5-Ingredient Vegan Fish Sauce

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straight on shot of vegetarian fish sauce in a clear bottle with mushrooms on the side

Fish sauce is a popular Asian condiment that imparts a salty, robust, ocean flavor that can make a great dish taste even better! It is commonly used to add depth of flavor and saltiness to dishes such as ramen, stir fries, marinades, dipping sauces, and more.

While coconut aminos can make a close plant-based substitution, sometimes you just need that extra “fishy” flavor to send a dish over the edge.

So, we developed a vegan & vegetarian-friendly fish sauce of our own! This 20-minute, 5-ingredient, 1-pan recipe is a pantry staple we highly recommend keeping on hand for Asian-inspired dishes and beyond!

Dulse, shiitakes, miso, tamari, and salt for making vegan Fish Sauce

Origins of Fish Sauce

Fish sauce (also called nuoc mam) is a fermented condiment made from fish and salt. It’s a common ingredient in Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnamese cuisine. And it’s also found in Cambodian, Thai, Burmese, Filipino, and Lao dishes.

But Southeast Asia isn’t the only region of the world that has celebrated fish sauce. It was popular in ancient Greece and Rome where it was called garos and garum, respectively.

What’s not clear is who invented the condiment first or if it was invented simultaneously in both regions. You can take a deeper dive into the history of fish sauce here and here.

How to Make Vegan Fish Sauce

Our plant-based version starts with combining ingredients with an earthy, ocean flavor (dulse & dried shiitakes) with water and salt to get that distinctive fish-sauce base.

Plus, dulse — a.k.a. Atlantic seaweed — is rich in iodine and contains important nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin A, copper, protein, phosphorous, iron, and zinc. Winning!

Using a spoon to mix a saucepan with ingredients for our vegetarian Fish Sauce recipe

Next we pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and press down on the mushrooms and dulse to get all the water out. Then we stir in chickpea miso and tamari for extra saltiness and depth of flavor. And it’s that easy!

Pouring vegan Fish Sauce ingredients through a fine mesh strainer

We hope this recipe comes in handy! It’s:

& Perfect for Asian-inspired dishes and beyond!

Looking for ways to use your sauce? We would suggest adding a splash to our Singapore Noodles, Tom Kha Gai Butternut Squash Soup, or Easy Ramen. More recipes featuring this versatile sauce coming soon!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Stirring miso paste in a bowl to make the perfect vegan fish sauce for Thai dishes

5-Ingredient Vegan Fish Sauce

Need a plant-based substitute for fish sauce? This is it! Just 5 ingredients required, ready in less than 30 minutes, and perfectly salty and tangy. Great for Thai-inspired dishes and beyond!
Author Minimalist Baker
Bottle of homemade Vegan Fish Sauce on a blue linen with ingredients used to make it
4.67 from 12 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 16 (1 Tbsp servings)
Course Sauce
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vietnamese-Inspired
Freezer Friendly 2 Months
Does it keep? 1 Month


  • 1 ¼ cup water
  • 1/4 cup dulse (loosely packed // we like Maine Coast Sea Vegetables brand)
  • 1/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 ¼ tsp chickpea miso (or soy miso // ensure gluten-free friendly as needed)
  • 1-2 Tbsp tamari (for depth of flavor // or sub coconut aminos for soy-free)


  • To a small saucepan, add water, dulse, dried shiitake mushrooms, and sea salt. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Pour liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on the mushrooms and dulse with a spoon to squeeze out any remaining liquid.
  • To the bowl, add chickpea miso and tamari. Taste test and adjust as needed, adding more sea salt for saltiness, chickpea miso for umami flavor, and/or tamari for depth of flavor.
  • Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month and shake well before use. Or, pour into an ice cube tray, freeze, and store in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.


*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with lesser amount of tamari.

