Reviews of the Best Soy Sauce

The world of condiments is large, but soy sauce stands out due to its distinct taste and culturally-rich history. This dark, often-salty sauce has a comprehensive and distinct variety of types and flavors. The best soy sauce can enhance many different dishes. If youre not a fan of soy sauce already, you likely will be soon.

Are you interested in soy sauce but not sure where to start? Weve rounded up the best soy sauce brands worldwide, including both China and Japan. Our buyers guide will also answer all your questions about what soy sauce is and what types to use with various foods.

The Best Soy Sauce Brands Reviews

The world of soy sauce is fairly deep, making the process of finding the best one more complicated than many people first realize. To help you out, weve rounded up five brands that are worth your consideration:

1. Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce

Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce
Kikkoman is a Japanese company practically synonymous with soy sauce. You’ve likely seen this popular brand in restaurants and pantries before. It’s a dark-colored Japanese soy sauce with a rich, malty taste accented by a touch of caramel.
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This is a low-sodium version of their regular soy sauce. Total sodium is 192 mg per teaspoon, compared to the main sauce, which has 307 mg per teaspoon. Aside from the benefits of a low-sodium diet, this sauce also has a less salty taste.

This two-quart container will last the average person for more than a year. However, because soy sauce keeps without an issue, you dont have to worry about it going bad. It also has a large, ergonomic handle so you can pour controlled amounts.

  • A low-sodium option thats both healthy and tastes less salty
  • A two-quart container is a great long-term investment.
  • Mellow taste pairs well with a wide-range of foods
  • Each batch is aged for three months by a reputable maker.
  • Large container can be awkward to handle when full
  • Cap could fit more securely

2. Lee Kum Kee Premium Dark Soy Sauce

Lee Kum Kee Premium Dark Soy Sauce
Lee Kum Kee is a Hong Kong-based maker of Chinese soy sauces, with this one of their darker options. It’s also thicker than most all-purpose sauces.
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Youll want to use this rich sauce sparingly, as too much will overpower your dish. Its commonly used on stir fry or other meals that blend fried rice with meat. Many people use it in a 1:1 ratio, along with a thinner, lighter sauce.

The ingredient list is minimal, containing only water, salt, soybeans, wheat flour, caramel color, and sugar. Many people consider this brand among the best soy sauces in the world.

  • Dark Chinese soy sauce compliments many specific dishes
  • Its component list is simple and conventional.
  • Made by a Chinese company for an authentic taste
  • Incredibly high sodium content (49%)
  • Not appropriate for regular cooking.

3. Kishibori Shoyu

Kishibori Shoyu
If you’re looking for a premium, authentic option, then you’ll want a bottle of this artisanal soy sauce from the Takesan Company, considered one of the best soy sauce brands. It’s made on a small island in Japan, where it’s fermented in 100-year-old barrels for a full year. Each bottle arrives wrapped in a cloth bag decorated with traditional imagery.
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The soy sauce has a full, mild flavor that works well as a baste, marinade, or dip. Its a bit different than many other soy sauces because its not meant for cooking. The sauce isnt treated with alcohol and contains no preservatives (although it still lasts a long time at room temperature).

The companys location plays a key role here. This small island has mild winters, which allows the fermentation process to continue uninterrupted during the entire year. Additionally, they use sun-dried sea salt from the surrounding waters.

  • The authentic recipe dates back to the 17th century
  • Each batch ferments for a year.
  • Full-flavored, mild taste pairs well with meats and veggies
  • Not intended for cooking
  • Excessive salt content

4. Yamaroku 4-Years Aged Kiku Bisiho Soy Sauce

Yamaroku 4-Years Aged Kiku Bisiho Soy Sauce
Esteemed manufacturer Yamaroku’s flagship sauce features a deep, full flavor frequently used as a sauce for ramen bowls or as a baste. Its limited ingredient list contains only soybeans, wheat, salt, and water.
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Each batch is aged between three and five years, making this one of the most authentic sauces on our list. Aging occurs in 100-year-old traditional Kioke barrels.

The mellow flavor goes especially well with seafood, including sushi, grilled fish, and more. You can also use it to make Teriyaki and Ponzu sauces.

