Love the umami taste of soy sauce with your dishes but need to reduce salt intake? Low-sodium soy sauces can help you stay within your daily limits while still enjoying your favorite dishes. As our first supplemental section reveals, sometimes the availability of low-sodium soy sauces can be limited. However, you can always reduce the sodium content of a regular soy sauce by adding a proportionate amount of water.
Our list shows some 6 of the best types and brands of low-sodium soy sauces you can expect to find. Our number one pick, Yamasa Less Salt soy sauce is one of the Japanese varieties on the market. Keep reading on to our buying guide, reviewed by a registered dietitian, to learn more about additional types of low-sodium soy sauces and how to select one.
Devan is a dietitian with a passion for preventative nutrition and educating the community on how to live a healthy life. She has experience in cardiovascular disease, GI disorders, and acute care.
mybest US' editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in the US in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
Table of Contents
People with certain health conditions like heart disease or high blood pressure may need to consume less salt in their diets. Medical doctors may instruct or recommend individuals with these conditions incorporate low-sodium food products.
In addition, people with family histories of problematic health conditions may proactively consume less salt in their diets to avoid future problems. Other individuals who take certain medications that make them retain water, such as steroids, may want to reduce their sodium intake to prevent further fluid retention.
Besides individuals with health concerns, there are people who find salty foods or condiments with a high sodium content to be displeasing in taste. They may like the taste of soy sauce but want something with more of a natural flavor that isn’t as masked by salt.
Some health-conscious individuals and dieters may also gravitate toward low-sodium options due to general knowledge about the harmful effects of excess salt in the diet.
To choose a low-sodium soy sauce, you'll want to look at the product's label and consider the differences in taste, texture, and ingredients. Think about the type of recipe you'll be using the soy sauce for and evaluate the amount of sauce in the container.
Manufacturers usually label low-sodium versions with the words “low sodium” or “reduced sodium.” While there are set definitions for terms like these in foods, they don't apply to condiments or sauces.
That means you'll probably have to find the normal sodium version of products and compare the sodium content per serving. A typical soy sauce will contain around 879 to 920 milligrams per tablespoon, while low-sodium versions generally only contain less than 750 milligrams per serving, and some contain far less than that.
Further complicating matters is the fact that soy sauces can come in light and dark versions. Low-sodium soy sauces are not the equivalent of light soy sauces. Light soy sauces are just lighter in taste and thinner in color, while only low-sodium means the actual sodium content is lower.
There are multiple types of soy sauces, including Japanese, Chinese, and Thai. Japanese soy sauce tends to be clearer in color and thinner in consistency than Chinese versions. Thai soy sauces are closer to Chinese soy sauces in terms of how people use them to either add color or flavor to food.
While some of these soy sauces are labeled as light or light color, only those with the label low-sodium or less sodium contain less salt per serving. Sometimes you might see Japanese soy sauces labeled as usukuchi, which means “light taste.”
Look at the list of ingredients and nutrition labels to compare the sodium per serving and where salt or sodium falls in the list. The higher salt or sodium is in the list, the more likely it is that it is not a low-sodium soy sauce. When ingredients are higher up, it means they make up a larger proportion of the sauce.
Some Japanese soy sauces are less salty in taste than others. For instance, dark Japanese soy sauce tends to taste less salty than light Japanese soy sauce. However, this doesn’t mean dark soy sauce necessarily contains less sodium per serving.
And, if you’re not able to find a low-sodium soy sauce at the grocery store, you can also dilute a regular soy sauce to reduce its content per serving.
I think it's important to point out that "low-sodium" labels don't apply to condiments and sauces because if someone sees a low-sodium label, they may assume it has 140mg of sodium or less per serving and neglect to read the label.
Most soy sauces labeled at low sodium contain significantly less sodium than their regular sodium counterparts (usually a certain percentage less, but no current standard). It is also important to note servings sizes as many people tend to use excess amounts of sauces and condiments than what is labeled as a serving size.
Most soy sauce brands carry low-sodium versions. However, there can be some key differences between soy sauces from various countries of origin. Before choosing a brand and type, you’ll want to verify the type of dish you’re making and what type of soy sauce it calls for.
Some recipes favor Chinese soy sauces while others taste best with Japanese versions. You can usually find this information in the list of ingredients, the cooking directions, or by researching the recipe online.
For instance, sushi often favors Japanese soy sauce while Chinese stir-fry or marinated chicken recipes may taste better with Chinese soy sauce.
