With a world full of different types of condiments and spices, many people have become intolerant and developed allergies to some of them. Soy sauce being one of them, is not a preference to many and they therefore look for suitable substitutes when their recipes call for it.

Soy sauce is a major spice used for several culinary purposes. It is mostly used in Asian cuisines, but other recipes can also call for it, including those for comfort foods and homemade sauces. However, not everyone, including you, is a fan of soy sauce for either health reasons or food preferences. And its even worse than finding an ingredient to use in its place may be very hard. All the same, you don’t need to worry as there are always alternatives, and best for that matter, which you can use as discussed in this article.

Reasons Why People Avoid Soy Sauce

One main reason why people try to avoid soy sauce is its active ingredient, soy. Many people, especially children, react to soy as it is a common allergen. According to the Cleveland Clinic, soy is categorized as one of the “Big Eight” allergens together with wheat, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, cow’s milk, peanuts, and eggs. It’s good, though, that most children outgrow this allergy by 16 years. However, in some, it persists throughout adulthood. Soy allergy usually presents with mild to severe symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, formation of hives and rashes on the skin, itchy mouth, wheezing, difficulty breathing, runny nose, and in very rare cases, anaphylactic shock.

Another reason why soy sauce is avoided by some people is that it contains gluten. Gluten is a family of proteins that some people cannot digest. Those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance may experience uncomfortable digestive symptoms, including constipation and diarrhea when they ingest soy sauce or foods containing gluten. Additionally, you may want to avoid soy sauce because it contains high amounts of sodium. Regardless of your reason, there are healthy substitutes for soy sauce you can easily find on the market.

Soy Sauce Substitutes

Coconut Secret’s Coconut Aminos Sauce

This is one of the best alternatives for soy sauce you can get from Coconut Secret. Apart from being healthy and popular, coconut aminos sauce is free of soy, free of gluten, and suitable for vegans. This type of sauce is made from the sap of coconut trees and made to taste with a popular Philippine sea salt called Gran Moluccas. In terms of salt content, coconut aminos sauce packs only 90 mg of sodium for a single serving, which is way less than that of soy sauce and its common alternatives. It also works better than soy sauce in terms of health benefits as it contains 17 amino acids. However, coconut aminos are a bit expensive than soy sauce and tend to have a sweeter flavor than soy sauce, which can change the desired flavor.

Red Boat Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is another alternative for soy sauce unless you are allergic to fish. Made by the Red Boat, this type of sauce is extracted from wild-caught anchovies from the island of Phu Quoc in the Gulf of Thailand. Why do you have to use it? Red Boat fish sauce is free of gluten and soybean proteins. It will definitely gain your full trust by the way it will change and enhance the flavor of your dish without a drop of soy sauce. This type of soy sauce brand, however, is not a suitable for salt-sensitive people or those looking to cut back on their salt intake as it contains 1,490 mg of sodium.

Maggi Seasoning Sauce

All the way from Europe, this sauce has lasted for over a century with a heap of fans. You can use Maggi seasoning sauce to take the flavor of nearly any dish to another level. However, it would be helpful to check the list of Maggi seasoning sauce’s ingredients as it sometimes contains wheat and soy. The recipe is customized by the manufacturer to meet the flavor preferences of local cuisines. If you are truly allergic to wheat or soy, you wouldn’t want to use Maggi seasoning sauce. It is only suitable for those looking for another alternative different from soy sauce to enhance the flavor of their foods.

Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce brings an umami taste to your favorite dish. It is mostly used to enhance the flavor of steaks, but you can use it in popcorns and stir-fried vegetables. If you are allergic to gluten or soy, then this is another perfect alternative for you. It has less content of sodium, with Lea & Perrins sauce providing 65 mg or 45 mg for a version with reduced sodium content.

Ohsawa White Nama Shoyu Sauce

Shoyu in Japanese literally means “soy sauce.” However, that should not bother you as this sauce doesn’t contain soy and is free of gluten. Made in Japan, Ohsawa White Nama Shoyu sauce contains sea salt and distilled sake. It has a thicker texture due to lots of wheat added in it. It’s different from soy sauce, thanks to its golden honey color, sweet taste, and fruity flavor.

Bragg Liquid Aminos

Speaking of sauces that have gained the full attention of health-conscious people, then Bragg Liquid Aminos is among the top in the list. It is just another substitute for soy sauce you should not miss. It is worth mentioning that its flavor is too concentrated, and should, therefore, be used only in small quantities. That said, if you are allergic to soy, then you shouldn’t use it as it contains soy. Another drawback of Bragg Liquid Aminos is that it contains 320 mg of sodium, making it less healthy.

Making Your Own Sauce

A homemade sauce requires that you have specific ingredients. This may include bouillon, broth, dried kombu or shrimp, ginger, green onions, molasses, vinegar, and other pantry items like date sugar.


Despite being a great flavor enhancer, soy sauce may not suit some people. It contains soy and gluten, which causes allergic reactions in people with celiac disease. Bragg Liquid Aminos and Red Boat Fish sauce are among the soy sauce alternatives that can suit them.


We would like to thank the below contributors who have helped us to write this article:

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MS, University of Tartu
Sleep specialist

Using the acquired academic and professional experience, I advise patients with various complaints about mental health - depressed mood, nervousness, lack of energy and interest, sleep disorders, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts and anxieties, difficulty concentrating, and stress. In my free time, I love to paint and go on long walks on the beach. One of my latest obsessions is sudoku – a wonderful activity to calm an unease mind.

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