Nutrition (1 of 16 servings)

Serving: 1 one-Tbsp serving Calories: 3.1 Carbohydrates: 0.5 g Protein: 0.3 g Fat: 0 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Sodium: 370 mg Potassium: 14 mg Fiber: 0.1 g Sugar: 0 g

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  1. Graciela says

    Hello! I just made this as I will be making your Pad Thai for lunch. I don’t have any idea how a fish sauce really tastes as I never used it. But this ne it tastes fishy, one thing that I have to say is that I added a tsp of tamarin sauce to the mix and it really enhanced the flavor. Thank you for all your recipes, you are the one I search first thing when I want to make a vegan dish.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      That sounds like a lovely addition, Graciela! Thank you so much for your lovely review and support! xoxo

  2. Michelle says

    I am doing an elimination diet… which is very hard to do as a vegan. I was craving Korean stir fry and used your “fish” sauce recipe in my stir fry sauce. I used two large sheets of sushi nori (what I had). I had to eliminate the soy ingredients, so no miso or tamari, but subbed with double dried shiitake and used coconut aminos. Also, used 1/2 the salt.

    My stir fry sauce turned out awesome and this condiment was the main reason! Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Menka says

    I have made this recipe
    Since it’s packed with umami from the mushroom, seaweed and then miso, it tasted more like a very nice salty broth. So whilst it is a good addition to food it is probably not “pungent” or strong enough as a fish sauce substitution. I have tried another recipe where you have to soak the mushrooms & kelp in soy sauce overnight before cooking, and you also add tamarind paste which will add a bit more “fishy” smell. This is just my personal opinion as I am from Asian background and probably am more picky with the strength of flavour, however I appreciate your effort in creating a vegan substitution!

  4. Jacqueline Soleil says

    Unfortunately didn’t taste at all like fish sauce, more like seas water. I can see it being useful in some recipes for sure but unfortunately none that require a fish sauce substitute :(

  5. Yattsy says

    I just want to start off by saying a very big THANK YOU to Minimalist Baker for developing and sharing this recipe. Fish sauce is a staple ingredient in many Asian dishes, so being able to make this umami-packed “fish” sauce in my mostly plant-based journey is a blessing.

    I made some slight adjustments to the recipe because I was missing some of the ingredients. I didn’t have dulse on hand, so I used a combination of shredded roasted seaweed and dried konbu (dried kelp), which still gave it that rich, briny flavor.

    Instead of chickpea miso I used regular white soybean miso, which gave it that added pungent flavor. For anyone trying to purchase vegan miso, make sure to watch out for the ones with dashi or bonito added to it as these are fish components that help boost the miso’s umami flavor.

    I kept the dried shiitake mushrooms and tamari. If you can’t find dried shiitake mushrooms you could try to use fresh ones or portobello mushrooms as a last resort.

    Overall, this is an AMAZING recipe and I’m definitely keeping this as a regular pantry ingredient.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad it was helpful as a guide, Yattsy! Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  6. Karen says

    Can’t wait to try this. Thanks for sharing. How long can I store it in fridge? I’d need to sub fresh mushrooms, how much would you use?
    Thanks in advance for your reply!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Karen, perhaps double the mushrooms since the flavor of dried is stronger than fresh? It will keep for about 1 month in the fridge. Hope that helps!

  7. Amanda says

    Hi, I’m wondering what form the dulse is in? I hadn’t heard of it and when I see the brand you mentioned I’m seeing dried granules, dried flakes, or dried (whole I’m presuming?). What do you recommend? Thanks so much! Looking forward to this!

  8. Aileen H. says

    I needed a vegan fish sauce for Spaghetti with bottarga. My daughter is vegan so for thanksgiving I like to make dishes special for her. I made this fish sauce as a component for that recipe. The smell of this sauce is truly of the sea. I tasted it and I really like it!!! Its complex and not one note. Big thumbs up!!

  9. Meredith Lee Opat says

    This worked beautifully in all my asian recipes, especially with the Tofu Thai Basil. My kids ate it up. Thanks for posting!

  10. LaVonne Ray says

    I thank you for this great recipe! I have been following you for years — every recipe I have tried is a winner! I am Vegan/Vegetarian and appreciate your creativity, prolific imagination, and tasty recipes.

