I personally taste-tested a variety of Accent seasoning substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion. Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or want a swap that fits your diet, I’ve got the answers.
The best substitutes for Accent seasoning are Ajinomoto and bouillon powder. If you want a natural alternative, try mushroom powder. Maggi liquid seasoning is also a good option, but be careful not to add too much. In a pinch, you can also use a blend of salt, herbs, and spices.
I made a batch of roasted vegetables to test different Accent seasoning substitutes.
Accent seasoning is a flavor enhancer made from MSG (monosodium glutamate). It doesn’t taste of much on its own, but it helps amplify all the other flavors in your food. You can use it in anything you think would benefit from a bit of extra depth – from soups, and stews, to marinades and eggs.
Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:
|Substitutes||How to Substitute||Verdict|
|Ajinomoto Powder||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Bouillon Powder||Replace with ½ the amount||9/10|
|Mushroom Powder||Replace with ½ the amount||8/10|
|Maggi Liquid Seasoning||Replace with a few drops||8/10|
|Aged Parmesan Cheese||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Miso Paste||Replace with ½ the amount||7/10|
|Salt, Herbs, and Spices||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
Other Brands Of MSG
Accent seasoning is a trade name for MSG, but there are lots of other MSG brand names. Another popular one is Ajinomoto, a Japanese brand that’s internationally recognized because it was one of the first companies to produce and sell MSG.
Sazon seasoning is another option that typically contains MSG along with a few other herbs and spices like annatto powder and coriander powder.
And there’s loads more besides this! Lots of seasoning blends you see in the shops will have MSG (or monosodium glutamate) listed as an ingredient, so just check for this! But be careful to make sure any other spices included will go with your dish.
How to Substitute: Replace Accent seasoning in a 1:1 ratio with another brand of MSG powder.
If you have some bouillon cubes or powder sitting in your cupboard, this is a great replacement for Accent seasoning. Much like Accent seasoning, bouillon powder will deliver a concentrated burst of flavor, and will often contain MSG as one of the ingredients.
If you have the powdered form, this is better because you can easily measure how much you want to add. If you only have the cubes, I would crush them first to turn them into a powder.
I used chicken bouillon for my roasted potatoes and they had a deep savory flavor that I loved. But you can also use beef or vegetable flavor. If you go for beef, I recommend starting with a small amount because the robust flavor can quickly get overwhelming.
How to Substitute: Replace Accent seasoning with 1/2 the amount of bouillon powder and add more to taste.
If you prefer an all-natural alternative to Accent seasoning, you can’t go wrong with mushroom powder. As the name suggests, this condiment is made from ground-up dried mushrooms, which are chock-full of natural umami goodness just like Accent seasoning.
You can buy mushroom powder from the grocery store, but it’s really easy and cheap to make your own too. All you need are some dried mushrooms. Shiitake mushrooms are a great option because they have loads of umami, and if you can stretch to porcini mushrooms these are even better.
Psst… the mushroom powder will also add an earthy flavor to your dish.
How to Substitute: Replace Accent seasoning with 1/2 the amount of mushroom powder and add more to taste.
Maggi Liquid Seasoning
When you’re looking to deepen the flavors of your dish more subtly, Maggi Liquid Seasoning is a top contender. It’s made with hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which is full of glutamates. The flavor is super concentrated, so you only need a few drops to transform your dish.
And Maggi liquid seasoning isn’t the only umami-loaded condiment you can use. Here are a couple more options that you may already have in your pantry:
- Soy sauce: This pantry staple has a one-dimensional salty flavor on its own, but it’s packed with umami goodness that adds depth and complexity to your dishes the way Accent seasoning would.
- Fish sauce: This isn’t the most pleasant-smelling ingredient, but again it’s filled with umami and you only need a few drops to bring depth to your dishes. It won’t make your food taste like fish, I promise!
- Worcestershire sauce: This is made with a base of vinegar, but additions such as anchovies add an unmistakable umami depth.
- Oyster sauce: This sauce has a sweet-salty combo and savory MSG notes that work great with Asian dishes.
How to Substitute: Replace Accent seasoning with a few drops of Maggi Liquid seasoning or other umami-rich condiment.
Aged Parmesan Cheese
Cheese enthusiasts, this one’s for you. Aged Parmesan is a fantastic substitute for Accent in dishes where a hint of cheesy indulgence is welcome. Its aged nature gives it a distinct umami kick, reminiscent of Accent’s flavor-enhancing properties. And you also get a salty kick with a nutty twist.
Use freshly grated parmesan for the best flavor. The pre-grated stuff also contains extra ingredients for anti-caking measures which dull the flavor.
Pro tip: Don’t throw out the rinds – they can be simmered in soups or sauces for an extra umami kick.
How to Substitute: Replace Accent seasoning in a 1:1 ratio with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
If you’re making an Asian dish, you can’t go wrong with using miso paste instead of Accent seasoning. This soybean paste is brimming with umami, thanks to the fermentation process. The paste is also salty and savory, with a touch of earthiness.
If it’s your first time trying miso paste, I recommend starting with white miso. It’s been fermented the shortest time, so it has a milder funk and a hint of sweetness. But if you’re feeling adventurous, you can use red miso, which is darker and has an earthier, saltier flavor.
How to Substitute: Replace Accent seasoning with 1/2 the amount of miso paste and adjust to taste.
Salt, Herbs, and Spices
Back to basics! When in doubt, a blend of salt, herbs, and spices will help boost your dishes’ flavor. This is a great option if you’re avoiding MSG specifically.
It’s not the most exciting alternative, but it’s easy and you can customize the amount of salt and the herbs you put into your dish.
I went with a classic Italian seasoning blend with my roasted veggies, but I was also considering going with a simple mix of chili powder and a pinch of salt. Experiment with ratios, and always keep notes. That way, once you find your perfect mix, you can recreate it with ease.
How to Substitute: Replace Accent seasoning in a 1:1 ratio with a mixture of salt and herbs.
Other Substitute Options
The suggestions above are my top Accent seasoning substitutes, but here are some more things you can use if you have them on hand.
- Yeast Extract: This concentrated umami powerhouse has an intense savory quality, paired with a slightly nutty flavor. Examples are Marmite or Vegemite.
- Anchovies: When minced and dissolved into dishes, anchovies lend a salty, savory depth, making them an effective, albeit unique, substitute for Accent’s flavor-enhancing properties. You can also use anchovy paste
- Nutritional yeast: A natural, vegan-friendly substitute for Accent seasoning. Nutritional yeast has a rich, cheesy flavor reminiscent of parmesan cheese, so it won’t fit every dish. But for dishes like roasted veggies, fries, and popcorn it’s delicious.
- Bamboo Salt: This isn’t a common ingredient, but it’s a solid choice if you happen to have it on hand. It has smoky undertones and a deep umami touch.
BEST Accent Seasoning Substitutes
- 1 tsp ajinomoto powder
- 1 tsp bouillon powder
- 1 tsp mushroom powder
- ½ tsp maggi liquid seasoning
- 1 tsp aged parmesan cheese
- ½ tsp miso paste
- 1 tsp salt, herbs, and spices
- Cook your meal according to the recipe.
- Add your chosen Accent seasoning substitutes at the appropriate cooking time.
- Mix until thoroughly combined and continue with the recipe.