Not everyone has a taste for clams or other fishy things. There are also those who simply can’t eat seafood, plus those who avoid meat and seafood entirely.
For these reasons, it’s always a good idea to know your substitute options for certain ingredients. When it comes to clam juice, there are a lot of options you can try.
While clam juice is typically used for the flavor it adds to things, like pastries, cocktails, and other dishes, there may be something that holds you back from using it.
Clam juice isn’t always easy to find and there are a number of reasons that you might need an alternative option as well.
So, what is the best clam juice substitute? The best substitutes for clam juice are fish sauce, chicken broth, vegetable broth, dashi, dry white wine, oyster sauce, and oyster liquor. Clam juice is incredibly versatile so what you use as a substitute will depend heavily on what you’re making.
It can be a challenge to find the ideal substitute due to the versatile flavor of clam juice. Fortunately, there are quite a few great options out there.
Just keep in mind what flavor component the clam juice adds to the dish and you’re sure to find a swap that will work just right for you.
In this guide, we will walk you through the 7 best clam juice substitutes out there. We’ve researched the options to figure out what works best and when it will work the best as well.
You can produce fairly similar results with most of these and some work better for specific uses or types of creations.
Stick with us to learn the 7 best clam juice substitutes and more.
Choosing A Clam Juice Substitute
We know that clam juice has a very specific flavor. It’s also incredibly versatile. The downside is that it can be hard to find.
If you don’t eat seafood, perhaps enjoy a meat or animal substance-free lifestyle, or you simply can’t find it, it’s quite alright!
There are options and you don’t have to just skip the dish when you can’t get your hands on clam juice.
While your results may not be exactly the same, we can get you pretty close overall, leaving you with a dish or drink you’ll be excited to serve.
But, before you go out and pick up an option from this list at random, here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting your substitute.
What Are You Making?
Here’s the thing. The substitute you choose very well may depend on what you are making. Here’s a good example:
If you’re making a recipe that is primarily made with seafood or seafood or fishy flavors, you don’t want to use something that won’t contribute to that flavor in a similar way.
This is where you can look for a substitute that will be fishy in nature. Here, you should consider trying one of the options that is most similar to clam juice.
Fish stock or fish sauce might a quality option in this particular situation.
Just think about what you’re making and consider how the change might affect the dish or the drink in hand.
Can You Make Your Own Clam Juice?
Yes! If you really want to get your flavor as close as possible and you don’t have an issue with using clam juice, you can absolutely make your own.
You will need clams to do so and this may cost a bit more to create than simply using a substitute but it certainly is a viable option that can work for you.
Clam juice is made by shucking the clams and then steaming them to create a broth in the process.
You will strain your broth to help remove any sediment or grit that may appear when you’re steaming but this will get what you need!
What Is Clam Juice Used For?
If you’re wondering why people use clam juice at all, you might be surprised.
Clam juice is really a very versatile ingredient. It’s used in a variety of dishes but it can also be used in certain baking projects as well as for cocktails.
Clam juice is great for things like soups and chowders, it can be used for making dill sauce or even in cooking salmon.
In addition, pasta sauces also sometimes use clam juice.
Finally, a good Bloody Mary will almost always have a touch of clam juice in the mix to perfect the flavor.
7 Best Clam Juice Substitutes
Now, let’s get down to business and discuss the best options to try when you need a clam juice replacement.
The purpose of this guide is primarily to share your substitution options and let you know how to use them. You’ll also find a few great product recommendations along the way.
There are quite a few options out there to try out so you should be able to find something here that works for your needs.
With this wide variety of choices and details for how they compare to clam juice, we hope you’ll keep returning to this list for future kitchen adventures.
We’ve covered all of the bases for any need you can throw at us, from other seafood alternatives to options suitable for vegans and more!
Below, you will find our top picks for the 7 best clam juice substitutes out there.
1. Fish Sauce Or Fish Stock
You can use either fish sauce or fish stock as an alternative when you still want that seafood flavor.
Either one will work here so you can use whichever is easier for you to get your hands on, or if you have something on hand that works too.
Fish stock is much like beef or chicken broth. It is made from simmering parts of fish, including bones and meat.
Some people also make it by adding things like celery, onions, fennel, and parsley. You can also purchase fish stock as well.
If you’re looking for a substitute for clam juice that has a seafood flavor to it, this is your best option.
We do feel as though fish sauce is far easier to find and use overall so we recommend starting there but we want to make sure you know that fish stock is an option as well.
Here is a good product option for fish sauce if you need a recommendation.
Red Boar Fish Sauce
Red Boat Fish sauce uses just anchovy and sea salt to create their sauce.
You get all-natural ingredients that are pressed to create a flavorful fish sauce that works really well.
It’s first press sauce and it is 100% pure so you don’t have to worry about random additives or other ingredients in the mix.
2. Chicken Broth
If you want a good alternative that doesn’t have seafood flavor or anything remotely related to seafood, chicken broth might be a good option.
Chicken broth will be a suitable alternative to dishes that you cook to prepare. You probably won’t want to add chicken broth to your Bloody Mary, it just won’t be the same.
