Soy sauce is a staple condiment in Asian cuisine. Use it as a dipping sauce for sushi, drizzle some over your egg roll and dumplings or add umami flavor to fried rice and stir fry. Soy sauce has so many uses in the kitchen and it's always nice to have on hand. Turns out soy sauce also goes beyond Asian cuisine. I love including soy sauce in marinades for meat. It helps tenderize the meat and of course adds great flavor. Well, if you find yourself out of soy sauce packets from last week's take out dinner, there's good news to share. There are plenty of soy sauce substitutes to use. These substitutes are also helpful for those with a soy allergy or who need a gluten-free alternative.
When your favorite recipe calls for soy sauce and the jar is empty, grab one of these instead.
The Best Soy Sauce Substitutes
1. Coconut Aminos
A popular soy-free, gluten-free and vegan soy sauce substitute is coconut aminos. It's a sauce made from fermented coconut sap and is pretty similar to soy sauce. It's low sodium and tastes a bit sweeter than soy sauce. It also contains amino acids, giving some health benefits as well. Some note it is sweeter than traditional soy sauce, so go light if adding to soups and salad dressings.
2. Tamari Sauce
One of the closest alternatives to regular soy sauce is tamari sauce. It's made from fermented soybeans and is rich and thick.
Tamari contains less sodium and contains less wheat than soy sauce. However, you can find some brands out there that are labeled as gluten-free.
3. Worcestershire Sauce
I love the savory flavor of Worcestershire sauce. It's another fermented condiment that is a blend of anchovies, vinegar, garlic, onion, molasses, tamarind, and other seasonings. Use it in place of soy sauce, but keep in mind that it contains fish, so it might not be the best option for those with a fish allergy.
4. Liquid Aminos
You have probably seen Braggs liquid aminos at the health food store, grocery store, or even Amazon. Liquid aminos are made from soybeans, but not fermented. It's a great gluten-free alternative to traditional soy sauce and tastes very similar. It's not as strong in flavor though and has a sweetness to it. Put up a bottle next time you're at the store and see if there's much of a difference.
5. Fish Sauce
Fish sauce is an easy way to add instant umami flavor to stir fry and fried rice. It's made from fermented fish, usually anchovies, and salt. It's gluten-free, does not contain soy, however, it does provide saltiness. Fish sauce makes a great soy sauce alternative and will definitely enhance the flavor of any dish.
6. Homemade Soy Sauce
A healthy, homemade alternative to store-bought soy sauce is actually quite easy to make at home, so why not make your own soy sauce substitute? Combine beef broth, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, molasses, garlic powder, onion powder, ground ginger and fish sauce and bring to a simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. The great thing is that you can adjust the salt level to fit your tastes.
Other recipes have been known to include things such as sea salt, apple cider vinegar, dark molasses, and beef bouillon.
7. Maggi Seasoning
Invented in Europe, this thin brown flavor enhancer is rich in umami due to wheat protein. You can substitute this 1:1. The only kicker is most Americans have never heard of this product and it can be difficult to find in stores.
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