The Top 10 Soy Sauces in 2022

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For many of us, soy sauce is a pantry essential that allows us to make quick stir fries, dip egg rolls, and even marinate meat. This ancient sauce, however, has a lot more adaptability; its umami taste is great in salad dressing or even as a daily condiment in lieu of table salt.

There have been some health concerns raised about soy sauce, particularly about its salt concentration and some of the other substances it contains. This article discusses some of the possible problems of excessive soy sauce use, as well as some of its potential advantages. We also go through some of the greatest soy sauces on the market today to help you pick the perfect sauce for your cooking and dining needs.

Best Selection

As an all-purpose kosher soy sauce, we recommend the US-brewed Kikkoman soy sauce (64 fl. oz.).

Budget Selection

The Lee Kum Kee premium black soy sauce (16.9 fl. oz.) is our budget selection since it is preservative-free and non-GMO.

Product Name Grade
Kikkoman Soy Sauce A+
Lee Kum Kee Premium Dark Soy Sauce A+
Kishibori Shoyu Imported Soy Sauce A
San-J Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce A
ABC Kecap Manis Sweet Soy Sauce B
Best of Thailand Lite Soy Sauce B+
Yamasa Soy Sauce A
Pearl River Bridge Superior Dark Soy Sauce A
Pearl River Bridge Golden Label Superior Light Soy Sauce A

1. Kikkoman Soy Sauce  

Highlighted Characteristics

  • Large 64 fl. oz (0.4 gallon) plastic container of kosher soy sauce
  • Traditional brew of wheat, soybeans, water and salt
  • Red-brown color with a medium flavor
  • Brewed in the US

Kikkoman soy sauce (64 fl. oz.) is a naturally brewed Japanese soy sauce with a medium flavor and a red-brown tint. This is kosher soy sauce made historically in the United States using soybeans, wheat, water, and salt. It does include sodium benzoate as a preservative, and it may taste fairly salty, as do other soy sauces, which might imply a completely different flavor if you are accustomed to reduced sodium soy sauce. You may also need to modify the marinade times to account for this.


  • Large 64 fl. oz container
  • Traditionally brewed in the US
  • Kosher
  • Medium taste
  • Red-brown colored


  • Can be liable to damage in shipping
  • Uses sodium benzoate as a preservative

2. Lee Kum Kee Premium Dark Soy Sauce 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • Chinese made 16.9 fl. oz soy sauce from non-GMO premium soybeans
  • Free from preservatives
  • A dark soy sauce with a balanced flavor and the addition of caramel

The Lee Kum Kee premium black soy sauce (16.9 fl. oz.) is devoid of preservatives and made with quality non-GMO soybeans and wheat flour. This balanced black sauce, made in China, incorporates caramel, making it great for caramelized meals, yet, like other soy sauces, it is suited for a wide range of cooking needs.


  • Dark soy sauce
  • Non-GMO
  • Balanced flavor
  • Preservative free


  • Small risk of the bottle arriving damaged
  • May not be as dark as other dark soy sauces

3. Kishibori Shoyu Imported Soy Sauce

Highlighted Characteristics

  • Imported from the Japanese island of Shodoshima
  • This bottle of 12.2 fl. oz soy sauce is free from any additives or preservatives
  • Made from wheat, whole soybeans and sundried sea salt, it ferments for a year in aged cider barrels
  • Producer recommends this is consumed raw rather than in cooking

Kishibori Shoyu imported soy sauce (12.2 fl. oz.) is an artisan soy sauce manufactured on Shodoshima, an island in Japan’s inland sea. It has a strong but milder taste than other soy sauces and is free of chemicals and preservatives. It’s prepared with whole soybeans, sundried sea salt, and wheat, and it ferments for a year in cider barrels that have been around for over a century. This sauce may be too salty for some. While it may be cooked, it is preferred that this be taken raw.


  • Artisan soy sauce
  • Made in Japan
  • Preservative-free
  • Does not contain additives
  • Fermented in aged cider barrels


  • Recommended to consume raw so may limit cooking options
  • As it is a glass bottle can be prone to shipping damage
  • Will need refrigerating and using soon after opening as preservative-free

4. San-J Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • Soy sauce which is certified gluten free, vegan, kosher and non-GMO
  • Brewed in the US, this is available as a larger 64 fl. oz container
  • Made with 100% soybeans, salt and contains alcohol as a preservative

San-J Tamari gluten free soy sauce (64 fl. oz.) is made entirely of soybeans and has no wheat. It is also non-GMO, kosher, and vegan. This sauce contains alcohol as a preservative and is made in the United States. Some users like to dilute this sauce with water before using it, and although it is gluten free, there is a very tiny potential of gluten cross-contamination of up to 2 ppm, so celiacs should avoid it. Being a gluten-free sauce, it will taste different from ordinary soy sauce since it was made without wheat.


