How to Make a Soy Sauce Alternative

Gluten and soy free soy sauce alternative recipes

I absolutely love soy sauce…it has a delicious flavor and it is often used in stir frys and marinades. It is also a source of gluten and soy, so I’ve been experimenting with alternatives for years.

After much trial and error, and many dishes tasting like vinegar or the wrong blend of spices, I’ve finally settled on two soy sauce alternatives that I think are comparable or better than the “real” thing. I use these in stir frys, on sushi or in marinades, dressings and soups.

How to Make a Soy Sauce Alternative

If you prefer a DIY option, this recipe is great. It combines the benefits of bone broth (use beef bones) with spices, molasses and fish sauce for a healthier soy sauce alternative that tastes very similar.

This method is simple to make, but a little time intensive, so if you want an easier option, scroll down for a great store-bought alternative (that you can grab for free).

Gluten and soy free soy sauce alternative recipes

4 votes


Healthier Soy Sauce Alternatives




Yield 6 + servings

Homemade soy sauce with beef bone broth, vinegar, spices and fish sauce is a very close-tasting (and much healthier) alternative to store-bought soy sauce.



  1. Mix all ingredients (except fish sauce) in a small pan and bring to a simmer.
  2. Simmer for about 8-9 minutes or until reduced by about half.
  3. Taste to make sure you've reached the desired flavor and saltiness. Add more salt if needed.
  4. Remove from heat and add fish sauce.
  5. Stir well and let cool.
  6. Store in the fridge and use in place of soy sauce as desired.
  7. Enjoy!

Courses Condiment

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Coconut Aminos Soy Sauce Alternative

If the DIY version isn’t your thing, there is another great alternative: Coconut Aminos.

Coconut Aminos is made from aged and sun dried organic coconut sap blended with sea salt:

When the coconut tree is tapped it produces a highly nutrient-rich “sap” that exudes from the coconut blossoms. This sap is raw, very low glycemic, an abundant source of 17 amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and has a nearly neutral pH. A comparison between coconut tree sap and soy, shows that coconut sap contains 2-14 times the amino acid content of soy. Small batches ensure that our organic, low glycemic Coconut Aminos, made from this natural sap, is a raw enzymatically alive product aged and blended with sun dried, mineral-rich sea salt, hand gathered from pristine waters near the southern islands of the Philippine coast.

Our family has been using coconut aminos for years because of the amazing flavor. When I first discovered it, it was almost impossible to find and expensive. I had to order directly from the company or on Amazon and pay $8+ a bottle! Coconut aminos are now much more popular and available in many places, including at much cheaper prices online!

Do you like soy sauce as much as me? Ever tried a healthier alternative?

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Reader Comments

  1. What are your thoughts on Braggs Liquid Aminos?

    • They’re ok for people who are wheat sensitive, but they do contain soy, so not everyone can tolerate them. I personally don’t use them for that reason.

      • I know the only acceptable firm of soy is organic and fermented. Does the Braggs fit that? Is what we use, but the whole soy thing….

        • I would defintiely say that it is on the healthy end of the spectrum when it comes to soy since it is organic and fermented

      • I’m looking for clarification on the pros and cons of soy. I try to research it but it gets confusing. Is soy in and of itself bad for you? Or Is it only bad when it’s NOT organic? Ive heard that all soy that is not organic is definitely genetically modified. So for instance, the Bragg’s soy sauce alternative is then ok because it is organic.

  2. Oh this is interesting! I’ll have to try it one of these days. I personally use coconut aminos mixed with a little fish sauce (that doesn’t have soy in it). It has a very similar taste (tons of umami) and I haven’t heard of anyone else who does it like that so I thought I’d share.

  3. I too love soy sauce but since I think it may be the salty taste I love, am learning to cut back my salt intake drastically. It takes a while for the taste buds to adjust and things taste bland at first but since most tasty items in restaurants have either msg, iodized salt or soy sauce, I would rather educate my taste buds than find a salty replacement.

    • Remember that you do actually need a fair bit of salt to be healthy. Studies are actually showing that a higher level of salt than doctors currently recommend is actually better for over all health (and blood pressure and heart health). According to Dr. Mercola, reducing salt intake at first lowers blood pressure, etc., but long-term it’s not as healthy.
      What we need to make sure about it having healthy salt. A simple rule of thumb is this: if it’s white, it’s refined; therefore, not that good for you. If it’s pink or grey it’s natural, and good in moderate amounts.
      While not healthy in extreme amounts (for obvious reasons), salt is important for health and yummy 🙂

      • I really enjoy things with soy sauce but the salt content makes me swell up like a balloon and I’m puffy for days. Is there a low salt alternative that tastes decent?

        • La Choy 1 T 1250 mg sodium

          Braggs 1/2 t 310 mg (x6 to = a T 1860 mg)

          Coconut Secret 1 T 113 mg (x3 to= a T 339 mg)

          So for sodium, Coconut Secret. Braggs now makes a coconut amino with added ACV. It would be 390 mg per T. Never tried that one, but the Coconut Aminos were sweeter and I didn’t like them as well in the jerky we made with them. I generally use Braggs but never a whole Tablespoon! I think La Choy is over estimating usage. Or I’m sparse. Lol

      • You are so right! I have HT, so of course, I limit my salt intake (for other reasons as well). But, my last blood work showed low sodium & chloride. Not good for electrolyte balance. I wish they sold Himalayan Pink salt lick at Tractor Supply, lol!

  4. Thanks for the bone broth recipes.

    Just a point of clarity. REAL soy sauce has no gluten. Its more expensive and you have to read the label.

