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? Don’t be! The best part is that if you don’t find an alternative for sale that like, you can just make your own! Put it in a handy mason jar and store it for later.
Why I make my own soy sauce substitute
Hi, everyone! Can I just start out by telling you that I love soy sauce? I really do. It’s a staple in most Asian cuisines, and, well, I love Asian cuisine! Here’s the problem. I’ve been gluten-free for two years now for health reasons.
And here’s the real kicker: a few months ago, I was diagnosed with a condition called Interstitial Cystitis. You can look it up if you want to, but the bottom line is this: my diet is about to change even more drastically. A lot of soy sauce substitute recipes contain things that I can no longer eat, like balsamic vinegar or Worcestershire sauce.
That’s why I’m here. To help you find the substitute for soy sauce that’s right for you and share my own homemade soy sauce substitute recipe.
Common Questions about Soy Sauce
As I’ve been making my own substitute for soy sauce for years, my friends often come to me as the soy sauce expert. So below are some commonly asked questions about soy sauce.
Is Soy Sauce Vegan?
Yes, store bought soy sauce is typically Vegan. If you are using the most popular soy sauce brands sold in stores, then the soy sauce is vegan. Here’s more information on the two most popular brands, Kikkoman and La Choy.
1. Kikkoman Soy Sauce: This is probably the most common vegan soy sauce out there, and I hate to be boring, but there’s a reason it’s popular. Most Asian restaurants have this bad boy at the table or in the back. You just have to ask for it. The four main ingredients for Kikkoman are soy, wheat, salt and water.
2. La Choy Lite Soy Sauce: This one has good flavor, but because it’s also light, it doesn’t pack the same punch as you might find in normal soy sauces. It’s not bad, it’s just not my favorite. The main ingredients in La Choy are water, soy protein, corn syrup, salt, caramel color.
Is Soy Sauce Gluten Free?
No, most store bought Soy Sauces are not gluten free because they are typically made with wheat. However. several well known brands do have a gluten free version, such as Kikkoman Gluten-free Soy Sauce. Tamari sytle soy sauce is gluten free because it is made with rice as a base instead of wheat. Additionally, any soy sauce made with coconut aminos as a base will also be gluten-free.
I’ve listed some of my favorite store bought substitutes for soy sauce below.
Is soy sauce Keto friendly?
In order for soy sauce to be Keto friendly, it has to be low-carb. If you do look at the nutritional value of a store bought soy sauce, then technically yes, soy sauce is keto friendly. That being said, if the soy sauce contains by-products of wheat and gluten, then it’s not considered a pure, clean keto food.
Can Worcestershire Sauce be substituted for soy sauce?
You can definitely substitute Worcestershire Sauce for soy sauce but if you do, I recommend making a homemade Worcestershire Sauce so you can adjust it because the flavor profile of a store bought version, such as Lea & Perrin’s is just really different from the taste of soy sauce. Also, do keep in mind that most Worcestershire Sauce is made with fermented anchovies so it is not vegetarian or vegan.
Are there healthy substitutes for soy sauce?
Soy sauce is not a typical healthy condiment because it’s very high in sodium and heavily processed. However, there are several adjustments you can make to ensure your soy sauce is a healthier option. First, many of the store bought brands will sell low-sodium options.
Additionally, my homemade recipe at the end of this article can be made with lower sodium by skipping the sauce and using a low sodium version of beef broth or vegetable broth. Both of these should be readily available in stores. And by making homemade soy sauce, you avoid all the heavy processing that goes on with the manufactured soy sauce.
Best Store Bought Vegan, Kosher and Gluten Free soy sauce alternatives
If you prefer to buy your soy sauce substitute instead of making it, here are some really fantastic vegan soy sauce alternatives for all of you out there who avoid all things animal. These are also Kosher certified products
1. 365 Everyday Value Shoyu Sauce: This soy sauce alternative is vegan, kosher, tasty and non-GMO. Hooray!
2. Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos: This one is the jack of all trades. It’s vegan, kosher, paleo, keto, organic, and non-GMO. It’s made from the sap of coconut trees. The only downsides are availability and cost.
