If you're having trouble finding coconut aminos or need to explore options, this guide will give you the 6 best coconut aminos substitute alternatives for you to try and provide instructions on how to utilize them as replacements.
What is Coconut Aminos?
Coconut aminos are a popular condiment and soy sauce alternative that is derived from the sap of coconut blossoms. It is a common ingredient in many Asian and gluten-free recipes.
Coconut aminos are typically made through a process of collecting the sap of coconut flowers, which is then naturally fermented. The sap is aged and undergoes a fermentation process, similar to how soy sauce is made from soybeans. The end result is a dark, savory liquid with a slightly sweet flavor.
Coconut aminos are known for their rich umami taste, similar to soy sauce, but with a milder and sweeter flavor profile. They are often used as a gluten-free and soy-free alternative to soy sauce, making them suitable for individuals with dietary restrictions or allergies.
Coconut aminos are commonly used in marinades, dressings, stir-fries, and sauces. They can also be used as a dipping sauce for sushi or added to soups and stews to enhance the flavor. Coconut aminos are typically available in health food stores, specialty grocery stores, and online retailers.
Best Substitutes For Coconut Aminos
1. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is a popular condiment and seasoning that originated in China. It is made from fermented soybeans, roasted grains, water, and salt. Soy sauce has a dark color and a salty, savory flavor profile with hints of umami.
If you don't have any specific dietary restrictions, regular soy sauce can be used as a substitute for coconut aminos. Keep in mind that soy sauce is usually saltier, so you may want to use less or dilute it with water.
How to substitute:
- Use a 1:1 substitution: In most recipes, you can replace coconut aminos with an equal amount of soy sauce. For example, if the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos, use 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.
- Soy sauce tends to be saltier than coconut aminos, so you may want to reduce the amount of additional salt in the recipe. Alternatively, you can start with a slightly smaller quantity of soy sauce and add more if needed.
- Coconut aminos have a mild sweetness that soy sauce lacks. If the recipe calls for sweetness, you can add a small amount of sweetener, such as honey, maple syrup, or a sugar substitute, to the dish when using soy sauce as a substitute.
- If you find soy sauce too strong or overpowering, you can dilute it with a little water to lessen the intensity. This can help achieve a flavor profile closer to coconut aminos.
Tamari is a type of soy sauce that originated in Japan. It is made from fermented soybeans and has a rich, savory flavor. Tamari is typically gluten-free and often used as a substitute for regular soy sauce by those with gluten sensitivities or on a gluten-free diet.
To use tamari as a substitute for coconut aminos, you can generally do a direct 1:1 substitution. However, it's important to note that tamari has a slightly stronger and saltier taste compared to coconut aminos. Therefore, you may want to adjust the quantity based on your personal taste preferences and the specific recipe.
How to substitute:
- Start by using an equal amount of tamari as the coconut aminos called for in the recipe. For example, if the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos, use 2 tablespoons of tamari.
- Taste the dish and adjust the seasoning as needed. Since tamari is saltier, you might need to reduce the amount of salt added to the recipe or adjust other flavors accordingly.
- If you prefer a milder flavor, you can dilute tamari with a little water to reduce its intensity. This can help to mimic the milder taste of coconut aminos.
3. Liquid Aminos
Liquid aminos are a popular soy sauce alternative that is often used as a gluten-free option. They are typically made from soybeans and can be used as a seasoning or condiment in a variety of dishes.
Liquid aminos are created by hydrolyzing soy protein, which breaks it down into amino acids. This process results in a liquid with a rich, savory flavor profile similar to soy sauce. Liquid aminos are known for their umami taste and can be used as a substitute for soy sauce or coconut aminos.
How to substitute:
- Use a 1:1 substitution: Replace the coconut aminos with an equal amount of liquid aminos in the recipe. If the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos, use 2 tablespoons of liquid aminos.
- Taste and adjust: Since liquid aminos can vary in intensity and saltiness, it's a good idea to taste the dish as you go and adjust the seasoning accordingly. You may need to add a touch more or less depending on your preference and the specific recipe.
- Consider sweetness: Liquid aminos generally lack the natural sweetness of coconut aminos. If the recipe requires a touch of sweetness, you can add a small amount of sweetener, such as honey, maple syrup, or a sugar substitute, to balance the flavors.
Liquid aminos are suitable for those with gluten sensitivities or following a gluten-free diet, but they still contain soy, so they may not be suitable for individuals with soy allergies.
As always, be mindful of any dietary restrictions or preferences when choosing and using liquid aminos as a substitute.
4. Oyster Sauce
Oyster sauce is a popular condiment commonly used in Asian cuisine, particularly in Chinese cooking. It is made from oyster extracts, soy sauce, sugar, and various seasonings. It has a thick consistency, a rich umami flavor, and a slightly sweet taste.
While oyster sauce may not be a direct substitute for coconut aminos due to its different flavor profile, it can still be used as an alternative in certain recipes.
How to substitute:
- Use a smaller quantity: Oyster sauce is typically more concentrated and intense in flavor compared to coconut aminos. Start by using a smaller amount of oyster sauce and adjust to taste. You can begin with half the amount of coconut aminos called for in the recipe and then add more if needed.