    Soy sauce is fermented soy beans. US producers of soybeans add wheat to speed up the fermentation process but not all soy sauce has gluten.

    Are you addressing this because other people have soy allergies?

  5. Thanks for the recipe. My son is not able to eat soy at all and I am very careful to make sure if I do consume soy products that they are GMO free. This is a great alternative. Can’t wait to try it!

  6. I love the coconut aminos. I use it often and in place of soy-sauce. I used to love soy sauce back in the day, but don’t really miss it now. If I’m craving something salty, I use Himalayan sea salt. Even on veggie sushi, I will dust a little wasabi and sprinkle some Himalayan sea salt on the rolls.

  7. Excellent recipe! Thanks–now I hope you can figure out a teriyaki sauce recipe. So many great recipes call for it.

    • There is a teriyaki sauce made with coconut amigos. Coconut Secret brand. I get mine at Whole Foods.

    • Teriyaki is soy, mirin (sweet rice wine), saki and sugar. It’s cooked down to thicken. You can find recipes on the Internet for it. Just replace the soy with the recipe above! Your comment on this post is sending me to the kitchen to do just that. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. I am trying to buy your hardbook of wellness mama cookbook . I’ve been via links to Amazon but it won’t be shipped to the UK so I’m very dissapointed.
    I hope you can help.

  9. How long will this last in the refrigerator? Thank you very much.

    • I kept mine 2-3 weeks and it still was fine. I think the salt and vinegar makes it keep pretty long.

      I use “ORGANIC better than bouillon – beef flavor”, (it is a reduced stock, cheaper and convenient if you cook often – but not the same quality of a fresh broth). I also like to add siracha and a dash of white pepper. I use it to make noodle soup base, stir-fry, or fresh spring roll dip, also good on pot stickers.

  10. I am allergic to wheat & soy, so a few years ago I discovered South River Miso tamari. Every year they make a limited batch of adzuki bean or garbanzo bean tamari. It is lighter & sweeter than soy sauce, but a good healthful alternative. We special order it in the cool months from their website.

    • Which of those you mentioned tastes more like traditional soy sauce? Or if I had to pick one, which one would you recommend?

  11. This recipe sounds perfect. I happen to have 12 jars of bone broth in my freezer. It’ll be a perfect way to incorporate it. I’ve used coconut aminos for quite some time but it’s pricey and lacks a bit if that saltiness. Thank you for all of your great recipes!

  12. How long will this keep? I’m concerned because of the bone broth. Are the vinegars, salt and spices enough to preserve it for the long haul?

  13. I use coconut secret coconut aminos. So Yummy! ORGANIC, GLUTEN FREE, NON GMO, NO MSG AND VEGAN.

  14. Balsamic vinegar has lot’s natural free glutamate aka MSG.A poster above mentioned being addicted to the salty taste, but it could be the MSG. Umami is very high in MSG as well.

  15. I use coconut aminos, but i dont find them to be as rich and umami as soy, so i use 1 tbs fish sauce (red boat is the only one i use) and 3tbs coconut aminos to make 1/4 cup. The fish sauce adds salt and umami. Together it is much closer to soy sauce.

  16. Hi – this is not something I would use very often. How much does it make? How long can you keep it in the fridge? Thank you!

  17. I just had a heart attack recently and I’m on a low sodium diet. My wife and I love Sushi. What can I buy and bring into a sushi restaurant that is the equivalent of soy sauce?

  18. My mom has had Celiac Disease for nearly twelve years and as far as we know after much research and testing to see if my mom experiences discomfort from some ingredients we have found that balsamic vinegar is NOT gluten free. It is distilled from wheat. So for those who have Celiac Disease, even the slightest hint of gluten, wheat, and barley causes discomfort from the intestines swelling and over time if not carefully watched, continuous eating of gluten can cause stomach cancer. So while this recipe may be great for those who choose to be gluten free, those who have no choice due to intolerance should stay away from most vinegars. This post is not meant maliciously but just to inform! Hope this helps 🙂

    • If it is distilled from wheat, it is not really balsamic, which is true of most of what is sold in the USA. Balsamic should be made 100% from wine. I was in the wine industry for years in Italy selling wine related items.
      Look for a higher quality more expensive balsamic. They do cost, unfortunately. Most have some sugar added, unless you pay $100 a bottle or more. Balsamico originated in Modena, it is trademarked and was a family tradition and part of the wedding trousseau.

    • It is distilled from whine. In most cases balsamic vinegar is ok but like usual read the label. Your mother may just have hyper sensitivity towards acidic foods or your purchasing a cheap brand. I am a celiac sufferer (diagnosed through biopsy) and i can’t say i have any problems from normal vinegar the distillation process pretty much kills the gluten same with whisky, but thoose that are “Hyper alergic” and can’t even sniff bread should stay clear of course

  19. But balsamic vinegar is msg an msg that has been separated from the chain is toxic only natural msg is safe, milk, cheese , tomato and certain vegetables

    • Thanks bit I am gluten free and this has barley which is not gluten free thanks..

  20. I buy Bragg’s Amino Lipids — yummy, healthy, and so much easier. Available on Amazon.

  21. Thanks for the recipe! I am also wondering how long this will keep in the fridge when using real beef broth? Thank you:)

    • I would also like to know how long it will stay good in the fridge.

  22. Hi. I have many food allergies and cannot do the above recipe nor any of the commercial products. I’d desperately love to make my own liquid aminos but I can’t find any instructions on how to do this. Can you help?

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