Soy Sauce Vs Tamari (Differences, Uses, Which Is Better + More)

Many people use soy sauce in their recipes because soy sauce is a popular and easy ingredient to add more flavor.

However, you may have heard of tamari and you may be wondering what the difference between soy sauce and tamari is. I did the research, and here is what I learned!

Soy Sauce Vs Tamari

Soy sauce and tamari are both made from fermented soybeans to create a liquid condiment, but they taste slightly different and have different uses in the kitchen. Tamari is best for Japanese cooking and has a savory taste whereas soy sauce is best for Chinese cooking and has a saltier taste. Additionally, tamari is gluten-free while soy sauce is not.

Are you still curious about the difference between soy sauce and tamari? Keep on reading to find out more!

What Is Soy Sauce?

Soy sauce is a liquid condiment that is made from fermented soybeans, roasted grain, water, and salt, creating a sauce that is dark, salty, savory, and usually dark.

What Is Tamari?

Tamari is a liquid condiment made from fermented soybeans, water, and salt that creates a sauce that is very savory with a mildly salty taste.

Moreover, tamari is a gluten-free soy sauce because it contains little to no wheat, unlike regular soy sauce.

What Is The Difference Between Soy Sauce And Tamari?

Tamari and soy sauce both include soybeans, water, and salt in their ingredients, but soy sauce has grain whereas tamari is a grain-free condiment.

Tamari is more common in Japanese cuisine because many Japanese restaurants will use tamari for sushi.

However, soy sauce is more common in Chinese cooking, and soy sauce is typically used as a seasoning and coloring depending on what kind of soy sauce is used.

Moreover, tamari and soy sauce have slightly different flavor profiles and textures, which is why they are used for different recipes and purposes in cooking.

What Do Soy Sauce And Tamari Have In Common?

Soy sauce and tamari have the same main ingredients in common, which are soybeans, salt, and water.

Tamari and soy sauce are both fermented products that create a similar product, which is a liquid condiment that has salty and umami flavors.

Moreover, tamari and soy sauce can also be used to add color to foods since they are both dark, but soy sauce would be better for this purpose.

How Do You Use Soy Sauce?

Soy sauce is normally used in cooking for hot dishes because soy sauce works as a great seasoning, which is why soy sauce is common in stir-fries, fried rice, marinades, and more.

Soy sauce can be used as a dip, but it will depend on what kind of soy sauce you use and what food you are serving.

For instance, light soy sauce will not make a good dip because light soy sauce is salty and thin in consistency, so regular and dark soy sauce would be a better option.

Additionally, many people mix soy sauce with other ingredients like vinegar and sesame oil to create a dip or sauce.

How Do You Use Tamari?

How Do You Use Tamari?

Tamari is better for Japanese cooking, especially if the recipe calls for tamari, but tamari is commonly used after cooking as a dip for foods like sushi and dumplings.

Moreover, tamari works great if you are making a dressing or a cold dish to add a strong savory flavor.

Does Soy Sauce And Tamari Taste The Same?

Soy sauce and tamari share a lot of similar flavors, but they do not taste the same because they have unique qualities.

Tamari has a much savorier flavor and less salty taste than soy sauce because tamari has more soybeans, and tamari also has a slightly thicker consistency.

Soy sauce has a somewhat lighter savory flavor than tamari because soy sauce contains wheat, and soy sauce also has a thinner consistency with a saltier taste.

However, the taste and consistency will greatly depend on the brand that you are using since each brand will have a slightly different recipe.

Moreover, there are many types of soy sauce available, such as sweet soy sauce, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, and much more.

Each of these soy sauces has a unique flavor profile and consistency, making these soy sauces hard to compare to tamari.

Which Is Better, Soy Sauce Or Tamari?

Soy sauce and tamari are better in certain dishes and uses than the other, but neither is directly better.

For instance, tamari is great to search with sushi and to add to dressings, cold dishes, and many forms of Japanese cooking.

On the other hand, most soy sauces would be better for Chinese cooking for stir-fries and hot dishes, and soy sauce may also be used as a dip for hot dumplings.

Therefore, neither sauces are directly better than the other, but they will have better uses for certain recipes.

Can You Substitute Soy Sauce For Tamari And Vice Versa?

You can substitute soy sauce for tamari in an even 1 to 1 ratio since they have a lot of similarities, but it depends on what you are using it for.

For instance, you can use tamari in a recipe like fried rice, but you may need to add a little salt since tamari is not as salty as soy sauce.

Soy sauce may not be an ideal substitute for tamari since soy sauce has a darker color and a saltier taste, making it more obvious that there was a replacement for tamari.

However, you can dilute your soy sauce with a little water to try mimicking tamari, but diluted soy sauce will not be a perfect replacement for tamari.

It is also important to consider what type of soy sauce you have before you use soy sauce to replace tamari.

For example, light soy sauce is much saltier and less savory than regular soy sauce, but tamari is a savory and not so salty sauce, so light soy sauce is not an ideal substitute for tamari.

Another example is sweet soy sauce, which is a thick and dark soy sauce with a sweeter flavor.

Sweet soy sauce is much thicker, sweeter, saltier, and darker than tamari, meaning sweet soy sauce would not be a good substitute for tamari.

If you wish to use soy sauce instead of tamari, then using a diluted regular or dark soy sauce would be better. However, there will still be a noticeable salty taste in your recipe.

Check out our related articles to learn about tamari soy sauce substitutes, when soy sauce was invented, and which soy sauce is the best for the best for dumplings.


Tamari and soy sauce are both made from fermented soybeans that create a liquid condiment, but tamari is a grain-free option and they both have slightly different tastes and textures.

Moreover, soy sauce and tamari have different uses in the kitchen. You can use tamari and soy sauce interchangeably, but there will be some differences in taste.

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