• 10 Best Soy Sauces 2021 | UK Nutritionist Reviewed 1
  • 10 Best Soy Sauces 2021 | UK Nutritionist Reviewed 2
  • 10 Best Soy Sauces 2021 | UK Nutritionist Reviewed 3
  • 10 Best Soy Sauces 2021 | UK Nutritionist Reviewed 4
  • 10 Best Soy Sauces 2021 | UK Nutritionist Reviewed 5

10 Best Soy Sauces 2021 | UK Nutritionist Reviewed

In a world of artisanal ingredients and gourmet cuisine, it doesn't feel like enough these days to just buy the cheapest bottle labelled 'soy sauce'. Recipes can differ greatly from requiring a thick and sweet soy to a light, clear distillation depending on the country or region, and it's important to consider production processes such as natural brewing too. You may also have some personal specifications to keep in mind, such as low salt, organic, vegan, or gluten-free.


Choosing the right soy sauce can make a huge difference to the authenticity (and success) of your dish, be it a dipping sauce for sushi, dim sum, or dumplings, or as a seasoning for fried rice. Thankfully, we've done the research to determine the best options available online from Amazon, eBay, Tesco, Asda and Waitrose including top producers like Kikkoman, Clearspring and Lee Kum Kee. It's time to find the perfect umami match for your creations!

This post's specialists

Emily Hyland
  • Last updated: 17-12-2021
Table of Contents

With Specialist Consultation From Nutritionist Emily Hyland

With Specialist Consultation From Nutritionist Emily Hyland

Emily is a registered integrative, naturopathic nutritionist and has a Master’s Degree in nutrition. Her work embraces the interplay between nutrition, bio-individuality and mindset, educating and empowering clients to make lasting changes wherever they are on their health journey. You can check out her work from her Instagram account and website.

Emily's Top Recommended Product

KikkomanTamari Gluten-free Soy Sauce

£2.60

Compare the Best Soy Sauces

For those after a quick look, here is our Top 5:

  1. Kishibori Shoyu - Premium Artisanal Japanese Soy Sauce for £36.99
  2. Shibanuma - Shoyu Jozo Shiho no Shizuku for £8.00
  3. Clearspring - Organic Japanese Shoyu Soya Sauce for £9.89
  4. Kikkoman - Soy Sauce for £2.70
  5. Clearspring - Organic Japanese Tamari Soya Sauce for £9.99

For a more in-depth look at the comprehensive top 10 selection, make sure to read on to learn more about the different types of soy sauce available and understand how our ranking was determined.
Image
1
Kishibori Shoyu Premium Artisinal Japanese Soy Sauce 1

