Japanese Soy Sauce Substitute (8 Alternatives To Use)

Japanese soy sauce is a versatile liquid condiment that can work as a dip, seasoning, and much more.

However, you may not know what to use when you run out of it. Luckily, I found 8 excellent substitutes for Japanese soy sauce. Here’s what you can try out!

Japanese Soy Sauce Substitute (8 Alternatives To Use)

1. Tamari Soy Sauce

Tamari soy sauce is another type of Japanese soy sauce but it does not contain any wheat, making it a gluten-free alternative.

Tamari soy sauce allows you to get a very close taste to traditional Japanese soy sauce because it is less salty and more mellow.

In many cases, you can use tamari soy sauce interchangeably with regular Japanese soy sauce. Just add more salt to your recipe if you think it is not salty enough.

2. Light Soy Sauce

Light soy sauce can replace Japanese soy sauce because it tastes like mellow soy sauce with a saltier flavor.

However, it can replace Japanese soy sauce only as a seasoning because light soy sauce will not color food the same way.

Moreover, you may need to add more light soy sauce if you want to use it as a substitute because it has a milder flavor than Japanese soy sauce.

3. Fish Sauce

If you just need to add a bit of salty flavor to your dish, then a bit of fish sauce can replace Japanese soy sauce.

Keep in mind that this is not an ideal substitute because fish sauce is very strong and pungent and it should only be used as a seasoning.

Moreover, you should use fish sauce sparingly to season food because it can easily overpower the other flavors in a dish.

4. Liquid Aminos

Liquid aminos is made from soybeans that get treated with a solution to create amino acids. The result is a salty and dark sauce that is very similar to Japanese soy sauce.

You can use liquid aminos the same way you would use Japanese soy sauce because it can work as a dip, seasoning, and more.

However, liquid aminos is a bit sweet and it is not as salty as traditional Japanese soy sauce so you may need to add more of it if you want to add flavor to recipes.

5. Coconut Aminos

Japanese Soy Sauce Substitute

Coconut aminos are made from fermented coconut sap and salt. It is a dark sauce with salty and umami flavors. Despite the name, it tastes a lot like soy sauce and nothing like coconuts.

Coconut aminos can be used the same way as Japanese soy sauce in many recipes but you may need to adjust the flavors as needed because it has a hint of sweetness.

Moreover, you can use coconut aminos to color foods like fried rice since it is dark like Japanese soy sauce.

6. Worcestershire Sauce

Like Japanese soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce is a fermented and dark sauce that can pleasantly season foods with umami and salty flavors.

Other than seasoning foods, Worcestershire sauce can be a condiment for foods like steak, but it may not work like Japanese soy sauce for sushi.

Worcestershire sauce is a good substitute for soy sauce if you want to use it in meaty recipes because it has tangy and sweet notes.

7. Miso Paste

Another common Japanese kitchen staple is miso paste and it can occasionally replace Japanese soy sauce.

Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans giving it a very savory and salty taste like soy sauce but with a distinct earthy flavor.

However, miso paste alone is very thick so you need to thin it out with a liquid to mimic soy sauce’s consistency. Some liquids that you can use are plain water, liquid aminos, and vinegar.

8. Maggi Seasoning

Maggi seasoning is sometimes described as soy sauce’s distant cousin because it is a dark, savory, and salty condiment, making it a decent alternative to Japanese soy sauce.

Maggi seasoning is a fermented wheat protein that is full of glutamic acids, creating umami and rich flavors.

While it shares the same flavors like soy sauce, Maggi seasoning does not taste the same and works best in recipes that have lots of meat, gravy, and such.

Moreover, you need to use this as a substitute to taste because Maggi seasoning is very concentrated. You could easily add too much to a recipe and overpower it.

If you want to learn more about soy sauce, you can see our related posts on sweet soy sauce substitutes, white soy sauce substitutes, and tamari soy sauce substitutes.


Japanese soy sauce is a fantastic sauce that can work in many recipes to add and enhance flavors.

If you run out of it, there are some alternatives you can opt for. Any of the Japanese soy sauce substitutes listed above can save your recipe and your day.

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