Accent seasoning is one of the most popular forms of seasoning in the American market and it’s often used primarily in Asian dishes.
Otherwise known as MSG (Monosodium Glutamate), this seasoning can really bring a dish to life.
However, there are often times when you are preparing an Asian dish and realize that you’ve run out of Accent seasoning.
When this happens, what are you meant to do?
Luckily, you can still make a great dish but you will have to use a brilliant substitute (see also “The Very Best Harissa Substitutes“).
Our guide below includes 11 of the top substitutes for the times when you don’t have Accent seasoning.
Ready to find out what you could use instead? Then read on and find out your options!
What Exactly Is Accent Seasoning?
It’s a good idea that we first kick off this guide by explaining what Accent seasoning actually is.
As we mentioned earlier, Accent seasoning is a type of seasoning that is highly popular when someone is making Asian dishes.
Accent seasoning is available in a huge number of stores across the United States and it has become a staple in the majority of American households’ cupboards.
The key ingredient in Accent seasoning is MSG and this is a crystal-like substance that looks a lot like salt due to its white color and powdery texture.
Many scientists believe that it is this ingredient that, despite being flavorless, can cause a reaction on your tongue to enhance the taste, mimicking meat.
It can do this by triggering glutamate receptors in your mouth.
However, it’s important to note that it is not just MSG that is used in Accent seasoning.
Other ingredients like onion extracts, salt, chili powder and garlic are also present in the flavor, along with a whole host more.
What Is Accent Seasoning Used For?
There’s a lot of different dishes that you can use Accent seasoning for, and due to its versatility, you can use Accent seasoning in things like soups, potatoes, meat, rice and a lot of different sauces.
Initially though, this seasoning was only used for the sole purpose of flavoring Asian dishes to simply enhance and bring out the natural flavors of the ingredients used in these foods.
In fact, it was sometimes called a chef’s “secret ingredient” for many years.
What Are The Best Substitutes For Accent Seasoning?
It’s now a great time for us to look at what substitutes you could use if you find yourself lacking Accent seasoning or if you find you’ve totally run out.
However, it’s important to remember that the use of this seasoning depends on your dish choice.
So, you also have to consider the dish before you choose to use one of these options.
1. Herbs And Spices
Of course, one of the best options you could choose from are herbs and spices.
These might include oregano, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic, tarragon, paprika – the list is pretty much endless.
The great thing about using herbs and spices is that you can tailor the dish to your own specifications.
So, if you’re making a dish and you want to boost the spicy flavor – you might decide to use some chili powder.
Luckily, due to the large number of these on the market, you’ll likely have some of these in your home already.
Herbs and spices can often be inexpensive and abundant, so they’re a great choice for anybody!
While it might seem a little bit basic, salt is one of the best forms of seasoning that you can choose from.
It has been used as a base for a dish’s seasoning for centuries and perhaps the greatest part about salt is – you’ve almost certainly got it in your home.
So, if you find yourself running out of Accent seasoning, salt can be an ideal substitute.
In fact, due to its inclusion of sodium – it mimics a lot of the same responses that you will get from MSG.
However, be careful not to overseason because too much salt can be detrimental to your health and cause a spike in blood pressure.
3. Salt Varieties
If you want to use a type of seasoning that is a little bit more interesting than just your basic salt, but still has all the great features that Accent seasoning has – then a variety of salt can be beneficial.
Things like sea salt, Kosher salt and Indian black salt can all be ways to really boost your dish’s flavor.
Once again though, you will need to pay attention to what dish you are making and choose appropriately.
4. Korean Bamboo Salt
Sticking with the salts, Korean bamboo salt can be an excellent choice instead of Accent seasoning.
It’s a mild salt but it has a sweeter flavor than other salts, and this transfers into the aroma of the salt too, which is very oceanic.
This is likely due to the way in which the salt is obtained, which is through an ancient Korean process that extracts sea salt.
