Suffer from gluten sensitivities or intolerances or are you avoiding gluten from your diet? Where does this leave Oyster sauce? Can you still safely consume it, or is it now out of the question? Well, here is what you need to know.
So, is Oyster sauce gluten-free? Most brands of Oyster sauce are not gluten-free. This is due to the inclusion of soy sauce in the recipe; which is often made with wheat as a primary ingredient. Thankfully, there are some brands of Oyster sauce that you can buy that have been formulated to be entirely gluten-free.
This makes things a little tricky.
Unfortunately, this is not always going to be a safe condiment.
And what this all means is that you are going to need to be mindful.
You’re going to check each brand before you purchase or consume it.
And if you’re eating out, then it’s going to be a risk.
Either you ask politely and hope they can provide such information (and you can trust them) or, you forgo it entirely.
It’s a shame.
But it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Nevertheless, let us break down what Oyster sauce is made of so you can be sure whether it is safe for you to eat.
Perhaps you suffer from other allergens too, so it makes sense to check these over while you are here.
Then, we will proceed to look at those safe brands of Oyster sauce to purchase, and that you can enjoy without the stress!
What Is Oyster Sauce Made Of?
Oyster sauce is made from oyster extracts (usually the juices of caramelized oysters -oysters that have been boiled in water for several hours), salt, sugar, and a thickener, commonly cornstarch. Sometimes, soy sauce is included too, but not always.
Of course, each brand may differ a little, but this is the basis of the recipe – and that most tend to gravitate toward.
And when we look at the ingredients, on the face of it, it seems pretty safe.
However, it all comes down to soy sauce.
It’s as simple as this:
- Oyster sauce that contains soy sauce = not gluten free.
- Oyster suace that does not contain soy sauce = generally gluten free*
I’ve put a star there and a caveat because there are always exceptions.
Sometimes, you’ll even find wheat flour included in recipes too.
Such as is the case with the L.k.k Panda Brand.
But for the most part, it’s the soy sauce you’ve got to be wary of.
And here is why.
At least now you know soy sauce is out of the question for you too.
Two birds with one stone and all that.
Gluten Free Oyster Sauce Options
There are two ways to generally obtain gluten-free oyster sauce. The first is easy, simply buying a gluten-free option. The second requires you to make the sauce from scratch. Thankfully, it’s not too hard to do.
When it comes to looking out for products on the market, it’s probably easier to purchase those marketed as gluten-free.
That’s much easier than checking the ingredients lists one by one, and manually.
A search on Amazon like this will show you that you thankfully have several options.
This Panda Brand Oyster Flavored Sauce (Green Label), for instance, is entirely gluten-free.
Its ingredients being as follows: Water, Sugar, Salt, Oyster Extracts (Oyster, Water, Salt), Modified Corn Starch, Caramel Color”.
That’s it – it’s actually a very natural-looking ingredients list.
Then there is the Wok Mei Gluten Free Oyster Sauce on Amazon, which clearly markets its suitability.
For this particular sauce, the ingredients are as follows: “Dried cane syrup, all-natural caramel color, salt, GMO-free unmodified corn starch, vinegar, maltodextrin, natural oyster extract.
Again, very good.
So you have two options there.
And I would certainly be snapping those up.
Home-Made Gluten Free Oyster Sauce Recipe
Making your own Oyster sauce requires a little more effort than pulling out the credit card, but you can control exactly what goes into it.
And it only takes 15 minutes (10 to prep, 5 to make) on average.
So, it’s certainly not the most challenging out there.
Here is what you will need:
- 50 grams of dried shittake mushrooms,
- 1 Tablespoon of finely chopped, fresh ginger,
- 1 Tablespoon of oil, Avocado/Olive
- 1 Teaspoon of salt.
- 10 pitted dates
- 2 cups of shittake mushroom water
And the instructions to make the sauce are as follows:
- Soak the dried shittake mushrooms with 5 cups of room temperature water overnight. This will allow them to rehydrate,
- Squeeze the mushrooms over a bowl to remove the water – you’ll want to keep this water, but you may want to sieve it to remove any lumps,
- Slice the mushrooms thinly
- Finely chop your ginger,
- Heat a pan and add your oil
- Saute the sliced shittake mushrooms along with the ginger and salt. Cook on a high heat for 5 minutes.
- In a blender or food processor, add the shittake water, dates, sauteed mushrooms and ginger. Blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
And that’s it.
You can either consume it right away or store it away in an airtight container in the fridge. It generally lasts for 2-3 weeks too which is great!
Oyster sauce should be gluten-free.
But we cannot take our chances as you can see here.
Ultimately it depends on the brand and the recipe.
So, be vigilant and do check before you buy.
Or at least, get yourself a specified gluten-free option.
And if you have the time, make your own.
Let’s be honest, that is probably best.
Is Kikkoman Oyster Sauce Gluten-free?
Kikkoman Oyster Sauce is gluten-free. This includes both their red label and green label products as no soy sauce or wheat are used in either.
Is Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce Gluten-free?
Neither the Lee Kum Kee Premium or Red Label Panda brand Oyster sauces are gluten-free. Both contain Wheat Flour as an ingredient. However, their Green Label Panda brand Oyster sauce is gluten free.