soy sauce in bottle on table

Is Gluten in Soy: The Truth Behind the Label

Introduction: Is Gluten in Soy

Welcome Lovies! In this article, we will learn about the gluten content of soy sauce, a common ingredient in Asian cooking, and discuss the best gluten-free alternatives. We will look at traditional soy sauce, tamari soy sauce, Kikkoman soy sauce and coconut aminos, as well as how to safely enjoy soy sauce on a gluten free diet. Let’s get the facts straight! We also will touch on how to recognize the signs of gluten intolerance and how to manage it. So let’s get started!

Gluten in Soy Sauce

It’s important to understand what gluten actually is. Gluten is a protein found in certain grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. Regular soy sauce usually contains gluten because it is made from a wheat-based broth. However, there are alternatives like tamari soy sauce, Kikkoman soy sauce, and coconut aminos, which are gluten-free. By understanding the different types of soy sauce and how they are made, individuals can make informed decisions and keep themselves safe and healthy.

Traditional Soy Sauce

Traditional soy sauce is a liquid condiment made from fermented soybeans, wheat, salt, and water. It is dark brown in color and is used as a flavor enhancer in many Asian dishes. Although the main ingredient is soybeans, does contain wheat, which is a common source of gluten. While traditional soy sauce does contain some level of gluten, it is not typically considered to be a high-risk food for those with gluten intolerance. Therefore, traditional soy sauce has been usually tolerated by those individuals following a gluten-free diet. However, it is still important to be aware of the potential for cross-contamination in restaurants and other locations that serve traditional soy sauce. It is always best to check with the establishment before consuming it.

Tamari Soy Sauce

Tamari soy sauce is a type of soy sauce that is made from fermented soybeans and is traditionally used in Japanese cooking. It is often referred to as wheat-free soy sauce because it is made without wheat, making it a great option for those on a gluten-free diet. While it does not contain wheat, it does contain trace amounts of gluten from the fermentation process. However, the amount of gluten in tamari is usually much lower than the amount found in regular soy sauce, making it a safer option for those on a gluten-free diet.

Kikkoman Soy Sauce

Kikkoman is one of the most popular brands of soy sauce available. It is made from a blend of soybeans, wheat, and salt, and is fermented and aged for up to six months. While Kikkoman soy sauce does contain wheat, the amount of gluten present is minimal and is considered safe for those with gluten sensitivity. Kikkoman soy sauce is not considered gluten-free, so those with celiac or an autoimmune disorder must be careful when consuming. To be sure, it is best to check the label of the specific product before consuming.

Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos is a popular gluten-free soy sauce alternative as it is naturally gluten-free. It is made from fermented coconut blossom sap, which is naturally high in essential amino acids. Unlike many soy sauce products, coconut aminos does not contain wheat or soy, so it is a great alternative for those on a gluten-free diet. Coconut aminos is also lower in sodium than traditional soy sauce, making it a healthier choice. It has a slightly sweet flavor, making it a great addition to many dishes. Coconut aminos is a great option for those looking for a gluten-free soy sauce alternative.

Eating Soy Sauce

When it comes to incorporating soy sauce into your diet on a gluten free diet, it all comes down to understanding the ingredients and the sources. Regular soy sauce often contains wheat, which is a source of gluten, so it’s important to read the label and make sure it is free of wheat or other gluten-containing ingredients. If you’re unsure, look for brands that are labeled “gluten free” to ensure that it meets your dietary needs.

Other gluten-free alternatives to soy sauce include tamari (made with little to no wheat), Kikkoman soy sauce (made with a wheat-free brewing process), and coconut aminos (made from fermented coconut sap) are all great options. Try experimenting with different flavors to find the one that’s right for you. With all of these great options, eating soy sauce on a gluten free diet has never been easier.

After traditional soy sauce, there are other soy-based ingredients that people often inquire about. One such ingredient is soy lecithin, which is commonly used as an emulsifier in various food products. While it’s derived from soy, its gluten content typically depends on the manufacturing process. However, this article focuses primarily on soy sauce.

Another ingredient that’s derived from soy is soy protein. It’s used in a variety of food products as a protein booster or meat substitute. If you’re exploring gluten-free options, it’s essential to check the label for any mention of wheat or gluten when considering products containing soy protein.

While this article primarily discusses soy sauce, it’s worth noting that other soy products, like soy milk, are also popular. Soy milk is often gluten-free, but like with any other product, it’s crucial to read the label and ensure no gluten-containing additives have been used.

Gluten Content

Figuring out how much gluten is in soy sauce can seem tricky. The good news is that there are ways to test for the exact gluten content of a product to make sure it fits within your dietary needs. In the US, any food product that contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten can be labeled as “gluten free”; however, because soy sauce can contain higher levels of gluten, the labeling laws have recently changed. Food products containing 20-100 ppm of gluten can now be labeled “gluten-free” if the source of the gluten is barley and wheat, both common ingredients in the production of soy sauce. To make sure your soy sauce is gluten-free, look for a certified gluten-free label or test the product for gluten content.

Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance is a big concern for many people, especially those who are following a gluten-free diet. While the amount of gluten in soy sauce may not cause an issue for most, those who are sensitive to gluten may experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. It is important to be aware of gluten content, particularly if you are following a gluten-free diet.

If you are gluten intolerant, it is best to avoid soy sauce altogether and opt for a gluten-free alternative, such as tamari soy sauce, coconut aminos, or a vegetable-based alternative. Additionally, it is always a good idea to check the label of any product you are considering to ensure it is gluten-free. Thankfully, in the United States, any product that is labeled as gluten-free must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten, making it easier than ever to find gluten-free options.


When it comes to the gluten content in soy sauce, it’s important to get the facts straight for those maintaining a gluten-free diet. Regular soy sauce almost always contains gluten, while tamari and Kikkoman soy sauces can be gluten-free depending on the brand. Coconut aminos is another popular option for a soy sauce alternative. However, it’s best to double-check the labels of any soy sauce product to make sure it does not contain any gluten-containing ingredients. For those with gluten intolerance, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms and take action to manage the condition.

Here at Curry Girls Kitchen, we are passionate about promoting healthy living and providing tips on how to maintain a gluten-free diet. To learn more about healthy living and delicious gluten-free recipes, make sure to sign up for our email newsletter!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does soy contain gluten?

Soy in its natural form does not contain gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. The presence of gluten in soy products, particularly soy sauce, stems from the inclusion of wheat during the fermentation process. It’s essential to distinguish between pure soy products and those combined with gluten-containing grains.

Is there a lot of gluten in soy sauce?

The gluten content in soy sauce varies based on the type and brand. Traditional soy sauce is made from a mixture of soybeans and wheat, leading to the presence of gluten. Some soy sauces, like tamari, might have trace amounts due to the manufacturing process even if wheat isn’t a primary ingredient. Always check the label or the manufacturer’s details for specific gluten content.

Is gluten in soy or wheat?

Gluten is a protein primarily found in wheat, rye, and barley. Soy itself does not naturally contain gluten. However, many soy products, especially soy sauce, might have gluten because of the inclusion of wheat during production. It’s always best to check ingredient lists to clarify the source of gluten.

Are gluten and soy allergies the same?

No, gluten and soy allergies are not the same. Gluten allergy or sensitivity primarily relates to the adverse reactions some individuals have to the gluten protein in wheat and other grains. Soy allergy is a reaction to proteins found specifically in soybeans or soy-based products. While they are separate allergies, it’s not uncommon for individuals to have multiple food sensitivities.

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