If you often browse the internet to find delicious recipes, you have probably come across some that call for MSG or Accent seasoning.
Accent seasoning is a flavor enhancer that works like magic in making all kinds of food taste better. But what if you don’t have Accent seasoning at home?
What are the best substitutes for Accent seasoning? Salt is the best substitute for Accent seasoning. You can also use spices, herbs, beef stock or broth, Creole seasoning, as well as soy sauce to improve the flavor of your dishes. You can also make MSG-free Accent seasoning at home.
Continue reading to learn more about Accent seasoning, what it’s made of, how it’s used, and what are the best Accent seasoning substitutes you can use to make your homemade food taste better.
What Is Accent Seasoning?
Accent seasoning, often referred to as monosodium glutamate, is actually a product name. It is the name of a seasoning spice by Sason. Accent seasoning is used for savory foods to enhance their flavor.
Accent seasoning is also often called MSG. MSG stands for monosodium glutamate which is the primary ingredient in this seasoning.
But what is MSG?
MSG is the sodium salt of an amino acid called glutamic acid. Glutamic acid occurs naturally in tomatoes, cheese, yeast extract, soy extract, and a few other foods.
MSG is an odorless and flavorless white powder and looks very similar to salt.
Accent seasoning is a popular ingredient in Asian-style cooking. MSG flavor enhancers like Accent seasoning are also widely used by restaurants.
You may often see MSG on the ingredient lists of condiments, canned food, frozen meals, chips, various snacks, and many store-bought sauces.
With this said, you can use it for your homemade food to improve its flavor.
You can use Accent seasoning for a variety of dishes. It is particularly good for meat, fish, vegetables, potatoes, and rice. You can add Accent seasoning into soups, salads, stews, casseroles, and more.
What Is Accent Seasoning Made Of?
As mentioned above, the main ingredient in Accent seasoning is monosodium glutamate.
But Accent seasoning, which is one of the most popular MSG flavor enhancers, contains other ingredients too. It contains salt, chili pepper, cumin, oregano, and a few other additives.
Flavor enhancers that contain only monosodium glutamate are typically labeled as MSG.
How Does Accent Seasoning Work?
As noted above, monosodium glutamate doesn’t really have a flavor. But how does it enhance the flavor of other dishes if it doesn’t taste like anything?
As scientists explain, monosodium glutamate interacts with the receptors on the tongue, thus making food taste a lot better. It enhances the umami flavors in savory dishes and adds depth and richness.
Is Accent Seasoning Bad For You?
A few decades ago, monosodium glutamate was considered to be a toxic ingredient. It was considered to be such an unhealthy additive that some restaurants even started to market themselves as MSG-free.
Through the years, however, scientists have come to the conclusion that MSG is not as harmful as it was once thought to be. Consumed in moderate amounts, it doesn’t present any health risks.
If you consume more than 3 grams of MSG a day, you may experience such side effects as high blood pressure, headaches, or nausea.
On the other hand, MSG may be a better option than salt for people who are trying to keep their sodium intake at bay.
With this said, MSG remains a controversial ingredient and many people try to eat food that doesn’t contain it.
Is There A Substitute For Accent Seasoning?
As noted above, many people still consider MSG to be an unhealthy additive and they are looking for a substitute for it. Additionally, many restaurants, especially the most popular fast-food chains, add MSG to their food.
So, if you add MSG to your homemade food too, you may consume too much of it on some days.
Also, you simply may not have Accent seasoning at home at all times. And it is always good to know how to enhance the flavor of your dishes with all-natural ingredients that are widely available.
The 7 Best Substitutes For Accent Seasoning
If the idea of enhancing the flavor of your savory dishes sounds good to you but you don’t want to use Accent seasoning, here are 7 substitutes you can use.
While MSG is technically tasteless, the flavor it produces is described as salty. This makes salt the best substitute for Accent seasoning.
Salt is a universal flavor improver which is why we add it not only to savory dishes but to sweet recipes too.
Salt improves the flavor of savory food in many ways. First, it balances other flavors.
Second, it makes the food more aromatic by helping molecules in certain foods rise into the air more easily. Lastly, it enhances the umami notes in dishes!
As a bonus, salt also makes meat juicy which is one of the best ways to make meat dishes taste so much better.
You can use any type of salt you have as a substitute for Accent seasoning, including table salt, Kosher salt, Celtic sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, and a lot of other kinds of salt.
So long as you use it in the right amount, salt will greatly improve the flavor of your dishes.
You can use salt in combination with other spices and herbs to get a flavor as close as possible to the flavor of Accent seasoning.
Before MSG was around, people have been using spices to enhance the flavor of food for thousands of years.
These natural flavor enhancers allow us to create numerous combinations to work well for the particular dish we are making.
When it comes to using spices as an Accent seasoning substitute, you can use the blend of spices that are present in the Accent seasoning and add some salt too.
When using spices, you have a lot of freedom to mix and match and create combinations that you enjoy.
To get the most out of your spices fry them first. Heating a small amount of oil and frying the spices in it until they become aromatic is the trick every cook should know.
As Accent seasoning also contains herbs, it would be a good idea to use dried herbs to add depth to your food without the use of any MSG.
With herbs, you have a lot of options to choose from—oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, parsley, and so on. You can use a combination of a few herbs or go with your favorite herb only.
Just like spices, herbs are natural flavor enhancers. Adding herbs to your dishes creates a depth of flavor.
Fresh herbs also add a pop of color to dishes. Using the right combination of herbs can help you highlight specific flavors in a dish too.
When using herbs instead of Accent seasoning, it is important to learn about what ingredients pair best with commonly used herbs. You should also know when to add them to the dish.