Kishibori Shoyu

2
Shibanuma  Shoyu Jozo Shiho no Shizuku  1

Shibanuma

3
Clearspring  Organic Japanese Shoyu Soya Sauce 1

Clearspring

4
Kikkoman Soy Sauce  1

Kikkoman

5
Clearspring Organic Japanese Tamari Soya Sauce 1

Clearspring

6
Habhal Kicap Manis Sweet Soy 1

Habhal

7
Pearl River Bridge Light Soy Sauce 1

Pearl River Bridge

8
Kikkoman  Less Salt Soy Sauce 1

Kikkoman

9
Lee Kum Kee Premium Light Soy Sauce 1

Lee Kum Kee

10
Healthy Boy Sweet Soy Sauce 1

Healthy Boy

Name

Premium Artisinal Japanese Soy Sauce

Shoyu Jozo Shiho no Shizuku

Organic Japanese Shoyu Soya Sauce

Soy Sauce

Organic Japanese Tamari Soya Sauce

Kicap Manis Sweet Soy

Light Soy Sauce

Less Salt Soy Sauce

Premium Light Soy Sauce

Sweet Soy Sauce

Features

The Best Barrel-Aged Soy Sauce You'll Come Across

An Artisanal Japanese Option With Woody Undertones

Organic, All-Purpose Koikuchi Shoyu

A Naturally Brewed, Mellow Soy Sauce

Gluten-Free and Made With Organic Soya Beans

A Caramel-Sweet Sauce for Creating Tasty Malaysian Meals

Authentic Chinese Sauce With a Thick Consistency

A Healthier Option for Those Who Want to Consume Less Salt

Traditionally Brewed Chinese-Style Sauce

A Thick, Sweet Soy Sauce From Thailand

Price£36.99£8.00£9.89£2.70£9.99£7.40£4.90£6.90£1.35£5.29
TypeShoyuShoyuKoikuchi/darkLightTamariSweetLightShoyuLightSweet
Country of OriginJapanJapanJapanNetherlandsJapanMalaysiaChinaJapanChinaThailand
Gluten FreeNoNoNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNo
Sodium Content per 100ml8.6g14.5g12g16.9g15.9g32g1.21g9.1g17.2g4g
Calories per 100ml-72kcal63.10kcal77kcal196kcal221kcal41.84kcal107kcal92kcal387.18kcal
Organic--YesNoYes-----
Brewing ProcessBarrel aged for 1 yearNaturally fermented in wooden barrelsNaturally fermented in cedar-wood kegsNaturally brewedNaturally fermented and agedNaturally fermented and reducedSlow fermentationNaturally brewedNaturally brewed-
Vegan---YesYes---Yes-
IngredientsNon-GM soybeans, wheat, saltProcessed soybeans, wheat, saltWater, soybeans, wheat, sea saltSoybeans, wheat, salt and waterWhole soybeans, water, sea salt, mirin (sweet rice, water, cultured rice), *organically grownSoya bean extract, sugar, salt, colour (caramel), wheat flour, additives (E621, E211, acetic acid)Water, soybeans, salt, wheat flour, preservative (E202)Soybeans, wheat, water, saltWater, salt, soybeans, sugar, wheat flour, flavour enhancers (E631, E627)Refined sugar, water, brown sugar, glucose syrup, soy sauce (water, soybeans, salt, wheat flour)
Best ForRaw (dipping)Cooking, salads, vegetables, seafood, carpaccioSeasoning, cookingCondiment, cookingDipping, seasoning, and cookingMarinade, dipping, seasoningSeasoning, cookingBasting, marinating, stir frying, roasting or as a dipping sauceMarinade, dipping sauce, in stir-fries, dressing and in a sauce mixDipping, seasoning, stir frying
Link

How to Choose a Soy Sauce in the UK

Key Points to Consider

  1. Consider Your Desired Type of Shoyu for Japanese Dishes
  2. Go for a Chinese Soy Sauce for an All-Rounded Option
  3. Explore Sweet Varieties That Can Double Up as a Condiment
  4. Keep an Eye Out for Sodium Content and Calorie Value for Healthier Options
  5. Examine the Ingredients and Manufacturing for a High-Quality Soy Sauce

1. For Japanese Food and Delicate Dishes, Choose Your Preferred Type of Shoyu

1. For Japanese Food and Delicate Dishes, Choose Your Preferred Type of Shoyu

Usukuchi Is Ideal for Soup, Koikuchi Works in Most Savoury Dishes and Saishikomi Goes Great With Sashimi

The most widely available shoyu is koikuchi, which is a dark soy sauce with a deep, salty umami flavour. Roughly equal parts soybeans and wheat, koikuchi makes for an excellent all-purpose option that no Japanese pantry should be without!


Then there is usukuchi, or light soy sauce, which is lighter in colour than koikuchi but not lighter in taste. Usukuchi is saltier than regular soy sauce, making it ideal for soups and stocks.


If you prefer a sweeter, rounder flavour profile you might want to try saishikomi. Meaning "twice-brewed", saishikomi is double-fermented, giving it a stronger umami taste, more natural sweetness and less saltiness than other types. You're less likely to find these shoyu variations in British supermarkets, so look for authentic artisanal Japanese brands online if you'd like to sample them. 

Emily Hyland
Nutritionist
Emily Hyland

Soy sauce is known for being high in sodium, which, when paired together with chloride, forms a salt. Too much sodium has been shown to potentially contribute to an increase in blood pressure, but soy sauce actually has less sodium than table salt, and because of the deep, rich flavour of soy sauce, you don’t tend to need massive amounts, so this usually isn’t too much of a problem.

Tamari Is Gluten-Free and Has a Rich, Dark Flavour Profile That's Perfect for Sushi

As tamari is made with little to no wheat, it is the closest of the shoyu varieties to the original Chinese soy sauce. It's well-known throughout the world for being a gluten-free soy sauce, so it's great for those with allergies or intolerances. Be aware it can still contain traces and is not necessarily 100% free of gluten unless the label directly advertises this. 


