Have you ever found yourself without Maggi sauce, or maybe you ran out of it? Perhaps it’s time to make another batch, but you don’t have all the ingredients. What do you do now?
Well, numerous sauces can be used as substitutes for this iconic sauce. The trick is finding one that has a similar taste, texture, and appearance.
Common household condiments like soy sauce, Kitchen Bouquet, and Tamari Sauce can become a Maggi sauce substitute in your meal when you find yourself in a pinch.
Various alternatives to Maggi sauce are available for you to use in your next cooking session. Keep reading to find out more!
What Is Maggi Seasoning Sauce?
Even though it was created in Switzerland, Maggi Seasoning Sauce is a staple in Asian and Latin American cooking.
Maggi Sauce is typically used as a flavor enhancer and is made from a concentrated base of hydrolyzed vegetable protein. More specifically, it’s used to enhance those umami flavors to add depth to your dish.
Maggi Seasoning sauce is heavy on salt, and therefore not appropriate for those on low-sodium diets. Per teaspoon of sauce, there’s around 400 mg of sodium. Most recipes call for one tablespoon of sauce at most. A little goes a very long way.
Because you can find it in liquid and powder forms, it can be used in various dishes, including marinades, meat, soups, and stews, and as a condiment for bread.
In Germany, they add it to meat patties; in more Eastern European countries it’s an addition to casseroles, and in Asian cuisine, stir-fries and ramen.
What Does Maggi Sauce Taste Like?
Lovage. What is lovage you may ask? Lovage is an herb that is described to have the flavors of celery, parsley, and fennel all rolled into one.
Is Maggi Sauce made from lovage? No one knows. The recipe is ‘secret’. However, since the invention of the sauce, Germans have called it maggikraut and the Dutch call it maggiplant, so they seem to think so.
Others have described the taste of Maggi Sauce as a mixture of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Trying to compare Maggi Sauce to others is misleading though as it has its own smokey and roasted flavor like grilled onions with a side of charred bits of steak.
While the original 19th-century recipe was made from fermented wheat and glutamic acid (the amino acid we get MSG from), as it gained popularity around the world, the recipe changed to cater to each cuisine.
The Filipino version has strong notes of garlic, while the original Swiss-German recipe holds a complex vegetable taste, and the Mexican formula has a sharper and stronger flavor than its counterparts.
Is Maggi Sauce the Same as Soy Sauce?
Maggi Sauce and Soy Sauce are made to enhance the same set of umami flavors and share similar texture and consistency, but that’s where the similarities end.
Maggi Sauce is made from hydrolyzed wheat protein rather than soy and its flavor is deeper and more complex.
What is Similar to Maggi Sauce?
1. Soy Sauce
While Maggi Sauce and Soy Sauce have different flavors, they both provide that salty umami taste to add depth to a dish.
When using soy sauce as a Maggi seasoning sauce alternative, start sparingly and work up. Just like Maggi sauce, soy sauce has a strong flavor that can overpower a dish.
The best way to create a Maggi sauce substitute would be equal parts soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. The Worcestershire sauce adds in those savory notes that are missing in the sweeter flavors of soy sauce.
2. Worcestershire Sauce
This similarly fermented condiment can be used as a Maggi seasoning substitute in a pinch.
Although Maggi seasoning has a much simpler combination of ingredients compared to the tamarind, vinegar, molasses, anchovies, and spices in Worcestershire sauce, its complex flavor adds all that depth to dishes like soups, sauces, and marinades.
This widely popular sauce is a staple in most households and carried in a majority of supermarkets, making it a readily available substitute for Maggi Sauce.
3. Tamari Sauce
Also known as tamari shoyu, Tamari sauce is a fermented soybean sauce from Japan. While similar to soy sauce, it’s thicker and great for dipping.
This vegan and gluten-free alternative is lighter in flavor than regular soy sauce. While sweeter and with slightly less depth than Maggi sauce, Tamari sauce is a great maggi substitute for those who don’t enjoy intensely strong flavors.
4. Kitchen Bouquet
Want a similar flavor with less sodium? Kitchen Bouquet is an excellent Maggi substitute with only 30 mg of sodium per tablespoon.
While the lower salt flavor won’t match Maggi Seasoning, this 19th-century food flavoring will give your dish that umami boost. If you want something much closer to Maggi sauce, you’re going to have to add salt or combine it with other alternatives.
