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Gluten free soy sauce

Some of our family members are gluten intolerant, but can consume soy sauce made with wheat without any problems. Although some soy sauces are not wheat free, the gluten seem to be no longer present in the final soy sauce. There are two processes to make soy sauce: chemical hydrolysis and natural fermentation. Both processes will break down the complex proteins including gluten into smaller components such as amino acids and polypeptides. You should only buy naturally fermented (or brewed) soy sauce because of its authenticity and rich taste. Chemically produced (or artificial) soy sauce is used more widely because it is a lot cheaper, but may contain toxic and carcinogenic components produced by hydrochloric acid hydrolysis. Therefore, we only consider naturally brewed soy sauce further in this article.

What do soy sauce producers say?

The website of Kikkoman does not mention any word about the presence of gluten in its soy sauce. We found one letter dated February 4, 2005 from Kikkoman stating: "So far, no physiological data is available to show whether soy sauce could cause Celiac disease. Also, there is no officially approved or recommended method for its evaluation. However, again, it is helpful to compare the level of remaining wheat gluten and its fragments with the provisional value of gluten considered by Codex Alimentarius for foods rendered gluten-free (200 g/ml). Given the above, although soy sauce uses soybeans and wheat as basic ingredients, any soybean protein or wheat gluten, found in soy sauce are below the limits of detection as of the data this is written."
And what does Lima Foods, a pioneer in the introduction of naturally fermented soy sauce in Europe, tell about their soy sauce? They don't say anything about gluten in their Shoyu soy sauce, which is made with wheat, but do mention that their wheat-free soy sauce, Tamari, contains no detectable amount of gluten.

Gluten analysis of two popular soy sauces

We sent a sample of soy sauce of the brands Kikkoman and Lima to an external laboratory to determine gluten levels. In both samples the gluten content was below detection limit of 5ppm (see report). According to a new European legislation, which will only be fully implemented in 2012, gluten-free foodstuffs should contain less than 20 ppm gluten. The FDA also proposes a limit of 20 ppm. This means that our two tested products may be considered as gluten-free soy sauce.


The tested naturally fermented soy sauces are gluten-free and will probably not cause adverse reaction in gluten sensitive persons, especially when considering the small daily quantities of soy sauce used. Highly sensitive individuals who want to be 100% sure should use soy sauce which are advertised as gluten-free and which do not contain grains as ingredients. Tamari soy sauces are typically produced without wheat, but some brands do not follow this tradition and are not wheat-free.


I'm sensitive to wheat and cannot consume soy sauce because of the wheat presence. My experience is that fermenting wheat increases it's reactive qualities, not diminish them. The plane logic is wheat in equals wheat out; and there are more substances in wheat than gluten that are reactive to sensitive people. Everything mentioned above is the same for Corn.
Rob - 17/03/2015


The plain logic is that gluten, like most other allergens, is made of proteins. When proteins are broken down into amino acids, they are no longer proteins. Gluten that has been broken into amino acids is no longer gluten. All food is reactive, if it was not, you could not be nourished by it. This page is a discussion about gluten in soy sauce, not other vague topics. I appreciate that testing of soy sauce was done rather than relying on speculation. Thanks for this informative article about gluten and soy sauce. It explains something that had puzzled me about accidentally having soy sauce with wheat listed on the label.
Ann - 04/05/2015

Soy Sauce

I am currently following the FODMAP diet set by my dietitian at our hospital. Last night I cooked a Chinese meal and which included soy sauce. This morning I think I felt the effect of it when I went to the loo.
vimla - 10/09/2015


I found a great alternative to soy sauce made by Coconut Secret called Coconut Aminos. It's Organic, Gluten-Free, Non GMO, No MSG and a Vegan "bonus". Also, it's very low in sodium 90mg. We think it tastes exactly like Soy. I used to get it in the health food store and now see it in our local supermarket grocery store.
Linda - 03/05/2016

Cheapest and Closest Taste

For home cooking, I highly suggest either buying Kikkoman soy sauce labeled as gluten free (rather easy to find in regular grocery stores and supermarkets) or go with tamari soy sauce, which is the traditional soy sauce made hundreds or more years ago before wheat was brought into the process and is naturally gluten free. Authentic and traditional tamari is only made with soy, no wheat. I actually think Kikkoman's gluten free soy sauce is just tamari and might be labeled tamari if I remember right. You will have better luck with flavor and it will be easier to find than coconut aminos for the average shopper.
Taylor - 13/05/2016

Soy sauce

Another great alternative is Braggs Aminos. You can find it in any Supermarket it's fantastic and healthy for everyone
Patysays - 01/08/2016

Soy sauce

I prefer traditional fermented soy sauce. Bragg Aminos is made by chemical process: soybeans are treated with hydrochloric acid to create free amino acids and then neutralized sodium bicarbonate.
Rob - 01/08/2016


I don't seem to have much of an issue with Soy Sauce, I still buy Gluten free but when I am at a restaurant and they don't have it I will use the Kikkoman. Just my experience
Grant - 04/11/2016

Soy Sauce is Definitely Not Gluten Free

Soy sauce is definitely not gluten free. I have celiac disease and I get a strong reaction to even a little soy sauce. I've reacted to just the soy sauce that's left over on a wok, even if my dish wasn't cooked with any soy sauce. This page show's up when you google "is soy sauce gluten free". I actually had a waiter show this page to me recently when I told him that soy sauce is not gluten free. (He had a dish with soy sauce marked gluten free on the menu.) Please (please!) change the first paragraph to tell people that soy sauce is definitely NOT gluten free and not safe for people with celiac disease. Here's a good write up on why soy sauce is not gluten free (and why there's some confusion):
As a side note: If your family members have celiac disease and they eat gluten, they are doing damage to their gut even if they don't notice symptoms of a reaction. It's common for people with celiac disease not to notice small amounts of gluten, yet still have damage to the gut.
Josh Kelly - 10/02/2017

Soy Sauce has enough wheat to damage a celiacs intestine

This page is in error! As a celiac Soy Sauce has enough wheat to damage a celiacs intestine! Anything with any alcoholic content cannot be reliably tested for gluten.
bill kelly - 10/02/2017

Total BS

This article is terribly misleading. It has wheat in it. Some of my worst reactions have been from soy sauce. Someone could get really hurt following this article's advice.
Jesticlees - 26/06/2017

Idiots with Celiac

This article does not contend that soy sauce doesn't have wheat. What it's saying is that soy sauce has less gluten in it than a lot of things labelled "gluten free" in supermarkets. Josh Kelly references a site that points out that broken-down gluten peptides can still be harmful for people with celiac. That does not mean that those peptides are gluten! That's like saying your car's tires, are cars themselves. Having a junkyard full of tires, old steering wheels, and engines does not mean you have a junkyard full of cars. Broken-down gluten is not gluten, despite whatever your sensitivities may be. If you have an allergic sensitivity to gluten, as opposed to celiac, this information is extremely helpful, since antibodies won't attack the broken-down components of gluten. I fall into that category, and I'm gratified to know that soy sauce still works for me.
Moral: If you have celiac, don't be an idiot. Someone could really get hurt by dimwittedly misunderstanding this article... but then, someone could really get hurt by being dimwitted in general.
Evan - 11/04/2018

Soy sauce is gluten free, but not wheat free

The Swedish food authorities has testet soy sauces and found that none of them had more than 20 ppm with gluten (Actually, a lot less). In conclusion of the test soy sauces are now a part of a gluten free diet in Sweden. However: some celiacs also react to wheat itself. (A small percentage of celiacs does this). This group cannot use any kind of soy sauces made with wheat. Nor can the use wheat starch wich is normal in many gluten free bread types.
Leopold - 28/06/2018

Skin rashes and inflammation

My skin rashes and inflammation have improved almost 85 percent after getting off wheat or wheat products. That 15 percent still there I suspect is the Soy sauce that I used almost everyday without knowing it has gluten. I am waiting to see the result if I completely stop using soy sauce.
Pascal - 15/07/2018


Evan is spot on in his analysis. This article is geared towards consumers with gluten sensitivity (of the allergen kind -- not digestive kind). The general consensus for a product being considered gluten free shows that the concentration levels must be below 20 PPM. Therefore, it is gluten free (not wheat free). If you're celiac, this is altogether different than gluten sensitivity of the allergen kind. Celiacs refrain from eating wheat (entirely). This page is not an error, it is not misleading, and is not BS; if you truly understand allergies vs. digestive issues. Please don't jump all over something if you don't understand the material.
Science - 07/01/2019

My daughter has celiac disease that has been well controlled for years. Her IgA-tTG antibody levels (tested yearly) are always in the non-celiac/normal range, indicating she is very careful about avoiding gluten. Yet she DOES occasionally eat regular soy sauce at restaurants, and never has a bad reaction. We discovered this when she accidentally ate something with regular soy sauce and then waited anxiously for a reaction that never came. Just wanted to share this experience as a counterpoint. I suspect that there are contributing factors to celiac reactions that we don't really understand yet, and some of them could explain why certain people are more sensitive than others. I really wish there were more research on this!
Erin - 21/10/2019

My own experience with soy sauce

I am allergic to wheat. All I can tell you is my own experience with soy sauce, and that it is not a pleasant one. If you can eat regular soy sauce with no problems then consider yourself lucky. Although it is not life threatening with me, I have an intestinal reaction that is so unpleasant I am not willing to risk it. No, you don't want to hear more, or be trapped with me for the next 5-7 days after consumption. For my own sake I will stick to gluten free.
JN Knotts - 18/08/2020

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