  • Premium sauce aged for several years
  • All-natural substances are used.
  • Goes well with seafood
  • This is not an all-purpose sauce.

5. Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Aminos

Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Aminos
Raw Coconut Aminos from Coconut Secret is a bit different from the other options on our list because it’s not, strictly speaking, soy sauce. Instead, it’s a soy sauce alternative made from coconut tree sap and sea salt.
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Note that it doesnt taste like coconuts. It offers an authentic soy sauce flavor that rivals the best tasting soy sauce. You can use Coconut Aminos as a dressing, marinade, dip, or applied directly to food. Even better, it has 73% less sodium than real soy sauce, making it a healthier option if youre watching your salt intake.

Its healthier in other ways, too. The coconut sauce is made under strict quality controls in the Philippines and contains no GMOs, MSG, or gluten. Its USDA-certified organic, vegan, and contains 17 amino acids.

  • Soy sauce alternative made from coconut tree sap
  • Contains 73% less sodium than traditional soy sauce
  • USDA-certified organic with no artificial ingredients
  • Not genuine soy sauce

Soy Sauce Buyer’s Guide

Nothing against ketchup, but arguably no condiment has a richer history than soy sauce. For over 2,500 years, folks worldwide have considered it an essential cooking aid, using it in a huge variety of dishes.

Lets take a closer look at what soy sauce is, how to find the best brands, and how you can maximize its flavor potential in the meals you prepare.

What is Soy Sauce?

Soy sauce is a liquid condiment made from four main ingredients:

  • Soybeans
  • Wheat
  • Water
  • Salt

soybean mixture. Finally, salt brine is added.Making soy sauce is reasonably simple. The soybeans are placed in boiling water. The wheat is roasted, pulverized, and then mixed into the soybeans. Live fungus spores (Koji) are then added to the wheat

Wait live fungus spores? Koji is a perfectly harmless starter, which is an ingredient that aids fermentation. Soy sauce requires fermentation for months or even years, and Koji helps start the process.

Lets back up a bit because not all soy sauce is made in the same way. There are two varieties:

  • Traditional
  • Chemical

Traditional soy sauce is fermented for several months, at least. In fact, the best soy sauces in the world take two years to develop. Also called naturally-brewed soy sauce, these traditional sauces have complex flavors and strong aromas.

Chemical soy sauces are made in just a few days. They use hydrolyzed soy protein to speed up the creation process, plus corn syrup and caramel to alter its taste and color. Also called non-brewed soy sauce, it typically has a much saltier taste than the naturally-brewed type.

Its not accurate to think of chemical soy sauce as the inferior option. Many of the brands recommended above are non-brewed, and they still deliver authentic soy sauce taste. Plus, non-brewed sauces are affordable and readily available.

The Difference between Chinese and Japanese Soy Sauce

Brewed and non-brewed isnt the only important classification when discussing soy sauces. The country of origin also plays a vital role in the condiments taste and consistency.

Youll find soy sauces from all over the world, including practically every Eastern nation. However, for the American shopper, the sauces youll find on store shelves are usually either Chinese or Japanese.


About 2,000 years ago, the Chinese people invented soy sauce. Initially, they brewed the soybeans without any wheat. However, today most Chinese soy sauce is brewed with wheat flour. Additionally, sugar is commonly added.

Its the saltier sauce of the two types. Plus, its also thicker and darker than the Japanese variant. If you shake the bottle, and the sauce coats the sides, its almost certainly the Chinese style.


In the 7th century, Chinese Buddhist monks introduced the condiment to Japan. Over time, the Japanese altered the creation process to eventually develop their own version called shoyu. They eventually began sending their soy sauce to countries worldwide via the Dutch East India Trading Company, which is why much of the world associates Japan with soy sauce.

Japanese soy sauce is brewed with roasted wheat instead of wheat flour. It has no added sugar. Surprisingly, the lack of sugar, and other processing factors, result in a soy sauce with a sweeter, more well-rounded flavor.

Its much lighter than Chinese soy sauce. If you shake a bottle of Japanese soy sauce, very little of it will stick to the sides.

Lightness and Darkness

The third factor you want to consider when selecting soy sauce is its coloring. Now, this might seem a bit confusing at first, but its the info you should understand so you can pick the correct sauce for your dish.