- Adjust sweetness: Oyster sauce contains sugar and can have a slightly sweet taste. If the recipe requires sweetness, you may not need to add additional sweeteners. Taste the dish and adjust accordingly.
- Enhance umami flavors: Oyster sauce is known for its strong umami flavor, so it can be a good substitute for dishes where the umami taste is crucial. However, keep in mind that oyster sauce has a distinct seafood flavor, which may not work well in all recipes. Use it in dishes that can complement or mask the seafood taste, such as stir-fries, marinades, and savory sauces.
- Consider dietary restrictions: Oyster sauce is not suitable for vegetarians, vegans, or individuals with shellfish allergies. If you have dietary restrictions, make sure to choose an appropriate alternative.
5. Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce is a savory and tangy condiment that originated in England. It is made from a blend of vinegar, molasses, anchovies, tamarind, onions, garlic, and various spices. Worcestershire sauce has a complex flavor profile with a combination of sweet, sour, and umami notes.
While Worcestershire sauce can add a unique flavor to dishes, it is not an exact substitute for coconut aminos due to its distinct taste. However, in certain recipes, it can be used as an alternative.
How to substitute:
- Use a smaller quantity: Worcestershire sauce has a stronger and more robust flavor compared to coconut aminos. Start by using a smaller amount of Worcestershire sauce in your recipe and adjust to taste. Begin with about half the amount of coconut aminos and increase as needed.
- Adjust sweetness: Coconut aminos have a slight natural sweetness, while Worcestershire sauce tends to be more tangy. If the recipe requires sweetness, you may need to add a small amount of sweetener, such as honey, maple syrup, or a sugar substitute, to balance the flavors.
- Consider the savory and tangy notes: Worcestershire sauce has a distinct tangy flavor due to the vinegar and tamarind content. This can work well in certain dishes, particularly those that can complement or benefit from the tanginess. However, the presence of anchovies in Worcestershire sauce also provides a unique taste that may not be suitable for vegetarians or those with fish allergies.
- Adjust other seasonings: Worcestershire sauce contains a blend of spices and aromatics. Depending on the recipe, you may need to adjust other seasonings to maintain the desired flavor balance.
6. Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki sauce is a popular Japanese sauce commonly used in cooking and as a glaze for meats, vegetables, and stir-fries. It typically consists of soy sauce, mirin (a sweet rice wine), sugar, and sometimes other ingredients like ginger and garlic. Teriyaki sauce has a sweet and savory flavor profile, with a sticky consistency when cooked.
While teriyaki sauce is not a direct substitute for coconut aminos due to its sweetness, it can still be used as an alternative in certain recipes.
How to substitute:
- Adjust sweetness: Teriyaki sauce is sweeter than coconut aminos. If the recipe calls for sweetness, you may not need to add additional sweeteners. Taste the dish and adjust accordingly.
- Use a smaller quantity: Teriyaki sauce has a distinct flavor profile, and a little goes a long way. Start by using a smaller amount of teriyaki sauce compared to coconut aminos, and adjust based on your taste preferences.
- Consider the balance of flavors: Teriyaki sauce has a pronounced sweet taste due to the sugar and mirin. If the recipe doesn't require the pronounced sweetness of teriyaki sauce, you may want to balance it with other ingredients like soy sauce or a touch of vinegar to add a bit more depth and reduce the overall sweetness.
- Adjust other seasonings: Teriyaki sauce often includes additional flavors like ginger and garlic. Take into account the presence of these flavors and adjust other seasonings in your recipe to maintain a harmonious balance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Coconut aminos and soy sauce are both condiments used to add flavor to dishes, but they differ in their ingredients and nutritional profiles. Coconut aminos are typically made from the sap of coconut blossoms, and they are a popular alternative for those looking to avoid soy and gluten. They have a slightly sweeter taste compared to soy sauce and are lower in sodium.
On the other hand, soy sauce is traditionally made from soybeans, wheat, salt, and water. It has a salty and savory flavor and is a staple in many Asian cuisines. Soy sauce does contain gluten, so it may not be suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.
The choice between coconut aminos and soy sauce often depends on dietary preferences, including considerations for gluten and soy intake, as well as the desired flavor profile for a particular dish.
If you need a substitute for both coconut aminos and soy sauce, you can use tamari sauce as an alternative. Tamari is a Japanese soy sauce that is often gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten sensitivities. It has a rich and savory flavor similar to traditional soy sauce.
Additionally, if you're looking for a soy-free option, you can consider using liquid aminos, which is a soy sauce alternative made from non-GMO soybeans, or teriyaki sauce, which typically includes soy sauce as a base but has added sweeteners like sugar or honey for a distinct flavor.
Coconut aminos are typically made from the sap of coconut blossoms, which is fermented and then blended with salt to create a flavorful and soy-free alternative to soy sauce.
While Worcestershire sauce can add a savory and umami flavor to dishes, it has a distinct taste and contains ingredients like anchovies, which may not align with dietary preferences such as vegetarian or vegan diets. If you're looking for a soy-free and gluten-free alternative to coconut aminos, tamari sauce could be a better substitute as it shares a similar rich and savory flavor without the use of soy or gluten.