The question “Is soy sauce gluten-free” is one of the most asked about across gluten-free message boards and groups.
Unfortunately, regular soy sauce is not gluten free.
However, there are many fantastic brands that create gluten-free soy sauce and there are some fantastic soy sauce alternatives (even if you can’t eat soy! Yes, really!)
Keep reading to find out why soy sauce isn’t gluten-free, what brands make gluten-free soy sauce and some delicious soy sauce alternatives, or use the Table of Contents to jump to a specific place in the post.
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The gluten-free guide below is based on personal experience and research. Always be sure to discuss any medical changes with your doctor for your personal medical needs. Additionally, this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. My full disclosure isn’t that interesting, but you can find it here.
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Why isn’t soy sauce gluten free?
Although we typically think of soy sauce and fermented soy, traditional soy sauce is made by fermenting both soy and wheat. Many soy sauces actually have more wheat than soy as wheat is the first ingredient listed on their labels!
Can Celiacs eat soy sauce?
NO—Celiacs cannot eat regular soy sauce unless it is specifically labeled to be gluten-free!
But don’t worry. There are plenty of great alternatives that will give you the flavor of soy sauce so you can still make your favorite recipes!
Keep reading for the best gluten-free alternatives to soy sauce and where you can buy them!
What Can I Substitute?
When making a recipe that calls for soy sauce, there are some great gluten-free substitutes.
While you can buy gluten-free soy sauce, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that one of the other alternatives may end up being your favorite substitute to get that umami flavor in your cooking!
They can really enhance the sweetness of a dish, or develop more depth of flavor like in dishes like Chirashi.
Check out the options below for excellent soy sauce substitutions.
Sub a Gluten-Free Soy Sauce
Again, this is probably your most predictable swap and there are quite a few options on the market for gluten-free soy sauce.
However, you do want to be sure that gluten-free soy sauce is actually labeled gluten-free.
Even better—look for a certified gluten-free seal on the package. This certifies that it was tested by a third party to meet certain gluten-free specifications. Learn more about gluten-free labeling and certification here.
Are you curious if your favorite soy sauce brand makes the cut?
Scroll on down to where I review the most popular soy sauce brands to see if they are gluten-free.
The Best Gluten-Free Soy Sauce Brands
There are quite a few brands of soy sauce are certified to be gluten-free by independent testing.
While you may find some of these brands at your local store, there are definitely options on both Amazon and Thrive Market. Scroll down to the section “Which Soy Sauce Brands Are Gluten-Free?” for brand recommendations!
Sub an Alternative
Looking for an alternative to soy sauce? Whether you are looking for something as close to traditional soy sauce as possible, or something that is free of both gluten and soy, there are options you will love!
Tamari is a traditional Japanese soy sauce and is made from fermenting the soy beans only. However, just because you see a bottle labeled “tamari” does not mean that it is necessarily gluten-free. Be sure to still read the label and check for a certified gluten-free seal. (link to gf certification post).
Soy Liquid Aminos
Soy liquid aminos are made from extracting the amino acids from soy resulting in a delicious soy sauce taste without the wheat. As a bonus, soy liquid aminos are also low in sodium.
My favorite liquid aminos are the Braggs brand. While you may find them at your local grocery store, they are super affordable online.
Coconut aminos are made from fermenting the sap of the coconut palm. Compared to tamari and liquid soy aminos, coconut aminos aren’t as close of a match in taste. They are a bit sweeter.
However, they are still delicious and are definitely a perfect option if you are eliminating soy from your diet in addition to gluten.
I often cook with both soy aminos and coconut aminos for a more complex flavor, such as in my 10-Minute Gluten-Free Chicken Fried Rice recipe.
There are quite a few brands of coconut aminos available, but I typically buy Braggs or Coconut Secret.
Gluten Free Soy Sauce
Some brands have made their own versions of gluten free soy sauce by omitting the wheat. See the section below for a review of popular brands and whether or not they are gluten free.
Which Soy Sauce Brands are Gluten Free?
Keep reading as we break down the most popular soy sauce brands for whether or not they are gluten free.
However, you still want to check the individual packages yourself before purchasing to ensure that manufacturing practices haven’t changed, or a gluten-free label hasn’t been removed due to recipe reformulation.
Is San-J Soy Sauce Gluten Free?
Just be sure to look closely at the label to ensure that what you are buy is indeed one of their gluten-free varieties!
Is Kikkoman Soy Sauce Gluten Free?
In the United States, Kikkoman soy sauce is not gluten-free, but they do make gluten-free varieties.
Is Eden Organic Soy Sauce Gluten Free?
Eden Food’s Tamari Soy Sauces are in fact gluten-free and are clearly labeled as such on the bottle. All Eden Foods products that are labeled gluten free have been lab tested to be below 10ppm.
However, take caution when purchasing Eden Food’s sauces as they also produce Shoyu which is fermented from both soy and wheat.
Find Eden Foods Tamari at Whole Foods and Amazon by clicking here.
Are Kari-Out Soy Sauce Packets Gluten-free?
Kari-Out is the brand that makes those little plastic packets of ‘soy sauce’ at your local take-out joint.
They are not true soy sauce as their main ingredients are water and salt followed by hydrolyzed soy and corn protein.
While these packets don’t explicitly list any wheat-based ingredients, the company Kari-Out makes gluten-free soy sauce packets in addition to the regular ones you see at most restaurants.
Due to this distinction in their manufacturing and labeling between the regular packets and the gluten-free ones, I’d avoid any Kari-Out soy sauce packets that do not explicitly state that they are gluten-free.
Is Little Soya Soy Sauce Gluten-Free?
Little Soya was a small company that produced gluten-free soy sauce in little fish-shaped packets. However, if you were looking to continue purchasing Little Soya products, unfortunately they are no longer operating.
Is La Choy Soy Sauce Gluten-Free?
La Choy Soy Sauce does not contain any gluten-derived ingredients and many bottles are labeled gluten-free.
However, it is difficult from the manufacturer’s website to discern manufacturing practices as they produce other items that do contain wheat-based ingredients.
That said, La Choy Soy Sauce is likely safe, but with many other brands that are clearly committed to manufacturing products that are independently tested to be free of gluten, La Choy is a trickier sell for me.
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“Is this gluten-free?”
Here are some other helpful posts unpacking whether your favorite foods and ingredients are gluten-free and Celiac-safe brand recommendations:
- Are Doritos gluten-free?
- Is bouillon gluten-free?
- Best gluten-free cake mixes
- Best gluten-free and dairy-free coffee creamer
- The ultimate guide to gluten-free ingredient swaps