What Is Oyster Sauce Used For? + Other Related FAQs

Asian cuisine features many unique and delicious ingredients, and one popular ingredient commonly found in many Asian recipes is oyster sauce.

Despite oyster sauce’s popularity, you may be wondering what oyster sauce is used for. I did the research, and here is what I discovered!

What Is Oyster Sauce Used For?

Oyster sauce has a variety of uses, but one of the most popular uses for oyster sauce is in stir-fry-style recipes to add deep colors to the dish along with a complex mix of sweet, salty, savory, and earthy flavors. Other than stir-fries, the oyster sauce can be used in dips, marinades, glazes, and even as a sauce to drizzle over food.

Do you want to learn more about how you can use oyster sauce in cooking? Keep reading!

What Is The Purpose Of Oyster Sauce?

Generally, the purpose of oyster sauce is to add lots of rich flavors into dishes, including salty, sweet, and earthy tastes.

However, oyster sauce is also used to add color to dishes since the oyster sauce is thick and dark, making foods look browner and more appetizing.

For instance, most fried rice recipes are very pale until you add a darker ingredient to coat the fried rice ingredients, and oyster sauce is a popular choice used to darken fried rice.

Oyster Sauce In Stir-Fries

If you look at stir-fry recipes, you will likely notice that oyster sauce is a common ingredient found in many stir-fry dishes along with soy sauce, eggs, and oil.

Oyster sauce is a well-loved stir-fry ingredient because the oyster sauce is dark and thick, meaning the oyster sauce can coat each stir-fry ingredient while imparting a lovely darker color to the dish.

Additionally, most oyster sauces offer flavors that benefit most stir-fry recipes since the main flavors of oyster sauce are salty, sweet, and savory.

For example, adding oyster sauce to a plain stir-fry of beef and broccoli can easily boost the savory flavors in the dish.

Oyster Sauce As Dips

Oyster sauce may be used as a dip since the oyster sauce is very thick, meaning the oyster sauce can easily cling onto whatever food you dip into the oyster sauce.

If desired, you can use oyster sauce by itself as a dipping sauce for many foods, like barbecued beef, steamed veggies, etc.

However, you may enhance your oyster sauce dip by mixing your oyster sauce with other ingredients like red chilies.

If you find that your oyster sauce is a bit too thick, you could thin the oyster sauce with a little water, soy sauce, etc.

Oyster Sauce For Marinades

Oyster Sauce For Marinades

Oyster sauce can make a fantastic marinade ingredient because the oyster sauce can add lots of savory, salty, and earthy flavors to your marinade.

Typically, the oyster sauce can be a great marinade ingredient to marinades that contain similar-tasting sauces, such as soy sauce.

Oyster Sauce For Glazes

Since oyster sauce has great consistency with lots of flavors, oyster sauce is naturally an excellent ingredient to use as a glaze.

For instance, the oyster sauce can be used as a glaze for chicken since the oyster sauce clings to the chicken, adds moisture, and boosts the overall flavor of the chicken.

Oyster Sauce For Pho

Oyster sauce can make its way into many Asian recipes, including pho, and some recipes add oyster sauce to soup for pho.

Moreover, you can add a little oyster sauce into already-made pho if you want to add a splash of flavor to your pho.

Oyster Sauce For Drizzling

In some cases, you may opt to use oyster sauce as a drizzle for dishes as a “finishing touch” to add more flavor and color.

For instance, there is a popular Cantonese recipe that involves steamed Chinese broccoli, and many people drizzle some oyster sauce over the already-steamed Chinese broccoli instead of cooking the Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce.

What Chinese Dishes Use Oyster Sauce?

Generally, oyster sauce is added to Chinese dishes, such as stir-fries, lo mein, Cantonese beef chow fun, and more.

Moreover, some Chinese recipes call for the oyster sauce to be drizzled over plain veggies and meat.

What Japanese Dishes Use Oyster Sauce?

While oyster sauce is not commonly called for in Japanese cuisine, the oyster sauce can easily enhance many Japanese dishes.

Can You Eat Oyster Sauce Without Cooking It?

Oyster sauce can be eaten without cooking since the oyster sauce is already “cooked” since oysters must be simmered to create the oyster sauce.

What Oyster Sauce Is Best For Cooking?

While nearly any oyster sauce brand can be good, some brands of oyster sauce are very popular, and some examples include:

  • Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce
  • Maekrua Thai Oyster Sauce
  • Dragonfly Premium Sauce
  • VegeCyber Vegetarian Mushroom Oyster Sauce

Why Is Oyster Sauce Delicious?

A huge reason why the oyster sauce is delicious is that oyster sauce helps boost the flavors of other ingredients in a dish.

For instance, the oyster sauce contains natural umami flavors from the oysters despite the oyster sauce mainly being sweet, salty, and earthy.

Therefore, using the oyster sauce in dishes, especially meat-based dishes, can help enhance any savory flavors already present in the dish.

Moreover, oyster sauce is delicious because it can make non-meat-based recipes savory as well.

For instance, oyster sauce is a popular sauce to use with vegetables if you want to add more flavor to otherwise plain veggies.

Check out our related articles to learn if oyster sauce goes bad, if oyster sauce contains shellfish, and if oyster sauce is the same as fish sauce.


Normally, oyster sauce is used to boost the overall flavor of dishes while adding more salty, sweet, savory, and earthy tastes to recipes.

Additionally, oyster sauce is often used to add color to recipes to make the dishes look browner and more appetizing.

Oyster sauce is very versatile, meaning that oyster sauce can be used in dips, glazes, marinades, and more.

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