Tamari Vs Soy Sauce: Differences (Which is Healthier)

Do you know tamari and soy sauce are two distinct sauces?

Tamari is traditionally tied to the Japanese, it is a thicker, less salty fermented soy sauce that contains less wheat although the what in it depends on the brand you are buying and how healthy it is supposed to be, a soy sauce, however, is a liquid condiment of Chinese origin, is made from a fermented paste of soybeans, roasted grain, brine, and Aspergillus molds.

Soy sauce is now produced in many Asian countries.

Tamari and soy sauce can both add flavor to your dishes but there has always been an unspoken concern about which is considered healthy even though they have both been made from fermented soybeans however in this article, this would be carefully analyzed.

Tamari is often used as a substitute to soy sauce and while this might be due to preference, but how well do you really know tamari? they are both found to serve the same purpose but provide different forms of nourishment.

Read on for all the tips before you dip.

What is Tamari?

Tamari is one of the most recognized among the five types of Japanese soy sauce known as Shoyu, Shoyu is however made by fermenting soybeans and sometimes wheat.

Tamari is tied to the Japanese and is also considered to be healthy due to its gluten-free status.

Compared to other soy sauce tamari is thicker, darker and contains little to no wheat which makes it gluten-free, it has no stronger umami flavor.

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San-J Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce, Black Bottle, 10 Ounce

San-J - Gluten Free Tamari Soy Sauce - Specially Brewed - Made with 100% Soy - 10 oz. Bottle
  • San-J Tamari Black Label (10 Oz)
  • Condiments|Marinades & Sauces.
  • Made with 100% soy and no wheat
  • it has a richer, milder, more complex taste than regular soy sauce
  • Add Tamari to soups, gravies, sauces and casseroles. Use it as a marinade and in stir-fry dishes
  • Tamari can be used in Asian and non-Asian cooking, it adds a full savory and umami flavor to their dishes, the process of making a tamari is quite different from the usual soy sauce although it has been derived from fermenting soybeans just like a soy sauce but It is known to be the liquid byproduct that forms when making miso paste-like liquid sweat that forms on cheese and little to no water is added which makes it viable for those who has gluten intolerance.

    Also read: 25 Best Cheap Slow Cookers Crock-pot 2024 (Under $50)

    What is Soy sauce?

    Soy sauce is a staple in many kitchens, restaurants, and cuisine, it is also spelled as soya sauce, it is a liquid condiment of Chinese origin which has been formulated from a fermented paste of soybeans, roasted grain, brine, and aspergillus.

    Soy sauce is considered to be as old as soy paste, soy paste is a type of fermented paste (3).

    Is Tamari healthier than soy sauce?

    Chef Pouring Soy SauceImage: Envato Elements

    Tamari is a great option for people who want all the great taste and flavor of soy sauce but have no tolerance for gluten, tamari is a healthier version of soy sauce and has been fermented with little or no wheat depending on the brand you are buying.

    Tamari is brewed in a similar way to soy sauce but little to no wheat is used, you can always go for reduced-sodium tamari which is healthier, tamari can replace soy sauce in recipe and the difference won’t be noticed (4).

    What’s the difference between tamari and soy sauce?

    Both sauces are products of soybean, both can also be found on the shelf at the grocery store with an identical bottle, both are traditionally used in Asian restaurants and cuisines, there seem to both play the same role in meals but why would anyone need to replace soy sauce?

    The major difference between these two is the ingredients, which tend to decide how healthy they both are.

    Tamari is often a gluten-free substitution to a soy sauce like soy sauce contains wheat and not healthy for those who can’t tolerate gluten.

    Each sauce has its benefits and the taste isn’t so different however there are a couple of other features that set them apart.

    • Soy sauce is the liquid pressed from a brewed fermented mixture of soybeans, wheat, and grains, while tamari on, the, other hand is the liquid extracted from miso paste.
    • The ingredients differ as wheat can be found in soy sauce unlike tamari sauce however it is best to check the ingredients while purchasing as some brands tend to use little wheat.
    • Tamari has  a bolder less salty taste as well as a thicker and darker consistency compared to a soy sauce
    • Soy sauce is best used in dishes when you are trying to increase the saltiness of the dish while a tamari is best suited for sushi.

    Is soy sauce gluten-free?

    Soy sauce is one of the best ways to add a salty, complex, umami and savory taste to dishes, it is widely used in Asian cuisine, soy sauce is extremely versatile and can be used in preparing different kinds of food however it is important for those who have zero tolerance for gluten to know if soy sauce is gluten-free.

    Soy sauce is traditionally made with wheat and soy and while tamari is naturally gluten-free, the same could not be said for soy sauce.

    Some soy sauces are however made with rice instead of wheat to accommodate people with gluten sensitivities hence you can always look for gluten-free on the package before buying or go for tamari as a great alternative.

    5 Reasons To Ditch Soy Sauce For Tamari

    Tamari is a healthier version of soy sauce and it serves as a great alternative to soy sauce, you can use tamari in almost the same way as a soy sauce.

    Soy sauce has an amazing flavor but your typical Asian soy sauce is generally made with as much wheat as soy and can sometimes include preservatives or MSG. Here’s why we’re reaching for tamari instead:

    1. Free Of Wheat And Gluten

    using tamari sauce with sushi

    Tamari is produced from the fermented paste of soybeans which means it contains no wheat and no gluten, which makes a great substitute to soy sauce and for those who are following a gluten-free diet.

    It also has an advantage for those with celiac disease or who has a sensitivity to gluten, other benefits of gluten-free tamari include, preventing damage to the digestive system, improves nutrient absorption and lowers the risk of mineral and vitamin deficiency.

    2. It Tastes Better


    San-J Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce, Non GMO Black Label, 64 Ounce

    San-J - Gluten Free Tamari Soy Sauce - Specially Brewed - Made with 100% Soy - 64 oz. Container
  • San-J tamari is a premium soy sauce made with more soybeans than ordinary soy sauce giving it a richer, smoother, more complex taste
  • Gluten free
  • Enhances the flavors of food naturally
  • Made with 100% soybeans and no wheat
  • Reformulated to be completely gluten-free while maintaining its rich, robust taste
  • Natural fermentation process gives Tamari soy sauce great flavor enhancing properties
  • Add Tamari to soups, gravies, sauces and casseroles, use it as a marinade and in stir-fry dishes
  • Tamari comes with a distinct taste just like a soy sauce but with a more profound taste and a more smooth and rich flavor, this is a result of it’s increased concentration of soybeans.

    Its flavor is more balanced than regular soy sauce and tastes less arbitrarily salty.

    3. Versatile And Easy To Use

    You can easily switch tamari sauce in for a soy sauce and the taste won’t be detected, you can use in for practically any dish.

    It can also be used in anything stir-fries, to dipping sauces and beyond.

    4. It Has More Protein Than Soy Sauce

    tamari vs soy sauce

    Tamari can be a great substitute to soy sauce as you would be bumping up your protein intake and in fact, tamari contains nearly double the amount of protein as regular soy sauce, which is nearly two grams per one-tablespoon serving, this may not seem like much as this condiment is typically consumed in small amounts, it can really start to stack up over time.

    5. Contains Antioxidant

    Tamari provides your body with a good portion of antioxidants, it contains manganese, which is about 4 percent of the daily recommended value in just one spoon.

    Tamari is not just delicious but also very healthy and research has shown it to play a central role in preventing the risk of conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune conditions.

    6. Less Likely To Contain Addictives

    Tamari is likely to have additives and preservatives as it is naturally free of wheat, it aids digestion and provides it with proteins and antioxidants instead.

    Tamari contains only the barest minimum of ingredients, water, soybeans, and salt which makes it healthy for and tolerable to the body.

    Final Thoughts

    You can easily find a tamari and a soy source on the shelf of most grocery stores and you can always add it to a wide array of recipes.

    Any of this sauce will serve its purpose in a meal but when it comes to the healthier one, it is best to go for a tamari.

    Tamari is high in sodium though hence it is best to take it in moderation and always opt for organic tamari and soy sauce to minimize potential side effects.

    Check high-quality recipes on our site.