Soy Sauce Too Salty? Here’s an Easy Fix


Soy sauce is a favored partner of sushi thanks to the added saltiness that it can bring to the mix, but what if the soy sauce is just too salty for you?

Can you reduce the saltiness of soy sauce? You can and there are actually quite a few ways that you can even improve on it. If your goal is to just reduce the saltiness, you can add a bit of water or even a bit of acidic flavoring to cut through the more dominant flavor. If you’re up to it, though, you can add a lot more ingredients.

Knowing how you can improve the flavor of soy sauce can significantly enhance your sushi enjoyment, but messing around without the right information can lead to disaster.

How to Fix Soy Sauce Being Too Salty?

Soy sauce is salty by nature and is just the byproduct of its fermentation process. As such, no matter what you do, there will be some saltiness that comes with this product. On that note, you do have options when it comes to addressing the issue such as:

·         Choosing another brand

·         Choosing a milder soy sauce

·         Changing the soy sauce’s composition




·         Adding some ingredients

Then again, in order to get a better handle on the saltiness of soy sauce, it helps to understand the various types of soy sauce there is. The table below should help with that:

Soy SauceDescription
Low Sodium Soy SauceMild flavor, great for dipping.
Regular Soy SauceVersatile, good for both cooking and sauces.
High-Sodium Soy SauceA high concentration of saltiness, used only for cooking.
Mixed Soy SauceMixed flavors such as lemon or vinegar.
Spiced Soy SauceIt contains ingredients such as salt, pepper, chili, onions, or cayenne pepper.
Brewed Soy SauceTraditionally made soy sauce using old practices, great balance in flavor and aroma.
Chemically Processed Soy SauceMass-manufactured often tastes sharp and strong.

Knowing what various types of soy sauce are out there will help you better with making your choice. This will then allow you to purchase the kinds of soy sauce that would suit your dining tastes better. For sushi lovers who have to pair the food with soy sauce, this is incredibly important.

So, assuming that you are at home and you are making sushi for yourself, the way to fix the saltiness problem can be done in several ways. One is to get soy sauce with low sodium since it is the mildest option, by far. If the particular brand that you get is still too salty, you can then go with another one.

If this still does not solve your dilemma, you can then turn to messing around with the components a bit. You can start by adding some water to the soy sauce and mixing it thoroughly. You can also do this with rice wine, lemon juice, sesame oil, and vinegar. Whatever floats your boat.

You can also try adding ingredients like diced tomatoes, scallions, onions, or garlic to your soy sauce. Not only will they help absorb some of the saltiness, but their own flavors can also dilute the concentration of sodium, as well. Unless you are a manic sushi purist, this solution should work.




Why is Soy Sauce Paired with Sushi?

Aside from the fact that sushi is a Japanese dish is the Japanese have soy sauce as their default condiment of choice, pairing sushi with this salty liquid also has another purpose. Basically, it’s meant to enhance the natural flavors that are already in the sushi.

If you think about it, hardly any salt is used in making the actual sushi dishes themselves. You have your vinegar rice, your fresh fish, your raw fruits and vegetables, and your caviar or sesame seeds. By dipping them into the soy sauce, you can add that extra salty flavor that just hits your taste buds before the rest of the ingredients.




Soy sauce basically compliments the taste of the rest of the sushi, especially those that only make use of fresh and raw ingredients. On top of that, there is a natural umami flavor that comes with the soy sauce, especially those that were brewed using traditional Japanese methods. This then brings the experience of eating sushi to a level that it just won’t achieve without soy sauce.

When you throw in the strong, pungent, and spicy flavor of wasabi, and the taste is multiplied. The level of saltiness will matter here, as well, since it can make the wasabi seem less or more prominent.

How to Choose Your Soy Sauce?

As already mentioned in the table above, different soy sauce varieties and brands will have a direct impact on your enjoyment of sushi. In this particular instance, you can rule out the regular soy sauce and high-sodium soy sauce because they can only make the experience less enjoyable.

The same goes for soy sauce that was produced using a chemical process since the strong flavor and the unpleasant aftertaste is just not desirable for something that is delicately enjoyed like sushi. This leaves you with brewed soy sauce, low sodium soy sauce, mixed soy sauce, and spiced soy sauce.

Purists will often go with brewed soy sauce like what the Kikkoman brand offers because it is the closest to authentic enjoyment that you can get. This is also what is often used in many sushi restaurants, though, the very best sushi establishments have been known to brew their own soy sauce.

For more adventurous diners, going with mixed soy sauce or the spiced variety is an option. Not only do they often offer less saltiness, but they also provide more interesting flavors. At the end of the day, what’s important in eating sushi is that you are enjoying what you are tasting. You don’t need a completely authentic experience, especially if you are just making the sushi at home, in the first place.




Related Questions

Is Soy Sauce Supposed to Be Salty?

Yes, it is. Soy sauce becomes salty due to the fermentation process where they take soybeans and then have them broken down. This results in a deep brown color, with the darkness or lightness depends on the process being used. The saltiness would then depend on the results.

What is The Healthiest Soy Sauce to Buy?

The healthiest soy sauce to buy is the traditionally brewed ones that are low in sodium. These are often the types of soy sauce that the Japanese like to use for their dipping. Naturally, this means that it is also the most popular type of soy sauce for sushi.

Why is Soy Sauce Salty?

The saltiness that comes with the soy sauce is just a byproduct of the fermentation process where soybeans are actually treated with salt. There are other ingredients that are usually added to the more traditional methods, which include mold, roasted wheat, some water that was mixed with salt, and preservatives.

The main goal is to break down the soybeans through the fermentation so that it can achieve that dark-brown color, along with the right balance of flavor and aroma. However, depending on the brewer and the intentions behind the sauce, it can be made more or less salty.

On the other hand, there is the process of fermenting soy sauce through the use of chemicals. These are usually the favored way of producing soy sauce by bigger brands that don’t really care for natural flavors. As a result, the sauce that is produced will have a much darker color, more intense saltiness, and a less pleasant aftertaste.




Chemically processed soy sauce also often come with a decidedly artificial feel to the mouth for those who are more experienced when it comes to the condiment. This is why the Japanese hardly ever use these types of soy sauce for anything other than cooking.

What are Alternatives to Soy Sauce?

While soy sauce is the favored partner to sushi, if you are out of soy sauce and have no recourse to getting one, you can turn to some workable alternatives, if you want. Among them are Worcestershire sauce, liquid seasoning, diluted oyster sauce, and tamari.

Naturally, you will have to make some concessions as to the kind of experience that you are going to have when you use these alternatives. However, if all you are looking for is that salty fix without resorting to using salt, they will have to do.

In the case of Worcestershire sauce, you can place this in a bowl and add some salt for that sodium flavor. Liquid seasoning will not likely require you to do this since it already has that salty component, anyway. As for the oyster sauce, try diluting it with salty water or just water, if you would like to have the low sodium option.

Finally, there is tamari, which is like soy sauce buy was not made using wheat. This particular option is great for those who would like to avoid gluten in their sushi experience. Diners with celiac disease will especially appreciate this alternative, particularly when dining in sushi restaurants. 

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