For example, fresh herbs need to be added toward the end of the cooking time to preserve their color and flavor. Dried herbs, on the other hand, need more time to release their flavor.
4. Beef Stock Or Broth
As noted earlier in this article, Accent seasoning enhances the umami flavors in dishes. So, it is not surprising that you can substitute it with some beef stock or broth.
Beef stock and beef broth are rich in umami notes. While these two liquids are very different from Accent seasoning texture-wise, you can use them in a variety of dishes as a flavor enhancer.
Aside from their umami-enhancing compounds, beef stock and broth have desirable flavors altogether. When used right, they add depth to dishes and make them a lot more flavorful.
Beef stock and broth are good Accent seasoning substitutes for liquidy dishes, including soups, stews, and sauces.
If you don’t have homemade or store-bought beef stock at home, you can use bouillon cubes instead.
These cubes are packed with flavor and can add richness and depth to any dish. The only thing is that many bouillon cubes contain MSG. If you are trying to avoid it, buy MSG-free ones.
5. Creole Seasoning
Creole seasoning is a seasoning blend used in Creole cuisine. If you didn’t know, Creole cuisine is a fusion of different cultures, including Native American, African, and European.
Creole seasoning is a mix of different spices and herbs, including granulated garlic, paprika, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, thyme, basil, and oregano.
This seasoning can be used for a variety of dishes. You can use it for meat and seafood dishes, stews, soups, and salads.
Thanks to the many spices and herbs Creole seasoning has, it adds a lot of flavor and depth to the food. It doesn’t work the same way as MSG, but it does greatly improve the flavor of food if used in the right amount and combinations.
You can buy Creole seasoning or make it yourself by blending all the abovementioned spices into fine powder. When making homemade Creole seasoning, you can leave out any spice or herb you don’t like.
If you don’t have Creole seasoning at home, you can use Cajun seasoning instead. Cajun seasoning is very versatile too and will add lots of flavor to your dishes.
6. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is a good Accent seasoning substitute. It enhances the flavor of foods thanks to its amino acid content.
Glutamate and Aspartate are two amino acids that contribute to the flavor of the food and significantly improve it. And both of these amino acids can be found in soy sauce.
Soy sauce has a very complex flavor. It is salty, sweet, and slightly bitter. However, the main reason why it works as an Accent seasoning substitute is that sauce also greatly enhances the umami flavors in dishes.
Soy sauce is very versatile and has a long shelf life. You can use it not only as an MSG substitute but for any food that needs some salt and seasoning.
This Asian sauce works perfectly for marinades, stir-fries, noodles, rice, and salad dressings. If you enjoy Asian food, you probably love using soy sauce as a dipping sauce too.
Some soy sauces may contain MSG. If you are looking for an Accent seasoning substitute to avoid MSG, make sure to buy from a brand that doesn’t use this additive.
7. Homemade Accent Seasoning
If you like all the richness Accent seasoning adds to savory dishes but you don’t want to add any MSG to your homemade food, then making DIY Accent seasoning is what you should try doing.
For every 20 tablespoons of salt, mix the following ingredients:
- Black pepper – 3 tbsp
- Garlic powder – 3 tbsp
- Onion powder – 3 tbsp
- Chili powder – 3 tbsp
- Cayenne pepper – 5 tbsp
- Thyme – 1 tbsp
- Dried basil – 1 tbsp
You can add other spices and dried herbs to your liking, make the spice mixture less or more spicy, or add less salt.
Once you have mixed all the spices and herbs, transfer your homemade Accent seasoning into an airtight jar and store it somewhere cool and dark.
Use this DIY Accent seasoning for any savory recipe you like, including soups, stews, casseroles, and sauces.
How To Choose A Substitute For Accent Seasoning
Which Accent seasoning you should use depends on a few things. Here is what to consider if you don’t know which Accent seasoning is best for you.
- What you are making. Accent seasoning can be used for a variety of dishes, including salads, soups, stews, and casseroles. But some Accent seasoning substitutes are only good for particular dishes. The most versatile Accent seasoning substitute is salt. If you don’t know which Accent seasoning substitute to use, go for the kind of salt you have at home.
- Your eating habits. You should obviously consider your eating habits when looking for an Accent seasoning substitute. For example, beef broth won’t work if you are vegan or vegetarian. Soy sauce is not a good choice if you need to keep it gluten-free (or, you should make sure to buy gluten-free soy sauce). While salt is one of the best substitutes for Accent seasoning, it may not be the best pick for people on a low-sodium diet. You should also consider any spice and herbs allergies you and your family members have.
- What you have at hand. Some Accent seasoning substitutes can be found in any kitchen, such as salt, dried herbs, and spices. If you use Accent seasoning often but think it’s high time you started using an MSG-free flavor enhancer instead, we recommend making a big batch of homemade accent seasoning and keeping it in your spice drawer. Make it once and you will have a great Accent seasoning at home for a long time.
Now that we’ve looked at some of the best substitutes you can use in place of Accent seasoning, here are a few related questions on the subject!
Is Accent seasoning a meat tenderizer?
Accent seasoning is not a meat tenderizer. It improves the flavor of the meat but it cannot alter its texture.
If the cut you are working with is tough, try tenderizing it using other methods such as marinating the meat or pounding it. Add the Accent seasoning when you start cooking the meat.
Can I replace salt with MSG?
While salt is also a flavor enhancer, it works differently from MSG seasonings.
You can substitute salt with MSG if you are trying to cut down on sodium. Add three times less MSG than the recipe calls for salt. Try the dish and add a little salt to it if needed to adjust the flavor.
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