5. Creole Seasoning
While this seasoning is primarily used with creole style cooking, there’s no reason why you can’t use it for other meals.
This seasoning is essentially a mixture of different herbs and spices including black pepper, paprika, basil, oregano, garlic and cayenne pepper.
The latter ingredient is used to try to increase the spice level of a dish, which is excellent for things like gumbo.
Of course, this makes this seasoning the perfect choice for seafood and other meats.
6. Beef Broth
Beef broth is not too dissimilar from Accent seasoning, in that it helps to improve the umami flavor in a particular dish.
Of course, it is much easier to use this in liquid dishes like soups or stews, but you can easily use beef broth to marinate meats, vegetables and beans.
7. Soy Sauce
As many of you will already be aware of, soy sauce is an Asian sauce that is used in a massive amount of different Asian cuisines, particularly noodle dishes, rice dishes and salad dressings.
With the inclusion of amino acids, the tastes and flavors of other ingredients are enhanced, however – alone, soy sauce has a sweet and somewhat salty taste to it with a sticky texture.
Bizarrely, there are some soy sauces on the market that contain MSG too, which further makes it an ideal substitute for Accent seasoning.
However, it also means that if you have a specific dietary requirement, you need to check the labels.
8. Cajun Seasoning
Cajun seasoning is a little smokier than other seasoning options and this is likely due to its inclusion of paprika with cayenne pepper.
However, there is also garlic, onion extracts, black pepper, thyme and oregano.
Anything that can use Accent seasoning can use this seasoning instead!
9. Bouillon Powder
When it comes to finding an ideal substitute for Accent seasoning, there are few options out there that are as good as bouillon powder.
This seasoning is made from meat stock, dried vegetables, salts, fats and most notably – MSG.
Interestingly though, beef bouillon powder is made using only natural ingredients and flavorings which makes it suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Almost any dishes and ingredients can be seasoned using bouillon powder, so it’s definitely worth considering as a substitute for Accent.
10. Kosher Salt
As we previously said, when you’re thinking of finding an excellent choice for a seasoning, then a type of salt could be a great option – and if you have a specific requirement, then Kosher salt can be an ideal option to use instead of Accent seasoning or other salts.
11. Homemade Accent Seasoning
Finally, if you really want to use Accent seasoning but you don’t have any left – you could just make your own!
It’s not actually as complicated as something people might think, but you will need the following ingredients to do it yourself.
- Table salt
- Cayenne pepper
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Chili powder
Once you have made the seasoning, you need to ensure that you keep it stored in an airtight jar.
Too much exposure to oxidation will cause the herbs and spices to expire and clump together, which can make you sick.
Is MSG Bad For You?
Some people still debate this up and down the country. For many years, it’s been questioned whether MSG is actually harmful for human consumption.
While there is currently no conclusive evidence for either argument, you do not need to include it in your dishes.
So, to put it briefly – there’s currently no clear answer if MSG is good or bad for you.
What Spices Are The Best For Asian Meals?
It depends on what dish you are actually making. For example, Indian dishes will require different seasoning options from Chinese dishes.
Sometimes, it’s best to go basic and choose salt for a base seasoning.
However, if you are making something like a stir fry, you cannot stray far from using soy sauce. It’s a very ideal form of seasoning and it is used in traditional Asian cookery.
Can I Use Multiple Seasonings?
Of course you can, but you will need to know what works best with what and of course, this will play a role in what type of dish you are making in the first place.
One great pairing is salt and beef broth for example.
Speaking of beef broth, as that is a liquid seasoning, you may need to choose the best methods for your seasoning.
For example, if you season a brisket with salt before cooking, you may decide to marinate it later on using beef broth.
There’s no real right or wrong way to do things, as it will come down to preferences. However, you should understand that some spices do not mix well with others!
Accent seasoning is very popular but it’s also common to run out of it. Luckily, you do not need to rely on it all the time because you can choose to use one of these!