Aside from looking at the country of origin, it can be helpful to look at how soy sauces are produced. Some soy sauces also are naturally brewed or fermented while others are chemically produced. The process may cause differences in taste and aroma as well, so it can be worth looking into which ones best suit certain dishes and/or flavor preferences.
Both Chinese and Japanese soy sauces can come in light and dark versions. This usually applies to the appearance and color of the sauce. Light soy sauces tend to be amber in color and thinner in consistency. Dark soy sauces are more likely to be a dark, deep brown and thicker.
However, dark Chinese soy sauces tend to have a sweeter taste than dark Japanese soy sauces. Dark Chinese soy sauces also tend to have a thicker consistency or texture.
Japanese soy sauces that are dark can have a richer taste than their light counterparts, and the light ones tend to be sweeter than dark Japanese soy sauces.
Light Japanese or Chinese soy sauces tend to contain more salt, because their main purpose is to season foods. Some contain mushroom flavors or undertones. They may contain some wheat in the ingredients or no wheat.
Generally speaking, darker soy sauces are best for marinating and adding color to foods. Lighter soy sauces tend to add flavor or saltiness to recipes.
When choosing a soy sauce, it can also be helpful to consider other items going into the dishes to see which pairs better. It can also be helpful to determine whether or not the soy sauce is going to be used as a sauce or as more of a condiment or dip.
If you want some of the flavor from the light but color of the dark, you can also combine light and dark for a little bit of each!
Low-sodium soy sauces may also be organic, and you may want to choose these if you have concerns about soybeans treated with pesticides or GMOs. However, low-sodium soy sauces do not necessarily cater to supplementary dietary restrictions like kosher or gluten-free, so make sure to check the labels.
Most soy sauces are not gluten-free, so it's important to choose a gluten-free option or an alternative if someone needs to follow a strict gluten-free diet. San-J Organic Reduced Sodium Gluten-Free Tamari Sauce is one of the lower-sodium gluten-free soy sauces I've found.
Low-sodium soy sauces may come in various sizes. These sizes can include individual containers of 10 ounces or 15 ounces. You may also find packets, larger containers, and multipacks.
You might want larger containers for cooking at home and smaller ones for eating out, so you can season your own food at the restaurant. Packets are good to throw in lunchboxes for work or school.
If you only use soy sauce occasionally at home, you might also want smaller containers. Think about how much soy sauce you consume and what your recipes call for.
Look at the expiration date on the packaging to help evaluate whether you’ll use the product in time. When a bottle or container of soy sauce is not opened, it has an average shelf life of three years.
Also, keep in mind that you’ll need to refrigerate low-sodium sauce once you open the container. The sauce could develop mold or the flavor integrity can degrade over time. There is a higher chance of this with sauces that have lower sodium content. You can expect soy sauce to last around one month to one year in the refrigerator on average.
Using individual soy sauce packets can also be a good option for those that like soy sauce but have a hard time not overdoing it when it comes to seasoning. If these are taken to restaurants (as mentioned) to use as a seasoning, it may be best to ask for foods to come unsalted or free of any other seasonings that contain salt if you're trying to reduce sodium intake.
Click to purchase
Less Salt Brewed Soy Sauce
A Light Soy Sauce Used by Professionals
Best of Thailand
Premium Lite Soy Sauce
A Low-Sodium Soy Sauce for Thai Food
Less Sodium Soy Sauce
A Popular, All-Purpose Favorite
Reduced Sodium Gluten-Free Tamari
Good for Gluten-Free Diets
Low Sodium Soy Sauce
Great for Sushi Recipes
Authentic Chinese Soy Sauce
A Less Salty Chinese Soy Sauce
Yamasa's low-sodium soy sauce is amber in color and the brand claims Japanese restaurants regularly use the sauce. You can use this soy sauce to marinate your foods and enhance their flavors. This product contains eight percent less sodium than Yamasa's regular soy sauce.
Reviewers really enjoyed the flavor of this low-sodium soy sauce. They noted it has more of a rich flavor than other varieties. Several purchasers said the sauce enhanced the taste of their food without making it too salty.
This low-sodium soy sauce goes well with Thai recipes like pad Thai and tom yum. Containing 70 percent less sodium than the brand's regular version, this sauce is also suitable for Kosher diets. However, it does contain wheat and sugar.
The most common complaint from reviewers was that the soy sauce seemed watered down. They were disappointed that there wasn't a richer flavor. The majority of reviewers were pleased they could find a very low-sodium soy sauce. They liked that it's thick and coats vegetables well.
