Which Soy Sauce Brands Are Gluten-Free?

Various Brands Make Gluten-Free Soy Sauce

It usually comes as a shock to people who are new to the gluten-free diet when they find out that soy sauce usually isn't gluten-free. In fact, most brands contain wheat as their first ingredient. However, there is a type of soy sauce that's traditionally made without wheat—it's called tamari. There's a small (but growing) handful of tamari-style gluten-free soy sauce brands on the market. Here's what's available and where you can find it.

San-J Soy Sauce

Photo from San-J

San-J makes a wide variety of gluten-free soy sauce products, including regular and organic tamari-style soy sauce, plus regular and organic reduced-sodium gluten-free tamari-style soy sauce. You can purchase San-J in either bottles or in one-serving travel packs. San-J's products are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), and San-J tests its products to contain less than 5 parts per million of gluten, or at a level of GF-5 (for more information on testing levels, see Why Gluten PPM Numbers Matter). In addition, San-J does not use any gluten-based alcohols in its gluten-free soy sauce and other gluten-free products; the alcohols it uses are derived from corn and sugarcane.

Kikkoman Soy Sauce

Photo from Kikkoman

Kikkoman makes tamari-style soy sauce that it labels gluten-free, using only water, soybeans, rice and salt. You can find it in some grocery stores (especially larger supermarkets with extensive ethnic food selections), or you can buy it online (by the case or by the bottle). When buying Kikkoman soy sauce, make certain you get the gluten-free-marked bottle with the bright blue label. Kikkoman makes a wide variety of different soy sauces (including a second tamari-style soy sauce that's not gluten-free), and it's easy to pick up the wrong one if you're not careful. Kikkoman is considered gluten-free to 20 parts per million (GF-20).

Eden Organic Soy Sauce

Photo from Eden Foods

Eden Foods has two different organic tamari-style gluten-free (GF-20) soy sauce products—one made in the U.S. and one imported from Japan. Both are made from water, soybeans, grain alcohol, sea salt and koji (steamed rice with cultivated koji mold spores, an ingredient also used to make sake). The grain alcohol in the imported tamari is from rice, while the grain alcohol in the U.S. product comes from corn, according to the company.

Kari-Out Soy Sauce Packets

Photo from Kari-Out Company

Kari-Out, a company that specializes in small carry-out (get it?) packets of condiments, offers low-sodium gluten-free soy sauce. Kari-Out is headed by Paul Epstein, and both Epstein and his daughter, Lily, have celiac disease. You can purchase Kari-Out gluten-free soy sauce packets in bulk (400 at one time, which should be enough to keep you in soy sauce for a while), or you can look for them at your local Chinese restaurant.

Wan Ja Shan Soy Sauce

Photo from Wan Ja Shan

Wan Ja Shan, which is based in Taiwan, makes both regular and lower-sodium wheat-free tamari, using just water, soybeans, salt and (in the case of the lower-sodium version) vinegar. The company advertises that it brews its soy sauces in traditional fashion, allowing them to age for up to one year before they're bottled and marketed. Note that Wan Ja Shan advertises these as "wheat-free" and not necessarily "gluten-free"—there's no information on any steps taken to eliminate gluten cross-contamination during brewing and processing, so I'd advise caution with this product, especially if you're sensitive to trace gluten.

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