What Are Coconut Aminos?

What are coconut aminos? They’re the soy sauce alternative everyone is talking about! Okay, maybe not everyone. But if you’re reading this article, it’s probably because someone mentioned them at one point in time. Read on to find out everything you could ever want to know about coconut aminos. 

I love soy sauce. I pour that stuff all over everything. I eat fried rice purely as a soy sauce delivery system. Sometimes, when I get done soy saucing my fried rice, it looks more like fried rice soup. But it turns out soy sauce isn’t for everybody. People with gluten-sensitivities and people on paleo diets avoid the stuff, and folks watching their sodium intake should use it pretty sparingly. So what are all the cool kids using instead? Coconut aminos. Wait, what are coconut aminos? What is in coconut aminos? Do coconut aminos actually taste like soy sauce? What do coconut aminos really taste like? What are coconut aminos used for? Let’s dive into this soy sauce substitute and try not to get too salty.

What are coconut aminos? 

Coconut aminos are a dark-colored, salty, savory, seasoning sauce. Coconut aminos are a popular substitute seasoning to use instead of soy sauce as they provide a comparable, umami-filled richness without any soy or gluten. With the whole “coconut” thing, it sounds like they would give your food a tropical flavor and make everything taste like a savory Piña Colada. But don’t sweat it. Coconut aminos don’t actually taste like coconuts because they aren’t made from coconuts. Did I just blow your mind?

What is in coconut aminos? 

Coconut aminos are made from the sap of the coconut palm. That’s the palm tree on which coconuts grow. The sap is aged and the naturally occurring sugar within it ferments. After fermentation, it’s mixed with sea salt and, voila, coconut aminos!

What do coconut aminos taste like?

Okay, so we know that coconut aminos don’t taste like coconuts and that they’re often used as a soy sauce substitute. Coconut aminos must taste like soy sauce, right? Not exactly. While coconut aminos have a strong, savory, umami flavor like soy sauce, many people say that coconut aminos taste much milder and much sweeter. While they aren’t a perfect substitute for soy sauce, they still taste great in salad dressings, dipping sauces, and marinades. Some folks compare their sweetness to a thin teriyaki sauce

What are coconut aminos used for? 

Coconut aminos are primarily used in the same way as soy sauce. Whisk a few tablespoons into a salad dressing or sauce, dip your dumplings or sushi into some. Use them to amp up a marinade. 

The reason that coconut aminos are a popular soy sauce substitute is that they’re gluten and soy free with less sodium, but they have an umami flavor that’s comparable to soy sauce. A tablespoon of soy sauce has 878 milligrams of sodium. Compare that to a tablespoon of coconut aminos sauce at about 198 mg of sodium. If you listen to the FDA, the daily recommended intake of sodium is less than 2,300 mg. 

Don’t confuse coconut aminos for liquid aminos, which are sometimes made from soy and they have a higher sodium content. Personally, I like to mix soy sauce, tamari, liquid aminos, and coconut aminos together and get a taste of everything. I call it my super sodium shake. It’s not like an ice cream shake; I call it that because it makes me shake uncontrollably.

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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