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Soy sauce is a common ingredient in Asian cuisines and is often used as an ingredient in marinades. Some people need to cut out soy due to allergies or for health reasons and this legume tends to cause issues for those sensitive to estrogen. Maybe you just realized you need some soy sauce for a recipe and the bottle in the refrigerator is empty so you need substitutes for soy sauce.
What are some good substitutes for soy sauce?
Can these substitutes be used in the same way as soy sauce?
Yes! The flavor profile of each may be slightly different but they can be used interchangeably in most recipes that call for soy sauce.
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How do you store these substitutes?
Most substitutes should be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place away from heat and light. If stored properly they can last up to a year.
Are there any health benefits to using a substitute instead of soy sauce?
Yes! Some of the alternatives have fewer calories and sodium than traditional soy sauce. They also tend to have less gluten or no gluten at all making them more suitable for those with dietary restrictions.
Is it possible to make my own substitutes for soy sauce?
Sure! You can make your own version by combining different ingredients such as balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, honey or maple syrup, liquid smoke, and sea salt. Experiment with flavors and amounts until you find something that suits your taste preferences.
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Tamari has a great flavor and is one of the best options for substituting soy sauce in your stir-fries. This can be used in a one-to-one ratio in place of soy sauce though you will need to be mindful of the fact that this does contain soy so if you're avoiding soy yo you will want to try one of the other options below.
Apple Cider Vinegar
If you are using soy sauce to help break down and tenderize meat you can use apple cider vinegar with great results. Apple cider vinegar while lacking the flavor boost soy sauce offers is great at breaking down and tenderizing even the toughest meats.
Braggs the apple cider vinegar company makes a great amino acid option that makes an amazing soy sauce substitute. Not only can this be used for making story fry or egg rolls in a bowl it makes a great tenderizer option. This is a favorite for those that can not have soy and has proven itself time and time again in allergy-friendly recipes and health groups.
If you are looking for an option that adds a lot of flavor like soy sauce does but you are not necessarily making something that needs that Asian flare you can use Worcestershire sauce in place of soy sauce. This will give you that tangy flavor and marinating capabilities without soy in it. Since soy is made with fermented anchovies it will give you that highly salty flavor you want as well so be sure to not add a lot of extra salt.
A great substitute for soy sauce when you're wanting to give a big flavor boost to your recipes is to use dried mushrooms. Dried mushrooms have a stronger flavor than fresh and can even be ground into a powder and mixed with water to use in place of soy sauce giving a rich color and improving the overall flavor.
One great option to substitute soy sauce when you want the rich earthy flavor is to use fish sauce. This is a great option for stir fry, fried rice, and flavoring some of your favorite dishes. This sauce is made from dried fish and tends to be extremely high in sodium so if you are looking for the salty flavor of soy sauce it will work great but if you are on a low-sodium diet you should consider an alternative.
Salt makes a great substitute for soy sauce in both flavoring and meat tenderizing ability. Soy sauce is traditionally very high in sodium and the flavor most associated with it is salt. For this reason, you can swap soy sauce with salt to taste without any major issues.
Finding the perfect substitutes for soy sauce can be a challenge, but with a bit of experimentation and research, it’s possible to find alternative options that work for you. Whether it's for dietary restrictions, allergies or simply wanting to try something new, understanding your substitute options is key. Explore ingredients like tamari, coconut aminos, liquid aminos, fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and miso paste for a delicious and satisfying meal.