Find out if oyster sauce is gluten-free, what it’s made of, used for, and what brands to look for when shopping for oyster sauce.
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If you love to cook Chinese dishes at home, you’re probably no stranger to oyster sauce being included in recipes.
It’s a staple ingredient in many Asian dishes and with its signature salty-sweet oyster flavor, brings a ton of flavor to stir-fries, marinades, and sauces.
If you follow a gluten-free diet or are just starting to get into this way of eating, you know that all ingredients need to be looked at carefully.
Gluten can hide in many foods and under a number of different names in ingredients lists.
Sauces and condiments are notorious for having gluten in them under hidden names, which is why we’re going to look specifically at oyster sauce in this post.
We’ll discuss what oyster sauce is, what it’s made of and used for, and answer the question “is oyster sauce gluten-free?”
We’ll talk about how to find a gluten-free oyster sauce so you can stick with your gluten-free diet, and we’ll wrap up the post with a list of gluten-free oyster sauce brands to look for and add to all your favorite recipes.
What is oyster sauce?
Oyster sauce is made in many Chinese dishes and used to give a layer of flavor. Oyster sauce is a sweet and salty dark brown sauce that’s made with oysters or oyster extract.
What is oyster sauce made of?
The main ingredients in oyster sauce are oyster extract or juices (a boiled down liquid from boiling oysters in water for a long time), salt, sugar, soy sauce, and sometimes thickened with cornstarch.
Though each brand of oyster sauce may vary in ingredients, these are the most common.
What is oyster sauce used for?
Oyster sauce is used to add flavor to many Chinese dishes. It can be used for flavoring sauces or braising mixes, added to stir-fries or marinades for meat.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
You can find gluten in whole grains, but also in many processed foods as well. If you purchase wheat bread, there will be gluten in it, because wheat by nature has gluten.
Many processed foods have hidden gluten in them in the form or gluten or wheat derivatives. These are also in the form of flavorings, binders to keep ingredients together, or other additives.
Is oyster sauce gluten-free?
Many oyster sauce brands contain soy sauce made from wheat or contains wheat flour as a thickener, making it not a good choice for a gluten-free diet.
However, other brands, like Kikkoman, make oyster sauce without gluten. Review the list below to find a gluten-free oyster sauce to add to all your favorite recipes.
How to find gluten-free oyster sauce
The best way to find a gluten-free oyster sauce brand is to review ingredients lists and look for gluten-free labels.
Look for the terms “soy sauce” or “wheat flour” on ingredients lists as these are hidden names of gluten. You might also see “caramel color” or “yeast extract” which can sometimes indicate gluten (but not always).
The best way to ensure you’re using an oyster sauce that is safe for your gluten-free diet is to look for a gluten-free label, even if you can sometimes handle trace amounts of gluten.
As per the FDA, any product with a gluten-free label or “certified gluten-free” label can have no more than 20ppm of gluten in the product.
You can trust the brands with these labels. I would likely not trust those without one, but if you wish to, review ingredients lists before buying.
Read on: Is yeast extract gluten-free?
Gluten-free oyster sauce brands
Try one of these gluten-free oyster sauce brands if you’re looking for an oyster sauce that you can use in all your Asian cooking and still stick with your gluten-free diet.
Ayam has a gluten-free oyster sauce that’s great in stir fries, meat or seafood dishes, or with vegetables. This brand is certified gluten-free.
Kikkoman Gluten-free Oyster Sauce
This brand is certified gluten-free and can be used as any other oyster sauce would be in recipes.
This contains both caramel color and yeast extract, but with a gluten-free label, you know these specific ingredients are not derived from wheat.
Healthy Boy Gluten-free Oyster Sauce
This brand of oyster sauce is gluten-free and contains these ingredients: water, oyster, sugar, salt, thickener, modified tapioca starch, monosodium glutamate, caramel colour, citric acid, xanthan gum, and sodium benzoate.
Find this option on Amazon or check your local grocery store or market that sells Asian cuisine ingredients.
Lee Kum Kee Panda Brand Oyster Sauce
This brand of oyster sauce is gluten-free and is made with only water, sugar, salt, oyster extract, modified corn starch, and color. Look for this option online or at a local Asian market.
Mili Gluten-free Oyster Sauce
Mili brand offers a gluten-free oyster sauce that can be added to any Chinese dishes for tons of flavor. This brand contains caramel and yeast extract, but with a gluten-free label, you can trust this brand.
Wok Mei Gluten-free Oyster Sauce
I’ve used this brand in some of my cooking and it provides a great flavor. It has a gluten-free label and can be used in any dishes that call for oyster sauce.
Where to find gluten-free oyster sauce
You can look for gluten-free oyster sauce locally at your regular grocery store or Asian food market. If you don’t have luck locally, try looking on Amazon.
If you’ve been looking for a gluten-free oyster sauce, I hope this post has given you the information you need to look for a brand that works for you. Try these gluten-free oyster sauce brands on any of your favorite Chinese or Asian dishes for some salty-sweet oyster flavor.
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