Difference between Eel Sauce and Oyster Sauce

Having the best sauce is one way of ensuring your dishes are flavorful and appealing to everyone. Two of the most popular types of sauces include eel sauce and oyster sauce. But are they the same thing?

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What is the difference between eel sauce and oyster sauce? Well, we have all the information you need about these two.

Our post today is a comparison between eel sauce and oyster sauce. Let’s uncover the difference.

Eel Sauce

Eel Sauce

In Japan, it is called Kabayaki or Nitsume. It is a savory sauce that works perfectly for grilled fish. It is also used in sushi as a finishing touch. The flavor produced works perfectly with some eel rolls or eel, which are among the most popular Japanese dishes.

You can improve the flavor by adding some dashi to your dish.

Oyster Sauce

Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce will give your dish a sort of syrup aspect. The sauce is indeed made with oyster extract. Amazingly, however, you will not detect any fish flavor in it.

This sauce has an amazing earthy, sweet, and savory flavor profile. It is made with caramelized oyster secretions coupled with salt, sugar, as well as soy sauce. Cornstarch is used to thicken it.

Difference between Eel Sauce and Oyster Sauce

There are several differences between these two that you should know about. Here is a detailed look.


Eel sauce is easy to make. All you need is sake, sugar, soy sauce, and mirin. These ingredients are reduced to paste forms. It is a versatile sauce that is also very easy to use. For that reason, it is used in different types of dishes, which include sushi rolls and eel.


To make an oyster sauce, you simply need to simmer some oyster sauce to the point it caramelizes to form a savory dark brown sauce. The oyster’s rich flavor is everything you need. You don’t need to add any seasoning or salt to improve it.

However, you will find that most of the oyster sauces are made with oyster extract instead of genuine oysters. To tell the difference, they are labeled as an oyster-flavored sauce.

If you want the umami taste in the oyster sauce, we recommend that you add a salt foundation, as well as a cornstarch thickened sugar.


Even though eel sauce has that name, it does not feature any eel. You will get an umami taste in the sauce. If you prepare it properly and the proportions are perfect, you will get salty and sweet notes with a bit of a smoky flavor.

For oyster sauce to get the savory flavor, it needs oyster fluids coupled with sugar and salt. You will also enjoy the sweet and sour umami taste of this sauce. In simple terms, oyster sauce is like soy sauce coupled with some fish sauce. It has a syrupy and nutty flavor.

Can you Substitute Oyster Sauce for Eel Sauce?

Well, the oyster sauce might be used commonly in sushi, but the fact that eel is also added to sushi does not mean that they would work as substitutes for each other.

Also, read: Worcestershire Sauce vs Soy Sauce


These two are amazing types of sauces that you can use to experiment with different Asian cuisines. Their main differences include the fact that eel sauce is not made with eels while the oyster sauce is made with oysters.

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