Gluten Free Oyster Sauce

I know I’m not the only one looking for gluten free oyster sauce. There are a handful of Asian ingredients I used to cook with that, despite all logical reasoning, contain gluten. These include:

  • Shaoxing Rice Wine
  • Dark Soy Sauce
  • Sichuan Chili Bean Paste
  • Oyster Sauce

I’d all but written these ingredients off, along with their accompanying dishes, until a recent conversation with my wonderful hair stylist, Lillian. As someone who recently discovered she has a gluten intolerance, Lillian was lamenting how hard it was to cook without oyster sauce in her culinary arsenal. “How the hell am I supposed to cook?” she mused out loud. “I mean, I’m Chinese! I need oyster sauce!”

She then went on to tell me about how she’d downloaded an iPhone app that helped her to shop for gluten free groceries. This app has informed her about a gluten free oyster sauce, which she tracked down at her local grocery store. She tried it, and yes! It was good! It tasted just like she’d hoped! AND – it was ok to eat!

Finding Gluten Free Oyster Sauce

I checked out the website for the brand she’d named, Lee Kum Kee, and it did appear that they made a gluten free oyster sauce. According to the website, it was their “panda” green label oyster sauce. I looked in all of my local large-scale grocery stores and couldn’t find it anywhere, so started hitting the tiny Asian grocery stores – and I finally found it:

That, right there, is what you need to look for. There’s a larger photo at the beginning of this post so that you can get an overall idea of what the bottle looks like.

While I couldn’t find it anywhere but my local Chinatown, Lillian was able to find it at her neighborhood Lucky’s, in the Asian food section.

Now, go forth and dig out your Chinese and Thai cookbooks, my gluten-free brothers and sisters!

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Comments from other ninjas:

  1. Renee says

    We’re still looking for a vegetarian AND gluten free oyster sauce!!! I don’t think it’s out there. I am GF and my husband is veggie. I have searched every Asian or international market as well as the web. All the veggie oyster sauces are made using regular soy sauce – but mushrooms instead of the oysters…if only…

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Argh, I know what you mean. It’s really frustrating to need a perfect ingredient and have it not exist. I’ll keep digging until I find a recipe!

    • Fariha says

      I was going to make a stir fry with bok choy and shitake mushrooms once but had run out of oyster sauce. I ended up using some of the water that I had soaked the (dried) mushroom in, some light soy sauce and I used corn starch as thickener. It tasted just as good as when I used oyster sauce.

  2. Chelsey says

    Holy cannoli! I love oyster sauce. I made up a recipe to replace it using fish sauce, fresh Ginger, and sweet rice flour (to thicken)…but to use the ‘real’ thing would be divine. Thanks for the update.

  3. MyKidsEatSquid says

    Have you ever tried Bragg sauces? I don’t think they have oyster sauce, but I know they have vinegars and soy sauce. Just a thought.

  4. Sheryl says

    Ok, so you need gluten-free; I need SALT-free. But in Chinese condiments like soy or oyster sauce, does it exist??

  5. Jennifer Margulis says

    I don’t know that I’ve EVER cooked with oyster sauce, gluten-free or otherwise. But it’s so weird how many unexpected ingredients are in sauces and salad dressings. My take-home message from this post is READ THE LABELS AND KNOW THE INGREDIENTS.

  6. Nataucha Spires says

    Thank you so much my 8 year old lil girl always felt left out and now we can cook all the thing she and I love to eat Thank you thank you

  7. Lila Kehr says

    Where can I buy it? My address is 8633 Lake Murray
    Blvd San Diego, Ca. 92119, East County Near
    Lake Murray Blvd and Navajo.

  8. Cynthia says

    My friend can’t have gluten & I felt so bad when I cooked with a tiny bit of oyster sauce, but now I am def going out to buy this so she can eat!

  9. Sammy says

    I’m looking at the label of the Yu Yee Shao Shing cooking wine in my pantry and it’s ingredients are only rice, water, salt, and yeast. Should be gluten free. Please let me know if you have any luck with the chili bean paste and dark soy sauce. I’d love to be able to have those ingredients gluten free as well.

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Should indeed be gluten-free! No luck yet on the chili bean poaste or dark soy sauce – please report back if you have good news. :)

  10. Dereen Neild says

    I am glad someone else is struggling to find gluten free oyster sauce, can’t find it anywhere, asked in all my towns stores will now try the chinese stores so frustrating.

  11. Cindy Bendel says

    Thanks for letting know about this gluten free oyster sauce and posting a photo. Made it easy to spot at the store among all the oyster sauces.

  12. Samantha says

    For those looking for dark or regular gluten free soy sauce, this is the BEST! They sell it at Whole Foods and I believe you can order from their website. They have salad dressings as well as cooking sauces, all gluten free!

  13. Robert says

    When I first realized I was going to have to remove gluten from my diet, first thing I did was start looking at labels. What an awful surprise to find wheat on my two mainstays for food survival, shoyu and oyster sauce ! Living in Hawaii, most dishes have shoyu or oyster sauce in them – and sat back in shock that first time trying to realize , no more teriyaki, no more stir fry with oyster sauce :(
    Was bad enough coming to terms that my 25 year career as a cook was probably over, as I cant see how I can taste product that has gluten while doing my job as a cook.
    Thank God for all the blogs like this one around, and more and more companies either labeling better or introducing more products that are gluten-free !

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says

      Oh no! I’m so sorry, Robert. What a crushing blow for a cook. Are you able to get these gluten-free products in Hawaii?

      • Robert says

        Yes, so far I haven’t had any problems finding product. Well, the changes seem overwhelming at first – but now I look at what a blessing having the cooking experience is turning out to be, as I have a decent understanding of how to work with adapting foods in different ways, have a lot of knowledge on different products that are used in GF diets, and can experiment with a number of cusines ive worked with in the past. Not to mention having good knife skills and organized and fast prep times – makes all the difference when you need to do the cooking at home! So its rough, but filled with blessings as well. I’m thankful that I can still prepare food that still excites me. Sites like yours make all the difference, though. Gonna miss some classics favorites from the Portuguese side of my ethnicity, like Pao Duce ( Portuguese sweet bread), and malasadas, lol. But after all the research Ive done, truthfully, its only the baked good Ill miss.

  14. Liz says

    Can’t wait to go out and look for this!!! Switching my (Chinese)husband to a gluten-free diet and this is one item he can’t live without!


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  4. […] habe ich bislang weder Austernsauce noch Light Soy in glutenfrei gefunden. Von Lee Kum Kee gibt es glutenfreie Austernsauce, allerdings wohl nicht in Europa, und Light Soy ohne Weizen gibt es gar nicht, allerdings k