The recipe you planned for tonight calls for soy sauce but you're totally out! Don't panic—you're a shelf cooking boss, remember? This soy sauce substitute list is here to save the day… and the chicken!

Hand pouring soy sauce on a poke bowl from Shelf Cooking.

It can be a total bummer when you get halfway through an ingredient list for dinner only to realize you are out of something. Oh, the horror! Don't let a little missing soy sauce get you down. We've got a solution that will have your tastebuds doing a happy dance!

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Whether you can't use soy sauce due to diet restrictions, or you simply ran out, use one of these soy sauce substitutes so you don't skip a dinnertime beat. Spoiler alert: We even have an easy homemade soy sauce recipe to share! You can thank us later… 😉


Plate of noodles and stir fry veggies from Shelf Cooking.

We're probably all familiar with the satisfyingly salty condiment called soy sauce, right? You know, the salty, brown, liquidy stuff you dip your sushi in and douse all over fried rice? Yeah… that!

Soy sauce is super popular and made from fermenting soy and wheat. (Don't worry gluten-free shelf cookers—we've got a great sub for you!) As you may suspect, its origins are rooted in China and it's extremely common in Asian dishes! Here are some of our favorite ways to use it.

These recipes are sure to satisfy that soy sauce craving and have the whole family begging for more!


Craving a dish with Asian flair? These soy sauce substitutes will have you grabbing the chopsticks even when that bottle of Kikkoman is down to its last drop. Check them out!

  • Coconut AminosThis popular soy sauce substitute is lower in sodium, soy-free, and completely gluten-free. While it does have a slightly sweeter taste, coconut aminos are the perfect substitute for those looking to avoid those common ingredients!
  • Liquid Aminos Liquid aminos do contain soy, but it's not fermented and it also contains amino acids. Much like soy sauce, this substitute tastes similar and is very concentrated in flavor! Bonus, it's usually gluten-free.
  • Tamari This sauce originates in Japan and is very similar to soy sauce. It is usually gluten-free, unlike its soy sauce counterpart, but you should always double-check the label to be certain!
  • WorcestershireYep, that thing none of us can pronounce! Worcestershire is a suitable substitute for soy sauce, especially for those watching their sodium intake. It has a slightly different flavor profile, but it gets the job done in a pinch!
  • Fish Sauce More potent than soy sauce, this one needs to be used in moderation. Try Red Boat Fish Sauce, it's delicious!

Whatever you choose to use, you can't go wrong with a soy sauce substitute!


Okay, now that you know what you can use in place of soy sauce, it's time to show you how to make your own! Our soy sauce substitute recipe is so good and so easy to make. Plus, you probably already have all the ingredients you need!

Hand pouring soy sauce on a poke bowl from Shelf Cooking.

Homemade Soy Sauce Substitute Recipe

Out of soy sauce and want to make your own? This homemade soy sauce substitute checks all the boxes!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 1 cup


  • 4 tbsp beef bouillon
  • 4 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1 pinch garlic powder
  • 1 ½ cups water


  • Add all ingredients to a sauce pan and stir over medium heat.
  • Bring to a gentle boil and reduce to about 1 cup.


Use this soy sauce substitute right away or store it in the fridge for up to 5 days! 
Keyword soy sauce, soy sauce recipe, soy sauce substitute

Now that you know all the best soy sauce substitutes and a great homemade recipe, you are ready to go! Go grab one of those delicious dinner recipes we mentioned earlier and put one of these to the test. We suspect it will pass with flying colors!

Are you a soy sauce fanatic? What's your favorite way to use this tasty condiment?! Tell us in the comments below!

Image with text that reads, "the best soy sauce substitutes", from Shelf Cooking

Want more recipe substitutes and hacks? Check out these posts!

Chop, chop! Let's get to it!