Kikkoman is a well-known brand of soy sauce that is widely available at most commercial grocery stores. The low-sodium version contains 38 percent less salt than the brand's regular variety. The salt is removed after fermentation to provide a fuller flavor profile.
A handful of reviewers found the sauce to still be too salty for their tastes. Quite a few reviewers noted they liked the balance of the sauce's taste and lower sodium. A few people stated the sauce paired well with their sushi dishes.
San J Tamari's reduced-sodium soy sauce contains 28 percent less salt per serving than the brand's regular version. However, it does have more sodium than others on this list. The ingredients for this reduced-sodium soy sauce are only water, soybeans, salt, and alcohol.
This soy sauce is suitable for those with wheat and gluten allergies, in addition to people who follow kosher diets. Reviewers enjoyed the taste of this soy sauce. They were able to use it with a variety of recipes. These foods include stir-fry, rice and beans, and as a marinade for meat.
Akita's low-sodium soy sauce has 520 milligrams of sodium per serving. This Japanese soy sauce works well with different sushi recipes. This sauce is also a good addition to basic rice dishes and contains no wheat.
Reviewers liked the taste of this low-sodium soy sauce. They enjoyed adding it to a variety of different foods and recipes.
This version of Kimlan's Chinese soy sauce is labeled as less salty, and has 744 milligrams per tablespoon. The sauce does not contain any added preservatives and goes well with Chinese stir-fry and recipes with pork or chicken.
Reviewers liked that they could use the sauce as a dip for egg rolls and dumplings. Some also used the sauce in chicken soup and as a marinade for various meats. They liked the less salty taste of the sauce compared to other brands.
I don't typically use soy sauce, but I do use coconut aminos as a substitute. I personally like the Trader Joe's and Bragg brands. This is great to put on vegetables for some flavor or mix with balsamic vinegar for a bit of a savory taste on veggies or grains!
In addition to reviewing and commenting on our buying guide, Devan also took the time to answer a commonly asked question about soy sauces.
"Coconut aminos are usually a good lower-sodium substitute for soy sauce. Not all brands are created equal, so it is important to check the nutrition facts label for the actual sodium content. This can also be a good alternative for those who have a soy allergy. It also does not taste like coconut, for those who do not like coconut flavor," Devan says.
Eating healthier doesn't mean you have to compromise on flavor! Whether you're looking to lose weight or just eat healthier versions of your favorite foods, here are some suggestions to get you started.
No. 1: Yamasa | Less Salt Brewed Soy Sauce
No. 2: Best of Thailand | Premium Lite Soy Sauce
No. 3: Kikkoman | Less Sodium Soy Sauce
No. 4: San J | Reduced Sodium Gluten-Free Tamari
No. 5: Akita | Low Sodium Soy Sauce
View Full Ranking
When you purchase products mentioned in the article, part of the sales may be returned to mybest.
The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
AppsBusiness apps, Cooking apps, Dating apps
Home goodsBath supplies, Ceremonial occasion supplies, Cleaning supplies
Home electronicsAir conditioners and coolers, AV accessories, Blenders and food processors
PCComputer supplies, Desktop computers, Tablets
CameraCamera bags and backpacks, Camera supplies, Digital single lens cameras
BeautyBlushes, Bronzers, Cleansers
HealthBody care products, Health accessories, Health foods and supplements
Food and drinksAlcohol, Breads and jams, Cocktails and ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages
KitchenCoffee and tea products, Cooking utensils, Cups
FashionFootwear products, Men's shoes, Sandals
AccessoriesWristwatches, Accessories and jewelry, Umbrellas and parasols
Kids and babyBaby carriers, Baby food, Baby formula
InteriorBeds, Beds and bedding, Chairs
HobbiesAromatherapy products, Art supplies, Arts and collectibles
OutdoorBarbecue grills and fire pits, Camping beds and cots, Camping gear
Home, garden, and toolsAgricultural materials and gardening supplies, Exterior and garden furniture, Materials and repairing agents
Sports and fitnessSports shoes, Surfing supplies, Badminton supplies
PetsBird and small animal supplies, Cat supplies, Dog supplies
MediaBooks and magazines, CD, Children's books, picture books and illustrated encyclopedias
GamesGaming accessories, Nintendo Switch games, PC games
AutomotiveCar accessories, Car navigation systems
GiftsChristmas gifts, Father's Day gifts, Gifts for children
Mobile devicesMobile phone and smartphone accessories, Wearable devices and smart watches