If you’re trying to reduce your soy intake or following a specific diet like paleo or Whole30, you’ve probably come across this condiment and wondered “What is coconut aminos?”. You’re not alone, and we’ve got answers! Learn everything you need to know about this fermented coconut sauce, as well as uses, favorite recipes, where to buy it, and storage.
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What is Coconut Aminos?
If you are unfamiliar with this salty, tangy seasoning sauce, then welcome to a whole new world. Made from the fermented sap of coconut palm (with a bit of salt thrown in for good measure), coconut aminos can most closely be compared (in color, taste, and consistency) to soy sauce.
What does it taste like?
Before you even ask, no, it does not, in fact, taste like coconut. I wouldn’t even call it reminiscent of coconut like, say, coconut flour is. Its flavor clocks in somewhere between soy sauce and Worcestershire Sauce. Definitely milder and sweeter than soy (or it’s mostly gluten-free cousin, tamari), it has a vinegar-y tang that’s a bit closer to Worcestershire.
Is it healthy?
Depending on your preferences, it can certainly be called healthier. With nary a trace of soy, gluten (or any grains), or MSG, it’s perfect for people with certain dietary restrictions.
It clocks in with about half the sodium of soy sauce (per serving, and of course based on brand) but it’s definitely not LOW sodium. On the flip side, it’s also slightly higher in carbs. Always be sure to check your labels!
How to Use Coconut Aminos?
I’ve never been a fan of soy sauce. Despite the name of this blog, it’s simply too salty for my taste, leaving little room for seasoning to taste. We use coconut aminos almost exclusively as a substitute for soy sauce. (And occasionally for Worcestershire, but never in a Bloody Mary!)
You can find loads of unexpected places to use coconut aminos to add an umami punch to recipes. We add it to marinades like in our Balsamic Chicken Thighs or to season finished recipes, like our Steak Bites with Sweet Potatoes.
Coconut Aminos vs Soy Sauce
Soy sauce really needs no introduction. It literally is what it is: a sauce made from fermented soybean paste. Whether frying rice or dipping sushi, this ubiquitous liquid is a staple in almost every Asian dish you can think of. But it’s got its downsides.
Soy sauce is extremely high in sodium and contains gluten, which is bad news for people with allergies. It also typically contains MSG.
Coconut aminos has none of those pesky issues, plus it’s an ideal substitute for those avoiding soy by choice for dietary reasons or by necessity for medical reasons. Substitute coconut aminos 1:1 for soy soy sauce in your favorite Asian recipes.
Recipes Using Coconut Aminos
Coconut aminos can be substituted for soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce in equal measure. When seasoning to taste, be mindful of other salty seasonings in the dish.
As a Soy Sauce Substitute
- All Purpose Stir Fry Sauce
- Healthy Chicken Teriyaki Bowls
- Slow Cooker Korean Beef
- Steak Stir Fry
- Cauliflower Fried Rice
As a Worcestershire Sauce Substitute
Liquid Aminos vs Coconut Aminos
There are two types of liquid amino acids used in cooking: liquid aminos and coconut aminos. While, yes, technically coconut aminos are a “liquid,” liquid aminos are derived from soybeans (like soy sauce) rather than coconut.
Though neither can be considered “low sodium,” both liquid aminos and coconut aminos are lower in sodium than soy sauce (though coconut aminos are significantly lower than liquid aminos). They’re both also gluten and MSG free.
Coconut Aminos Pros
- I know it’s weird coming from me, but it’s less salty, both in sodium content and flavor, which gives you lots more flexibility for seasoning your food to taste without impacting the umami flavor.
- It fits so many more diets by being gluten free, grain free, soy free, wheat free, MSG free, and vegan.
- It’s the perfect soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce substitute for anyone on a Whole30, paleo, or gluten/grain free diet plan.
Coconut Aminos Cons
- It is for sure more expensive than soy sauce.
- It’s also slightly higher in carbohydrates than soy sauce so it may not be ideal for those strictly counting their macros.
- While it’s lower in sodium than soy sauce, it’s certainly not “healthy” in the traditional sense – there are no vitamins and nutrients, so treat it like you would any other condiment – sparingly.
Using coconut aminos in place of soy sauce or tamari is largely based on personal preference. If you’re following a Whole30 protocol or paleo diet, it’s a terrific condiment to stock in your pantry with a variety of uses. Used sparingly, any impact on blood sugar – or overly salty food – should be minimal.
How to Store
Coconut aminos does not need to be refrigerated but like many other fermented condiments, it’s ideal to store in a cool dark place. So yeah, I just keep mine in the refrigerator.
Where to Buy
It’s not as hard as you think to find coconut aminos. Most grocery stores have it – check the natural foods section or on the shelf near other similar condiments. Even your big box super stores carry it these days.
If you shop through online whole food retailers (like Thrive Market), they’ll certainly have it, as does Amazon.
In any event, always check the label and look for a brand with no added sugar. We’ve had good results with Bragg and Coconut Secret.
Do you love coconut aminos as much as us? Leave a comment below telling us how you use it!