Chicken broth does enhance the flavor, but it will have a flavor of chicken.
However, if you perhaps don’t like seafood flavors or have a seafood allergy, it works really well.
The flavors are light but the texture and the versatility are still there, which is why it makes a good substitute for cooking purposes.
Chicken broth is incredibly easy to find and make. In fact, if you do much cooking, you probably already have some chicken broth on hand so you should be set!
Chicken broth is also affordable so it’s a simple substitute that you can’t argue with.
Here is a recommendation if you need one.
Swanson Organic Chicken Broth
You can’t beat a classic like Swanson chicken broth. This particular option is organic and it is made from free-range chickens.
The ingredients are simple and totally pure plus this is certified as USDA organic.
It’s a simple box with quite a bit in it and it has a resealable cap so you can store what you don’t use right away.
3. Vegetable Broth
Perhaps you’re looking for a substitute that doesn’t contain meat or any type of animal by-product at all. You’re in luck!
In this scenario, you can use vegetable broth instead of a fish sauce or chicken broth.
Vegetable broth works very similarly to chicken broth and will be best for cooking recipes that call for clam juice.
This can be great for a vegan or vegetarian alternative. You might be surprised at the flavor that vegetable broth has.
It’s almost just slightly sweet but the flavor is also very light. You can use it perfectly for soups and chowders or even sauces and other similar needs.
Vegetable broth is another option you can easily make your own as well in a pinch.
Most versions use a mixture of things like celery, carrots, mushrooms, and dry white wine.
It does take quite a bit of time to simmer if you decide to make your own so be prepared for that.
Here is a great recommendation if you need one.
Kitchen Basics Organic Vegetable Stock
This option is great for vegetable stock.
It’s organic and they use simple vegetables that won’t mess with your flavors.
It’s an all-natural vegetable stock with rich, homemade flavor to it.
It’s perfect for a soup or stew substitute for clam juice.
Dashi is a Japanese substitute that works really well in Asian dishes and sauces.
It’s a type of broth so it easily has the same texture and a comparable flavor in the end.
Most Japanese dishes like miso or noodles use dashi in them. It has a pretty strong umami flavor and is a form of fish stock.
Dashi is made with fish that have similar coloring and flavoring to clam juice, which is why it makes a great substitute.
You can use dashi as a substitute for just about any dish. From Asian foods to sauces to Bloody Mary’s, it can cover your bases.
It also works well in soups and stews.
While you may or may not have dashi in your pantry, you can often find it at Asian markets and grocery stores and you might even find it in the Asian section of your local grocery store.
This is one of the more similar and versatile substitutes you can use.
Here is a recommendation if you need one.
Chaganju Store Dashi Stock
This dashi comes from Japan and it is made there. It is authentic to their flavors of the stock.
There will be some work required as this comes in powder form but it’s pretty easy to make.
This dashi is made with all-natural ingredients that include kelp, sardines, mushrooms, flying fish, and a few other additions but all from natural sources.
5. Dry White Wine
There’s no shortage of white wines in a wide variety of price ranges at nearly any grocery store.
It’s a great substitute for pastas, chowders and soups, or your cocktails that call for clam juice. Plus, you can drink the leftovers.
It’s an easy substitute but it does contain alcohol so that is something to keep in mind.
Of course, if you cook with it, you won’t have to worry about the alcohol content.
Dry white wine or even dry sherry will work as a clam substitute for a lot of different uses rather than just one or two different recipes.
If you keep wine in your home, you might have some of this on hand, making it quick and easy to find or add when you need it!
Using wine or sherry can be useful because it will give you a similar flavor effect plus will contribute the same liquid component in the recipe.
It also will offer far less sodium to your overall recipe or creation.
6. Oyster Sauce
Here is another fishy flavored sauce that you can use. Oyster sauce makes a good substitute for clam sauce when you still want the fishy flavor.
Plus, oyster sauce tastes very similar to clam sauce with the touch of saltiness. These are similar resources so your overall result will be very close.
You can use oyster sauce as a suitable replacement for anything you might use clam sauce in.
It’s pretty versatile and is primarily an Asian sauce so look for it in Asian grocery stores and markets or in the Asian aisle of your favorite grocery store.
This one isn’t limited and you will find that you can produce almost identical results with things like chowders, soups, sauces, and drinks.
Here is a product recommendation if you need one.
Kikkoman Oyster Flavored Sauce
Kikkoman is a classic brand for a lot of different Asian sauce options and their oyster sauce is the perfect choice.
It does have quite a bit of sodium, as does clam sauce.
This blends the perfect flavor of both savory and sweet to bring you versatile use as a substitute.
7. Oyster Liquor
If you’re just planning on making a Bloody Mary, oyster liquor is a really great option. This is not really a liquor at all so don’t be scared off by the terminology.
However, it is best used in cocktails as a substitute.
Oyster liquor is produced from raw oysters that are not inside the water. It’s very similar to clam juice but, also like clam juice, it can be just as difficult to find out there.
If you can get your hands on this substitute, you will find that the consistency and the flavor profile is very similar.
It is just a little bit thicker and it may need to be diluted with water if you plan to add it to a recipe and want similar results.
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