What Does Eel Sauce Taste Like?

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sweet potato sushi roll with eel sauce on top being dipped

What Does Eel Sauce Taste Like? 

Eel sauce has a multitude of flavors, primarily sweet, salty, umami and smoky.The savory and slightly salty tastes come primarily from soy sauce.

Because of this specific combination of flavors, there is something distinctly like barbecue about eel sauce.In fact, barbecue sauce mixed with hoisin, if you’ve had this sweet and salty sauce, is a good description of the flavor of eel sauce.


The texture of this rich brown sauce is thick, smooth and viscous.Depending on the recipes, some eel sauces will be thicker and more gelatinous than others.

Homemade eel sauces may be on the thinner, runnier side while store-bought eel sauce is usually very thick, sort of like ketchup.If you dip something into these sauces, they’ll stick to it and not slide off easily.

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As we’ve just mentioned, eel sauce does traditionally have alcohol: mirin.However, in recipes containing mirin, the alcohol will mostly to entirely cook out of the sauce on the stove top depending on how long you simmer it.

Most eel sauces on the supermarket shelves likely won’t contain mirin but rather a nonalcoholic ingredient that tastes similar. 

Eel Sauce Serving Tips 

You can easily make your own eel sauce at home.Once you do, you can start testing it out on grilled tofu, tempeh or eggplant, which are all excellently paired with eel sauce.

Further Reading: What Does Eggplant Taste Like?

This video will show you exactly how to make eel sauce with soy sauce, mirin and sugar.That’s all you need, and the result is rich, thick and flavorful.

Wrap Up 

Store-bought eel sauce is usually vegan, but always check the ingredients.Vegan eel sauce is sweet, smoky and savory, excellent as a dipping sauce, glaze or topper for creamy avocado rolls, baked tofu, stir-fries and grilled veggies.If you need some inspiration, here’s a tip: vegan chefs are all about roasting or grilling eggplant and topping it with eel sauce. 

For tofu based dishes, don’t forget to press out the excess moisture from the tofu first before incorporating it in the recipe. Read our list on the best tofu press if you’re looking to buy one.

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