Does Soy Sauce Have MSG? (Types Of Soy Sauce, MSG Content + More)

Soy sauce is an excellent condiment and ingredient to add to your dishes. But you’re probably going to think twice before using it again if you’re concerned about MSG and its link with harmful effects.

MSG can be found in a lot of other condiments. But does soy sauce have MSG? I gathered the facts and here’s what you need to know!

Does Soy Sauce Have MSG?

Soy sauce contains MSG because it is a flavor enhancer that boosts the saltiness and umami in food and condiments. MSG is naturally present in soy sauce as a byproduct of its production, but many manufacturers further add MSG to their soy sauces to make the flavors stronger.

Are you still wondering why soy sauce has MSG, what soy sauces don’t have MSG, and more? Keep on reading to find out the answers!

What Is MSG?

MSG or monosodium glutamate is sodium salt made from glutamic acid. Many people add MSG to foods to enhance the flavor. MSG often adds an umami flavor to foods like soy sauce.

However, MSG can naturally occur in certain foods, such as cheese and tomatoes, which are naturally flavorful foods that people often add to enhance the flavors of dishes.

Why Does Soy Sauce Have MSG?

MSG is known as a flavor enhancer that can make foods taste better, which is why it is commonly added to many condiments including soy sauce.

Soy sauce naturally has savory and salty flavors which MSG enhances while adding umami to it.

Moreover, MSG is naturally occurring in soy sauce as it is a byproduct of the soy sauce-creating process.

Is MSG The Same As Salt?

Salt and MSG are not the same because they are made out of different components. Salt is only sodium chloride whereas MSG is made out of glutamic acid and sodium.

Salt and MSG are often used the same way because they are both flavor enhancers. However, they have slightly different flavor profiles that make them unique to each other.

For instance, salt is only salty in flavor whereas MSG has a savory and salty taste, giving food an almost “complete” flavor.

Moreover, MSG can only be used in food while salt can be used for many non-food-related purposes like cleaning.

Does Soy Sauce Have Natural MSG?

Some foods like soy extracts naturally have MSG. The natural process of making soy sauce will create MSG which is present in almost all soy sauces.

However, many manufacturers may further add MSG to their soy sauce to boost the flavor. It is more common to see added MSG in darker soy sauces that are supposed to be very salty in flavor.

Do All Soy Sauce Have MSG?

Not all soy sauces contain added MSG, but many soy sauces will naturally have MSG. Manufacturers usually do not have control over the naturally occurring MSG.

Does Kikkoman Have MSG?

Kikkoman may have natural MSG, but it does not have any added MSG because it is free of artificial and added flavors and colors.

Does Light Soy Sauce Have MSG?

Light soy sauces do not typically have added MSG in them, but you may taste the umami flavor from naturally occurring MSG.

However, it is possible to have added MSG in light soy sauce to make up for the lack of salt. MSG has less sodium than salt, making it a good alternative to add to light soy sauces.

Does Dark Soy Sauce Have MSG?

Does Soy Sauce Have MSG?

Most dark soy sauces often contain added MSG unless they state otherwise, but they will still contain natural MSG.

Dark soy sauces are supposed to have a deeper, more umami flavor to them. This is why many brands add MSG to their products to boost the overall taste.

Does Low Sodium Soy Sauce Have MSG?

Many low sodium soy sauces will contain MSG because MSG contains less sodium than salt. That way, people can still taste the salty and umami flavors of soy sauce without the extra sodium.

However, it is still possible to find low sodium soy sauce without added MSG but it will still likely have natural MSG in it.

Does Tamari Soy Sauce Have MSG?

Many brands of tamari soy sauce do not have added MSG, but they may have natural MSG in them. Tamari is not as salty as traditional soy sauce, so manufacturers may not need to add MSG.

Does Organic Soy Sauce Have MSG?

Many organic soy sauces will not contain any added MSG because they usually do not add artificial flavors and colors to their products.

However, that does not mean that organic soy sauce is completely free of MSG. MSG can still occur naturally in foods, including organic soy sauce.

Does Gluten-Free Soy Sauce Have MSG?

Gluten-free soy sauce will likely not have added MSG, but it will probably contain natural MSG due to the brewing process.

Gluten-free soy sauce still contains soy, which is where natural MSG comes from. Therefore, gluten-free soy sauce will still contain natural MSG.

What Soy Sauce Does Not Have MSG?

There are no soy sauces that do not have MSG because MSG is a byproduct of creating soy sauce. MSG that is present in most soy sauce brands will be naturally occurring MSG which is hard to avoid.

However, you will be able to find brands that do not have added MSG to their soy sauces. These include Kikkoman, organic soy sauces, and more.

If you want to learn more about soy sauce, you can see our related posts on what soy sauce tastes like, if soy sauce has salt in it, and whether soy sauce is vegan & vegetarian.


Most soy sauces will contain MSG because it naturally occurs when soy sauce is produced. It’s nearly impossible to find soy sauce that is completely free of MSG.

Moreover, some brands add MSG to their soy sauce to boost the overall salty and umami flavors. In such cases, it will be stated on the label.

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