Can tamari be substituted for soy sauce? (+9 substitutes)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can tamari be substituted for soy sauce?”, and what are the other substitutes for soy sauce?

Can tamari be substituted for soy sauce?

Yes, tamari can be substituted for soy sauce. The striking differences in the flavor and color of the two sauces allow us to use them interchangeably in most recipes. However, there are a number of things that distinguish one sauce from the other.

Both the sauces are the result of soybean fermentation but the difference is the amount of wheat. Unlike soy sauce, which has a  significant amount of wheat, Tamari can be regarded as gluten-free because It practically has little to no wheat in it. However, check the label before buying If you are gluten-insensitive. 

The raw material for Tamari sauce is miso paste and It is specifically a Japanese soy sauce. While regular soy sauce is mostly consumed in Asia. 

Tamari has a rich flavor, a deeper color, lesser saltiness, or a milder taste as compared to the regular Chinese soy sauce.

Other substitutes for soy sauce

Other than the following substitutes, substitutes like fish sauce, miso paste, dried mushrooms, umeboshi vinegar, are also good alternatives to soy sauce.

Coconut Secret coconut aminos sauce

Coconut aminos sauce manufactured by Coconut Secret is a soy-free, gluten-free, and vegan alternative for soy sauce. It provides about just 90 milligrams (mg) of sodium per serving which is very less in comparison to soy sauce. 

Besides It contains 17 different types of amino acids which makes it nutritionally superior to soy sauce. It is quite expensive and is not readily available. Perhaps It has a subtly sweet flavor and aftertaste in comparison to soy sauce.

Red boat fish sauce 

This sauce comes from the wild anchovies caught from the Phú Quốc island in the Gulf of Thailand. It is a good soy sauce alternative as It is gluten-free. The Red Boat fish sauce provides about  1,490 mg of sodium per serving

Maggi seasoning sauce 

Maggi seasoning is a very popular seasoning of Europe and is often added to multiple dishes to enhance flavor. Maggi may contain soy and wheat so it might not be suitable for people with allergies. 

The flavor ingredients of the Maggi vary with the region. It is a good flavor enhancer that can be used instead of soy sauce when you want to try something new.

Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce 

Worcestershire sauce does not have to be limited to Bloody Marys and steaks, It can also jazz up your regular stir-fried vegetables and popcorns by enhancing its flavor. This soy-free and gluten-free sauce provide about 65 mg of sodium per serving. 

If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, you can also try a reduced-sodium version of this sauce providing only 45mg of sodium per serving.

Ohsawa White Nama shoyu sauce 

This thick Japanese sauce is a combination of sea salt, distilled sake, and lots of wheat. Unlike soy sauce, this sauce has a golden color and gives off a fruity smell along with a slightly sweet taste. Ohsawa White Nama shoyu sauce is a good soy-free alternative to soy sauce.

Bragg Liquid Aminos 

This nutritionally rich soy sauce alternative provides is a rich source of amino acids and provides about 320 mg of sodium per teaspoon. It has a more intense flavor than soy sauce and may contain soy.


Salt is a good seasoning for any dish just like soy sauce. If you use salt in place of soy sauce, You won’t get the delicious umami flavor.


Anchovies do not always fit in as a good substitute for soy sauce. For example, they do well in a cooked sauce or curry where chopped anchovies can be easily dissolved.

Homemade alternatives to soy sauce 

  1. Why rely on the store-bought soy sauce when you can make your own at home with a lot of autonomy over the ingredients and their amounts. 
  1. Don’t Mess with Mama’s soy sauce is made using bone broth, vinegar, organic dark molasses, and date sugar, among other ingredients. The substitute stays fresh in the fridge for a week.
  1. A good soy sauce alternative can be made combining beef broth, cider vinegar, blackstrap molasses, and ½ tsp of fish sauce for a richer taste. 
  1. Another recipe involves mixing beef broth, traditional molasses, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, and fish sauce plus other ingredients.
  1. To make a vegan soy-free alternative, combine vegetable bouillon, blackstrap molasses, and some fenugreek seeds to imitate the flavor of soy sauce.

Other FAQs about Sauces which you may be interested in.

What happens If you eat expired soy sauce?


In this article, we answered the question “Can tamari be substituted for soy sauce?”, and what are the other substitutes for soy sauce?


Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.