Soy sauce is a fantastic and versatile ingredient that can function as a seasoning, dip, and much more.
Additionally, there are various types of soy sauce to cater to specific needs. To help you out, here’s a list of the types of soy sauce!
Types Of Soy Sauce
1. Regular Soy Sauce (Koikuchi Shoyu)
Regular soy sauce is the most common soy sauce worldwide and accounts for 80% of production volume. It is commonly just labeled “soy sauce” by most manufacturers.
This soy sauce is very dark brown with a slightly thin consistency and its main flavors are umami, salty, and slightly bitter with hints of acidity and sweetness.
Regular soy sauce is a great condiment for cooking or as a dip for other foods.
2. Light Soy Sauce
Light soy sauce or thin soy sauce is the most common type of soy sauce used in most Chinese regions. If a Chinese recipe says soy sauce, it is probably referring to light soy sauce.
It features a very salty taste with some savory notes, and it has a thin consistency with a golden brown color.
Moreover, light soy sauce cannot add color to dishes and is only ideal as a seasoning in cooking.
3. White Soy Sauce (Shiro Shoyu)
White soy sauce is even “lighter” than light soy sauce because it is made with more wheat than most soy sauces.
It is pale and amber-colored with a somewhat bland flavor but it has a distinct fragrance and a noticeable sweet taste.
This type of soy sauce is normally used in custards, soups, rice crackers, and such because of its light color and scent.
4. Dark Soy Sauce
Dark soy sauce has a very dark, nearly black color and it is much richer than light soy sauce. It features deep and sweet flavors because it often contains molasses or caramel.
Typically, dark soy sauce is used to add flavor and color to foods, which is why it is commonly used in fried rice, stir-fries, and more.
In addition, light soy sauce is often paired with dark soy sauce to provide a mixture of flavors and color to recipes.
5. Double Black Soy Sauce
Double black soy sauce is another type of dark soy sauce but it is made with molasses, creating a much darker and sweeter soy sauce.
This soy sauce is commonly used to add texture and color to recipes because it has a richer and thicker consistency, but it can add a bit of salty and sweet flavors as well.
Molasses may be one of the first things you taste in double black soy sauce, as it is often the second ingredient on the list after water.
Double black soy sauce is not a must for every kitchen since dark soy sauce can usually work well in most recipes.
6. Tamari Soy Sauce
Tamari is a type of Japanese soy sauce that is made without wheat, making it a gluten-free option.
This soy sauce is not as salty as regular soy sauce and it has a thicker texture which is why it is commonly used as a dip for sashimi and sushi.
Despite having a milder taste than regular soy sauce, tamari soy sauce can still season recipes well for some light umami and salty flavors.
7. Kikkoman Soy Sauce
Kikkoman is a dark and reddish-brown Japanese soy sauce that has a mixture of salty, sour, and sweet flavors.
Thanks to Kikkoman’s flavor profile, it can easily replace dark and light soy sauces in many recipes and it can be used as a dip.
Kikkoman is one of the most popular brands of soy sauce used around the world thanks to its versatility and flavor.
8. Sweet Soy Sauce
Sweet soy sauce is regular or dark soy sauce with added sugar or molasses, and there are many variants of this such as Kecap Manis, a popular soy sauce in Indonesia.
This soy sauce is an excellent choice for adding texture and color to recipes but it has enough flavor to subtly season foods as well.
9. Mushroom Soy Sauce
Mushroom soy sauce is dark soy sauce that gets infused with mushrooms, typically dried Chinese black mushrooms or dried straw mushrooms.
Infusing mushrooms into the dark soy sauce adds an earthiness to the salty condiment while further enhancing the umami flavors.
This soy sauce can be easily used to replace regular and dark soy sauce, and it is also an excellent condiment to have on the table for dipping food.
10. Non-Brewed Soy Sauce
Non-brewed soy sauce is not a traditional soy sauce because it does not involve fermentation to create it. This makes it a halal and alcohol-free option.
To make non-brewed soy sauce, hydrochloric acid gets mixed with heated soybeans and wheat to break them down, creating a sauce similar to soy sauce.
Creating non-brewed soy sauce only takes a few days whereas traditionally brewing soy sauce can take at least 5 months or as long as a few years.
However, non-brewed soy sauce does not taste as good as regular soy sauce because it lacks the flavor compounds that develop during the fermentation process.
As a result, non-brewed soy sauce is safe for those who want alcohol-free soy sauce because there is no fermentation process involved to create alcohol.
11. Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
Low-sodium soy sauce looks and tastes like regular soy sauce with the main difference being that it contains less salt.
Around 40% of the salt gets extracted from the soy sauce after it is brewed, creating the same tasting soy sauce without the extra sodium.
12. Dashi Soy Sauce
Dashi soy sauce is soy sauce mixed with dashi, a Japanese soup stock, that is excellent for seasoning food, especially Japanese recipes.
Dashi is created by simmering ingredients like kelp and fish. Mixing them with soy sauce creates a complex mixture of umami, salty, bitter, and sweet flavors.
13. Ponzu Soy Sauce
Ponzu soy sauce is a soy sauce mixed with brewed vinegar and it can contain savory flavors like dashi stock or bonito flakes, or it can have fragrant citrus flavors.
Typically, Ponzu sauce can contain both savory and sweet flavors to create a variety of tastes. It offers a lighter and more unique flavor than traditional soy sauce since manufacturers can mix different ingredients into it.
If you want to learn more about soy sauce, you can see our related posts on soy sauce brands, soy sauce facts, and when soy sauce was invented.
There are so many types of soy sauces available for a variety of uses and each one can give your recipes a unique and distinct flavor and color.
Soy sauce can offer more than just salty and umami flavors since each kind provides a new flavor profile.