and soy sauce to create a deep flavor profile and color.

However, you do not want to add too much of both of these condiments because they can easily overwhelm your recipe with too much saltiness or savoriness.

Therefore, you want to use a light hand while using both oyster sauce and soy sauce in a recipe.

Take a look at our related articles to learn why is soy sauce so good, what brand of soy sauce Chinese restaurants use, and why soy sauce is so salty.


Oyster sauce and soy sauce are both salty and savory condiments, but they have distinct flavor profiles and consistencies that make them unique.

Moreover, you can use oyster sauce or soy sauce interchangeably in certain recipes for flavor, but you may not get the best results.

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