Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Soy sauces are made from soybeans, salt, water and grains. This Asian sauce is used to flavour various dishes. A distinction between the different types is basically due to the manufacturing process. Among other things, this determines the colour and consistency of the seasoning sauce.

The quality of the soy sauces is determined in a common Japanese process called “Kikimi”. The criteria of taste, consistency, smell and colour are decisive. The following guide clarifies the most important questions regarding soy sauces and at the same time reveals our recommendations. Thus, buying the best soy sauce and using it perfectly should not cause you any problems.


  • Soy sauces are rich in protein and salt. They are also low in calories and fat, which is why they are often used as a healthy condiment for various dishes.
  • Stains caused by soy sauces can be easily removed with home remedies such as glycerine, vinegar, lemon juice or bile soap.
  • Allergy sufferers with soy intolerance or birch pollen allergy should avoid soy sauces. These can cause allergic reactions.

The best Soy Sauce: Our Picks

In this section, we have compiled our favourites for you, which can help you to make a purchase decision. There will be a suitable soy sauce for every taste. This can then also be ordered very easily.

Buying and evaluation criteria for soy sauces

The following buying and evaluation criteria are relevant for buying soy sauces. Take these into account when making a purchase to acquire the best sauce for seasoning your dishes.

In the following section, we will go into more detail about the purchase and evaluation criteria. Basically, these are criteria that are generally relevant for food at all times.

Types of soy sauce

The best-known types of soy sauce are either Japanese or Chinese. These differ both in the manufacturing process, colour, taste, smell and consistency. The main distinction is made on the basis of the different colours.

Both light and dark versions of soy sauces can be found on the shelves of many Asian kitchens. There are also gluten-free, reduced-salt and sweet varieties if required.

Shelf life

The shelf life of soy sauces is basically due to the manufacturing process and thus the type. Industrially produced soy sauces usually have shelf-life additives, so they have a longer shelf life than traditionally produced ones.

Unopened, such a sauce can keep for several years. Opened, this time is about 3 months, which is why quick consumption and storage in the refrigerator is recommended.

The shelf life can be extended by storing the soy sauce protected from the sun or even by vacuuming it. A vacuum sealer is particularly suitable for this purpose, which, when used correctly, extends the shelf life of many foods.

In addition, the composition of the soy sauce plays a decisive role with regard to shelf life. Both light and dark soy sauce contain salt, which is known to have preservative properties. Accordingly, soy sauces with a higher salt content generally have a longer shelf life. Dark soy sauce has a higher salt content than light soy sauce.

Mould spores, a peculiar film layer or a strong smell are signs that the soy sauce is spoiled. The latter is not always obvious, as soy sauce naturally has a very aromatic and unique scent. A good soy sauce has a thin consistency with a fawn-brown transparent colour.


The following table summarises all the ingredients of a soy sauce. The information refers to 100 millilitres.

Ingredient amount contained in 100 millilitres
Protein 11 grams
Carbohydrates 6 grams
Fat 0 grams
Salt 17 grams
Sugar 0.6 grams
Dietary fibre 4 grams
Calories 60 to 100 calories

Soy sauces, like other soy products, are high in protein. They are also high in salt, low in calories and contain little to no fat. The ingredients in the table may vary from type to type and are only average values of soy sauces.

Suitability for allergy sufferers

The proteins Gly m4, Gly m5 and Gly m6 found in soy are allergens that can cause allergies in some people. They are most commonly found in ripe soybeans. In the fermentation process during the production of soy sauce, the protein Gly m4 is lost in most cases.

However, the other allergens are still present and may continue to cause problems for people with soy intolerance and birch pollen allergy. Consumption of soy sauce for people with gluten intolerance is possible without hesitation despite the fact that it is made with wheat.

The symptoms of such an allergy are similar to those of other food intolerances. Redness, swelling, itching, burning and numbness in the mouth and throat area can even lead to shortness of breath. Furthermore, nausea and problems with the skin are other common symptoms.

In the worst case, such a soy allergy can cause an allergic shock, which leads to further more serious consequences. We recommend consulting a doctor immediately if severe symptoms occur and to consume alternative sauces in the future.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about soy sauces answered in detail

In this section we explain the most frequently asked questions about soy sauce so that you are sufficiently informed when you want to buy a soy sauce.

Is soy sauce healthy?

Soy sauce is very high in protein, low in calories and has almost no fat. In addition, the sauce contains valuable amino acids and many antioxidants. The latter are cell-protecting substances and therefore healthy for the body. The high salt content must be taken into account here.

Soy sauce is often served with sushi and gives the raw fish a special sour taste. (Image source: Lazic/ Unsplash)

Overall, however, soy sauce is healthier and therefore more suitable for seasoning food than conventional salt. Possible soy intolerances or birch pollen allergies should be considered before consumption. Otherwise allergic reactions may occur.

Does soy sauce discolour the teeth?

Foreign colouring agents can be deposited in the tooth enamel and thus cause discolouration of the teeth. Foods with a high content of colour pigments are more likely to cause such discolouration. These include red wine, balsamic vinegar and, last but not least, soy sauce.

How to remove stains caused by soy sauce?

The colour-intensive soy sauce tends to cause dark stains that are not so easy to remove. However, there are some home remedies that can help you remove soy sauce stains from your couch, clothes or tablecloth.

First rub the stain you want to remove with liquid glycerine. Let it soak in for 30 minutes and then rinse with cold water. The same process is also possible with vinegar, lemon juice or bile soap. Afterwards, the object to be cleaned should be washed again thoroughly, of course following the manufacturer’s instructions.

For which recipes is soy sauce suitable?

Soy sauce is not only suitable for eating sushi, but can also be used to season Bolognese or tomato sauce, minced meat, salmon and many other dishes. We also recommend using the sauce when cooking rice and marinating grilled dishes. All in all, the salty sauce can be used as a substitute for pure salt at any time.

Can I make soy sauce myself?

It is possible to make your own soy sauce. However, a strong nose and patience are needed during production, as unpleasant odours can occur during the long process. All you need to make it are soybeans, wheat flour, salt and water.

With these ingredients, you can make your own soy sauce. Find out more about the exact production of soy sauce. This can be a relatively complex production process, which we will not go into here.


Light and dark soy sauces are ideal for seasoning and marinating both classic Asian dishes and grilled dishes. Such sauces give your sushi, rice or steak a sweet to salty and distinctive taste.

Nevertheless, people who have a wheat or soy intolerance or a birch pollen allergy should use other sauces as an alternative. Soy sauces can cause allergic reactions.

(Cover photo: D’Silva/ Unsplash)