7 Alternatives and a DIY Recipe

Looking for a stellar soy sauce substitute? Whether you’re avoiding yet another grocery store run (yeah, we see you) or looking for an alternative that’s gluten-free or low sodium, you have some options.

We’ve rounded up seven solid soy sauce replacements that still offer that salty, savory flavor of your sushi and stir-fry can’t live without.

Soy sauce — also known as shoju — is a brown liquid that’s made from fermented soybeans and packs a salty, umami flavor.

Originally from China, the condiment has been used in East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines for thousands of years. And it makes a mean marinade for grilling. 🔥

There are dozens of soy sauces on the market, but they pretty much all consist of these 5 ingredients:

But while it is delicious, soy sauce poses a problem for folks with soy or wheat sensitivities.

Folks watching their sodium intake might also want to steer clear of this pantry staple — 1 tablespoon of regular soy sauce has almost 40 percent of the recommended Daily Value (DV) for sodium. Lower sodium versions are available but still have about 22 percent of the DV per tablespoon.

Avoiding soy, wheat, or extra sodium doesn’t mean you need to ditch every recipe that calls for soy sauce. Here are some dope alternatives.

1. Tamari

Tamari, also called shoyu, is a fermented Japanese soy product. The difference between this and soy sauce is simple: Tamari is made without wheat. That’s a #win for the gluten-free crowd.

Tamari is probably the most straightforward soy sauce swap. It contains comparable ingredients that are processed similarly. That means it’s *still* pretty dang salty, though. The lack of wheat translates to heftier umami flavor too.

Use tamari like you’d use any soy sauce. But if you’re severely sensitive to gluten, check your labels. Some tamari is made in facilities that also process wheat.

How to sub: Swap tamari for soy sauce at a 1:1 ratio.

Buy tamari sauce on Amazon.

2. Coconut aminos

Coconut aminos is a dark brown, slightly sweet and salty sauce made from fermented coconut plant sap.

This condiment is a major player in the soy sauce substitute arena. And it’s a great option for folks with multiple food sensitivities.

Coconut aminos is:

Swap coconut aminos for the soy sauce in salad dressings, dipping sauces, and marinades.

How to sub: Swap coconut aminos for soy sauce at a 1:1 ratio.

Buy coconut aminos on Amazon.

3. Fish sauce

Like soy sauce, fish sauce gets VIP status in Southeast Asian dishes. Also like soy sauce, it’s fermented and offers that umami flavor.

So, what’s the diff? Fish sauce is made from fermented fish aminos instead of fermented soybean. That makes it taste hella bright and briny.

Fish sauce makes a strong soy sauce alternative for folks who enjoy fishy flavor and don’t mind a hefty dose of sodium. But not all fish sauces are gluten-free, so check your nutrition labels. You’ll also want to skip this one if you’re vegetarian or vegan — the name says it all.

How to sub: Swap fish sauce for soy sauce at a 1:1 ratio.

Buy fish sauce on Amazon.

4. Worcestershire sauce

Worcestershire sauce is made from a fermented blend of ingredients like sugar, anchovies, salt, spices, and vinegar. Originating from England, it has a different flavor profile that’s a little less umami and a little more tang. If that’s your jam, Worcestershire sauce might become your new fave broth and marinade ingredient.

Worcestershire sauce doesn’t have as much salt as soy sauce — a win for folks who are watching their sodium levels. But it also means you might need to play around with salt and spice measurements.

Because Worcestershire has more sugar than some other options, it may not be the best choice for those who are counting carbs.

Also, with anchovies in the mix, it’s not usually vegan-friendly — but some vegan versions are available.

How to sub: If you’re OK with tartness, swap Worcestershire sauce for soy sauce at a 1:1 ratio. If you prefer less tang, use a little less Worcestershire and add a sprinkle of salt for good measure.

Buy Worcestershire sauce on Amazon.

5. Liquid aminos

Liquid aminos is a dark, salty sauce made from unfermented soybeans — so it’s *not* soy-free. But it is vegan, gluten-free, and alcohol-free.

Because it’s made will soybeans, it offers a pretty comparable swap in recipes, but it has a slightly milder, sweeter taste than soy sauce. It also contains more sodium.

How to sub: Swap liquid aminos for soy sauce at a 1:1 ratio.

Buy liquid aminos on Amazon.

6. Miso

Miso is a fermented paste made from soybeans, grain, koji (a mold), and salt — so it’s not always gluten-free.

You’ll notice that miso’s flavor is milder than those of most soy sauces. But the more significant difference between these two products is texture.

TBH, replacing a liquid with a paste isn’t always easy. Your success will depend on the recipe. Still, miso can be a solid soy sauce substitute that also adds some protein to recipes.

How to sub: Swap miso with soy sauce at a 1:2 ratio (more miso to match the flavor) *or* thin the miso paste with liquid aminos and use the liquid as a 1:1 swap.

Buy miso on Amazon.

7. Oyster sauce

Stir salt, sugar, and a thickening agent into caramelized oyster extract and voila! You have oyster sauce.

This dark, syrupy sauce adds a similarly complex flavor to Asian and Southeast Asian dishes with less sodium than soy sauce. But the flavor is a bit more sweet and salty than umami (and, unlike with fish sauce, you don’t have to worry about a strong fish flavor).

Just check your labels if you’re trying to swap oyster sauce for soy sauce because of a food sensitivity. Some oyster sauces contain soy and gluten.

And, as with the other seafood-based sauces, you’ll want to go with a different option if you’re vegetarian or vegan.

How to sub: You can swap oyster sauce with soy sauce at a 1:1 ratio, but don’t expect an exact flavor match.

Buy oyster sauce on Amazon.


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