Soy-Free Soy Sauce Substitute

We have the ultimate solution for a low-sodium Soy-free Soy Sauce Substitute with this simple homemade recipe – it’s so easy! Not only is it non-GMO and gluten-free, but it also gives your dishes a burst of umami flavor.

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A container of soy-free soy sauce.

Making your own sauces, salad dressings, and dips is an easy step to healthier eating by avoiding preservatives and additives in the manufactured versions. Some of our favorite condiment recipes include this Honey Mustard Sauce without the Honey and this homemade Onion Ring Dip. Check out all of our Dips, Sauces, and Spreads for more inspiration.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • If you have dietary restrictions like a soy allergy, or wheat intolerance, or need to lower your salt intake, traditional kikkoman soy sauce may not be good for you. This savory homemade recipe is free from soybeans and other common allergens and has less sodium than store-bought soy sauce or tamari.
  • This recipe is incredibly easy to make, requiring just a few basic pantry ingredients.
  • It can be used in a variety of recipes, from stir-fries to fried rice to sauces. We use it in this pork adobo, and it works well in place of traditional soy sauce.
A container of soy-free soy sauce.


Find the complete ingredient list, with measurements, in the recipe card below.

  • Chicken Broth – Be sure to read the label and check for certified gluten-free.
  • Balsamic Vinegar – This adds a rich, tangy flavor.
  • Filtered Water – Water aids in intensifying the flavors during the reduction process.
  • Dark Molasses – Molasses provides a natural sweetness and contributes to the dark color.
  • Ground Ginger + Garlic Powder – This contributes warm, spicy notes that adds a complex depth of flavor.
  • Salt + Pepper – Always super necessary to bring out the best of your ingredients.
Ingredients on a counter.


  • Small Saucepan – Use this to combine the ingredients and reduce the mixture into a sauce.
  • Wooden Spoon – Our choice for stirring.
  • Small Mason Jar – For storing the sauce in.
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Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom for the FULL recipe details.

Step 1

First, combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan.

Then bring the ingredients to a boil over high heat.

Ingredients in a saucepan.

Step 2

Next, lower the boil to medium heat and let the mixture simmer until it is reduced by half.

Keep stirring it periodically.

Ingredients in a saucepan.

Step 3

Once the mixture has reduced, remove it from the heat and let it cool on the counter.

This takes about 15 minutes.

Homemade sauce in a cup.

Step 4

Once it has cooled, transfer it to a small mason jar for storage.

Keep it refrigerated and give it a good shake before using.

A hand holding a jar of sauce.


  • Substitute beef broth for a richer taste.
  • This could easily be made vegan-friendly by using vegetable stock. Click for this Vegan Soy Sauce Substitute recipe.
  • For a twist on the spices, substitute onion powder and swap white pepper for the black peppercorns.

Expert Tip!

Keep a quality powdered bouillon on hand in your pantry. It can be really useful for making broth on the fly to add to recipes.

Recipe Variations

  • Add the flavor of anchovies – we recommend an anchovy paste – to spin this into a healthier, low-sodium fish sauce.
  • Incorporate a dash of toasted sesame oil for a nutty, aromatic flavor profile.
A container of soy-free soy sauce.

Serving Suggestions

  • Add this to recipes in place of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, coconut aminos, Bragg liquid aminos, or Maggi seasoning. It could also double as a tamarind or tamari substitute.
  • Use this sauce as an ingredient or chicken or tofu marinades.
  • Try this soy sauce substitute in this pancit bihon recipe with chicken and veggies. So much flavor!


Can I use this substitute in place of soy sauce in any recipe?

While this substitute tries to mimic the flavor of soy sauce, it may not be an exact match in every recipe. However, it can be used as a flavorful alternative in many dishes, including stir-fries, Asian dishes, marinades, dressings, and sauces.

Is this substitute suitable for people with gluten intolerance or sensitivity?

Yes, this is a gluten-free soy sauce substitute, making it suitable for individuals with gluten allergies.

Storage Tips

To Store: Transfer the cooled sauce to an airtight container such as a mason jar. When stored in the refrigerator, this sauce can typically last for up to a few weeks. However, it’s best to use your judgment and check for any signs of spoilage, such as an off smell or appearance, before using it.

A container of soy-free soy sauce.

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**This recipe was originally posted on September 16, 2013. Updated on January 12, 2021, and again on May 11, 2024, with recipe notes, writing, and new photos.**

If you’ve tried this soy-free soy sauce substitute, please rate it and let us know how it turned out by leaving a comment below. We’re always interested in feedback!

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A container of soy-free soy sauce.

Soy-Free Soy Sauce Substitute

Sharon Rhodes
We have the ultimate solution for a low-sodium Soy-free Soy Sauce Substitute with this simple homemade recipe – it's so easy! Not only is it non-GMO and gluten-free, but it also gives your dishes a burst of umami flavor.
4.60 from 30 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cool 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 21 kcal



  • Add all of the ingredients into a small saucepan, give it a good stir and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Lower the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for approximately 20 minutes until the liquid is reduced to one cup.
  • Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool in the pan for about 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the mixture to an airtight glass jar to cool completely.
  • Store the jar, tightly sealed, in the fridge for up to two weeks. Shake well before using.



