White soy sauce, or shiro shoyu, is an essential ingredient used to enhance the flavors of cooked dishes in Japan.
It has a mellow and slightly sweeter taste compared to other types of soy sauces.
However, since it is difficult to find outside of Asia, this guide will detail five different substitutes for white soy sauce that can be used in recipes.
With these substitutions, you can easily get the flavors associated with this particular ingredient right at home.
Read on to learn more about white soy sauce as well as its best replacements.
What is White Soy Sauce?
White soy sauce is a cooking ingredient that is rising in popularity in recent times.
It certainly looks different than conventional soy sauce–it is generally much lighter, without the familiar deep brownish hue.
It has different uses than traditional dark soy sauce–it’s used primarily for lightly coloring foods to bring out their natural flavors rather than to add saltiness or umami to dishes.
In cooking, white soy sauce can be used as a substitute for salt, a flavor enhancer, or just an added touch of seasoning.
There are no rules or set methods to use it; its versatility means that it can be tailored to fit any recipe with ease.
All in all, white soy sauce is an interesting culinary option and one worth exploring if you are looking for a unique touch to elevate your dishes further.
5 Best White Soy Sauce Substitutes You Should Try
Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to find white soy sauce at your local store.
That’s why it’s always good to know what the best substitutes for white soy sauce are in case you ever need them.
Here are 5 of our favorite white soy sauce substitutes that are easy to find and use at home.
1 – Tamari Sauce
Tamari sauce is another Japanese-style soy sauce that is often labeled as a gluten-free alternative.
It has a naturally higher concentration of subtle sweetness and umami, which is why it’s often used for finishing dishes.
Despite its light color, it also has an intense flavor that can be overpowering when used in large quantities.
It works great in marinades and dressings, but it’s important to recognize that it has a saltier flavor than white soy sauce would have.
To substitute tamari for white soy sauce in your recipes, use half the called-for amount and add more to taste.
2 – Liquid Aminos
Liquid aminos offer a high-protein, low-sodium alternative to soy sauce for those that can’t have soy or are looking for something different.
It’s similar in color and flavor to light soy sauce but it also has several additional flavors from other sources like coconut vinegar, garlic, and water.
Its saltiness also differs from traditional soy sauces since it is made with sea salt and beef stock rather than simple salt and water.
This product is available in most health food stores and some supermarkets.
3 – Coconut Aminos
Coconut aminos, a soy-free seasoning sauce, is a great alternative for anyone allergic to soy products or who follows a gluten-free and vegan diet.
It’s made from the sap of coconut tree blossoms and sea salt.
Coconut aminos has a sweet yet tangy flavor, much like regular soy sauce, but with less sodium; it contains 17 natural amino acids.
Coconut aminos can be used as a substitution for white soy sauce in any recipe that calls for it.
When replacing regular soy sauce with coconut aminos in cooking, use 4 tablespoons of coconut aminos to replace 1 tablespoon of regular soy sauce.
If you want to give your dish an umami flavour boost, add some seaweed flakes or Vegemite to the recipe at the same time you add the coconut aminos.
4 – Fish Sauce
Fish sauce is a liquid condiment most commonly used in Asian cuisine and made from fish that have been fermented with salt.
Its flavor can range from sweet to salty, so it’s best to start off with a small amount and adjust as needed.
Fish sauce can provide an intense flavor, so you may also want to consider diluting it with water or another liquid.
It’s important to note that while fish sauce can work in a pinch, it has an intense umami flavor that will stand out in the final dish, so it may not be the best choice if you’re looking for a subtle replacement for white soy sauce.
5 – Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce is a dark brown condiment that has a sour and salty flavor thanks to its main ingredients of malt vinegar, molasses, anchovies, and seasonings.
Worcestershire sauce can be found in most grocery stores, making it an easy and convenient substitute for white soy sauce.
The unique flavor it adds to dishes can be compared but not quite equated; try adding 1/4 tsp of Worcestershire sauce as every 1 tsp of white soy sauce to achieve depth of flavors while adding tanginess to the dish.
Be warned however that Worcestershire sauce has a distinct Indian flavor that may take some getting used to.
White soy sauce can be hard to find outside of certain Asian grocery stores, but thankfully there are several excellent alternatives that can be used in a pinch.
Tamari and coconut aminos both offer a similar flavor profile as does Worcestershire sauce, miso paste, or oyster sauce.
When using any of these alternatives for white soy sauce it’s important to recognize that some will add different layers of flavor to the dish.
Tamari and coconut aminos are a particularly good replacement as they are gluten-free and add an umami depth that white soy just doesn’t bring to the plate.
However, do remember that the sweetness or sourness may need to be adjusted with sugar or lime juice~depending on your preference.
No matter which option you choose, make sure you taste before adding too much so as not to overpower your dish with strong flavors.
With trial and error comes delicious results.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is white soy sauce?
White soy sauce is a type of Asian condiment made from fermented soybeans, wheat, salt, and water.
It has a milder flavor than regular soy sauce and is used in various dishes like soups, salads, and sushi.
What are the best substitutes for white soy sauce?
The best substitutes for white soy sauce are light soy sauce, tamari, coconut aminos, fish sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
How can I use the substitutes for white soy sauce?
The substitutes for white soy sauce can be used in place of white soy sauce in any dish.
Depending on the recipe, you may need to adjust the amount of the substitute used to get the desired flavor.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!