What’s the Best Soy Sauce? Our Test Kitchen Pros Found Out.
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Looking for the best soy sauce for your go-to recipes? Our Test Kitchen tested nine popular brands to find the options suited for sushi, yakitori, potstickers and more.
Many of us have refrigerator doors packed with condiments and sauces. Sure, we might fill these slots with bottles of trendy new condiments, but there are very few that we keep stocked there consistently. Ketchup, mayonnaise and hot sauce are all refrigerator fixtures—as is soy sauce.
This Asian condiment is made by fermenting or hydrolyzing soybeans (that’s just breaking down the beans with acid). The result is the salty, umami sauce that we reach for when enjoying sushi or making homemade pho.
How We Found the Best Soy Sauce
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Like so many other condiments, soy sauce comes in many, many varieties, each with its own signature flavor. Now, do you know which soy sauce brand you want to add to your dishes for your own trademark flavor? Our Test Kitchen sampled nine popular brands to find the best soy sauce.
Each brand was sampled blindly by our Test Kitchen team—both solo and with white rice. Our team was looking for the right balance of salt and umami. These aren’t the only tastes present in soy sauce, though, so our culinary gang kept careful notes on any other flavors they detected. Soy can sometimes taste citrusy, coffee-like or even funky—it is fermented after all!
Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Soy Sauce Brands
Best Soy Sauce for Everyday: Kikkoman Soy Sauce
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If you only keep one brand of soy sauce in your fridge door, let it be Kikkoman. This sauce is available at nearly every supermarket and big box store, so you’re never far from one of the best soy sauce options.
Our Test Kitchen praised Kikkoman for how well it blended sweetness, saltiness and a bit of acidic vinegar flavor—”exactly how soy sauce should taste” according to one set of notes. Overall, this sauce was nicely balanced and one that our testers could see themselves reaching for to make Easy Pad Thai or Grilled Huli Huli Chicken.
As a soy sauce, though, the primary flavor was salt, and that’s just fine. This is precisely the flavor you need when making great dishes to bring out tastes in all the other ingredients. Just remember: When using generous amounts of soy sauce in your recipes, you can omit the salt.
Best Soy Sauce for Dipping: Yamaroku
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While soy sauce is used plenty in recipes like Slow-Cooker Beef and Broccoli, you can’t forget how important soy sauce is as a condiment on its own. After all, it’s served up alongside our favorite sushi rolls and potstickers for dipping and dunking.
So what bottle is our Test Kitchen reaching for after making a batch of homemade potstickers? That’d be Yamaroku. This sauce was just a bit thicker than its competitors so it really clung to every tasty morsel we dipped into it.
But this sauce is more than just the perfect consistency for dunking. Yamaroku soy sauce was strong with the right balance of cider vinegar-like acidity, sweetness and salt. This well-balanced sauce is a must for leveling up your regular takeout dishes and at-home creations.
Best Soy Sauce for Stir-Frys: Lee Kum Kee Premium Soy Sauce
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Sometimes our Test Kitchen pros taste an ingredient and the perfect application for it comes right to mind (like how some San Marzano tomatoes just scream tomato soup). As soon as our testers sampled Lee Kum Kee Premium Soy Sauce, they thought: stir-fry.
This soy sauce wasn’t overly salty and had notes of sweet citrus and coffee-like acidity. Combined with the right level of sodium and plenty of umami flavor, our testers were going back for second samples of this sauce with images of homemade stir-frys dancing in their heads, including this top-rated Stir-Fry Chicken Lo Mein.
Most Unique Soy Sauce: Bluegrass Soy Sauce
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We rely on soy sauce to add savory flavor to dishes, but Bluegrass Soy Sauce adds much more than just that.
Fermented in bourbon barrels, Bluegrass soy sauce had a flavor unlike any other brand we tested. In addition to the salty, savory notes you’d expect from soy sauce, this brand also had some molasses and fruity flavors coming through making for complex and satisfying flavors.
It might not be a typical soy sauce that you’d spot on the table at your favorite sushi spot, but this brand was tasty and satisfying.
What to Make with Soy Sauce
With one of our Test Kitchen-Preferred soy sauces in hand, you’re ready to get cooking. There are so many delicious recipes with soy sauce that it can be hard to know where to start. If you ask our Test Kitchen, they’d suggest these sticky and tasty Ginger Orange Chicken Wings or this five-star Hawaiian Fried Rice.
Those recipes are just the start, though! Reach for the best soy sauce any time you want to add a touch of umami flavor and salt to your go-to dishes, sauces, marinades and dressings.