An A to Z guide to choosing, storing, preparing, and cooking fresh produce and recipe ingredients.

  • Common Varieties
    Light Soy Sauce
    A Chinese sauce with a thin consistency and salty taste, light soy sauce is well suited for dipping sauces and lighter foods, like vegetables, seafood, chicken or soups. (Not to be confused with “lite” soy sauce, which refers to reduced-sodium sauces.)

    Dark Soy Sauce
    Used to add color to hearty meat dishes, this Chinese variety is darker and thicker than light soy sauce, but it’s less salty. It’s what gives some “red” Chinese dishes their color.

    Shoyu (Japanese Soy Sauce)
    Shoyu contains more wheat than Chinese soy sauce varieties, which makes it sweeter and less salty.

    Tamari
    Tamari is a dark Japanese soy sauce brewed without wheat, which makes it suitable for those with wheat allergies.

    How to Choose Soy Sauce
    For best quality, look for naturally fermented or brewed soy sauce made from natural ingredients. Some supermarket varieties are made quickly from hydrolyzed vegetable protein and preservatives, so read the label carefully before buying.

  • How to Store Soy Sauce
    Store soy sauce away from heat and light. Unopened, it will last for up to 2 years. Opened, it’s best used within 3 months (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume).

  • How to Use Soy Sauce
    Considered both a condiment and an ingredient, soy sauce adds color and pungency to foods. Add soy sauce to stir-fries and homemade salad dressings, sprinkle it on steamed vegetables, drizzle over grilled shrimp, or marinate steaks in a simple mixture of soy sauce, garlic, and cracked black pepper.


    —Tierney O'Hara

    Real Simple Soy Sauce Recipes:

    See all Soy Sauce recipes »

What's your favorite soy sauce recipe?

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