When discussing a sauces lightness and darkness, were referring to coloring relative to its type. For example, all Japanese sauce has light coloring, but youll find darker and lighter options within that range.

Coloring is determined by aging. The longer the sauce is left to age, the darker the color. Generally, lighter colored sauces have the sharpest, more intense flavors. Dark soy sauce is typically sweeter and milder.

Light and Dark Chinese Sauces

Most Chinese soy sauce is light. Its often referred to as thin or superior (of course, its also simply called light). Light Chinese soy sauce is applied directly to all types of foods and has a wide variety of uses in recipes, too.

Dark Chinese soy sauce has the longest aging process of any type of soy sauce. Its also the sweetest type of soy sauce because molasses or a similar sweeter is added during the creation process. However, it does have a fairly limited range in the kitchen. Its mainly used as a flavor booster or added to certain stews.

Light and Dark Japanese Sauces

With Japanese soy sauce, the darker type is the far more popular and widely-used option. Despite their dark color, they have a light, sweet taste. Theyre also significantly less salty than most other types of soy sauces.

Dark Japanese soy sauces are a good all-purpose choice because they dont introduce many bold flavors that can potentially clash with the rest of the meal. Theyre often used to marinate or baste meat.

How to Store

Soy sauce is easy to store. After all, it existed for thousands of years before refrigeration, so it doesnt spoil easily. The high sodium content creates a natural resistance to bacteria.

If you dont open the bottle, soy sauce will remain safe and flavorful for several years. Even an opened bottle has plenty of shelf life, lasting for six months or more. At worst, the condiment might lose some of its flavor over time, but it wont turn rancid. It doesnt need refrigeration, so you can store it in a cool, dry pantry.

What Type of Soy Sauce Should I Buy?

Now that you know the different types of soy sauces, lets look at when you want to use each.

Chinese Soy Sauce (Light)

Youll typically want to use this for any Chinese recipe that calls for soy sauce without further specifying. Its also what you use when thin soy sauce is required. Its used in a wide variety of marinades, dressings, and stir-fry. Its also a popular dip.

Keep in mind light Chinese soy sauce is the saltiest type. If you want to cut down on the salty taste, mix in some dark soy sauce. Also, if sodium intake is a concern, low sodium versions are available from most major brands. (Note that a light color doesnt mean a soy sauce is low in sodium.)

Soy Sauce (Dark)

The average home chef will get far more use out of light soy sauce than dark. You never want to use dark soy sauce when a recipe calls for soy sauce. Instead, its used only when dark soy sauce is specifically requested.

Dark soy sauce has an intense flavor. Its typically reserved for what is called red-cooked dishes, which are traditional Eastern Chinese recipes that feature spices and pork, beef, or chicken.


Koikuchi is the most popular type of Japanese soy sauce. It is regarded as an all-purpose sauce. If you go to a Japanese restaurant, this is whats most likely on the table. Its what youll want to use if a Japanese recipe calls for soy sauce.

Koikuchi is used in the same ways as light Chinese soy sauce. Youll find it in many stir-frys and marinades. Plus, its used for bastes and as a dip.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have questions about soy sauce? Here are quick and simple answers about what kind to buy, how to use it, and more.

Is Naturally-Brewed Soy Sauce Better than Non-Brewed Soy Sauce?

Not necessarily. Non-brewed soy sauce is mass-produced, making it affordable and readily available. You can still enjoy an authentic soy sauce flavor.Of course, if youre a soy sauce connoisseur, youll certainly want to try as many naturally-brewed options as possible because each will have its own bold, distinct flavor you cant necessarily find on grocery store shelves. However, the best tasting soy sauce is the one you enjoy the most.

What is the Difference between Japanese and Chinese Soy Sauce?

The creation process is slightly different, resulting in different tastes and consistency. Chinese soy sauce is salty with bolder flavors, while Japanese is sweeter with a more well-rounded taste.

What is “Light Colored” and “Dark Colored” Soy Sauce?

Both Japanese and Chinese soy sauces have a range of colors. With Chinese soy sauce, the light-colored type is more common. However, dark-colored is the more popular type of Japanese soy sauce.

What’s the Best Soy Sauce for Dipping?

