Answered: Black Bean Sauce Substitute

Black bean sauce is a popular component in Chinese cuisine derived from fermented black beans. The sauce adds a sweet, earthy flavor to dishes. But what happens when you don’t have any available and need an excellent black bean sauce substitute?

A little black bean sauce can transform any Chinese dish into something extraordinary. That said, outside of Asian grocers, finding black bean sauce is a challenge.

If you’d like the same mouthwatering flavor but don’t have access to black bean sauce, try one of these black bean sauce substitutes.

What is Black Bean Sauce?

Black bean sauce is a must-have ingredient for Cantonese or Sichuan cuisine on the dinner table. Black bean sauce is typically made using Douchi beans. 

And the ingredients usually include fermented black beans, rice or Shaoxing wine, garlic soy sauce, and sugar. The paste is made by combining and grinding these ingredients. 

Black bean sauce is often used as a marinade, dip, or as a component in stir-fries, stews, and soups. It has a sharp, salty, chili flavor with a tinge of sweetness. Fermented black beans have a strong flavor that demands careful balancing with other ingredients.

Substitutes for Black Bean Sauce

As a common Asian ingredient, finding black bean sauce at some general grocers may prove difficult. But most of the time, a trip to the supermarket’s sauce or Asian area is enough. You’ll need a black bean sauce alternative if you can’t get your hands on a bottle or want to try something new.

1. Oyster Sauce

In place of black bean sauce, one could consider Oyster sauce. It has numerous applications. Oyster sauces come in various types, but they all have one thing in common: they are all created using oysters.

They have a rich, savory flavor, and the oyster sauce is thick and glossy. Chinese-style, Japanese-style, and Thai-style oyster sauces are the three varieties that are most frequently used.

Oyster sauce’s flavor varies depending on where it is produced. Chinese-style sauces are typically sweeter, while Japanese-style sauces are typically saltier. However, oyster sauce is not suitable for those with a shellfish allergy.

2. Miso Paste

This sauce is created from fermented rice, soybeans, or barley. It has a savory, salty flavor and is a common condiment in Japan. 

With high concentrations of Vitamin B6, calcium, niacin, magnesium, iron, and potassium, miso paste is flavorful and highly nutritious. Fermented miso contains probiotic qualities that enhance digestive health. The soybeans are also broken down during fermentation, making it simpler for the body to process and absorb the minerals.

Miso paste is simple to create and versatile in a variety of meals. It can be cooked with meats, veggies, and tofu or stir-fried. It’s fantastic for marinating meat before grilling.

3. Tianmian Sauce

Soybeans and broad beans fermented with salt and flour make up Tianmian, also known as Doubanjiang in Chinese. In a Chinese or Japanese supermarket, you can find it near tofu, soy milk, etc., it is always found in the refrigerator.

Tianmian sauce is somewhat sweeter and more viscous. However, it enhances the dish’s flavor and color. Soy sauce and sesame oil can be used to season as well. Everything is up to personal preference.

4. Hoisin Sauce

It is customary in Chinese cuisine to use hoisin sauce because it is sweet, thick, and reddish-brown in appearance. Fermented soybeans with sugar, vinegar, and spices are the basis for hoisin sauce.

Meat, vegetables, and seafood can all benefit from its use as a spice. Swap it out for hoisin sauce in any dish calling for black bean sauce.

5. Tamari Sauce

A fermented soy sauce, tamari contains no wheat or gluten and is prepared only from soybeans. As a result of its higher concentration of minerals and nutrients compared to other soy sauces, this one is better for your health.

In place of black bean sauce, use tamari for a salty, complex flavor. A more complex taste is achieved by using the popular Japanese condiment tamari sauce. Tamari sauce is thicker and gluten-free than most other soy sauces, making it a good choice for those who are sensitive to gluten.

If you want to prepare egg rolls, dumplings, and potstickers, tamari sauce is an excellent replacement for black bean sauce. To enhance the flavor of Asian cuisine, it can be used in place of regular soy sauce.


Miso paste and hoisin, Tianmian, tamari, and oyster sauce are excellent options for a black bean sauce substitute. Although they have many similarities to black bean sauce, each has its distinct flavor and texture. Irrespective, using any of the alternatives mentioned above will enhance your dish’s flavor.