The 5 Greatest MSG Substitutes

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Do you know what msg stands for? While you may not recognize the term, you are almost likely familiar with its other popular name: monosodium glutamate.

MSG is a flavor enhancer that is often used in Asian cuisine, and it has recently become a contentious component.

Some argue that MSG may induce headaches and other negative health consequences, while others maintain that there is no scientific evidence to back these assertions.

Nonetheless, it is important to be acquainted with its use and viable alternatives.

As a result, it’s no surprise that many are looking for an MSG alternative.

It is crucial to note that no one substitution can precisely replicate MSG’s taste characteristic, although there are numerous chemicals that are often used as substitutes.

In this post, we’ll look at the taste of MSG and talk about some typical replacements.

What exactly is MSG?

MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a flavor enhancer that is often used in Asian cuisine.

Although msg has a savory flavor that may improve the taste of food, some individuals find it excessively powerful or unpleasant.

It has a distinct flavor that is both salty and umami, and it is therefore utilized to improve food flavor.

MSG is typically found in soups, sauces, and fried meals, but it may also be found in a variety of packaged snacks such as chips, crackers, and cereal.

Those who are sensitive or allergic to msg may get tongue numbness after eating it.

This is not hazardous, but it is unpleasant.

Some individuals dislike using msg in cooking since it is a taste enhancer rather than a fundamental element.

But, there are several advantages to cooking with msg.

To begin, cooking with msg enhances the taste of food without adding salt or fat.

Several restaurants use it to lessen the amount of salt and oil added to dishes.

This means less calories, cholesterol, and salt.

Second, cooking with msg leads in less expensive food alternatives.

Since msg acts as a flavor enhancer as well as a salt replacement, there is no need to purchase onions or garlic to add flavor and saltiness to a meal.

Cooking with msg is therefore both cost-effective and nutritious.

The 5 Greatest Msg Substitutes

Since msg has such a distinct flavor, there is no ideal alternative (salty, umami).

But, you may replace msg with other herbs or spices and attain a similar effect.

1 tbsp. soy sauce

Soy sauce is likely the most apparent msg substitution in Asian meals, but it is also a popular element in many other kinds of food.

It is typically used in soups, salads, and rice dishes.

Since soy sauce has a distinct taste, you should use it sparingly or blend it with other substances.

Typically, soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans, wheat, salt, and water.

Yeast or Aspergillus oryzae are often used to improve the taste.

Various tastes and spices, such as garlic, onion, and others, are also available.

Contemporary Japanese shoyu, classic Japanese tamari, and Chinese Lao chou are the most popular forms of soy sauce.

2 tbsp. fish sauce

Fish sauce is often used in Asian recipes and has a particular taste that some people find excessively strong.

It is primarily derived from fish and salt and then fermented.

Fermentation takes a long period, sometimes up to six months.

As a consequence, the taste is quite intense, salty, and savory.

Soups, rice dishes, and marinated meat may all benefit from the addition of fish sauce.

It may also be added at the end of the cooking process to stir-fries.

For example, adding fish sauce immediately quickly to a vegetable stir-fry would be inappropriate.

Fish sauce comes in a variety of tastes, depending on the fish utilized and the technique used to extract it.

For example, if you use anchovy fish sauce instead of tuna, the taste would be different.

3 Beef Broth

Beef stock is another healthy alternative to msg.

It not only has a very rich, meaty taste, but it is also highly salty.

As a result, it is an excellent complement to soups, stews, and other foods.

It’s crucial to remember that beef stock may be heavy in fat and cholesterol, so keep that in mind when adding it to recipes.

Beef stock is commonly made by boiling beef bones and then simmering them with onions, carrots, and celery.

This will also incorporate the taste of the veggies into the stock, making it suitable for use as a vegetarian element.

4 cheesy

Lastly, in certain meals, cheese might be a terrific alternative for msg.

It has a salty taste and may give meals an ooey-gooey texture.

Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, for example, might be used to rice or pasta meals.

Also, the taste of this sort of cheese will be different.

As a result, you should use it sparingly or mix it with other components like as vegetables or herbs.

Curdling milk with bacterial cultures yields cheese (or rennet).

This allows the proteins and lipids to separate, resulting in the recognizable consistency of a slice of cheese or a block of feta.

Nevertheless, various varieties of cheese have variable quantities of fat and salt, so check the label if you want anything especially rich in either.

5 Dulse

Dulse is one of the greatest MSG replacement substances.

It’s dried seaweed (algae) with a very pungent, salty taste.

It is also high in minerals that are beneficial to your health, including as potassium, iron, and copper.

Dulse may be eaten raw or fried to add texture to recipes.

Before using it, immerse it in cold, salty water to rehydrate it.

Dulse has a particular flavor that may improve the flavor of foods such as soups or salads.

It also goes well with seafood, so try it with mussels or clams, for example.

It is vital to know that dulse has a lot of salt and fat, so keep that in mind while using it.


MSG is often used to improve the taste of Asian foods.

Nevertheless, many individuals are allergic to this substance and have negative responses when they consume it.

Thankfully, there are various options you may use instead, including fish sauce, beef stock, cheese, and dulse.

These components are not only beneficial to your health, but they may even taste better than msg.

Additionally, they do not have any of the unfavorable side effects associated with MSG use.

Therefore, try these items the next time you prepare Asian-inspired foods; you may discover that you like them.

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