Were you about to cook your favorite Asian dish only to realize you were all out of coconut aminos? Or perhaps your recipe calls for coconut aminos, but you don’t want to spend the money on a bottle or can’t find it in your local grocery store. Whatever the reason is, if you are looking for a substitute for coconut aminos, we’ve got you covered!
Here at CocoNums, we are always going to prefer using the sweet nectar that makes up coconut aminos, but there are several alternatives for coconut aminos to choose from if needed. Any of the following substitutions should do the trick in your recipe.
Homemade Coconut Aminos
If you don’t have coconut aminos on hand, you can try mixing together some common household ingredients to achieve a similar flavor (of course, this would also work as an alternative for soy sauce). The ingredients needed for homemade coconut aminos include:
- Beef broth
- Red wine vinegar and/or balsamic vinegar
- Fish sauce
- Tomato paste
- Maple syrup or molasses
- Seasonings such as onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, ginger, etc.
Check out these recipes for detailed proportions and instructions for making substitute coconut aminos.
- DIY Coconut Aminos Substitute (The Real Simple Good Life)
- How to Make a Soy Sauce Alternative (Wellness Mama)
In the same way that coconut aminos are used as a substitute for soy sauce, you can use soy sauce in place of coconut aminos if that is what you have in stock. In our opinion, soy sauce is not the healthiest choice, but when it comes to flavor, it is more than adequate.
Ratio: You can substitute coconut aminos with soy sauce using a 1:1 ratio. However, you should note that soy sauce contains much more salt than coconut aminos, so you might want to start with ½ or ¾ the amount needed and add more according to taste.
Tamari is similar to soy sauce in that it is made from fermented soybeans. It is considered a “cleaner” version of soy sauce because it doesn’t include grains and typically doesn’t have any additives. As a result, the consistency is a bit thicker than soy sauce. While tamari and soy sauce are often interchangeable in recipes, tamari is also an effective substitute for coconut aminos.
Ratio: You can substitute coconut aminos with tamari using a 1:1 ratio. However, to ensure the tamari doesn’t add too much salt to your dish, we recommend starting with ½ or ¾ the amount needed and adding more if necessary.
Liquid aminos are a liquid protein concentrate made from soybeans. They are gluten-free and are popular because of their high protein and amino acid content. Liquid aminos taste similar to soy sauce and can be used as a substitute for coconut aminos in your cooking.
Ratio: Just like soy sauce and tamari, you should start with ½ or ¾ the amount needed when using liquid aminos instead of coconut aminos. You can add up to a 1:1 ratio if desired, but note that liquid aminos contain more salt than coconut aminos.
Balsamic vinegar has both a sweet and acidic flavor profile. To balance it out, it might be best paired with another ingredient like beef broth or fish sauce (see homemade coconut aminos recipe above) when substituting it for coconut aminos.
Ratio: Since balsamic vinegar is different from soy-based products, when substituting it for coconut aminos, we recommend adding it according to taste. You probably won’t need to meet a 1:1 ratio. Feel free to add something sweet (coconut sugar, cane sugar, maple syrup, etc.) to balance the acidic nature of balsamic vinegar.
Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
Although they’re not a sauce, dried shiitake mushrooms can bring an umami flavor to your dish if you don’t have coconut aminos (or soy sauce for that matter). These mushrooms are a sodium-free and gluten-free option.
Ratio: If you are using the dried form of shiitake mushrooms, then you should use about 1.5 tablespoons for every 1 tablespoon of coconut aminos needed. Alternatively, you can soak the mushrooms in water for a few hours and use the liquid to replace coconut aminos with a 1:1 ratio. Feel free to add salt to boost the flavor!
Fish sauce is made from fish that has been fermented for a couple of years. Its flavor is different from coconut aminos or soy-based products. Because of this you might not be able to use fish sauce as a replacement for coconut aminos in all dishes, but it is certainly a good substitute in some dishes. If the dish you’re making might pair well with a more “fishy” flavor, then fish sauce could be a good option.
Ratio: Since the flavors are so different, you should use a 0.5/1 ratio (or even less) when using fish sauce instead of coconut aminos. That means if a recipe calls for a ½ cup of coconut aminos, try using ⅛ cup or ¼ cup of fish sauce instead.
Oyster sauce is made by boiling oysters in water. The juices will eventually caramelize and result in a thick sauce with a robust flavor. Sugar, salt, and thickening agents are often added to the final product. Both sweet and salty, oyster sauce has similarities to soy sauce with its umami flavor. Its consistency is also similar to coconut aminos, making it a good substitute if necessary.
Ratio: Because oyster sauce has a good balance of sweet and salty flavors, you should be able to substitute oyster sauce for coconut aminos using a 1:1 ratio. To be safe though, you could always start with a little less and work up to a 1:1 replacement if desired.
Time to Replace Your Coconut Aminos
At CocoNums we are naturally big fans of coconut aminos. It’s certainly possible to find a solid replacement for coconut aminos in a recipe. However, we believe that coconut aminos is the healthiest choice when compared to other sauces with similar flavors. Some of the benefits of coconut aminos include:
- Simple ingredients (usually just coconut flower blossom nectar and sea salt)
- Lower in sodium
- Packed with amino acids
If you’re wondering where you might find them in your local grocery store, check out this blog post.
And if you’re struggling to find a bottle at your local grocery store, try purchasing it online!
Here are a couple of places you could order it from:
- Thrive Market (note: Thrive Market requires a membership to order, but you are guaranteed to save money each year)
- Amazon (Big Tree Farms)