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About Everything Wiki » Food » What can you replace soy sauce with if you want variety

What can you replace soy sauce with if you want variety

05 Jun 2023, 00:01, parser
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How to replace soy sauce

Making natural soy sauce is a time—consuming process that takes several months. After fermentation and maturation, the product acquires a deep salty‑sweet spicy taste, which makes any dishes and marinades brighter. It is difficult to reproduce it with other ingredients. The best replacements are, as a rule, fermented sauces and seasonings typical of Asian cuisine. They are not sold in every store, but they give the food that most complex taste, called umami. Here are some options worth paying attention to.

1. Tamari

This Japanese sauce is a close relative of soy sauce. It is also produced from soybeans by fermentation, only without the addition of wheat. Therefore, tamari is popular with people with celiac disease — gluten intolerance.

This sauce is thicker, darker and richer than soy, but less salty. Tamari is perfect for sushi, noodles and vegetables.

2. Worcestershire sauce

Photo: Kelsey Todd / Shutterstock

This classic English sauce has a long composition, which includes molasses, anchovies and tamarind. All these products give Worcester a savory taste unlike anything else. The sauce is sharper and sour and less salty than soy, and is well suited for dense salad dressings, meat marinades, stews and soups.

3. Fish sauce

Photo: kentnk2009 / Wikimedia Commons

Fish sauce is an important ingredient of Thai and Vietnamese dishes, without it it is impossible to cook the right tom yam or pho bo. The seasoning is made from small fish or its insides, keeping the raw materials in closed containers for up to two years. It turns out a salty transparent liquid with a concentrated taste and a strong specific aroma. It should be added in small quantities to soups, curries and meat dishes.

4. Oyster sauce

Photo: successo images / Shutterstock

A dense glossy sauce with a sweet, slightly caramel taste is obtained by thickening the extract of oysters with corn starch and is often used in Chinese cuisine. For example, they are added to the filling for dumplings, fried noodles, vegetables, chicken and seafood cooked in a wok. Oyster sauce, unlike fish sauce, does not have a strong smell, so it is more versatile.

5. Coconut Amino acids

Photo: Micaela Fiorellini / Shutterstock

Coconut amino acids are fermented coconut palm nectar. In taste, color and consistency, it is almost indistinguishable from soy sauce. At the same time, coconut amino acids contain FoodData Central / U. S. Department of Agriculture less salt, and there is no wheat and soy in the composition, so the product is considered healthier.

No matter how strange it may seem, but the sauce does not have the flavor of coconut, so it will easily fit into any dish. Coconut amino acids taste milder than soy sauce, so you may need a little more of them.

6. Miso paste

Photo: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

This product, like soy sauce, is produced by fermentation of soybeans. Miso has several varieties, some may be sharper and richer, others — more tender and sweet. But the taste of most of them can be described as spicy and salty, with earthy notes.

A small amount of pasta diluted in water will make the taste of soups, stewed vegetables and tofu much richer. Try using miso not only in traditional Asian dishes. Add just a little seasoning to fried mushrooms, minced burger or liquid caramel.

7. Sodium glutamate

The obvious solution is to replace the natural umami soy sauce with a synthetic one. There is nothing dangerous in this additive, so feel free to throw a pinch into salads, soups and sauces to enhance their taste. If you don't have pure glutamate, use a crumbled broth cube.

8. Anchovies

Photo: alleksana/Pexels

These canned fish have a very bright salty taste. It will not suit every dish and will not be very appropriate in Asian food. But for salad dressings and thick meat stews, this is a great option. A couple of fillets need to be turned into a paste with a fork and added to the rest of the ingredients, adjusting the amount of salt.

9. Parmesan

Aged cheese is another natural flavor enhancer and a source of umami, common in European cuisine. Finely grated parmesan will decorate almost any snacks, salads and hot dishes. And a hard cheese crust can be boiled in vegetable soup to make it richer.

10. Salt

This is the easiest option for dishes where soy sauce does not have the most important role. Just delete it from the composition and add salt to the food. To make the taste more balanced, add a pinch of sugar.

How to make soy sauce replacement at home

If you have broth in the refrigerator, prepare a simple sauce based on it that tastes like soy. For the vegetarian option, instead of meat broth, you can take mushroom broth, preferably from dried shiitake.


  • 240 ml of strong meat broth;
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar;
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar;
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar;
  • 1 pinch of ground white pepper;
  • 1 pinch of ground ginger;
  • 1 pinch of dried garlic;
  • salt — to taste.


Combine all the products in a small saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil. Evaporate over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until the volume of the mixture is halved. Remove from the stove and cool completely.

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