  11. Heather Taylor says

    Hi Dana,

    Thanks for another fantastic recipe, I am making it today!

    Just wanted to let you know that when I put fish sauce in the search bar the recipe didn’t actually come up for me. I found it by doing a google search for vegan fish sauce.


    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for letting us know, Heather! We weren’t able to replicate the issue, so perhaps it was a temporary glitch? Let us know if it still isn’t working on your end.

  12. Danny says

    My daughter wanted to try some Thai soups, I thought we would have to make it without the fish sauce flavor, but this recipe was great, really easy to make. I couldn’t find dried shitake mushroom or chickpea miso – I substituted for dried porcini mushrooms and just a light miso.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Vicky says

    Hello Dana,

    I think this recipe is quite brilliant with the dulse! I do want to understand you used chickpea miso instead of soy miso? I would think the soy taste would be better for fish sauce? Just curious.

  14. Brie says

    Do you have any suggestions on a replacement for mushrooms? I’m allergic to mushrooms and also vegetarian which makes life really difficult!

  15. Michelle Harris Abramson says

    I liked this recipe very much.One tiny update: Are you thinking of Maine Coast Sea Vegetables? If so, please correct. They are a wonderful company, and I’m sure they would appreciate the endorsement. Love your blog!

  16. Jessica says

    I recently discovered your website. I have loved everything I have tried. Thank you for sharing your creativity and talents! My question to you is I made the fish sauce in the “easy vegan kimchi” and it was great. I would make it again and use it in other recipes that require fish sauce. By the way, the kimchi was fantastic.

    Obviously, that recipe doesn’t have the same ingredients as this one, but for an all-purpose vegan fish sauce, which would you recommend making and keeping in your refrigerator? Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jessica, we’re so glad you’re enjoying our recipes! We think this one would be better for all purpose use!

  17. FD says

    Hi Dana, I want to make your Pad Thai, which calls for Vegetarian fish sauce. I am not wanting to add any seaweed. Is there a substitute for it that I can use?

  18. kristin says

    Hii, is it possible to sub the dulse for some nori seaweed? and if it’s possible, how much seaweed to use? that’s all i have on hand right now

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kristin, we haven’t tried it, but maybe! We’d recommend the same amount. Let us know how it goes!

  19. Jimmy says

    I am going to make this recipe with one with one substitute using fresh mushroom due to the fact that dry mushroom is so expensive

  20. Jamie says

    I threw the chopped up mushrooms and dulse into my instant ramen for a snack :) I love fish sauce but I cook for a whole range of preferences/intolerances/alergies so it’s nice to be able to have a vegan analog :)

  21. Aly says

    Can you sub the dried shiitake mushrooms with the Trader Joe’s Mushroom Umami powder? Is so, how much? TIA

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks Hilary! We used dried and aren’t sure whether fresh would work- you would likely have to adjust the amount. Hope that helps!

      • Brett Tatton says

        The ratio of fresh shiitake mushrooms to dried shiitake mushrooms is aproximately 5:1 for flavour. With all other ingredients being equal, wouldn’t this create a much thicker sauce.

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Brett, we wouldn’t think it would impact the consistency too much since the mixture is strained. But perhaps!

  22. Cassie Thuvan Tran says

    Oh man, I wish I knew where I could find chickpea miso! That’s freaking NEAT. But I have no problem with soy, so for now, that totally works! Anyways, is it possible to use powdered dulse for this recipe? I LOVED fish sauce as a kid and it tasted amazing with spring rolls! There’s plenty of vegan fish sauce alternatives out there, but making it at home is a refreshing way to switch things up!

  23. Dawn says

    I love that you created this…… I’ve been eating and making so much Thai food but really missing the fish sauce flavors in the vegan options I order or make!
    Tell me where I can get the garbanzo miso paste please?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Dawn, we found the chickpea miso at a local health food store. The brand is Miso Master Organic. It is also available at Whole Foods. Hope that helps!

  24. Grady says

    Takes me to umami heaven! Can’t wait to try this in your Pad Thai recipe next. I love when you create these 1-2 combo recipes, Dana.