Chinese light-colored soy sauce is the most popular type for dipping. If its too salty, add a small amount of dark soy sauce to enhance the sweetness.

Is Soy Sauce Gluten-Free?

Most soy sauce is not gluten-free because its made from wheat or wheat flour. If you have a gluten sensitivity, look for a Japanese option called Tamari Shoyu. Its made entirely from soybeans with no wheat.

What Do I Use if a Recipe Calls for Soy Sauce?

Youll find many recipes that call for soy sauce but dont elaborate on what type. First, youll want to look at the dishs origin. If youre making Chinese food, soy sauce refers to light-colored soy sauce. If youre making Japanese food, the generic term refers to the dark-colored type.When in doubt, use light-colored Chinese soy sauce. Its the most general-purpose option. However, many meat dishes do call for a darker sauce, which the recipe will specify.

Final Thoughts

Soy sauce doesnt just offer a rich taste; it has a rich history, too. People look for the best soy sauce in the world and this article provides the answer to that. Fortunately, learning about the best soy sauce for each type of dish is easy.

Whether using it as a dip, marinade, baste, or applying it directly to your food, soy sauce adds a special flavor, unlike any other condiment. Today, enjoy your favorite soy sauce!

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Which brand soy sauce is best?

Best Overall: Yamaroku Kiku Bisiho Soy Sauce at Amazon. …
Best Dark Soy: Lee Kum Kee Dark Soy Sauce at Walmart. …
Best Low-Sodium: Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce at Amazon. …
Best Tamari: San-J Tamari Gluten-Free Soy Sauce at Amazon. …
Best Mushroom-Flavored: …
Best Shoyu: …
Best Ponzu: …
Best Soy Alternative:
Jan 13, 2023

Which soy sauce is best for taste?

To put it simply, light soy sauce is used for seasoning and dark soy sauce is used for adding colour to dishes. Light soy sauce is golden brown in colour and rich in taste to add flavour during marinating and seasoning stage. It uplifts the flavour of any meat, noodles or rice dishes.

What is the #1 soy sauce in Japan?

Koikuchi shoyu is the most commonly used soy sauce in the Japanese kitchen, and it’s likely what you think of when you think of soy sauce. Most major supermarket brands available in the US, like Kikkoman’s All-Purpose Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce, don’t indicate a type on the label, but they are koikuchi shoyu.

What is the best soy sauce for Chinese cooking?

Regular soy sauce is the workhorse of any Chinese kitchen worth its, er, salt. The two brands my family and friends seem to rely on more than any other are Wan Ja Shan and Kimlan, and the best varieties these two brands offer will have the words “aged” and “organic” on them.

What is the king of soy sauce?

SOY-KING soy sauce is natural free from gluten and could be used by people how have an intolerance for gluten. It can also replace other soy sauce. SOY-KING has a pure flavor from soy and the food industry prefer this product as ingredient when making suces, marinades, and readymade meals of various kinds.

What soy sauce do Japanese use?

Shoyu is the term broadly given to Japanese style soy sauces that are made from fermented soybeans, wheat, salt and water. In general, they are quite thin and clear and are a good all-purpose cooking and table sauce. Kikkoman soy sauce is the best-selling shoyu in the world.

Should soy sauce be refrigerated?

Answer: The best way to store soy sauce is refrigerated, especially if it stored for long periods of time. Unrefrigerated, it may lose some quality aspects, since refrigeration helps the flavor and quality characteristics remain at their peak for a longer period.

Which soy sauce best for fried rice?

Best for fried rice

When cooking fried rice, you’ll want to use a darker soy sauce for sweeter caramel notes and to add that beautiful bronzed colour to your dish. A simple Chinese dark soy sauce will suffice.

Which soy sauce is better for stir-fry?

If you’re only going to buy one bottle, buy light soy sauce because it’s the more versatile of the two – light soy sauce is used in stir-fry, braising, soups, stews, and marinades.

Is Japanese or Chinese soy sauce better?

50). This gives the Japanese sauces a sweeter, more nuanced flavor than their Chinese counterparts, which are usually saltier and more aggressive.Chinese-style soy sauces traditionally are made with 100 percent soy, while Japanese-style soy sauces are made with a mix of soy and wheat (usually 50

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