13 Best Shrimp Paste Substitutes

Shrimp paste is one of the most popular condiments in Southeast Asia and a must-have ingredient in Thai cooking. Unfortunately, shrimp paste can be very expensive, and some of it can be hard to find in the United States. 

If you’re looking for a substitute, these 13 best shrimp paste substitutes will give you a good idea of what you’re getting when buying shrimp paste.

Best Shrimp Paste Substitutes

13 Best Shrimp Paste Substitutes

Shrimp paste is a traditional ingredient in Thai cuisine. It is used to make curries and other dishes. It is also used as a condiment for rice.

In the past, shrimp paste was made from dried, salted shrimp. Here is the list of best replacements for shrimp paste.

1. Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is a condiment made from fermented fish. It’s a common ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine, and it’s used as a salty, savory sauce for soups, salads, and marinades.

The liquid from the fermentation of fish is heated with salt until it evaporates and becomes thickened. Some versions may also contain other ingredients like herbs or spices to add additional flavor to your dish.

You can use fish sauce as a replacement for shrimp paste in recipes where you would typically include this ingredient; however, remember that it has a unique taste that might not work well with every dish you try it on.

2. Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is made from oyster extracts and can be used in place of shrimp paste. These sauces can be used in stir fry, soups, and other dishes like shrimp paste.

They are also great for those who do not eat meat but love the taste of shrimp paste!

Many people have difficulty finding oyster sauce at their local grocery store, so they turn to online shopping sites like Amazon instead.

However, it’s important to note that there are many different brands with varying levels of quality and flavor, so make sure yours tastes good enough before buying!

3. Miso Paste

Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans ground into a thick paste. It is salty and savory and is often used in Japanese cooking. It’s used in soups, sauces, and marinades to add flavor and saltiness to dishes such as stir-fries or stews.

Miso can be used as a substitute for shrimp paste if you’re looking for an ingredient that’ll give your dish added savory flavor without much work (or any at all); miso paste may be just what you need!

You can find it in most major grocery stores or Asian markets—make sure that it’s labeled “light” since this version has less sodium than regular miso pastes do

4. Anchovy Paste

Anchovy paste is a fish sauce substitute used as a condiment and in sauces. It’s made from anchovies, salt, and water. Anchovy paste is a good source of protein and calcium.

It is a popular Italian condiment made from anchovies and oil. It adds flavor to sauces, soups, pasta dishes, and pizza. It can also be used as a spread for sandwiches or a topping for crackers and bread.

Anchovy paste has a strong, pungent flavor that some people love and others don’t like at all. Here are some of its benefits if you’re trying to decide whether to give it a try.

Anchovies are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A. They also contain iron and zinc, which may help improve blood health in people with low iron levels.

Anchovy paste comes in jars or cans that can be opened easily with just one hand — making it easy to use when cooking without having to find something else to open with your other hand (like a can opener).

Many brands also come with lids that are easy to remove without messes on your countertops or tables!

5. Prawn Paste

Prawn paste is a traditional food product in Southeast Asia, especially Thailand. It is made by grinding together dried prawns with salt and water to form a paste. It can be eaten as is or used as an ingredient in other dishes.

The taste of prawn paste can be described as salty and savory, with a hint of sweetness from the shrimp. It is often used as an ingredient in Thai curries, such as massaman curry, and other Thai dishes, such as pad thai.

A good substitute for shrimp paste would be prawn paste or Kapi. If you’re looking for something more familiar, try anchovies or sardines instead!

6. Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a condiment made with a base of vinegar, molasses, garlic, and tamarind. It’s tangy and savory, with a slight kick of heat.

Worcestershire sauce is great as salad dressing or marinade for meats like chicken. You can also use it to flavor vegetables like eggplant and zucchini while cooking on the stovetop.

So, If you are looking for good alternatives to shrimp paste, Worcestershire sauce is an excellent substitute for shrimp paste in many recipes, such as Pad Thai or Satay Noodles.

Because it has a similar salty, umami flavor profile but isn’t quite as potent, so you’ll get some depth of flavor without overpowering your palate.

7. Thai Chili Paste with Garlic

Thai chili paste is a blend of fresh red chilies, garlic, salt, sugar, and vinegar. It’s used in Thai cooking to add heat and flavor to dishes. Instead of shrimp paste, try adding Thai chili paste with garlic to your stir-fry or soups.

Thai chili paste with garlic is a condiment used in many dishes. You can find it in the Asian section of your grocery store or at an Asian market. It comes in red or green and has a sweet chili taste. 

8. Seaweed

Seaweed is another great substitute for shrimp paste. Seaweed has a strong taste and odor that other ingredients in your dish can easily mask. It’s also rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, making it an excellent source of iodine. 

In addition to adding flavor to your dish, seaweed can also add texture, as it has a chewy consistency similar to that of shrimp paste (and even more so when rehydrated). Seaweed comes in many forms, but only two varieties are edible: kombu (kelp) and wakame (bladderwrack). 

However, if you’re looking for an ingredient that adds lots of flavor without much cost or preparation time, choose wakame instead of kombu since this variety doesn’t require drying before use.

9. Dashi Stock Powder

Dashi is a Japanese broth made with seaweed and dried fish. It’s commonly used in many dishes, including soups and noodles. If you are looking for an easy way to make dashi at home, this product is for you! Add water (2-3 cups) and whisk together until dissolved. 

Dashi stock powder is also free from preservatives, MSG, and artificial colorings, making it perfect for anyone who wants to avoid these ingredients when cooking their food at home.

10. Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a salty sauce made from fermented soybeans. It’s commonly used as a condiment in Asian cooking and can be used as a substitute for shrimp paste in cooking. The main ingredient of soy sauce is salt, which helps give food more flavor.

It has become popular worldwide due to its rich flavor and ability to enhance nearly any dish.

Soy sauce is typically used to flavor meat dishes like chicken wings or beef stir fry; however, it can also be used in salad dressings or on seafood such as salmon or shrimp.

11. Bonito Flakes

Remember those sachets of shrimp paste that you used to get with your takeout Thai food? Yeah, well, if you want to make some

Thai dishes at home but don’t want to add in any shrimp paste or fish sauce (or aren’t sure where/how to find these products), bonito flakes are a great option.

Bonito flakes are made from dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna that have been shaved into thin pieces. They’re common ingredients in many Japanese dishes like soups and salads, as well as Korean and Chinese dishes.

They’re high in protein but low in fat—the perfect combination for anyone looking for a substitute shrimp paste!

12. Tamari or Vegan Fish Sauce

Tamari is a fermented soybean paste that’s used in Asian cooking. It’s similar to soy sauce but tends to be less salty. Tamari is made from soybeans, water, and salt and is fermented for many months. 

The resulting deep brown liquid has a rich flavor with hints of sweetness and umami (the savory flavor associated with meat). You can use tamari instead of fish sauce in any recipe that calls for it—it has nearly the same flavor profile while being lower in sodium and fat.

13. Dried Shiitake Mushroom

This is probably the most common shrimp paste alternative. It can be used in many recipes that call for it, and it’s often sold in dried form.

The only thing you need to do is reconstitute it by soaking it in water before using it. The great thing about this mushroom is that it has a lot of flavors but without the fishy taste associated with shrimp paste.


If you’re out of shrimp paste and need a substitute, there are plenty of options. Fish sauce, miso paste, and soy sauce are all good substitutes.

If you need a vegan option, try using tomato paste or coconut aminos. Whatever you use, make sure to adjust the seasoning of your dish accordingly.

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