How To Make Soy Sauce Less Salty

Soy sauce is that kind of condiment (full of umami vibes), that makes cooking quite exciting and interesting, but sometimes, it can be just a tad too salty for our taste buds.

That’s why in this article, we’ll teach you all the possible tips and tricks to make soy sauce less salty without sacrificing its rich essence.

Is Soy Sauce Salty?

If you’ve ever wondered why soy sauce has a rich salty background complemented by soft umami, some sweetness and slight bitterness (what a flavorful combo by the way), the answer lies in its unique production process. 

So what happens at the production end?

The making of soy sauce begins with cooked soybeans and roasted, crushed wheat, which are mixed with mold cultures such as Aspergillus oryzae, and other microorganisms like Lactobacillus to form koji

This mixture is now left in a controlled temperature for lengthy periods of time to facilitate the growth of these cultures as well as to accumulate more spores from the environment before salt is added, or the koji is submerged into a brine solution to aid fermentation.

The fermentation process relies on salt to develop complex flavors and achieve that dark, rich color we associate with soy sauce, but what happens as a consequence is that the final product ends up with quite a high amount of salt in it.

How Much Sodium Does Soy Sauce And Low Sodium Soy Sauce Have?

After the fermentation process, soy sauce typically contains around 14 to 18 percent sodium content. To put that into perspective:

1 tablespoon of regular soy sauce contains about 920 milligrams of sodium (38% of the daily value), while the low-sodium variety has about 40 to 50 percent less sodium – which equates to roughly about 450 milligrams per tablespoon (17 to 29% of the daily recommended value).

For packets, a single 6mL packet of regular soy sauce from a popular brand like Kikkoman contains 370 milligrams of sodium, whereas the reduced-sodium version has approximately 230 milligrams – a reduction of about 37 percent.

The recommendation from the FDA is to consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, which would take you about 2.5 tablespoons of regular soy sauce to achieve that or 5 to 6 tablespoons of the low sodium variety — see how easy things can get messy?

On top of that, as the current situation is, the average American almost always exceeds this amount in just one day – which means using soy sauce frequently would almost double your chances of surpassing that limit daily.

That’s why moderation is key when it comes to incorporating soy sauce into your meals to ensure that you aren’t consuming more than the daily recommended value and stressing your system to get rid of the excess. 

How Do You Reduce The Saltiness Of Soy Sauce

If you’ve ever been excited to dig into a dish, only to find that the soy sauce has made it too salty, you’re not alone! We know how painful it is. 

While for that particular dish, there’s only so much you can do, there are various ways to prevent future occurrences or better still, reduce the saltiness of soy sauce.

Dilute with Water or Other Liquids

One of the easiest methods to reduce the overall concentration of salt in soy sauce is by simply diluting it with plain water. 

Of course you’ll end up with far more soy sauce that you started with, but the concentration of salt per whatever measurement your recipe calls for as well as the overall potency of the sauce will also reduce. 

To make sure you strike the perfect balance between reduced salt concentration and retaining most of the potency, use only a little amount of water. 

You can also experiment with other liquids such as sweeteners, citrus juices (lemon or lime) and vinegar which also contain water in them. 

These not only help decrease the salt concentration but also add complexity to your dish’s flavor profile based on their own flavors. 

If you like, you can also go the route of oil which can also increase the volume and subsequently decrease concentration which will lead to a less salty experience.

Adjust Your Recipe

If you’re cooking a meal from scratch, consider using less soy sauce than what’s called for in the recipe, especially when you’re going to be using salt and other salt based ingredients!

Opt for Low-Sodium Alternatives

When shopping for soy sauce, keep an eye out for brands labelled as “low sodium” as these options contain far less amount of salt than the regular variety while still delivering that same savory umami kick we all love about soy sauce. 

How Do You Make Soy Sauce Taste Better?

Rather than attempting to alter the taste of soy sauce itself, which could potentially destroy any meal that specifically relies on the natural qualities of soy sauce for flavors, consider embracing its rich and versatile taste to make dishes taste amazing. 

If you’re making something else that isn’t affected, so much, with the presence of soy sauce however, you can make the sauce taste even better in a way that complements the dish or application you’re planning to use it in. 

Here’s how to use soy sauce as a foundation for creating harmonious flavor combinations in your cooking.


Balancing the saltiness of soy sauce with sweet components like honey, maple syrup or brown sugar can create a delightful contrast that makes so much sense — that is the whole idea of thick soy sauce by the way! 


Introducing an acidic element like lime juice or rice vinegar can cut through the richness of soy sauce and brighten up your dish.


Ingredients such as garlic, ginger, scallions and lemongrass work wonders when combined with soy sauce by adding depth and scent to your dishes.


Spice things up by incorporating chili peppers or hot sauces into your recipe – their heat will help balance out the savory notes of soy sauce while adding an exciting kick.

You can also try experimenting with different types of soy sauce.

There are various types of them available on the market today – from light to dark and even specialty options like tamari (gluten-free) or shoyu (Japanese-style).

Each has their unique flavors which brings specific character to your dishes; therefore, don’t hesitate to experiment with different varieties until you find one that suits your palate perfectly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Counteract Too Much Soy Sauce In Fried Rice?

If you’ve accidentally added too much soy sauce to your fried rice, simply heat up the rice and gradually add small amounts of water to dilute the overall flavor. Be cautious not to add too much water, and adjust other seasonings as needed to maintain a well-balanced taste.

Is Dark Soy Sauce Salty?

While all varieties of soy sauce have a certain level of saltiness, dark soy sauce is actually less salty than its lighter counterparts. 

This is because it undergoes a longer fermentation process, allowing it to develop more complex flavors while losing some of its salt content. Additionally, dark soy sauce often contains added molasses, which contributes to its distinct sugary taste and brown darker color.

Is Light Soy Sauce Less Salty?

Contrary to what you might think; light being smaller, light soy sauce is typically the saltiest type of soy sauce. It’s often used as a flavoring agent rather than a dipping sauce due to its high salt content. 

Light soy sauce undergoes a shorter fermentation period compared to dark soy sauce and is then pressed to separate the liquid from solids. This results in a less complex flavor profile thatemphasizes its inherent saltiness.

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