  • Gluten free soy sauce
  • Brewed in the US
  • Kosher
  • Vegan
  • Non-GMO


  • Container may arrive with a damaged seal
  • May need to dilute with water before use
  • Different flavor to regular soy sauce
  • Although certified gluten free, there may still be slight gluten traces

5. ABC Kecap Manis Sweet Soy Sauce 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • A 20 fl. oz bottle of Kecap Manis, or sweet soy sauce
  • Suitable for steaks, barbecue and marinades this sauce is sweetened with sugar
  • Imported from Indonesia

ABC Kecap Manis sweet soy sauce is imported from Indonesia and comes in a 600 ml (20 fl. oz) bottle. This sauce is sweetened with cane sugar and has a sweet umami taste. It is suitable for barbeque, fried rice, marinades, and steaks. Some purchasers believe it lacks taste since it is sweetened with sugar rather than palm sugar and is not as comparable to other Kecap Manis as it might be.


  • Sweet soy sauce
  • Made in Indonesia
  • Ideal for barbecue and steaks


  • Made with sugar rather than palm sugar
  • May not taste the same as other Kecap Manis soy sauce
  • Contains sodium benzoate as a preservative

6. Best of Thailand Lite Soy Sauce  

Highlighted Characteristics

  • Pack of two 23.6 fl. oz squeezy bottles of soy sauce
  • This Asian brewed soy sauce is low sodium, certified kosher and vegan
  • Free from MSG
  • Best used as a marinade for meat and fish

The low sodium Best of Thailand Lite Soy Sauce (Pack of 2) comes in a convenient 23.6 fl. oz. squeezy container. It is vegan and kosher and is brewed in Asia. There is no MSG added, and this sauce is best suited for marinating meat or fish. While being reduced in sodium, many have claimed that it tastes rather salty and loses some of the usual soy sauce flavor.


  • Low sodium soy sauce
  • Asian brewed
  • Kosher
  • Vegan
  • MSG-free


  • Its preservative is sodium benzoate
  • Can lack some of the traditional soy sauce flavor
  • More suitable for use as a marinating soy sauce

7. BOURBON BARREL FOODS Bluegrass Soy Sauce

Highlighted Characteristics

  • Made in a Kentucky microbrewery from local soybeans, wheat and water
  • Fermented and aged for a year in bourbon barrels
  • This is non-GMO and has a smoky flavor and mild sweetness from the bourbon barrels
  • Hand numbered glass bottles

The 100 ml (3.38 oz) Bluegrass soy sauce is a US microbrewed soy sauce created from non-GMO Kentucky farmed soybeans, soft red winter wheat, and spring water. The sauce is aged and fermented in bourbon barrels for a year to give it a smokey taste and subtle sweetness. As each bottle is bottled, it is hand-numbered. This soy sauce has more sodium than other soy sauces, and some customers have complained that the saltiness overpowers the other tastes of the sauce.


  • Non-GMO
  • Microbrewed in the US
  • Kentucky raw ingredients
  • Aged in bourbon barrels


  • Higher sodium content than comparable soy sauces
  • Risk of the bottle arriving damaged
  • Only a small 3.38 fl. oz bottle

8. Yamasa Soy Sauce (34 fl. oz) 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • 34 fl. oz bottle of soy sauce brewed in Japan
  • This is a darker sauce with rich flavor and is red-colored
  • Free from sodium benzoate and any additives

Yamasa soy sauce (34 fl. oz.) is crimson in color and has a deep taste. This is a darker soy sauce produced in Japan. This product has no chemicals or sodium benzoate; instead, alcohol is used as a natural preservative.


