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8 Best MSG Substitutes: Sprinkle Some Magic

You know that feeling when you’re out of MSG and your favorite dish just isn’t hitting the same? We’ve been there. MSG brings out the umami goodness that makes our meals irresistible, but sometimes, we run out or prefer an alternative.

Good news: we’ve got your back with the 8 best substitutes for that magic sprinkle. From pantry staples to a few unexpected picks, these alternatives will save your dinner plans in a pinch. Let’s get rolling and find out what can step in when MSG isn’t around.

8 Easy Substitutes for MSG

While MSG is derived from an amino acid found in natural foods, it’s the chemical process that gives it its flavor-enhancing properties. So don’t worry about trying to find a natural form of MSG – you’re better off sticking with these substitutes.

SubstituteTasteTextureRatioSuitable Dish
Yeast ExtractSavory, umamiThick, syrupy1:1Soups, stews, and sauces
Soy SauceSalty, savoryThin, watery1:1Stir-fries, marinades, and sauces
TamariRich, savoryThick, syrupy1:1Stir-fries, marinades, and sauces
Nama ShoyuRich, savoryThick, syrupy1:1Stir-fries, marinades, and sauces
Bragg’s Liquid AminosSavory, slightly sweetThin, watery1:1Stir-fries, marinades, and sauces
Coconut AminosSavory, slightly sweetThin, watery1:1Stir-fries, marinades, and sauces
Miso PasteSavory, slightly sweetThick, paste-like1:2Soups, stews, and sauces
Homemade Seasoning BlendCustomizableVariesVariesAny dish

1 – Yeast Extract

This golden wonder has a savory, umami-rich flavor. It’s got that deep, meaty taste without the actual meat. We’re talking about yeast extract.

What makes it special? It’s packed with glutamates, which give it that MSG-like kick. Perfect for soups, stews, or even a cheeky addition to our mac and cheese.

Our tip: use half a teaspoon for every teaspoon of MSG needed. It’s strong stuff! We’ve tried it on scrambled eggs too, and wow, it’s a game changer.

2 – Soy Sauce

When we’re looking for a quick fix, soy sauce saves the day. This salty, umami-laden liquid can replace MSG with ease.

Key features? It’s all about that deep, rich flavor. It gives dishes a savory boost and a beautiful color. Share an anecdote like, “We’ve tossed it in stir-fries and marinades. Didn’t miss the MSG at all!”

Ratio is simple: use one tablespoon of soy sauce for every teaspoon of MSG.

Want other options? Check out our soy sauce substitutes. Perfect for varied tastes.

3 – Tamari

For those soy sauce fans, Tamari is your new best sidekick. It’s like soy sauce’s cooler cousin, with a richer, less salty taste. We’ve added it to stir-fries and found it hits the umami spot just right.

In a rush? Tamari steps in for MSG effortlessly. The flavor is bold but not overpowering. Use one tablespoon of this sauce for each teaspoon of MSG.

Curious about other options? You might want to check out our Tamari substitutes guide for more ideas.

4 – Nama Shoyu

Nama Shoyu has a mellow, slightly sweet taste. It’s unpasteurized, giving it a fresher flavor than regular soy sauce. Perfect for sushi and salad dressings.

We use it as an MSG alternative in stir-fries and dips. It blends well and keeps the dish light.

Pro tip: One tablespoon of Nama Shoyu can stand in for each teaspoon of MSG needed.

We’ve even tossed it with veggies for a balanced, umami hit. This liquid gem does wonders in small amounts.

5 – Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

The secret sauce we’re all about: Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. It’s got that umami kick we crave, kind of like soy sauce but milder and a bit sweeter.

Key features? It’s naturally derived and keeps our dishes savory without overpowering them. Works wonders in stir-fries, soups, or even salads.

Personal tip: Swap one tablespoon of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos for each teaspoon of MSG.

We’ve used it in our fried rice, and it’s been awesome. If you’re into trying other alternatives, check out our article Liquid Aminos substitutes.

6 – Fish Sauce

The subtle flavor here is what makes fish sauce unique. It’s pungent, briny, and totally packed with umami—ideal for that savory depth.

We threw it in our stir-fry and the results were spot on.

Key feature? A teaspoon of this liquid gold stands in for a teaspoon of MSG. We loved how it amped up the flavor without overpowering it.

Looking for more substitutes? Check out our fish sauce substitutes. It’s all about keeping your meals delicious and savory.

7 – Miso Paste

The taste of miso paste is like a warm hug for your taste buds. It’s savory, a little sweet, and full of umami goodness. We often use it in broths and dressings.

Key features? The depth of flavor it brings is unmatched. It’s thick and adds a creamy texture. We mix one tablespoon of miso paste for every teaspoon of MSG.

Need more ideas on how to use miso? Check out our guide on miso substitutes. You’ll find some great tips.

8 – Homemade Seasoning Blend

We’ve crafted our own seasoning blend! Super simple and packed with flavor.

Why it rocks? It’s the ultimate umami boost without additives. Our mix combines onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and a pinch of salt.

How to use it: Sprinkle one tablespoon for each teaspoon of MSG. This blend worked wonders in our soups and grilled veggies.

Personal tip: We even tried it on popcorn – a mind-blowing snack upgrade.

Favorite use? Stirred into a sauce, it brought richness and depth we love.