If you’re in the market for a keto friendly soy sauce or a paleo friendly soy sauce substitute, the Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos is the best I’ve found. And with my new diet restrictions, which include basically everything (yay, me!) this is going to have to be my new go to soy sauce alternative permanently.
Plus, it’s made from the sap of the coconut tree, not the actual coconut. If you don’t like coconut flavor, you’ll still like this one, because there’s no gross coconutyness. And yes, that’s a word.
3. Tamari Sauce: Tamari sauce is an excellent soy sauce substitute as it maintains a similar flavor but is vegan and gluten-free. While it’s still high in sodium, there is < 1 net carb per serving, making Tamari Sauce technically Keto friendly as well.
How to make your own soy sauce substitute
If you’d rather make your own soy sauce substitute at home, here is my favorite recipe that you can easily make yourself.
The best thing about making your own soy sauce at home is that you are in control of what goes into it. If you’re truly changing up your soy sauce intake for health reasons, this is the only way you have a complete knowledge of what you’re eating.
Recipe Ingredients at a Glance
● 1 cup beef broth (substitute vegetable stock if you’re vegan)
● 2 tablespoons of your favorite vinegar (choose balsamic if you like the dark color, but you can also use red wine vinegar or cider vinegar)
● 4 teaspoons blackstrap molasses or date sugar
● ¼ teaspoon salt
● ⅛ teaspoon black pepper (substitute organic white pepper if preferred)
● ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
● ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
● ⅛ teaspoon onion powder (optional)
● 1 teaspoon fish sauce or sesame oil (adds a nice, flavorful kick, but certainly optional)
Recipe Instructions (full printable recipe below)
● Add all of your ingredients to a saucepan, leaving out the salt and sesame oil for now.
● Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer on medium heat for ten minutes.
● Turn off your heat, add the salt and sesame oil (or any alternative you choose), and stir until it’s mixed well.
● Let your soy sauce cool, then place it in an airtight container and store it for up to a week. You can even freeze it for later use.
Tips & Tricks for Making this recipe
- Some things you can make at home might use ingredients that tend to make it look a bit lighter in color than traditional soy sauce. If you have a thing about color or this weirds you out a bit, then when looking for the best dark soy sauce version, you’re going to want to stick with base ingredients that are dark, like Worcestershire or balsamic vinegar.
- When it comes to substituting any of the ingredients in this recipe, do so to accommodate your own taste preferences and dietary needs. Just remember, it may alter the color, taste, or consistency, and it may take you a couple of tries to get it right.
- The great thing about this recipe is that you can substitute almost any part of it to make it vegan, kosher, paleo, or Keto. It’s easy to adapt to your unique dietary restrictions. Just be patient with yourself. It sounds easy, but if you do adjust the ingredients, you may need to adjust your proportions, too.
If you’re looking to test your new soy sauce substitute on something, I would suggest drizzling it over instant pot Mexican rice or Thai yellow curry with fresh veggies. While soy sauce doesn’t typically fit in with Mexican cuisine, I have found that I like it almost as much as drizzling sweet and sour sauce over my food, so give it a try!
Other Vegan Recipes Worth Trying
Looking for some additional vegan or gluten-free recipes? We’ve got a few others that I’d recommend:
- Delicious Thai Cucumber Salad
- Oven Roasted Green Beans with Spicy Tahini
- Simple Vegan Walnut Banana Ice Cream
Soy Sauce Substitute Recipe
- 1 cup beef broth substitute vegetable stock if you are vegan
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar choose balsamic if you like the dark color, but you can also use red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
- 4 tsp blackstrap molasses alt: date sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper (substitute organic white pepper if preferred)
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp onion powder (optional)
- 1 tsp fish sauce or sesame oil (adds a nice, flavorful kick, but certainly optional)
- Add all of your ingredients to a saucepan, leaving out the salt and sesame oil for now.
- Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer on medium heat for ten minutes.
- Turn off your heat, add the salt and sesame oil (or any alternative you choose), and stir until it’s mixed well.
- Let your soy sauce substitute cool, then place it in an airtight container and store it for up to a week. You can even freeze it for later use.