I’ve personally tried and tested a range of different coconut aminos substitutes to find the best one.
Whatever your reason for needing a substitute is and whatever dish you’re cooking.
Here’s the quick answer.
The best substitute for coconut aminos is liquid aminos or tamari. Combining balsamic vinegar and fish sauce is great for a gluten and soy free option. If you’re making a Japanese dish, miso paste is your best bet. If you’re not gluten sensitive, stick with soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
I whipped up a classic stir-fry sauce and tested eight different coconut aminos substitutes.
Coconut aminos is a condiment derived from fermented coconut sap and it’s popularly used as a gluten and soy-free alternative to soy sauce. Like soy sauce, it adds a salty-sweet twist and umami boost to dishes.
But it can be too sweet, or you might not be able to have coconut aminos either! So what other options are out there?
Here’s what I tested and the verdicts:
|Substitute||Sub 1 tsp of coconut aminos for||Verdict|
|Liquid aminos||1 tsp||10/10|
|Balsamic vinegar + fish sauce||½ tsp balsamic vinegar + ½ tsp fish sauce||9/10|
|Miso paste||½ teaspoon||8/10|
|Soy sauce||½ tsp soy sauce + ½ tsp water||8/10|
|Worcestershire sauce||½ teaspoon||8/10|
|Teriyaki sauce||1 teaspoon||7/10|
|No substitute||add extra salt||7/10|
Common dishes that use coconut aminos and the best substitutes:
Here are some common use cases for coconut aminos and the best substitutes for those situations:
- Soups, stews, stir-fries: liquid aminos, soy sauce, tamari, or Worcestershire sauce
- Marinades, dips, dressings: liquid aminos, tamari, or balsamic vinegar + fish sauce
Liquid aminos was the best substitute I tried in terms of flavor – it was a little saltier than the coconut version but nothing drastic.
And you can always hold back on adding any extra salt to the dish if you’re worried about it being too salty.
It’s gluten free (yay!), but not soy free so sadly it’s not suitable for soy-free diets.
A big plus is that it’s very common in stores! A famous brand you might have heard of is Braggs.
Taste and texture
Its flavor profile and consistency is very similar to coconut aminos but it’s not as sweet.
1 teaspoon of coconut aminos = 1 teaspoon of liquid aminos
Another great gluten-free option is tamari, although it’s also not soy-free.
You’ll often see it grouped together with coconut aminos as a great alternative to soy sauce (and with good reason!)
In terms of flavor, it’s bolder and richer than both coconut aminos and soy sauce so you might not need to add as much to your dish.
Taste and texture
It’s got a similar sweet undertone to coconut aminos, but overall it has a bolder umami flavor.
1 teaspoon of coconut aminos = ½ teaspoon of tamari
Balsamic vinegar and fish sauce
This combo isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a coconut aminos substitute, but both condiments are generally gluten and soy-free. Yay!
And you might already have them in your cupboard.
This fish sauce brings the salty flair, while the sweet-sour notes of the balsamic vinegar refines the flavor and brings more depth.
Taste your condiment as you make it to get the perfect balance.
Taste and texture
You can definitely tell it’s not coconut aminos, but it’s perfect for restricted diets.
1 teaspoon of coconut aminos = ¼ teaspoon fish sauce and ¾ teaspoon balsamic vinegar (adjust to your taste).
Miso paste is an umami-loaded seasoning that’s generally gluten-free as long as it’s made with just soybeans and rice (remember to check the labels).
There are a few varieties and it won’t make too much difference which one you go for, but the general rule is lighter varieties have a more prominent layer of sweetness.
While darker varieties (like red) are more salty.
Psst… you can mix in some water if you want a saucy consistency.
Taste and texture
Pretty similar to coconut aminos in terms of flavor in that it will bring an umami hit.
1 teaspoon of coconut aminos = ½ teaspoon of miso paste
If you’re not using coconut aminos for dietary reasons, you can simply swap it for good old soy sauce.
Soy sauce is cheap, readily available, and delicious!
It’s definitely more salty than coconut aminos and contains a lot more sodium, but you can always add less to your dish if you’re worried about your salt intake.
