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What Is White Soy Sauce?

White soy sauce is a lighter, more delicate variant of traditional soy sauce, originating from Japan. It offers a subtle taste and a hint of sweetness, making it perfect for enhancing dishes without overpowering them. Its unique flavor profile is due to a higher wheat-to-soybean ratio. Curious about how white soy sauce can elevate your culinary creations? Let's explore its versatile uses together.
Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins

Soy sauce is most often thought of as a dark, salty condiment used in Asian cooking. While this may be true, varieties like white soy sauce are clearer and golden in color, with milder flavor coming from a predominance of wheat, not soy. This translates to a similar imparting of flavors — only it is milder in taste with no darkening of the recipe.

White soy sauce differs from regular soy sauce in very specific ways. The coloring is the easiest to distinguish, with black soy sauce deeply dark and white soy being often golden in hue. Soy sauce is made with either all soybeans or a mixture of 80 percent soybeans and 20 percent wheat or even equal parts soy and wheat. These ingredients are boiled or roasted, then combined with a starter mold that is later combined with salt and more water. All the ingredients then undergo a long fermentation process of four months or more.

White soy sauce contains a lower amount of soybeans than traditional types of soy sauce.
White soy sauce contains a lower amount of soybeans than traditional types of soy sauce.

White soy sauce, by contrast, will be either completely wheat or a mixture of about 80 percent wheat to just 20 percent soy. According to the makers of popular Japanese brands of white soy like Golden Tamari Sauce or Takumi White Soy Sauce it is likely that no soybeans will be used in the production of white soy at all. The fermentation is often terminated after about three months to keep the liquid from darkening and the flavor from intensifying too much.

Wheat is predominant in white soy sauce.
Wheat is predominant in white soy sauce.

The ratio of wheat to soy in this type of soy sauce depends on the manufacturer. Some recipes use no soybeans at all. Others may use a mixture, also adding sugar for a slight change of flavor profile. According to the White Soy Sauce Food Co. in Visalia, California, perhaps the most prized variety of white soy is called white golden tamari, as it does not undergo a heat fermentation and combines salty and sweet tones.

These are just a few of the many Asian sauces used in traditional Asian cooking. For a completely clear condiment that will not color a recipe, cooks might use a very clear white soy or go in a different direction all together with fish sauce or tamarind paste. Just as traditional dark soy can be used in various recipes, from soups and sauces to marinades and dipping sauces, so too can white soy, only without the darkening of the dish's color and often a less salty and overbearing flavor.

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Discussion Comments


@MikeMason-- Most white soy sauces have 20% soybean in it, so it's not free of soy. I think white soy sauce is a little sweeter than regular soy sauce. It also has less salt, which is great.


@MikeMason-- White soy sauce is much milder in flavor. So if you're used to the slightly richer flavor of regular soy sauce, it might take you some time to get used to white soy sauce.

I use white soy sauce when I'm cooking with foods that have mild flavors like scallops. I don't want the flavor of the soy sauce to dominate all the other flavors. White soy sauce is perfect for this. I also use white soy sauce when I don't want my food to take on a dark color.

I have never tried this, but I wonder if you could mix regular soy sauce and white soy sauce together to make something that has less soy content?


I learned in class that most of the soybeans in the world today are genetically modified. There is no consensus about the safety of genetically modified foods, but I think that it must have some risks for health.

I make a lot of Chinese dishes at home and my roommate is also Chinese. We use a lot of soy sauce. I found out about white soy sauce the other day and I'm really excited about it because it has little to no soy in it.

If I replace regular soy sauce with white soy sauce in all the foods I make, will they still taste the same?

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    • White soy sauce contains a lower amount of soybeans than traditional types of soy sauce.
      By: Vasilius
      White soy sauce contains a lower amount of soybeans than traditional types of soy sauce.
    • Wheat is predominant in white soy sauce.
      By: womue
      Wheat is predominant in white soy sauce.