Tamari is a darker, thicker and richer soy sauce with a stronger flavour than other Japanese soy sauces. It is often used to make stir-fries, soups, sauces, or marinades, but it can also be used on its own as the best match for sushi and other dipping purposes. 

Emily Hyland
Nutritionist
Emily Hyland

Tamari contains less sodium than soy sauce, with around 90 milligrams of sodium per serving, nearly double the amount of protein, and is less likely to contain added preservatives and additives that may impact health. In fact, tamari ingredients tend to be minimal, usually just water, soybeans, and salt.

2. Chinese Soy Sauce Is a Reliable All-Purpose Option That’s Available in Light and Dark Varieties

2. Chinese Soy Sauce Is a Reliable All-Purpose Option That’s Available in Light and Dark Varieties

Light Soy Sauce Is Used to Enhance the Flavours of the Other Ingredients in a Recipe, but Avoid Those With Artificial Additives

Thin and savoury, light soy sauce is used to enhance the flavours of the other ingredients in a recipe. Light Chinese soy sauce is what we in the West think of as regular soy sauce, as it is extremely widespread and popular throughout the world. 


Some cheaper Chinese soy sauces are made by hydrolysing soy protein and combining it with other flavourings and colourings such as corn syrup, caramel and E numbers. The resulting flavour is far removed from that of traditionally fermented soy sauces, so if you try to avoid additives check out the ingredients list before buying.


Discover some of our favourite fish sauces here!

Emily Hyland
Nutritionist
Emily Hyland

The chemically produced varieties of soy sauce – often flavoured and coloured with corn syrup, caramel, and salt – are much easier to make and take less time, but they have shown to pose the most health risks, so it’s best to opt for naturally-brewed varieties with as few ingredients as possible.

Dark and Double-Dark Sauces Are Thicker and Sweeter, so They’ll Add Colour, Richness and Flavour to Your Cooking

Chinese dark soy sauces are darker in colour and thicker in texture, but tend to be lighter in saltiness which makes them somewhat similar to dark Japanese styles. They are generally fermented longer than thinner options, have a sweet-salty taste and are mainly used for cooking.


Double-dark soy sauce (as you can probably guess) is even thicker, darker, and sweeter than dark soy and is often used to add colour and rich, sweet flavour to dishes. It's making us hungry just thinking about it!

Emily Hyland
Nutritionist
Emily Hyland

You might be surprised to learn that not only is soy sauce delicious, but there is also some research to indicate it may have some health benefits too! Research suggests that soy sauce may help support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, supporting digestion and immunity.


Consumption of soy sauce has also been linked to helping individuals suffering from seasonal allergies.

3. Searching for a Sauce to Double up as a Condiment? Try Sweet Thai Varieties or Indonesian Kecap Manis

3. Searching for a Sauce to Double up as a Condiment? Try Sweet Thai Varieties or Indonesian Kecap Manis

The Indonesian answer to soy sauce, otherwise known as kecap manis, is made from around 10-15% liquid soy sauce along with a mixture of sugar and water. This gives it its signature sweetness and syrupy consistency, which sometimes has spices added to it as well. 


The combination of sugar and soy sauce gives it a deep, dark colour and opacity, and the use of palm sugar creates smoky, savoury undertones and caramel notes. More sweet than salty, it's often used alongside regular soy sauce, fish sauce and salt in Indonesian cooking and is great as an all-purpose condiment for the table. 


Looking for a spicy kick, explore our best hot sauces!

4. Check the Sodium Content and Calories if You’re Trying to Cook Healthy Dishes

4. Check the Sodium Content and Calories if You’re Trying to Cook Healthy Dishes

Some soy sauces have high sodium (salt) content and calorific value, which may not be suitable for certain diets. If you are on a low-salt or low-calorie diet, make sure to check the nutritional value before purchasing. Low sodium alternatives are also a good option for those watching their salt intake. 