    So happy to have a vegan (or vegetarian, or whatever…) fish sauce in my life now. I don’t think it’s wrong to recommend not consuming real fish sauce, considering fish and shrimp deserve a life, too. Hmm…

  25. Vivian says

    Hi, just wanted to say how happy I am that I found your site. Love you recipes; you’re so creative. Tks Vivian

  26. Kathy Simkins says

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! I have so many allergies that my diet is very boring. Most fish sauce has Shrimp as the main ingredient. I am deathly allergic to Shrimp so I thought that was a flavor enhancer that I would have to forgo. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with the world.

  27. Lisa says

    Hi Dana. How long will this sauce keep, and about how much does it make?
    I know you typically don’t use much fish sauce in recipes – is this a 1:1 replacement?
    Thanks for the recipe! Can’t wait to try it :)

  28. Joann Lakes says

    The company for the dukes is Maine Coast, not Marine. They have the absolutely best seaweed.
    Thanks for the recipe! ??

  29. Amy says

    Why don’t you recommend tasting fish sauce?

    I love your recipes and enjoy following you on social media. But as someone who grew up in a culture that loves fish sauce, I am disappointed and saddened by your intro line. Your entire post thereafter feels like cultural appropriation. You don’t recommend tasting fish sauce, yet you created a recipe that mimics its flavors. Ironic much?

    Please understand that I am simply pointing this out to share how a few words, without forethought, can make others feel. I hope that your future posts will be more mindful of this fact.

      • Sara says

        This site is on the first page of Google results for “vegetarian fish sauce” and I am appalled at the opening of the post.

        I completely agree with Amy and I am shocked by your non-apology to her…you had 5 MONTHS to edit the line out! Such strange culture shaming on a cooking blog of all places.

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

          Sara, so sorry if that came across as insensitive or culture shaming. We only meant that fish sauce can be quite a strong flavor to those who are new to it. We’ve removed that sentence and do apologize for any offense.

    • S. Malow says

      Amy, the substitue fish sauce is for people who can’t have fish sauce for whatever reason. Those who can, eat it. This recipe is for a vegan sauce and it makes no sense for the site to tell someone who is looking for an alternative sauce to just try the sauce. I see the fact that the Minimalistic Bakers worked hard to come with a vegan recipe as “cultural appreciation” instead of cultural appropriation. You got offended without a plausible reason… and probably offended those who are not able to “try” fish sauce with your post. Life is short; enjoy it and take things lightly.

  30. MR says

    I am SO happy you posted this. I’ve scoured the internet for veg versions of fish sauce and have found very little, and there are some recipes that seem like they just aren’t the same without it. Can’t wait to try this.

  31. Sarah says

    Hi! I’ve been looking for an easy veg fish sauce forever, so this is perfect! One question: I have kombu; is that an acceptable substitute, or should I spring for the dulse?

  32. Anna says

    Hello, I can’t eat mushrooms. What would you use instead? Hoping you can suggest something as I really want to make this sauce! Thanks.

  33. Tracy says

    Hi Dana,
    I’m so happy to see a vegan fish sauce recipe! I have a lot of kombu in my cupboard – can I sub that for the dulse ?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      You can try, but it’s not as salty and flavorful as dulse so I would recommend getting some if possible!

      • R Bridgewater says

        How about straining the purée?
        Or just accept it as a purée, especially if added with other liquid ingredients?

  34. Greg says

    Hi Dana —

    I’ve been using fermented black bean garlic sauce in place of fish sauce for years. I hope this is a better substitute. Question: instead of squeezing out the mushrooms and dulse, what about pureeing in a blender?

  35. Lindsey says

    This is really cool! Something about regular fish sauce grosses me out even though I eat fish. I normally just use vegetarian fish sauce from the Asian store but this is way healthier! I’m gonna give it a go and use it for pad thai!

  36. Sue says

    Hi Dana. I’ve never used dulse before. I see it is sold in several different forms. What form do you recommend? Thanks.