Is Soy Sauce Gluten-Free?

Only some brands of soy sauce are gluten-free, so shop carefully

soy sauce with chopsticks on bamboo placemat

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It often shocks people who are new to the gluten-free diet that soy sauce usually isn't gluten-free. Most brands contain wheat as one of their primary ingredients. Adding wheat to soy sauce is a traditional Japanese method and Chinese soy sauce makers have followed suit. Most soy sauce is in fact, a 50/50 mixture of soy and wheat. Soy sauce that includes wheat is sweeter than soy-only types.

Although wheat is used in soy sauce, it may still be safe for some who are gluten-intolerant. This is due to the fermenting process which may break up the proteins that cause an allergy or intolerance. However, more research is needed and you are better safe than sorry if you are concerned about your exposure to any amount of gluten.

There is soy sauce called tamari that's traditionally made without wheat. There's a small (but growing) number 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

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 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 five parts per million of gluten, or at a level of GF-5. Also, 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 sugarcane. You can find San-J products locally or buy them online.

Kikkoman Soy Sauce

Kikkoman makes several gluten-free products, including a tamari-style soy sauce that uses only water, soybeans, rice, and salt; a premium tamari sauce made from water, salt, soybeans, and sugar; a sauce with 50% less sodium; and a sweet soy sauce for rice.

You can find these soy sauces in some grocery stores, or you can buy them online (by the case or by the bottle). When buying Kikkoman soy sauce, make sure you get a bottle marked with a gluten-free label. Kikkoman makes a wide variety of different soy sauces, and it's easy to pick up the wrong one if you're not careful.

Eden Organic Soy Sauce

Eden Foods has two different organic tamari-style gluten-free soy sauce products—one made in the United States and one imported from Japan. The sauce crafted in the U.S. is made from water, organic soybeans, organic alcohol, salt, and koji (steamed rice with cultivated koji mold spores, an ingredient also used to make sake).

The imported soy sauce is made from organic soybeans, sea salt, water, organic alcohol, organic soybean flour, and koji. You can buy Eden Foods soy sauces online and in a wide variety of grocery stores.

Kari-Out Soy Sauce Packets

Kari-Out, a company that specializes in carry-out (get it?) packaging and condiments, offers low-sodium gluten-free soy sauce. Kari-Out's president, Paul Epstein, and his daughter, Lily, both have celiac disease. You can purchase Kari-Out gluten-free soy sauce packets in bulk at their website (450 at one time, or by the pail), or you can look for them at your local Chinese restaurant.

Wan Ja Shan Soy Sauce

Wan Ja Shan is based in Taiwan, but its products are brewed in New York. The company makes both regular and lower-sodium gluten- and wheat-free tamari soy sauces, using water, organic soybeans, salt, and (in the case of the lower-sodium version) organic vinegar.A

The company advertises that it traditionally brews its soy sauces, allowing them to age for up to one year before they're bottled and marketed. Note that the wheat-free version may not necessarily be "gluten-free." You can find Wan Ja Shan soy sauces at Whole Foods, H.E.B., Harris Teeter, Sprouts Farmers Markets, and 99 Ranch Markets, or purchase them online.

A Word From Verywell

Soy sauce is a salty, umami enhancing sauce that's popular in Japanese, Chinese, and other Asian cuisines. While the fermentation process of soy sauce may nearly eliminate all the gluten proteins, it's still a risk to consume soy sauce brewed with wheat. Choose from gluten-free soy sauce brands to keep yourself as safe as possible.

4 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Beyond Celiac. Is soy gluten free?.

  2. San-J. Is all soy sauce gluten free?

  3. Li H, Byrne K, Galiamov R, et al. Using LC-MS to examine the fermented food products vinegar and soy sauce for the presence of gluten. Food Chemistry. 2018;254:302-308. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2018.02.023

  4. Gluten Intolerance Group. GFCO Buyer & Distributor Guide 2019.

By Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson is a medical journalist and an expert in celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and the gluten-free diet.