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Why Is Soy Sauce So Salty?

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Has it suddenly dawned on your that Soy Sauce is particularly salty; sometimes too much so. Are you wondering whether it is supposed to be like this and if there are any ways to reduce the saltiness to make it more appetizing? Well, you’ll be glad you stopped by. Here is all you need to know.

So, why is Soy sauce so salty? Soy sauce is naturally very salty – with it being a key ingredient of this condiment and essential for the fermentation process and desired taste. Sometimes, however, it can be the way that it was made or prepared; if too much of the liquid is boiled off it can concentrate the saltiness too much.

It’s actually salty by design, as we shall soon see.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be. So keep reading for that too.

With this in mind, it is generally advised to use this particular condiment more sparingly.

You don’t need much as you already likely know.

A little goes a long way.

And that is because of the way that it is made…

Is Soy Sauce High In Salt?

Most brands and recipes of Soy Sauce are naturally high in salt. In fact, salt is one of the four primary ingredients and is essential for controlling the growth of bacteria during the brewing and fermentation process and acting as a preservative.

So, it’s not just highly naturally occurring, it’s intended to be that way.

That’s because salt serves an important purpose in the production, of this condiment.

And while salt is great for preservation (it doesn’t really ever expire), it’s also important for flavor and taste too.

If we take a look at the popular, global brand Kikkoman, we soon see the high presence of salt in the ingredients list:

Water, Soybeans, Wheat, Salt

But what does all this mean?

Well, your average Soy sauce brand contains quite a bit of sodium:

Just 1 tablespoon of soy sauce contains nearly 40% of the daily recommended 2,300 milligrams of sodium


So you do need to be mindful. Although, the high saltiness of this sauce will likely mean you only use a little anyway.

Which Soy Sauce Is Not As Salty?

Lighter soy sauces, reduced and ‘less sodium’ soy sauces are naturally much less salty.

In fact, these soy sauces often have as little or as much as 50% less sodium than the regular varieties.

And this is purposefully achieved by removing the salt after the fermentation process; so once it has mostly done its job.

The result is a soy sauce that is still rich in flavor, aroma, and color, but with much less sodium left to consume.

Here is an example of the popular Kikkoman brand’s low-sodium variety on Amazon.

How Do You Make Soy Sauce Less Salty?

The best ways to make Soy sauce less salty is to add water, opt for a low-sodium lighter variety, or add other ingredients to the soy to dilute the saltiness.

First and foremost, perhaps the most simple thing to do is add a little bit of water to your Soy sauce; you don’t need much but a few splashes here and there can have a big impact.

Otherwise, opt for a lighter Soy sauce or reduce sodium variety (and as discussed in the section above).

When looking for soy sauces to buy, you’ll actually notice there are several options. But generally, the lighter the color, the less salty it should be.

Last but not least, you can dilute it by being a little creative. You can mix the soy sauce with chili oil, rice vinegar, or freshly chopped herbs such as cilantro.

Or you could add some brown sugar or other means of sweetness to balance out the high sodium content.

Failing all this, perhaps the best thing you can do to control the sodium content is to make some soy sauce yourself at home.

Opt for ingredients such as molasses, reduced-sodium beef broth, and vinegar. That tends to provide the flavors without resulting in a high-salt condiment you would otherwise get by buying it pre-made!


Soy sauce is salty.

That’s just the way it is – it’s how it was designed and it has purposeful benefits too.

Besides, soy sauce actually originated as a means of stretching out salt, which was a particularly expensive commodity in Ancient Asia.

With all this being said, this does not mean you necessarily have to load up on the sodium.

Thankfully there are alternatives; so whether you are doing it for health reasons or just don’t like the flavors it introduces to your food altogether, soy sauce is definitely not off the menu.

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