Soy sauce is the most famous Asian ingredients for a reason. It makes food taste amazing. But if you can’t find it or you are looking to remove soy from your diet it’s OK. Just reach for these soy sauce substitutes.
What is Soy Sauce?
Soy sauce, also called Shoyu is a versatile condiment used in a wide variety of Asian cuisines. It adds salty umami flavours and makes things taste amazing.
It’s made by fermenting soy beans and wheat with Aspergillus mould.
The ingredients include soy, wheat and salt.
There are some soy sauces made without wheat. These are called ‘Tamari’.
I generally buy a gluten-free soy sauce that uses rice instead of the wheat.
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.
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 you’re 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.
A few finely chopped anchovies added to a curry or stir fry can add the savoury saltiness and depth of flavour you’re looking for. It wouldn’t be my first option though.
Delicious Soy Sauce Flavour Pairings
- Chicken & Soy Sauce
- Fish & Soy Sauce(think sushi)
- Chilli & Soy Sauce
- Ginger & Soy Sauce
- Garlic & Soy Sauce
- Rice & Soy Sauce
- Green Onions (Scallions) & Soy Sauce
More Ingredient Substitutes
- The Ultimate Guide to Vegetable Substitutes
- Collard Greens
- Miso Paste
- Oyster Sauce
Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.
Have fun in the kitchen!