Imagine you take a taste of your favorite dish as it’s bubbling on the stove. But you realize you’re missing something crucial… Soy Sauce!
Soy sauce is somewhat essential for Asian cooking, and gives many of their foods a salty and savory disposition. But it has become popular worldwide, and you do not want to skip out on it!
Whether you simply ran out, you are allergic to soy or gluten, or you seek something with a lower sodium level, we have the best soy sauce substitutes for you.
How is Soy Sauce Used in Cooking?
Soy sauce has a multitude of purposes, predominantly in Asian culture. It is used as the key ingredient for flavor and richness in:
- Rice and noodles dishes
- Soups and ramen
- Homemade sauces and dressings
- Dipping sauce for sushi/sashimi
With all these uses, it is imperative that you find a scrumptious substitute for soy sauce. And lucky for you, we have 10!
Soy Sauce Substitutes
1. Homemade Soy Sauce
For the best and closest soy sauce replicate, you’ll want to make it yourself. Although it’s not as simple as grabbing another ingredient from the pantry, it’s not nearly as difficult as it sounds. And we have a fabulous soy sauce recipe right below:
How to make soy sauce
You will need:
- 1 ½ cup boiling water
- 4 tablespoons of beef or vegetable bouillon granules
- 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (balsamic, red wine, or rice wine vinegar can also be used)
- 4 tablespoons of dark molasses
- 1 teaspoon of sesame seed oil
- A pinch of black pepper
- (OPTIONAL) Add dried black mushrooms, dried kombu, fenugreek seeds, garlic, ginger, or green onions for extra flavor
Simply whisk the ingredients into the boiling water. When the bouillon granules have completely dissolved, remove it from the stove.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
2. Mushrooms and salt
If you need a liquid base and homemade soy sauce is not an option, your best bet for a soy sauce substitute would be mushroom broth, because of the rich umami flavor similar to soy sauce. But if you don’t have that on hand you can easily make it.
Just boil 1 cup of chopped mushrooms with about 1 cup of water. Or soak dried shiitake mushrooms in water to achieve a broth-like substance. The broth is a 1:1 exchange for soy sauce, but you will want to add salt to it, because of the high sodium content in soy sauce.
If making broth is not viable and you don’t need a liquid, you can sauté mushrooms in some oil to enhance the other flavors in the dish. But again, be sure to add salt!
Tamari is an extremely similar soy sauce alternative, as it is also made from soybeans. The key difference is that Tamari is thicker and (usually) does not contain wheat.
Generally, tamari is a stellar gluten-free soy sauce substitute, but you will want to check the ingredients. It can be used as a 1:1 replacement.
4. Coconut aminos
If health is your concern for soy sauce, look no further. Coconut aminos are soy-free, vegan, gluten-free, and have significantly less sodium than soy sauce.
They are packed with healthy amino acids and come from the sap of coconut trees. Use coconut aminos as a 1:1 replacement for soy sauce.
It should be noted, they add a slightly sweeter taste to the dish so you will want to take that into account. They can also be difficult to find and a bit pricey.
5. Liquid Aminos
Just like coconut aminos, liquid aminos are a healthier substitute for soy sauce, because of their richness in amino acids.
They are arguably the best gluten-free alternative, since it is extremely rare for them to contain wheat. But, they come from soy, so if that is your deterrent from soy sauce you will want to avoid them.
They also have a high sodium content. Liquid aminos can be used as a 1:1 soy sauce substitute.
6. Shoyu Sauce
Shoyu sauce is Japanese soy sauce, made with sea salt, distilled sake, and loads of wheat. This makes it sweeter and less salty than Chinese soy sauce. It is also thicker, which should be noted before use.
But, because of these qualities it is a good 1:1 replacement for soy sauce in marinades.
7. Fish Sauce
Fish sauce is used in many Asian meals. Although it has a distinct fish taste, it is a great soy sauce substitute because of its similar sodium content and savoriness.
It is also soy and gluten free! Use half the amount of fish sauce to replace soy sauce. Add more if needed.
8. Hoisin Sauce
Hoisin sauce is popular in Asian barbeque, and has a distinct and savory taste. While it will not taste quite like soy sauce, it provides flavor for your dishes in the absence of soy sauce.
It’s much thicker than soy sauce, so you will want to thin it out with water. It can then be used as a 1:1 soy sauce substitute.
9. Maggi Seasoning or Sauce
Maggi seasoning can either come dry or as a sauce. It is made from fermented wheat proteins and can sometimes contain soy, so it is not allergen friendly. However, it provides a similar flavor to soy sauce and should be utilized if on hand.
If you are using it dry, it is best to use in recipes like stir-fry or soup. Simply add a little bit at a time until your dish reaches its desired flavor.
The same goes for the sauce, though it will flourish in any type of recipe.
10. Oyster Sauce
Oyster sauce is similar to fish sauce, but it has a less fishy taste and contains less sodium. It is also slightly sweeter and thicker than soy sauce, so be sure to keep that in mind. It can be used as a 1:1 substitute for soy sauce.
As you can see, there are plenty of options available for you. I hope you were able to find the perfect soy sauce substitute for your next marvelous recipe.
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10 BEST Soy Sauce Substitutes
Need a soy sauce substitute because you're out of it, or have a dietary reason not to use it? No worries!
This list of soy sauce alternatives have something suitable for every need.
- homemade soy sauce
- mushrooms and salt
- coconut aminos
- liquid aminos
- shoyu sauce
- fish sauce
- hoisin sauce
- maggi seasoning or sauce
- oyster sauce
- Choose a soy sauce substitute that best meets your needs.
- Replace the soy sauce in your recipe using the amounts given in the post.
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