The best low sodium soy sauce isn’t really low sodium. That’s why you’ll see a lot of bottles labeled “less sodium” soy sauce and “lower sodium” soy sauce. Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce, for instance, still has 590 milligrams of sodium in a tablespoon, and that does not a low sodium food make, at least by government health standards. Suffice it to say, if you’re on a low sodium diet for health reasons, you probably want to steer clear of soy sauce altogether.
But for the rest of us, lower sodium soy sauce is great. It’s still plenty salty and flavorful. It adds toastiness and umami to everything from fried rice to sushi. We rounded up all of the best brands and tasted them right off of a spoon to find the best tasting low sodium soy sauce you can buy—and it isn’t Kikkoman.
- Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce (590 mg)
Kikkoman is the default option at pretty much every sushi restaurant (my favorite local spot actually stocks the low sodium variety, specifically). It’s very good soy sauce, and the less sodium variety is a little less of a salt bomb in a good way. It’s familiar, a little bit astringent, and very umami. If you’re using this to cook, you really only need a few drops. It’s not the best low sodium soy sauce, but it’s a classic for a reason!
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- La Choy Lite Soy Sauce (660 mg)
I’m convinced this is the soy sauce we must have kept in our fridge when I was a kid, because it tastes so pleasantly nostalgic to me. La Choy—purveyor of canned chicken chow mein—may not be the most authentic Asian food brand at the store (the brand got its start in Detroit), but they make the best low sodium soy sauce—ahem, lite soy sauce—if you want something a little different. The umami is almost seaweedy tasting; my colleague Jordan Myrick thought it tasted “more refined” than other soy sauces we tried. It reminds me of the soy sauce that comes in the little packets with a panda on them when you order Chinese food. In that spirit, drizzle this on some nice, hot white rice.
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- Kimlan Lower Sodium Soy Sauce (650 mg)
This Taiwan-made soy sauce is on the sweeter end of the soy sauce spectrum. It’s very dark and has an almost tomatoey roastiness to it. It wasn’t my personal favorite, but my colleagues all really liked it. This would be great in a stir fry or as a dip for dumplings with just a little bit of sesame oil in the mix. It’s the best low sodium soy sauce if you like it dark and sweet.
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- Lee Kum Kee Less Sodium Soy Sauce (500 mg)
Whenever we try Lee Kum Kee sauces in our taste tests, they pretty much always make the ranking. We love their hoisin, their sweet and sour sauce, their sweet chili sauce—and now we’re happy to report they make the best tasting low sodium soy sauce we tried in our taste test. It actually tastes like fermented soy beans. And toasted rice. It’s complex! And it just happens to have less sodium than any other soy sauce on this list. I think it actually tastes better because it has less sodium than its competitors. If you come across Lee Kum Kee, pick up a bottle.
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Best of the Best
Other products we tasted: Signature Kitchens Less Sodium Soy Sauce, O Organics Less Sodium Soy Sauce, Happy Belly Lite Soy Sauce, 365 Organic Less Sodium Shoyu Soy Sauce