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.
Store bought soy sauce substitute options
There are a lot of reasons why a person would be searching high and low for an easy soy sauce alternative. Maybe you’re allergic to soy, you have a disease like Celiac that prevents you from ingesting gluten, or you simply don’t like the taste much.
However, if you’re simply trying to avoid gluten, there are some really great gluten-free soy sauces on the shelf out there. I’ve provided a list of my favorite brands below. Give them a try, because I promise, they’re comparable.
Soy is a common allergen. A lot of people are allergic to it, and if that’s the case, you’ll need to stay away from soy sauce altogether, even the gluten-free kind. In your case, it may be a little harder to find something that tastes similar or that you like just as well.
But it’s not impossible! I have compiled a list of alternatives that you can buy, and then I’ve given you some options for making your own alternatives at home. It’s not hard, and you’ll be so happy you did it!
Whatever your reason for needing a great substitute for soy sauce, you’re in luck.
Gluten-free soy sauce options
Alright, here’s my list of gluten-free favorites that I’ve cultivated over the past couple of years. I’ve ranked them in order of my personal preference, but there are a lot of other options out there. And by a lot, I mean A LOT.
1. Kikkoman Soy Sauce: This is probably the most common gluten-free 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.
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.
Vegan and Kosher soy sauce options
Here are some really fantastic vegan soy sauce alternatives for all of you out there who avoid all things animal. Unless, of course, it’s cuddling. 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.
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.
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.
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 the best soy sauce alternative for you
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, Mexican fried rice with peas, 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.