Substitutes for Bonito Flakes

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Bonito flakes are also called Katsuobushi in Japanese. These shavings are fermented and smoked bits of skipjack tuna. Bonito flakes are a key ingredient in making Dashi, a traditional Japanese stock. Dashi is the foundation of many Japanese soups and sauces and is widely used in Japanese cooking.

Katsuobushi has a strong umami flavor that adds a burst of flavor to foods. It contains a high inosinic acid concentration, which adds to the umami flavor’s strength. Although bonito flakes are well-known for their role in the preparation of Dashi, they may also be utilized in other dishes. They might be used in dish preparation as a topping, garnish, or flavoring.

Bonito flakes hit the jackpot in terms of flavor profile, adding a complex depth of umami flavor to soups, stir-fries, and sauces. The flavor is salty and smoky, with hints of fish and deep umami. The texture is light due to how thinly it is sliced, and it is not uncommon to eat it straight from the bag.

Bonito flakes can be found in any Asian or Japanese grocery store near you. It is also possible to buy in bulk from internet vendors. Because of the preservation process, the flakes are resistant to spoiling and can last up to six months if stored properly.

When you run out of Bonito flakes or can’t locate them in the supermarket, you’ll need a Bonito flakes alternative. This post provides 5 amazing Bonito flakes replacements that are useful in a pinch.

5 Great Substitutes For Bonito Flakes 

1. Dulse Flakes 

Dulse is a kind of sea lettuce that grows along the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans’ northern shores. This red seaweed is high in vitamins and minerals, and it includes all of the trace elements that people need. It has a lot of protein and is strong in fiber.

When used in cooking, it adds a smoky umami flavor to dishes, similar to Bonito flakes. It’s a versatile condiment that goes well with soups, salads, sandwiches, and meat dishes. Dulse flakes may be found at health food shops and organic supermarket stores.

2. Nori

Nori is a prominent dried seaweed in Japanese cuisine. It has a strong, unique taste and an umami character similar to Bonito flakes. It has a salty, smokey taste with a faint sweetness and is often used in sushi rolls.

Dried seaweed can be used as a garnish or flavoring for soups and noodles, as well as a food decoration. It is strong in iodine and a good source of vitamins and minerals.

3. Kombu

Kombu is a kind of edible kelp that is widely used in East Asian and Japanese cuisines. It is used in three ways in cooking: dried, pickled in vinegar, and shredded and dried. Kombu is a key element in the preparation of the famous Japanese soup stock. This chewy edible marine product has a salty, mushroom-like flavor that mimics the umami taste of Bonito flakes.

It contains glutamic acids, an essential component that contributes to the strength of the umami taste. Kombu has significant quantities of iodine, which may make you sick if consumed in excess. So, watch how much kombu you consume.

4. White Fish

Bonito flakes are essentially smoked fermented fish shavings, and whitefish would be a fine substitute if necessary. White fish is a kind of fish with flaky white flesh and no excessive oils in its structure. Cod, haddock, pollock, sea bass, and other species are examples of this type of fish.

It has a subtle taste but yet adds that umami bite to a meal. This fish’s flesh is flaky, making it a great alternative for Bonito flakes.

5. Niboshi

Niboshi (or Iriko) are Japanese dried baby anchovies. In Asian cuisine, they are used to flavor soup stock and as snacks. Niboshi is used to make the base of miso soup in Japan. It imparts a fishy umami taste to broths in the same way that Bonito flakes do.

It has a high quantity of insomniac acid, which enhances the umami taste of the meal. Niboshi is labeled in grocery stores and is easier to find when you’re in a hurry.


In Japanese cuisine, bonito flakes have a distinct smoky umami flavor and taste that is difficult to replicate. While it can be difficult to find, the Bonito flakes substitutes listed above will do an excellent job in its place.


What can I use instead of bonito flakes vegetarian?

Dashi, on the other hand, doesn’t need any of it.

Usually, kombu (kelp) and bonito flakes (shaved dried fish) are used, however for vegetarian variants, the bonito may be eliminated or substituted with dried shiitake mushrooms.

What fish is similar to bonito?

Bonitos are closely related to skipjack tuna, which is frequently referred to as a bonito, particularly in Japanese contexts.

What can I use instead of bonito in miso soup?

Dried Shiitake Mushroom – My secret ingredient to compensate for the umami flavor of bonito flakes is dried shiitake mushroom. It adds a deep savory flavor to the soup as well as a gorgeous brown hue.

Are bonito flakes same as dashi?

Traditional dashi is prepared using kelp and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes).

What Flavour is bonito flakes?

What exactly are bonito flakes? Katsuobushi, or bonito flakes, are tissue-paper thin fish shavings with a strong umami flavor.

What flavor is bonito flakes?

Flakes with glutamic and inosinic acid have a delicious flavor. Because of these acids, their taste is very rich and nuanced. The taste is similar to that of dried fish or bacon. Several people claim that Bonito Flakes taste like fish jerky.

Does bonito taste fishy?

When compared to other species, bonito has black flesh that is quite oily and has a stronger fishy taste. Because of these meat qualities, bonito is an acquired taste and less appealing as table fare to the general public. Bonito, on the other hand, may be delicious to die-hard seafood fans.

How to make bonito flakes?

How Do Bonito Flakes Get Their Flavor?
The date is October 24, 2022.
The bonito will be simmered for 1.5 to 2.5 hours at 75-98 degrees Celsius.
Bonitos will be smoked after tiny bones and fish skin have been removed.
The tar and fat are then shaved off the smoked bonito’s surface.
More details…•October 24, 2022

Is bonito the same as albacore tuna?

Their coloration, body markings, dentures, preferred foraging areas, and the nutritional value of their flesh distinguish them. The backs of false albacore have squiggly worm-like markings, and the stomachs have fingernail-size spots. Bonito have silvery bellies and stripes on their backs.

What are bonito flakes made of?

Bonito flakes, also known as katsuobushi, are smoked, fermented, and dried flakes of bonito or skipjack tuna. After cleaning and filleting the fish, producers boil and smoke it for a month at a time before sun-drying it.

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