5. Gold Mountain Seasoning Sauce
For a non-MSG Maggi alternative, Gold Mountain Seasoning Sauce comes close. This Thai condiment mostly consists of fermented soybeans and salt but has a deeper flavor than other soy sauces.
Deeper umami flavors come from enhancers like dried fish or seaweed.
Much like Maggi seasoning, this deeply flavored sauce should be used in moderation as one to two drops makes a big difference.
6. Braggs’ Liquid Aminos
While not carried at all grocers, your local Asian market, health food store, or specialty grocer may carry Braggs Liquid Aminos near the soy sauces.
This soy-based sauce is also MSG-free making it an excellent maggi alternative for those trying to remove MSG from their diet.
The earthy and savory flavors in this sauce are provided by vegetable protein from soybeans. It’s almost the same as the Chinese variation of Maggi Sauce, with less salt.
7. Knorr Liquid Seasoning
Some consider Maggi Sauce and Knorr Liquid Seasoning as the same thing. With similar umami flavors, appearance, and texture that’s easy to understand.
Knorr Liquid Seasoning tends to be a little sweeter like other fermented soy products. With the inclusion of MSG, Knorr Seasoning does provide an easy Maggi sauce substitute.
8. Fish Sauce
Fish sauce is another fermented sauce that comes from Asian cuisine. Similar to soy sauce in its earthy umami flavor, fish sauce can easily be found in most stores.
A good match in flavor and texture, this easy-to-find sauce makes a great Maggi Sauce substitute when you’re at a loss.
9. Miso Paste
One of Japan’s sources for that earthy, salty flavor cherished for boosting the umami tastes in foods, miso paste is a great Maggi seasoning substitute.
Again a fermented seasoning, miso paste created by fermenting soybean compared to the fermented wheat in Maggi Sauce.
Much like Maggi Sauce, miso paste will add intense flavor to any dish.
10. Oyster Sauce
Another sauce very similar in appearance and taste would be oyster sauce.
A simple combination of oyster pieces, corn starch, water, sugar, and salt, oyster sauce adds that same umami flavor you use Maggi Sauce for.
While some other alternatives are better, oyster sauce is an appropriate Maggi substitute.
11. Black Bean Sauce
Another popular, fermented condiment, black bean sauce also has a salty and savory flavor.
If you choose to use it as a Maggi sauce substitute, be sparing. Black Bean sauce is also very savory for that umami flavor but has a sharp and pungent smell.
12. Make Your Own Maggi Sauce Substitute
First, you’ll need a bottle to store it in and then check out the ingredients in the Maggi sauce you normally use as they can differ from region to region.
Make your base:
- Soy sauce
- Liquid Aminos (for depth)
Depending on your usual regional flavor you can then add these:
- Crushed garlic
- Chili powder
- Or anything else that adds that umami flavor
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Maggi have MSG?
While Maggi sauce has glutamic acid from other natural ingredients within the sauce, no MSG additive is used. Glutamic acid is found in all foods that contain protein like cheese, milk, meat, fish, mushrooms, and some vegetables.
Is Maggi sauce good for your health?
Due to controversy caused by lab-test results in 2015, the safety of Maggi products came into question due to the presence of lead and MSG.
Maggi sauce is a different kettle of fish. The previously mentioned controversy pertained to products in India.
While Maggi sauce is not included in the products tested, it has its faults health-wise.
The sodium content alone can be alarming for many. Higher sodium diets can contribute to high blood pressure and a range of other serious health problems.
Maggi sauce contains high amounts of gluten and can cause health concerns for those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance.
Depending on a person’s sensitivity to MSG, the MSG-like ingredients (glutamic acid) can cause reactions in those that are more sensitive
Does Maggi sauce need to be refrigerated after opening?
Maggi Sauce is shelf stable. Much like soy sauce, maggi sauce does not need to be refrigerated. Store your sauce in a cool, dry, dark place to maintain freshness.
Maggi Sauce is one of the most popular and recognizable sauces in the world. With a mellow, meaty flavor, it’s a favorite for many.
Whenever you find yourself without it, you can substitute one of these other great alternatives to make an equally delicious meal.
While these are all great Maggi seasonings, there are many more that you can use without worrying about your dish lacking in flavor.
Start doing some research in your local area to find out where to get the best deals on these sauces and condiments.