What Is Soy-Free Soy Sauce?

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  • Written By: Angie Bates
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 02 June 2018
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Soy-free soy sauce is an Asian soy sauce substitute that contains no soy and usually no gluten. Normally suitable for those allergic to soy, this substitute is generally designed to mimic the flavor of the traditional sauce. There are many different versions of this substitute, some closer in taste to the original than others. Soy-free soy sauce can be purchased commercially or be homemade.

Traditional soy sauce uses fermented soy as its primary taste ingredient. This sauce is used in a multitude of Asian recipes, as a condiment, in dressings and marinades, and as a dipping sauce for many appetizers or sushi. For those allergic to soy, this reliance on soy in Asian cooking prohibits the consumption of many Asian recipes. Soy-free soy sauce can give those suffering from a soy allergy the freedom to create Asian recipes with a similar taste.

Many variations of soy-free soy sauce exist, both commercially and in at-home recipes. Commercial alternatives may be marketed as "soy-free soy sauce" or as soy sauce substitutes. A coconut-based sauce similar in taste and color to the traditional sauce is one of the most popular soy-free commercial alternatives. At-home recipes normally do not use coconut in their creation, but their ingredients do vary considerably.


A meat broth, such as beef, chicken, or turkey, or vegetable broth is usually used as the primary liquid base. Molasses, ginger, and fresh garlic or garlic powder are also often, but not always, used. A type of vinegar, normally balsamic or cider, is a frequent addition, and either black or white pepper and salt are normally added as well. Some versions may add completely different ingredients, however. Anchovy paste, tomato paste, onions, and mushrooms are all alternative options.

To create soy-free soy sauce, the chosen ingredients are normally combined and simmered to reduce. Once reduced, the sauce is cooled before being served. If pieces of herbs or vegetables are used in its creation, the mixture is strained after it is cooked.

Although dipping sauces are usually desired for the complete taste of the sauce, when soy sauce is used in cooked dishes, its main purpose is often to add a salty flavor. Therefore, other salty liquids, such as olive brine, or liquids combined with salt, such as balsamic vinegar, can be substituted to achieve the same affect. These substitutes do not taste like soy sauce, but they serve the same purpose as the sauce in many recipes.



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