5. Look Out for the Ingredients and the Processing Method to Find a High Quality Soy Sauce

5. Look Out for the Ingredients and the Processing Method to Find a High Quality Soy Sauce

The Best Soy Sauce Is Naturally Brewed, Organic and Made From Four Ingredients: Water, Salt, Soybeans and Wheat Flour

Traditionally, making soy sauce involves soaking the soybeans and roasting and crushing the wheat, mixing them with a culturing mold such as Aspergillus oryzae and other related micro-organisms and yeasts (this mixture is called "koji" in Japan) and leaving this for a few days to develop. 


Next, water and salt are added, and the mixture is left to ferment for five to eight months. This skilled process is always used for high-quality soy sauce, and these varieties are often labelled as 'naturally brewed'. If the label does not state this, it may have been made using a chemical method of production which makes it far less attractive in terms of taste and aroma. 


Non-naturally brewed sauces usually have extra flavouring, colouring and salt added, plus the process produces some undesirable compounds including some carcinogens. Therefore, ingredients-wise, most soy sauce aficionados recommend sticking to a recipe as close to the original four ingredients of water, salt, soybeans and wheat flour as possible.

Emily Hyland
Nutritionist
Emily Hyland

In addition to the potential health risks of non-natural brewed soy sauce, there is also concern over soy consumption due to the huge amount of GMO soy crops that are frequently sprayed with toxic herbicides. Always try to go for as natural a soy sauce as you can.

Most Soy Sauce Is Vegan, but Look Out for Non Plant-Based Ingredients Like E631 and E627

Although soy sauce comes in a variety of (often regional) varieties, the basic recipe has stayed relatively similar throughout the years. Nevertheless, vegan-friendly substitutes have been developed for soy sauce lovers who follow a plant-based diet. 


The majority of soy sauce available on the market are vegan-friendly, but there are occasionally some non-vegan components that aren't always as obvious. The best way to check if a soy sauce is vegan is to go through the ingredients list and watch out for non plant-based ingredients or E numbers (codes for substances used as food additives). 


For instance, E641 and E627 are common additives used in soy sauce. The first is usually made from pigs or fish, though tapioca starch can also be used. The latter is frequently made with sardines. So, unless the sauce is clearly labeled as vegan, it's probably a good idea to double-check with the retailer or producer.

10 Best Soy Sauces in the UK

mybest UK product recommendations are reviewed and curated by our writers in-house. We focus on in-depth research and analysis of product reviews to carefully select the best products available for the best prices.

1

Kishibori ShoyuPremium Artisinal Japanese Soy Sauce

£36.99

TypeShoyu
Country of OriginJapan
Gluten FreeNo
Sodium Content per 100ml8.6g
Calories per 100ml-
Organic-
Brewing ProcessBarrel aged for 1 year
Vegan-
IngredientsNon-GM soybeans, wheat, salt
Best ForRaw (dipping)
2
TypeShoyu
Country of OriginJapan
Gluten FreeNo
Sodium Content per 100ml14.5g
Calories per 100ml72kcal
Organic-
Brewing ProcessNaturally fermented in wooden barrels
Vegan-
IngredientsProcessed soybeans, wheat, salt
Best ForCooking, salads, vegetables, seafood, carpaccio
3

Clearspring Organic Japanese Shoyu Soya Sauce

£9.89

TypeKoikuchi/dark
Country of OriginJapan
Gluten FreeNo
Sodium Content per 100ml12g
Calories per 100ml63.10kcal
OrganicYes
Brewing ProcessNaturally fermented in cedar-wood kegs
Vegan-
IngredientsWater, soybeans, wheat, sea salt
Best ForSeasoning, cooking
4
TypeLight
Country of OriginNetherlands
Gluten FreeNo
Sodium Content per 100ml16.9g
Calories per 100ml77kcal
OrganicNo
Brewing ProcessNaturally brewed
VeganYes
IngredientsSoybeans, wheat, salt and water
Best ForCondiment, cooking
5
TypeTamari
Country of OriginJapan
Gluten FreeYes
Sodium Content per 100ml15.9g
Calories per 100ml196kcal
OrganicYes
Brewing ProcessNaturally fermented and aged
VeganYes
IngredientsWhole soybeans, water, sea salt, mirin (sweet rice, water, cultured rice), *organically grown
Best ForDipping, seasoning, and cooking
6
TypeSweet
Country of OriginMalaysia
Gluten FreeNo
Sodium Content per 100ml32g
Calories per 100ml221kcal
Organic-
Brewing ProcessNaturally fermented and reduced
Vegan-
IngredientsSoya bean extract, sugar, salt, colour (caramel), wheat flour, additives (E621, E211, acetic acid)
Best ForMarinade, dipping, seasoning
7
TypeLight
Country of OriginChina
Gluten FreeNo
Sodium Content per 100ml1.21g
Calories per 100ml41.84kcal
Organic-
Brewing ProcessSlow fermentation
Vegan-
IngredientsWater, soybeans, salt, wheat flour, preservative (E202)
Best ForSeasoning, cooking
8
TypeShoyu
Country of OriginJapan
Gluten FreeNo
Sodium Content per 100ml9.1g
Calories per 100ml107kcal
Organic-
Brewing ProcessNaturally brewed
Vegan-
IngredientsSoybeans, wheat, water, salt
Best ForBasting, marinating, stir frying, roasting or as a dipping sauce
9