  • Darker soy sauce
  • Brewed in Japan
  • Richer flavor
  • Red color
  • No additives


  • Contains alcohol as natural preservative
  • May be too dark for some tastes

9. Pearl River Bridge Superior Dark Soy Sauce 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • 60 fl. oz container of mushroom dark soy sauce
  • Suitable for dipping, using in cooking or as a marinade
  • Open-air and sunlight fermented for flavor and color

Pearl River Bridge mushroom dark soy sauce (60 fl. oz.) is great for egg rolls. This is fermented outside in the sun to give it color, consistency, and taste. It’s great for frying, pouring over, or using as a marinade, as well as dipping. The inclusion of mushrooms creates a more distinct and stronger flavor than conventional soy sauce, which may not be to everyone’s liking. This sauce’s container may not be the finest constructed, and you may struggle to pour from it and then re-seal it after usage.


  • Mushroom flavored
  • Premium dark soy sauce
  • Ideal for dipping and other uses
  • Open-air and sunlight fermentation


  • Distinctive flavor which may not suit everyone
  • Container design is not the best for pouring and re-sealing

10. Pearl River Bridge Golden Label Superior Light Soy Sauce 

Highlighted Characteristics

  • An amber-colored light 16.9 fl. oz soy sauce which is ideal for dipping or for cooking
  • It has a salty and natural flavor and is best used when less color is needed
  • Fermented in sunlight and in the open-air in China for color, consistency and flavor

Pearl River Bridge Golden Label light soy sauce (16.9 fl. oz.) is made in China and is an amber-gold tinted sauce that is suitable for when minimum color is desired. It’s also good for dipping. It has a strong natural taste and a salty palate that some may find overpowering. For consistency, color, and taste, this is fermented in the open air and under sunshine.


  • Light soy sauce
  • Ideal for dipping and cooking
  • Amber-gold color
  • Fermented in the open-air and under sun


  • Flavor may be too salty
  • Some may consider it is a little too dark for a light soy

Considerations When Purchasing Soy Sauce

Soy sauce, which is made from fermented soybeans, salt, and water, has an umami taste that makes it perfect for various forms of flavoring. Together with sweet, sour, bitter, and salt, umami is one of the five fundamental flavors. Umami tastes are often experienced through taste receptors that react to glutamates such as MSG. Soups, broths, fish sauce, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, yeast extracts, cheeses, and animal extracts are all examples of umami tastes.

Soy sauce is said to have originated from chiang, a Chinese sauce used in cooking over 3000 years ago, however comparable products were produced in Japan, Korea, Indonesia, and other regions of Southeast Asia. Soy is derived from the Japanese term shoyu, which means soy sauce; the soybean was called after the sauce rather than the other way around.

Soy sauce has been used in Chinese cookery for over a thousand years and is still a mainstay in Asian cuisine across the world. Soy sauce was initially introduced to Europe by traders in the 1600s.

How To Make Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is made by softening soybeans and then adding cultures such as Aspergillus to the cooked beans. Mold is used to start the fermentation process. At this time, roasted wheat or other grains may be added to the fermentation tank. This mixture is then put to salt brine and allowed to brew for a certain length of time.

When it is brewing or fermenting, the microorganisms in the mix breakdown the soybean proteins and sugars into over 300 chemicals which create the unique aromas and color of soy sauce.

at this moment, pasteurized (some are left unpasteurized). After fermentation, which may take up to a year, the mixture is pressed to extract the liquid. Animal feed is often made from the leftover solids. The majority of soy sauces are cooked.

Acid-hydrolyzed vegetable proteins are used in the more recent method of manufacturing soy sauce. This approach takes just a few days to make and yields soy sauce with a longer shelf life. To break down the soybean and wheat proteins, the soybeans are cooked to 176°F and combined with hydrochloric acid.

Traditionalists dislike this method of making soy sauce because they believe it lacks the taste depth of traditional soy sauce.

Soy sauce comes in a variety of flavors. Flavors vary depending on the components used, how they are prepared, and where they are prepared. In the United States, the most prevalent soy sauces are light, dark, reduced sodium, and tamari.

Soy sauce (light)

It is more opaque and has a lighter red-brown tint. Light soy sauce, which is often used for dipping, marinating, dressing, and stir fries, improves the taste of the meal. Light soy sauce may be highly salty and flavorful, thus some people combine it with dark soy sauce to decrease the saltiness. If you are following a Chinese recipe, light soy sauce will always be used unless otherwise specified.

Soy sauce, dark

This is matured for a longer period of time than light soy sauce and typically incorporates caramel or molasses as well as cornstarch. It has a deeper hue and a thicker texture as a result of this. It is popular in stews and meals like as red-braised pork because it is sweeter and less salty than light soy sauce. Dark soy sauce, on the other hand, should be used with caution since it may turn other components brown.