Or go for a low-sodium soy sauce brand.
Taste and texture
Adds the same savory flavor to your dish, but pretty salty.
1 teaspoon of coconut aminos = ½ teaspoon soy sauce + ½ teaspoon water
Another option if you’re not gluten or soy-sensitive is Worcestershire sauce (the most popular brand Lea and Perrins is safe for those on a gluten-free diet).
Vinegar, molasses, and anchovies are high on this condiment’s ingredients list, giving you a sour, sweet, and salty taste.
It’s too strong to be a dipping sauce, but it added a superb flavor to my stir-fry sauce. And you can always try diluting it with water to mellow out the flavor.
Taste and measurement
It has a different flavor profile to coconut aminos, but it will add depth to your dish.
1 teaspoon of coconut aminos = ½ teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
Ready-made teriyaki sauce can also work as a swap for coconut aminos.
It’s got unami in abundance, but it’s also very sweet so be wary of adding too much. Or think about compensating with extra salt (or even some vinegar).
If you have a sweet tooth it actually works really well as a dip for sushi, especially if you thin it out with a splash of vinegar or mix in some wasabi.
Taste and texture
It’s syrupy and quite a bit sweeter than coconut aminos.
1 teaspoon of coconut aminos = 1 teaspoon of teriyaki sauce
Leave it out
When all else fails, you can leave out coconut aminos and compensate with seasoning or other umami rich ingredients like mushrooms.
Start adding more salt in small quantities and keep tasting until you get the flavor you want.
Psst… want to get that umami hit? Get some MSG umami seasoning for your store cupboard.
Texture and consistency
The dish will still taste nice but won’t have the same depth of flavors as with coconut aminos.
1 teaspoon of coconut aminos = ½ teaspoon salt
Other coconut aminos substitutes
These substitutes didn’t make it to my main recommendation list, but if you’ve not found anything suitable yet you can try these options!
- Oyster sauce: oyster sauce is made from fermented oyster extract, and has a rich, savoury flavor with caramel-like undertones. It will add umami to your dish, bit most varieties contain soy and gluten.
- Soyaki sauce: soyaki sauce is a mash up between soy sauce and teriyaki sauce. – and it will generally contain soy sauce as an ingredient so isn’t goot for those avoiding it! It’s also less popular than a lot of the substitutes on this list.
- Maggi seasoning sauce: this complexly flavored seasoning sauce is super addictive and a really effective flavor enhancer, but it’s not gluten free.
- Dried shiitake mushrooms: mushrooms are well known for being packed with umami. So if you’re making a stir fry, you can skip the coconut aminos and simply add some mushrooms in! For the best flavor, go with dried shiitake mushrooms. Or mushroom paste.
DIY coconut aminos
Did you know you can also make coconut aminos from scratch? It’s great if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative and it won’t take long.
Real Life Simple Good has an excellent gluten-free recipe that only requires five main ingredients:
- beef broth
- balsamic vinegar
- fish sauce
- tomato paste
- onion powder
- maple syrup (optional)
- sea salt (to taste)
Just throw everything in one pot, simmer for 10 minutes, and you’ll have homemade coconut aminos that’ll last you two weeks.
Make a soy-free stir fry sauce
Coconut aminos is often used in things like stir-fries to replace soy sauce.
But if you’re trying to avoid soy and aren’t a fan of coconut aminos there are plenty of other options for sauces that don’t have soy sauce as an ingredient. For example you can have a peanut or honey base.
Here are some examples:
- No-frills Kitchen’s stir-fry sauce
- Honey garlic sauce
- This Unmillenial Life’s Chicken stir-fry without soy sauce
- Cooking for Keep’s Three-ingredient peanut sauce
Psst… and if you’re using the coconut aminos as a dip, you can tone down the sweetness by mixing in some wasabi!
13 Best Coconut Aminos Substitutes
- Liquid aminos
- Balsamic vinegar + fish sauce
- Miso paste
- Soy sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- Teriyaki sauce
- Cook your meal according to the recipe.
- Add your chosen coconut aminos substitute at the appropriate cooking time.
- Mix until thoroughly combined and continue with the recipe.