To Store: Transfer the cooled sauce to an airtight container such as a mason jar. When stored in the refrigerator, this sauce can typically last for up to a few weeks. However, it’s best to use your judgment and check for any signs of spoilage, such as an off smell or appearance, before using it.


Calories: 21kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 10mgPotassium: 69mgSugar: 4gCalcium: 11mgIron: 1mg
Keyword soy free soy sauce, soy sauce substitute
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. Hi! I am wondering if this it thin enough that it would mix well with wasabi (for a sushi dinner!)? Thank you!

  2. 3 stars
    The vinegar flavor is stronger than anything else. Not sure what how similar to soy sauce this should taste.

  3. I am looking at making a sugar free low sodium teriyaki sauce that use soy sauce. Could I use this for that?

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe!! I am soy AND coconut-free, so I can’t use coconut aminos. This is either a life-saver or a game-changer, ha! SO lovely to have this on hand now for yummy, easy dinners!! 🙂

    1. Good point! Coconut aminos is a go-to substitute but there are a lot of coconut allergies out there also. I am glad this is helpful for you! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    What a great idea. I use far too much soy sauce and it is ever so salty. Making an alternative sauce isn’t something I’d even thought about – until now!

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve never thought we can make soy sauce at home. This is such a cool recipe that will help people with dietary restrictions.

  7. Do you think this will freeze well? I was thinking of pouring it up into TBSP servings in an ice cube tray, but will it hold up? I tried it and it was delicious btw! 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    You have made life much better in our home! I’m allergic to soy and am a breast cancer survivor so I’m not able to have soy. My son is GFCFSF, dye and preservative free because of Autism. My father-in-law has to limit sodium. We were really missing Chinese food. Thank you for developing this recipe! I have fooled my extended family into thinking they were eating food with soy sauce. We have all acclimated to your faux soy sauce. My husband ate some real Chinese food with soy sauce and couldn’t take it because it was too salty. Thank you again!

    1. Thanks so much Vera! This comment has made my day. What a fabulous mom/wife/daughter in law you are to take care of your family this way. I’m so happy this recipe has been helpful and your family can enjoy their old favourites. 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe as well as the BBQ sauce recipe. I plan to try both tonight.

    I recently went from being a borderline vegetarian to full vegetarian / vegan. You are so right in that a lot of the vegan/vegetarian recipes call for soy sauce. As a person with high blood pressure, I definitely keep an eye on the sodium content of foods. I always buy the low sodium soy sauce but even it still has a ton of sodium in it.

    1. You’ll love this sauce. I use it all the time. Thanks so much for your comment. 🙂 Have a great weekend, Mavis!

  10. 5 stars
    I made your Smokey BBQ Sauce, and it was a big hit!

    I’m excited to try this “soy” sauce, but was wondering if you could substitute anything for the balsamic vinegar? Maybe ACV and something else?? I just don’t have any on hand and was going to try to whip this up today!

    We’ve been using Liquid Aminos, but I’m trying to stay away from soy, so this will be perfect!
    Thanks so much for the recipe!

    1. Thanks so much. Molly! I’m glad you liked the BBQ sauce 🙂 The faux soy sauce is great also. I haven’t tried it with anything other than the balsamic which I think adds colour. The ACV could work but perhaps cook it a little longer? Let me know how it works out …

    2. From what I have tested, you can replace the Balsamic with ACV as long as you add a touch more molasses (for sweetness).

        1. 5 stars
          For us this is a good substitute for soy sauce but of course won’t taste just like it! I will add a teaspoon or less of coconut amines to a recipe that I use some of it in. That can add about 90 mg sodium per teaspoon to the recipe. Don’t leave out the ginger! I can’t use garlic but I can use garlic olive oil and 1 put about one teaspoon of that in as well. Thanks for the recipe!

  11. 5 stars
    How creative! I usually try to limit how much soy sauce I use because of the outrageous sodium content. It’s nice to know that there are alternative ways to make you own.

    1. Outrageous is the right word! I know the saltiness is what makes it tasty but I find your taste buds will adjust to lower levels of sodium over time. You blood pressure will thank you 🙂

      1. The nutrition label that is at the bottom of the recipe does show or say what the serving size is for that nutrition levels?

          1. This recipe makes 1 cup of sauce. It is broken down into 6 servings for the nutritional info which is about 2 1/2 tablespoons per serving.

  12. 5 stars
    This is brilliant–thank you. I love soy sauce in many recipes but the sodium content is very concerning. How long will it keep in the fridge?

          1. I haven’t personally tried canning it. I typically make the small batch. Sorry, I can’t be more helpful!

4.60 from 30 votes (20 ratings without comment)

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