Soy sauce with low sodium

These sauces are often prepared using acid-hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which requires less salt. While making traditional soy sauce, salt is used as an antimicrobial agent.


This Japanese soy sauce is composed entirely of soybeans. Since it contains no grains, it may be more acceptable for individuals following a gluten-free diet. Tamari is deeper in color and does not have the characteristic soy sauce scent.

Soy Sauce in the Kitchen

If you’re making a drier dish, use less soy sauce; if you’re making a braised meal or one with a lot of liquid, use more. It is normally best to start with a tiny bit of soy sauce, taste it, and then add more if necessary.

If you wish to glaze with soy sauce, brush an equal amount of it with maple syrup or honey over a roast joint and caramelize it for a savory taste and glazed finish.

Soy sauce, in addition to being a mainstay of Asian cuisine, is an excellent alternative for table salt in daily cooking. It may also be used in marinades since its salty taste permeates food deeper than salt. Two parts soy sauce to one part liquid is a good starting point.

50/50 soy sauce and oil with lemon juice or vinegar. You may also use fresh herbs and spices. Try a 50/50 mixture for salad dressing.

Soy Sauce contains a lot of salt.

A tablespoon of traditional soy sauce contains around 900 mg of sodium (salt), which provides approximately 38% of the recommended daily requirement. Yet, when compared to the same amount of table salt, the sodium concentration of soy sauce is about six times lower, making it a better condiment option. Increased salt consumption has been related to high blood pressure and may potentially increase the risk of heart disease.

Preservative: Sodium Benzoate

Sodium benzoate is created by combining sodium hydroxide with benzoic acid. While sodium benzoate is rapidly eliminated from the body, there are some worries about its usage in food since it may convert to benzene, a known carcinogen.

The preservative sodium benzoate is classified as Generally Recognized As Safe by the FDA and is globally permitted as a food additive. There are also restrictions on how much may be added to meals. Sodium benzoate inhibits the development of microbes in foods, keeping them from deteriorating.

Glutamate Monohydrate (MSG)

MSG is a kind of glutamic acid that is naturally created when soy sauce is fermented. Glutamic acid is an amino acid that has been linked to the umami taste of food. MSG may be used to enhance the taste of acid-hydrolyzed soy sauce.

While MSG was originally considered to contribute to headaches, there is no scientific evidence to support this. As a result, MSG is probably not a reason for worry and is safe in modest levels.

Soy Sauce Containing Chloropropanols

Chloropropanols are a class of hazardous chemicals that are formed during the preparation of foods like soy sauce. 3-MCPD is one such chloropropanol that may be discovered in acid-hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which is utilized to make chemically manufactured soy sauce. Traditional fermented soy sauce has little or no of this component.

3-MCPD has been associated to cancers, infertility, and kidney damage, and the United States has set a limit of one milligram of 3-MCPD per kilogram (2.2 pound) of soy sauce to reduce exposure.

Soy Sauce Amine Content

Soy sauce, like with other old cheeses, has increased levels of amines such as histamine and tyramine. These amines occur naturally in animals and plants. When eaten in significant amounts, histamine may induce headaches, sweating, blood pressure fluctuations, rashes, and gastrointestinal difficulties.

These issues seem to affect only a small number of individuals, while some of us may be histamine sensitive, in which case soy sauce should be avoided.

While using monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), limit your consumption of tyramine.

The Advantages of Soy Sauce

There has been some favorable study on the advantages of soy sauce, albeit these early studies were conducted in a laboratory or with extremely small groups of human volunteers.

Soy sauce is still being studied to see whether it might help with digestion and gut health. Soy sauce also includes a variety of antioxidants that have been shown to benefit the body. There is additional study being done to see whether soy sauce has any promise in cancer treatment.

Soy Sauce Storage

When unopened and kept in a cold, dark area, soy sauce has a long shelf life. Once opened, keep it refrigerated to keep the fermented tastes fresher. Because of its high salt content, it has a minimal danger of microbiological development.


Soy sauce, like many other items in our diet, should cause no or very little damage to our health when used in moderation. Soy sauce has less sodium than table salt when used as a condiment, and preliminary research into its health benefits is encouraging.

We hope our in-depth study at soy sauce has addressed some of your concerns about what soy sauce includes, and we also hope our reviews have helped you choose the finest soy sauce to have on hand in your kitchen cabinet, whether light, dark, reduced sodium, or tamari.

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