Lee Kum KeePremium Light Soy Sauce

£1.35

TypeLight
Country of OriginChina
Gluten FreeNo
Sodium Content per 100ml17.2g
Calories per 100ml92kcal
Organic-
Brewing ProcessNaturally brewed
VeganYes
IngredientsWater, salt, soybeans, sugar, wheat flour, flavour enhancers (E631, E627)
Best ForMarinade, dipping sauce, in stir-fries, dressing and in a sauce mix
10

Healthy BoySweet Soy Sauce

£5.29

TypeSweet
Country of OriginThailand
Gluten FreeNo
Sodium Content per 100ml4g
Calories per 100ml387.18kcal
Organic-
Brewing Process-
Vegan-
IngredientsRefined sugar, water, brown sugar, glucose syrup, soy sauce (water, soybeans, salt, wheat flour)
Best ForDipping, seasoning, stir frying

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Written and researched by Melanie McPhail

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    Sure, it’s lovely to go to a fancy restaurant and order some authentic, freshly-made noodles. But if you are on a strict budget, there’s nothing better than a cup or bowl of steaming instant noodles to keep you going. While they can have an unhealthy image, if you pay attention to the calories and perhaps add some toppings of your own you have yourself a nutritious and delicious meal.Nowadays there is a great variety available for us to purchase here in the UK, from Japanese Nissin instant ramen to spicy Korean noodles and other options from Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia. In this article we will introduce some points to consider when purchasing instant noodles, and share some recommendations available on Amazon, Tesco, and Asda.
    Food and drinks
  • 10 Best Frozen Pizzas UK 2021| Tesco, Dr. Oetker and More
    10 Best Frozen Pizzas UK 2021| Tesco, Dr. Oetker and More
    The frozen pizza has long been a staple in the British weekly shop - it’s quick, convenient, cheap, and satisfying. Many of us might remember the frozen pizzas we ate as children and teens, such as the basic Margherita with a sparse layer of cheese and a flavourless tomato base – but frozen pizzas have come a long way since then!Nowadays there is a massive variety of delicious frozen pizzas available in the freezer section of UK supermarkets, whether thin crust or thick crust, with traditional pepperoni or healthy veggie toppings, and using tomato or BBQ sauce – there are even gluten-free dough options for coeliacs! To learn more, keep reading as we introduce pizzas from brands such as Chicago Town, Dr. Oetker, and Goodfella’s, along with yummy supermarket-own brand products from Tesco and Asda.
    Food and drinks
  • Top 10 Best Home Brewing Kits in the UK 2021
    Top 10 Best Home Brewing Kits in the UK 2021
    Brewing beer is a fun and rewarding hobby, and buying a home brewing kit is a great way to create handcrafted ales and IPAs. With the rising popularity of craft beer and microbreweries in the UK, the number and variety of homebrew kits available on the market have significantly increased. Both an art and a science, these kits come with the perfect amount of grains, hops and yeast to yield your desired brew type, quantity, and strength.Some starter kits are designed for complete beginners, whereas others containing mainly ingredients will require a much higher experience level. Before you buy, you should carefully consider your options to make sure you pick the right one for a successful brew. Our buying guide will help you learn what to look for when buying a home brewing kit in the UK, including our recommendations for beer kits on Amazon and eBay.
    Food and drinks
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