7 Best Ajinomoto Substitutes

Just because you don’t have Ajinomoto in your kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious Asian food. Many alternatives can be used in its place. But what are some of the best Ajinomoto substitutes?

This article aims to provide you with some suggestions for alternatives so you can still make your favorite Asian dishes without having to run to the store or order it online.

Some of the best substitutes for Ajinomoto substitute include Shiitake Mushrooms, Yeast Extract, Anchovies, Salt, Soy sauce, Maggi Seasoning Sauce, Liquid Aminos, Miso Paste.

What Is Ajinomoto?

Ajinomoto, also known as MSG, is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Asian cuisine.

Ajinomoto is the brand name for MSG produced by the Ajinomoto Corporation. MSG is an abbreviation for monosodium glutamate.

The primary function of Ajinomoto is to make food taste better. It adds a distinct savory flavor to dishes often described as “umami.”

Additionally, Ajinomoto can penetrate meat and veggies to create a rich, full-bodied flavor that lasts long after cooking or eating.

You can use less of them and still enjoy the same great flavor.

You can use Ajinomoto as an ingredient in your cooking or as a condiment at the table.

Best Ajinomoto Substitutes

1. Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms and Ajinomoto might have similar flavors (umami) and functions. Thus, you can use them interchangeably.

Ajinomoto, or monosodium glutamate (MSG), is a salt derived from glutamic acid, a type of amino acid.

It’s generally used to enhance the flavors of foods.

However, Shiitake mushrooms are also rich in glutamic acids, but they also contain other nutrients like B vitamins and antioxidants that MSG does not have.

This makes shiitake mushrooms a better choice if you want to add more nutrients to your dish.

Another thing to consider is how they interact with the human body.

When consumed in moderation, MSG has not been shown by research to cause any harmful side effects.

But some people report having adverse reactions such as headaches and nausea after consuming it. Shiitake mushrooms have no known negative side effects when consumed in moderation.

Regardless, Ajinomoto can also be tricky to find in stores; it’s generally only sold in Asian grocery stores or online.

Shiitake mushrooms are much more common and are often found in major grocers.

2. Yeast Extract

Yeast extract and Ajinomoto have the same chemical effect on food, making it taste better—but their sources are different.

For example, yeast extract is made from yeast and sugar, but Ajinomoto is made from fermented corn with enzymes.

For example, yeast extract is made from yeast and sugar, but Ajinomoto is made from fermented corn with enzymes.

This means that there are differences in the health benefits.

While they both have some vitamins and minerals, Yeast Extract has more protein than Ajinomoto.

They also have slightly different effects on the human body.

For example, Yeast extract can cause drowsiness and irritability if high amounts are consumed, while Ajinomoto is more likely to cause palpitations or heartburn.

But either way, yeast extract remains a suitable alternative for Ajinomoto.

3. Salt

Salt is sodium chloride. Ajinomoto is monosodium glutamate. Sodium chloride is table salt, and MSG is used to make food taste better.

They’re both white powders added to food to enhance its flavor.

So you can use them interchangeably in cooking. However, they have different strengths.

Salt is highly versatile, though it can be overpowering if used in too high a concentration.

It is best used to enhance the flavor of foods that have a mild flavor profile or when you want to leverage the umami taste that salt provides.

Ajinomoto is best suited for foods with strong flavor profiles. It does not affect how the food tastes but rather heightens the intensity of the taste.

4. Soy sauce

Even though both are made from fermented soybeans, soy sauce takes on more umami flavors than Ajinomoto does.

This means that soy sauce will give your dish more depth and complexity than Ajinomoto.

Hence, it’s a great choice for sauces or marinades where the saltiness is intended to complement other ingredients.

But Ajinomoto is more like MSG — it has very little taste beyond salty and savory, which means it can be used in most dishes where you’re looking for some savory flavor but don’t necessarily want to add any extra saltiness or umami to the mix.

If you can’t find any Asian store to purchase Ajinomoto, soy sauce is readily available.

5. Maggi Seasoning Sauce

Maggi Seasoning Sauce is a kind of seasoning made from soy sauce and spices, such as salt, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and monosodium glutamate (MSG).

If you’re using Maggi Seasoning Sauce instead of Ajinomoto, be aware of their sweeter flavor reminiscent of soy sauce, which is less salty than Ajinomoto.

More importantly, it would be best to use them in a pinch.

You can use Maggi Seasoning sauce for various dishes that require flavor.

You will constantly use this ingredient in your kitchen, from sauces and marinades to soups and stews. It has become popular among chefs, home cooks, and whatnot.

6. Liquid Aminos

These 2 products both contain the amino acid building blocks of protein, which you can use interchangeably.

Liquid Aminos is a sauce made from soybeans rich in amino acids, but it has a lower sodium content than Ajinomoto.

Liquid Aminos can be used as a substitute for Ajinomoto in cooking, which is why some people choose to use it: they prefer the lower sodium content.

Reducing the amount of Liquid Aminos used by 25% if substituting it for Ajinomoto since it’s more concentrated than regular soy sauce or Ajinomoto.

7. Miso Paste

Miso paste is a paste made of fermented soybean paste with a grain (usual rice) and salt that has been used in Japanese cuisine for centuries.

The fermentation process gives it a strong, salty flavor.

You can use Miso Paste in place of Ajinomoto in any recipe that calls for it—just cut back on the amount of salt you add to your dish!

They are both used as flavor enhancers and have strong umami flavors; however, miso has more depth of flavor because it’s fermented while Ajinomo is not.

What Is MSG?

MSG is a flavor enhancer, and it stands for monosodium glutamate. It is the sodium salt of glutamic acid, an amino acid that occurs naturally in our bodies.

It is a versatile seasoning that can be used in all kinds of cooking. It’s what gives many Asian foods their unique savory taste, and it’s also used in a lot of other cuisines.

Furthermore, it was first isolated from seaweed and developed into a food additive by Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo Imperial University in 1908.

He eventually made a business out of selling it as a seasoning under Ajinomoto, which means “essence of taste.”

The Ajinomoto Corporation has since become the world’s largest producer of MSG.

Is Msg Dangerous For Humans?

But no research or evidence proves MSG is unsafe. However, consuming an excess can result in several health issues like headaches, sweating, and numbness.

How Do I Store Ajinomoto Products?

You can store it in a cool, dry place –maybe a refrigerator or freezer, but see product packaging for instructions. We recommend storing it away from direct sunlight as this may cause colors to fade and flavors to change. Keep it out of reach of children at all times!


This blog aims to find the best Ajinomoto substitute that has a similar taste and is actually healthy.

And after experimenting, we have found it quite hard to find something that could truly be substituted in place of Ajinomoto.

But we as a team have agreed upon something that would work, which is what we’ve just discussed above.

You may also want to read: