What Can I Use To Substitute Soy Sauce

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Best Dark Soy Sauce Substitutes

Soy Sauce Substitute: How to Make a Homemade Soy Sauce Substitute

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Soy sauce is used worldwide thanks to its rich flavor that can take your dish to a new level. You can add it to all types of dishes from soups to stir-fries, stews, and salads. There are two types of soy sauce, one dark soy sauce, and one light soy sauce.

We will discuss the main difference between these types of soy sauce as well in this guide. However, what to do if you have a recipe that calls for dark soy sauce and you dont have it? Or you dont want to use it?

The good news is that there are several options you can use instead of this soy sauce. One of the best alternatives to dark soy sauce is Teriyaki sauce or simply light soy sauce. But lets look better at the rest of the substitutes you can use.

Why Use A Soy Sauce Substitute

  • The main ingredient of soy sauce is soy, which is a common allergen, especially among young kids. Most kids outgrow soy allergies with time, but its still a good idea to have an alternative condiment at hand.
  • Additionally, soy sauce contains gluten, which is problematic for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
  • Lastly, it has high sodium levels, which may increase the risk of developing high blood pressure.

What Can I Substitute For Dark Soy Sauce

A small amount of dark soy sauce is usually called for in a recipe mostly for color, so if you dont have any, you can simply omit it. Your dish will be lighter in color, but still tasty.

That said, if you really want your version of a recipe to look like the photographs, and that recipe calls for dark soy sauce, dont leave it out.

If you have double black soy sauce on hand, use it in place of dark soy sauce. You can also use mushroom flavored dark soy sauce interchangeably with regular dark soy sauce.

You can also mix together molasses, regular soy sauce, and a pinch of sugar to make a passable substitute.

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Keto Friendly Soy Sauce Substitutes

Soy sauce is used to flavor and season food, as well as add umami to dishes. But soy sauce can be high in sodium, which isnt ideal for those on the keto diet or anyone looking to cut back on salt intake. Luckily there are plenty of low-carb alternatives that you can use instead like fish sauce and dried mushrooms.

Delicious Soy Sauce Flavour Pairings

Any form of Chicken pairs well with Soy Sauce

Fish has a good flavor partnership with Soy Sauce

Hot Soy Sauce laced with chili

Soy Sauce is awesome when paired with ginger

Its Not Hard To Make A Substitute For Soy Sauce

Grain Crazy: Soy Sauce Alternative

Dear Eric: What can I use instead of soy sauce? Many recipes I want to use call for this ingredient and I cant ingest soy proteins.

Vicki Sharp

Dear Vicki: Theres really no substitute for the salty, tart, sweet and meaty tastes a good soy sauce can add to a dish, whether its a stir-fry, marinated meat or noodle bowl.

However, there are recipes for a soy sauce substitute with a somewhat similar look and taste. You make it by blending and simmering ingredients such as meaty beef bouillon or stock, tart vinegar, somewhat sweet and dark molasses and spices.

The end product looks like soy sauce and tastes similar. It doesnt have to be salty, but you can add as much salt as needed to get the flavour you want. The mixture can be used in any recipe calling for soy sauce.

Vicki knows she must avoid all products that contain soy proteins but, unfortunately, some store-bought beef bouillon and stock contain them. So she would have to make it herself or buy a product free of soy. In todays recipe, I used a brand of beef stock called Kitchen Basics. On its website, kitchenbasics.net, the company says it strives to reduce the risk of allergic reactions by barring a wide range of ingredients including soy that are considered high risks for them.

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The Ultimate Homemade Vegan

This recipe will result in a highly concentrated alternative sauce that vegans can enjoy. Moreover, its shelf life is longer than the non-vegan homemade sauce above.

A few things you need to have:

  • A saucepan
  • 1 pinch of freshly grounded pepper

The instructions for this vegan-style soy sauce is pretty much the same as the non-vegan version. Hence, all you need to do is:

  • Step 1: Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan, except for the pepper and fenugreek seeds.
  • Step 2: Bring them all to a boil and reduce the heat once it reaches the boiling point. Incorporate the fenugreek seeds and simmer till the mixture reduces by half in volume.
  • Step 3: Taste to see if you need to add more salt. Then sprinkle pepper all over the liquid.
  • Step 4: Let it cool down. Drain the soy sauce through a sieve and pour it into your clean bottle.

With this recipe, your soy sauce will strongly resemble the flavor of non-vegan soy sauce. It also lasts longer than the non-vegan soy sauce, lets say for about one more week. Please give the bottle a good shake before each use.

Lets learn how to make the amazing Korean-style soy sauce at home together:

Can I Make My Own Soy Sauce

Earlier in this article we provided you with a recipe for a vegan homemade soy sauce. But, here it is again, to save you from having to scroll through:


  • Salt


Add all of the ingredients except the fenugreek seeds and salt to a saucepan. Place over a medium heat and whisk until it reaches boiling point.

When it boils, reduce the heat and add in the fenugreek seeds. Simmer the mixture until it has reduced by half. This should strongly resemble soy sauce.

At this point, you should taste a little and decide whether to add salt or not.

Pass the liquid through a sieve or strainer to remove any lumps. Allow it to cool and then transfer it to a sterilized glass jar.

To note – this recipe will make about half a cup or 125 ml of soy sauce concentrate.

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How Do You Store Soy Sauce

It doesnt go bad since it contains microorganisms that help preserve it for a long time.

An unopened bottle of soy sauce lasts for 2 to 3 years, even without refrigeration. An opened bottle lasts up to 1 year with no refrigeration.

The soy sauce doesnt expire after a year, but its flavor changes. To store it longer and preserve its flavor, keep it in the fridge.

Uses Of Dark Soy Sauce In The Culinary World

How to Make Soy Sauce Substitute

Different from light soy sauce, dark soy sauce is more commonly used in marination to add color to dishes. Since saltiness isnt the dominant flavor in the sauce, it wont overpower your dish.

Rather, it will give off a beautiful dark red color, making your dish more eye-catching and appetizing. Typically, dark soy sauce will be used in noodles, dressings, stews, stir-fries, and braised dishes.

A typical Chinese dish that uses dark soy sauce is red-cooked pork. In addition, the famous Asian fried rice also uses this sauce as one of the main seasonings to create brown color and boost up the flavor.

Sometimes, dark soy sauce can be used in dips too. However, it needs to be blended with many other ingredients to have a lighter taste.

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Top Soy Sauce Substitutes

Finding the best substitute for soy sauce can be a daunting task. Will it taste just as good? And exactly what is a substitute for soy sauce?

Overwhelmed? Dont be! The best part is that if you dont find an alternative for sale that you like, you can just make your own! Put it in a handy mason jar and store it for later.

Why Avoid Soy Sauce

One reason why you may wish to stay away from soy sauce is its main ingredient, soy. Soy is a common allergen, especially among children, with 0.4 percent of them having a soy allergy. While many children outgrow their soy allergies, some dont.

There are other reasons one may want to avoid soy sauce. It contains gluten, which is a problem for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. It also often contains high levels of sodium.

No matter your reasons, there are several alternatives on the market and substitute recipes to try.

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Articles On Soy Allergy

  • For soy sauce: Olive brine, balsamic vinegar, or soy-free miso sauce — with some additional salt.
  • For soy margarines: Real butter is always an option, although you only want to use a little. If you also have a dairy allergy, there are some soy- and dairy-free margarines.
  • For soy oil: Try other oils, such as canola or olive oil.
  • For teriyaki sauce: This has soy sauce in it. Some people use sweet-and-sour sauce instead. But check the ingredients to be sure soybean oil isn’t used in making the sweet-and-sour sauce.
  • For miso : Look for non-soy versions made from other beans and rice. Make sure youâre not allergic to other kinds of beans. About 5% of people who are allergic to one legume, like soybeans, are allergic to other kinds, too.

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Why Use An Alternative

Best Worcestershire Sauce Substitute

Soy sauce is a core ingredient in many recipes from stir-fries to tofu dishes. If a recipe calls for soy sauce but you dont have any on hand, you can substitute it with an alternative that will yield a similar taste.

Dietary allergies may play a role in the search for a soy sauce substitute. Like the name suggests, soy sauce is a soy product. People with allergies to soy must avoid soy sauce. Traditional soy sauce is made from wheat. There are some varieties that are gluten free which are made from rice. Those with wheat or other grain allergies should check the label carefully before consuming.

Those who follow a low-sodium meal plan may worry about the sodium content in soy sauce. This condiment is known for having a salty flavor, and the high sodium content is largely responsible for that. Though there are low-sodium varieties of soy sauce, some alternatives contain even less sodium.

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Homemade Sweet Soy Sauce

Sweet soy sauce is easy to make. All you need is the following ingredients.


  • 1 cup of soy sauce
  • 1 cup of palm or brown sugar
  • ½ cup of water


You can also add 1 clove of garlic, 1 anise pod, and a piece of ginger root . If you are using these ingredients you need to prepare them first. Mince the garlic clove, and slice the ginger root.

Put the water and sugar in a saucepan, mix, and bring them to a boil with stirring occasionally. Let the mixture boil for 5-10 minutes.

When it changes its color to deep amber, remove the saucepan from the stove. Let the mixture cool down a little and add the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and anise pod.

Put the saucepan on the stove at medium heat. Let the mixture simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove the saucepan from the heat and voila!

Leave your sauce to cool down and thicken before you use it in your favorite dishes.

The Best Soy Sauce Substitutes

1. Fish sauce

If I run out of soy sauce, my go-to substitute is fish sauce. The flavour of soy sauce is darker and more caramel than the bright sour saltiness from fish sauce. But they both make food taste more delicious.

Start with about the same amount of fish sauce. Be prepared to add more if needed.

2. Salt

The main purpose of soy sauce is to season food. And while soy does bring a lot more than saltiness to the table, salt is the main contribution.

Salt can be the easiest substitute. And you may enjoy the cleaner flavour it provides.

Try seasoning your sushi or sashimi with sea salt flakes to experience how salt can be a more simple alternative to soy sauce.

3. Miso Paste

Another option to give you the salty umami-rich flavours is the Japanese condiment miso paste. Miso is thicker then soy sauce so best to mix it with a little water first. Start by substituting 1 teaspoon miso paste and 2 teaspoons water for each tablespoon soy sauce.

4. Coconut Aminos

If youre avoiding soy for health reasons, coconut aminos are a soy-free option. The flavour is much sweeter and significantly less salty than soy sauce. The coconut aminios I have are 37% sugar so I use sparingly! Start with less and add more as needed.

You may find substituting a little coconut aminos and some salt gives the best balance.

5. Anchovies

A few finely chopped anchovies added to a curry or stir fry can add the savoury saltiness and depth of flavour youre looking for. It wouldnt be my first option though.

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Clever Soy Sauce Substitute Ideas

Craving a dish with Asian flair? These soy sauce substitutes will have you grabbing the chopsticks even when that bottle of Kikkoman is down to its last drop. Check them out!

  • Coconut AminosThis popular soy sauce substitute is lower in sodium, soy-free, and completely gluten-free. While it does have a slightly sweeter taste, coconut aminos are the perfect substitute for those looking to avoid those common ingredients!
  • Liquid Aminos Liquid aminos do contain soy, but it’s not fermented and it also contains amino acids. Much like soy sauce, this substitute tastes similar and is very concentrated in flavor! Bonus, it’s usually gluten-free.
  • Tamari This sauce originates in Japan and is very similar to soy sauce. It is usually gluten-free, unlike its soy sauce counterpart, but you should always double-check the label to be certain!
  • WorcestershireYep, that thing none of us can pronounce! Worcestershire is a suitable substitute for soy sauce, especially for those watching their sodium intake. It has a slightly different flavor profile, but it gets the job done in a pinch!
  • Fish Sauce More potent than soy sauce, this one needs to be used in moderation. Try Red Boat Fish Sauce, it’s delicious!

Whatever you choose to use, you can’t go wrong with a soy sauce substitute!

Other Vegan Recipes Worth Trying

Soy Sauce Substitute (how-to: soy-free gluten-free alternative to soy sauce)

Looking for some additional vegan or gluten-free recipes? Weve got a few others that Id recommend:

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Are Worcester And Soy Sauce The Same

Worcestershire sauce is a British condiment that contains vinegar, salt, sugar, and other spices. It was originally created to imitate the flavor of anchovies and oysters. Soy sauce is a Chinese condiment that is used mainly in Asian cuisine. Both sauces are salty and savory but they differ in taste.

Substitutes For Dark Soy Sauce

Updated: by Nate Teague

Dark soy sauce, as the name suggests, is a dark-colored sauce that is popular in Chinese cuisine. It is sweeter, darker, and thicker in consistency than light soy sauce, and is used to add color and umami flavor to savory dishes like noodles and fried rice. Marinades are given a pleasant dark, shiny appearance with the addition of this ingredient.

Although it is considered a necessity in Asian kitchens many western households dont have it in their pantry. If you cant or wont use dark soy sauce in your next recipe, then youre going to need a substitute. Weve compiled eight excellent alternatives using everyday ingredients. Lets dive in.

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A Healthy Alternative To Soy Sauce

Who doesnt love the flavor of soy sauce? This savory dark liquid is the main ingredient in many cuisines, namely Asian cuisine. I love Asian food, and I know soy sauce is in almost every dish.

There are a few different ways to make soy sauce. Usually it is done by soaking soybeans in water and then roasting and crushing the wheat. As you may know, wheat is a common allergen for people who are sensitive to gluten. This unfortunately means that soy sauce is not gluten-free. So, how on earth do people with Celiac disease enjoy Asian food?

Some people also have allergies to soy, making soy sauce inedible. Luckily there are some soy sauce substitutes out there that give the flavor and texture of soy sauce but that are actually soy- and gluten-free. There are people with gluten sensitivities all over the world, so lets explore the best sub for soy sauce.

Does Soy Sauce Go Bad

Help Me Find a Good Soy

Maybe the reason youre out of soy sauce is that you tossed an old bottle when you deep-cleaned your fridge. But even though the expiration date passed, you probably didnt need to throw it away. Heres why: Since soy sauce is a fermented product, it contains microorganisms that help preserve it for quite some time, even at room temperature.

An unopened bottle of soy sauce can last as long as two or three years unrefrigerated, and you can safely leave an opened bottle out of the refrigerator for up to one year. Even then, it likely wont spoil, though it will definitely lose some flavor. Storing it in the fridge will keep it tasting at its prime.

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