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Is Satay Sauce Vegan? Does Satay Sauce Have Dairy?

Is satay sauce vegan

Last updated on December 16th, 2023

Today’s question…Is Satay sauce vegan? And does it have dairy in it?

Satay sauce is a rich, creamy sauce with a delicious nutty flavour and it has been a favourite of many for years, especially me! 

But if you’re following a vegan lifestyle, like me, the question arises: Is satay sauce vegan? In this post, I’ll take a look at its ingredients, variations, and whether or not it vegan-friendly.

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What is Satay Sauce?

Originating from Southeast Asia, satay sauce is a popular sauce often used for dipping or as a marinade for skewered and grilled meats. Or in my case, a chunk of tofu!

Its got a creamy and savoury taste that can be infused with a blend of different spices, meaning flavours can vary from sauce to sauce. Sometimes satay sauce is mild, other times it can be very spicy!

Is Satay Sauce Vegan?

Sometimes satay sauce is vegan. Never a straight answer, I know! But I guess it is good news because it’s not a no.

It’s not hard to find a vegan version of this tasty sauce, some are made with all plant-based ingredients, others aren’t. So, you just need to know which one to choose. 

Vegan Satay skewers on a plate

Does Satay Sauce Have Dairy?

Generally satay sauce is dairy-free, it does have a creamy texture but this usually comes from coconut milk and peanuts. Although I haven’t come across any satay sauces with dairy in them, there are endless varieties out there so I’d always double-check the label to be on the safe side.

Does Satay Sauce Contain Fish?

Yes, the odd-time satay sauce does have fish sauce in it. Most recipes and ingredient lists I’ve come across don’t have fish sauce but I have had to put one or two back on the shelf for this reason, so always keep an eye out for sneaky fish sauce.

Is Satay Sauce Vegetarian?

Satay sauce is usually suitable for vegetarians. The only non-vegetarian ingredient to look out for is fish sauce and as I said most satay sauces don’t have fish meaning most satay sauces are suitable for vegetarians…but always check.

Where to Buy Vegan Satay Sauce?

If you’re going shopping this evening and you want to pick up something for dinner, let me show you to the vegan satay sauce aisle…

Buy Vegan Satay Sauce Online:

What is Satay Sauce Made of?

Let’s take a look at what you’d usually expect to see on the ingredient list of satay sauce. 

The primary ingredients in satay sauce include peanuts, spices, and a variety of flavour-enhancing additions. Let’s break down each component and explore its vegan status:

1. Peanuts: 

The foundation of satay sauce is usually from peanuts. And they are indeed vegan-friendly because peanuts are legumes and do not come from animal sources.

Peanuts are a good source of protein, but there are plenty of vegan-friendly protein sources, take a look at – What Vegan Foods Are High in Protein? And Why is Protein Important?

2. Spices: 

Common spices found in satay sauce are ginger, garlic, turmeric, and coriander. All of which are plant-based and suitable for a vegan diet.

3. Flavour Enhancers: 

This is where it can get tricky. Some satay sauce recipes call for ingredients like soy sauce or fish sauce to enhance the umami flavour. 

While traditional fish sauce is derived from fish, vegan alternatives made from soy or mushrooms are available, if one of these alternatives is used the sauce remains vegan-friendly.

4. Sweeteners:

Satay sauce may contain sweeteners like sugar or honey. And as we know, honey is on the no-go list for vegans as it is produced by bees, but there are plenty of vegan-friendly alternatives to honey like agave syrup or maple syrup that can be used as substitutes.

5. Fish Sauce:

As I said, this isn’t a common ingredient but it does pop up its ugly face from time to time. So keep an eye out.

Vegan satay sauce

Popular Questions About Satay Sauce:

Is Satay Sauce Always Vegan?

While the base ingredients of satay sauce are vegan, this may sound obvious, but it’s essential to check the specific recipe or the brand you are purchasing. 

Some store-bought versions may contain non-vegan additives or preservatives. But if you feel like giving it a go yourself, making your own satay sauce allows you to have full control over the ingredients and be sure no sneaky nasties creep in.

Can I Find Vegan Satay Sauce in Restaurants?

How long is a piece of string? Sorry, but the answer depends on the restaurant and their particular recipe. 

Some restaurants might use animal-derived ingredients such as shrimp paste or oyster sauce, in their satay sauce. It’s always best to ask the restaurant staff or find a restaurant that has a satay dish on their vegan menu. Yes, I know, easier said than done in some places.

What Cuisines Always Make Their Satay Sauce to a Vegan Recipe?

There are many adaptations of satay sauce. Depending on what country the recipe is from, and some versions are naturally vegan. For example, Indonesian-style peanut sauce, known as “Bumbu Kacang,” is traditionally made with vegan ingredients like peanuts, coconut milk, and spices. 

However, it’s important to note that regional recipes can vary, so it’s wise to double-check the ingredients if you’re unsure.


Satay sauce can absolutely be enjoyed by vegans with a few simple considerations. By understanding the ingredients and variations of this sauce, you can easily lather your tofu, tempeh or even strawberries, if you want, in vegan satay sauce. 

Whether you create your own homemade version or explore vegan-friendly options at restaurants or supermarkets satay sauce is an option for vegans. Just look out for milk, honey and fish sauce.

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