7 Best Substitutes For Dried Shrimp

Dried shrimp are a brilliant way to give your food a seafood flavor, and this adaptable item has long been a mainstay of Asian cuisine. Dried shrimps are quickly gaining popularity in other parts of the world due to their fantastic flavor. But what if the store where you shop doesn’t carry this unusual ingredient?

What then makes the most incredible alternative for dried shrimp? Fried garlic or fresh shiitake mushrooms are two vegan substitutes that can mimic the umami, sweet, salty, and salty flavor of dried shrimp. To replicate the seafood flavor of dried shrimp, use fish sauce, shrimp paste, or dried anchovies.

You’re having trouble finding dried shrimp, the tasty item needed in a recipe. Don’t worry; these substitutions will guarantee that your food still tastes great. Let’s look at the ideal alternatives to dried shrimp and how to use them.

What Is Dried Shrimp?

Dried fish and dried shrimp are available in Thai local market from Bangkok street vendors for the retail and entire sale. Many people may not be familiar with dried shrimp, even though they are beginning to appear in more dishes worldwide. As the name implies, fresh shrimp are sun-dried to produce this flavor-packed product.

This method causes the tasty seafood to shrink by draining all excess water from it. A little dried shrimp with a robust flavor is the end result.

There are three different kinds of dried shrimp; ideally, your recipe will determine which type you need. Small dried shrimp with the shell on is also an option, as well as dried shrimp of standard size with the shell removed.

Although more giant dried shrimp are considered superior quality, the smaller variety shouldn’t be avoided. These likewise taste fantastic; they’re just used differently.

There are numerous names for dried shrimp used throughout the world. You might hear the term “udang kering” when cooking a Singaporean or Malaysian meal.

When purchasing ingredients from a Chinese grocery shop, search for dried shrimp with the names hai mi or Xia mi. Tom Kho is the Vietnamese word for dried shrimp, while Kung haeng is the term given to them in Thai grocery stores.

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Shrimp can be maintained for a more extended period by drying them; however, this process is not permanent. They can occasionally be found as frozen dry shrimp in the refrigerated area of the supermarket.

In the refrigerator, vacuum-packed dry shrimp will remain for up to two months, while frozen shrimp can keep much longer. It makes sense to put any leftover dried shrimp in the freezer for later use if you’ve gone to the work of finding it.

What Is The Flavor of Dried Shrimp?

The flavor of dried shrimp is more substantial and sweeter than fresh shrimp. These tiny marine critters’ excessive water evaporates during sun-drying, leaving only their pure, potent flavor.

The flavor of these little dried shrimp is best compared to the taste of the sea with some sweetness added. The incredible umami flavor, which is exceptionally savory, goes well with this.

The texture of dried shrimp is firm and slightly chewy. Before eating, they are often soaked, and this makes them soft and less chewy.

Best Substitutes For Dried Shrimp

We need to consider what you could use to replace this delicious ingredient now that we’ve got you all psyched about dried shrimp. Don’t lose hope if you have trouble finding dried shrimp because many options are available.

Here are some of our favorite dried shrimp alternatives.

Bonito Flakes

Dried shrimp substitutes

Bonito Flakes are dried and fermented bonito fish (in the tuna family) or skipjack tuna. They are not as intense as shrimp paste, and the texture is notably different. These flakes have a strong odor and a salty, intensely savory taste. 

Add the flakes to stocks, soups, or casserole dishes. You can also spread them on noodle dishes as a savory topping. Start with 2 tablespoons of flakes and taste your dish frequently. Add more as required till you reach your desired flavor.


Dried shrimp substitutes

The fermented soybean paste is known as miso. Miso can be produced using various molds grown from different grains like rice, barley, or soybeans.

Miso is fermented for various lengths, ranging from a few weeks to years. Darker miso is salty, earthy, and incredibly spicy, while lighter miso is sweeter.

Dried shrimp can be easily replaced with dark miso if you’re vegan. In your recipe, substitute 1-2 tablespoons of dark miso for each 1/2 teaspoon of dried shrimp.

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Shiitake Mushrooms

Dried shrimp substitutes

Shiitake mushrooms are a great way to boost any dish’s umami flavor. Although they are grown in different countries worldwide, most shiitake mushrooms are farmed in Japan. Dead hardwood trees are turned to dark brown mushrooms.

If you can find fresh shiitake, cut or slice them thinly and use a cup of them for half a teaspoon of the dried shrimp in your recipe.

There is no issue if all you can find are dried shiitake mushrooms. To replace shrimp paste 1:1, grind dried shiitake mushrooms into a powder in a coffee grinder.


Dried shrimp substitutes



Anchovies are little fish that are widely available in supermarkets. They are fileted, then placed in glass jars or tins with salt or oil.

Look for anchovies in olive oil kept in glass jars for the most fantastic flavor. Anchovies in tins have a distinct “canned” flavor.

Your foods will taste salty, umami, and fishy after adding anchovies. The filets tend to melt away and enhance the other flavors in the meal as you cook with them.

Even if you don’t like anchovies whole, adding a small amount to your recipes gives them a taste boost that transforms them into excellent dishes.

Although anchovies have a softer flavor than shrimp paste, they can still be used in a 1:1 ratio. The anchovy filets can be blended or mashed with a bit of water to create a paste.

Anchovy filets in oil can be stored in the refrigerator for a very long period. But after a few weeks, they’ll get stronger and start to scent up the fridge.

Leftover anchovies will add pungency to your dish. But it will also give your refrigerator a strange odor.

Oyster Sauce

Dried shrimp substitutes

Made with oysters, oyster sauce is a dark brown or black sauce with a viscous and syrupy nature. It is created with oyster juices that have been reduced and burnt with salt and sugar.

Soy sauce and cornstarch are sometimes used to thicken certain oyster sauces. Oyster sauce can be consumed straight from the bottle, mixed with other spices, or used as the foundation for stir-fries.

It has a potent flavor that is salty, earthy, and a bit sweet, similar to a soy sauce and barbeque blend. There is no oyster flavor to it.

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Because of the solid, strong flavor, start with a tiny amount and keep tasting as you cook until you achieve the ideal flavor. Oyster sauce should be added in increments of 1 tablespoon.

Soy Sauce

Dried shrimp substitutes

Shrimp paste can be replaced with soy sauce, which is both inexpensive and accessible. It tastes much milder than shrimp paste and is salty and unpleasant.

Due to its mildness, you will need to add a lot to compensate for the shrimp paste’s intensity. However, this is an excellent alternative if you want a milder flavor.

Guage to the quantity you apply, because soy sauce has the potential to alter the color of your food. To acquire the desired flavor, start with 1 tablespoon and sample it periodically.

You can replace one teaspoon of oyster sauce if you aren’t vegan or vegetarian with one tablespoon of soy sauce and one mashed anchovy filet.

Thai Yellow Bean Sauce

Dried shrimp substitutes

Yeast-fermented yellow soybeans are used to make this sauce. With a touch of sweetness, it tastes intensely salty and earthy. Use it as a sauce on chicken or fish for people who eat meat or in vegetable stir-fries.

This sauce has a sufficient amount of salt in it that, when kept in a well sealed container, it can be kept at a cool room temperature for a few months. You can refrigerate it to extend its shelf life. Repackaging it in a smaller jar is also a good option if the jar has a lot of air space because the exposed air will cause it to darken. Depending on the outcome you want, you can use this sauce either exactly as is, with the entire beans, or ground into a paste.

You should carefully examine the ingredient list if you are gluten intolerant because some formulas contain wheat. For dried shrimp, substitute this sauce in 1:1 ratio.

Final Reflections

Dried shrimp is a flavorful, spicy, salty, and umami-rich ingredient. Your foods will have more flavor depth with only a little bit. If you prefer a milder flavor, have a shrimp allergy, or require a vegan or vegetarian alternative, you might wish to use the above substitutes instead.

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