The Facts About Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos is a savory seasoning sauce that has become a popular substitute for soy sauce in gluten-free, paleo, and Whole30 diets. This condiment is made from aging coconut tree sap and has an umami quality with a slight sweetness.

Table spoon of coconut aminos being measured from a jar

What is Coconut Aminos?

If you’re on the Whole30 or Paleo diet, you might have noticed that coconut aminos are on the “yes” list. Coconut aminos is a sauce made from the nectar of the coconut blossom, commonly referred to as the sap. The sauce is made from tapping the unopened flowers of a coconut tree, then fermenting the resulting nectar with a little bit of salt added.

Taste

It’s dark, thick, salty and slightly sweet–you can think of it as a syrup with high umami qualities, thanks to the fermentation process breaking down the proteins into flavorful amino acids, like glutamate. I’ve found the savory notes to be less intense, but still flavorful.

Since it comes from a coconut tree, it’s soy-free and gluten-free, with a taste profile that makes it an ideal substitute for soy sauce.

Coconut aminos being poured into a small glass jar

Health benefits of coconut aminos

The health benefits of coconut aminos are wide-ranging. It’s ideal for those with gluten allergies or intolerances, soy allergies or intolerances or those looking to complete Whole30 or live by a Paleo diet. It also comes with a reduced risk for heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer when compared with soy sauce, thanks to the lack of MSG, GMOs and phytoestrogen and phytic acid.

Coconut aminos is also jam-packed with 17 amino acids, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B and scores low on the glycemic index. It’s low calorie–just five calories per teaspoon.

Small glass jar of coconut aminos on a table with a coconut cracked in half behind it

Cooking with coconut aminos

Cooking with coconut aminos is easy, especially when you have soy sauce in mind.

  • Marinade: It works well as a marinade for any meat or fish, especially tougher textures and flavors like beef, pork, and shrimp.
  • Sauce: Mix it with ginger, garlic, and cornstarch or arrowroot powder to make a stir-fry sauce and cook it in a wok with protein and vegetables.
  • Seasoning: Combine it with sushi for a different kind of dipping sauce, or use it in place of salt when cooking up soups.
  • Dressings: Combine it with lemon, vinegar and olive oil for salad dressings.

As you can imagine, the possibilities are endless, mainly when thinking up Asian-inspired dishes. You can buy it online or find it at most health food stores–even Whole Foods and Target carry it! Have you ever cooked with coconut aminos before or are you a newbie? Let me know in the comments!

Popular on Amazon

Here are a few of the most popular Coconut Aminos products listed on Amazon.com

Five bottles of coconut aminos by different brands

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you!

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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18 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Jackie says

    Hi Jessica. I am a newbie. I was looking at a recipe that included soy in the item list, but in the directions it said to add the coconut aminos…which led me to research…
    This is an exciting find, as we are aging and dealing with age-related issues. Can’t wait to try it

  2. Melinda says

    Hi, I have to adhere to a low histamine diet. Any ideas on replacements for soy sauce that’s aren’t fermented?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Melinda- I didn’t see any options for a non-fermented soy sauce like products. I know that mushrooms can give a nice umami flavor, or even dried shiitake to add into your foods.

      • Mark Ó Dochartaigh says

        I once took sliced mushrooms and put salt over them and let them sit for a few hours. It was non-fermented and gave a soy sauce like liquid which was quite tasty. It left the mushrooms rubbery and bereft of flavor though, so I only did it once.

        • Jessica Gavin says

          What kind of mushrooms did you use? I often think that dried shiitakes would be a good way to get umami flavor with the concentrated mushroom notes.

  3. brenda says

    which of the 3 brands of coconut aminos tastes the best?
    coconut secret, braggs or big tree?
    Thanks,
    Brenda

  4. Kym Pierce says

    Hi, I”m a newbie as well. I’ve been using a coconut amino I found at Walmart. It’s a “Better Body” brand. My question is, are all coconut aminos created equal? The ingredients were only salt and coconut syrup. The sugar content were 6 per serving. I found it left me craving sugary foods. You said here that the coconut aminos are sweet so I’m wondering if there’s a difference.

  5. Frank says

    I was disappointed using it as a soy sauce substitute. I found it too sweet. Are any of the brands less sweet?

    • Christine says

      I find the Trader Joe’s brand to be less sweet than Coconut Secret, although it is still a little bit sweeter than I would like. I usually add some fish sauce to it (Red Boat is my preferred brand) and that helps it to seem a little more like soy sauce.

      I recently heard that the Bragg Coconut Aminos are not as sweet as Trader Joe’s, but I haven’t tried them yet.

  6. Bessie says

    I am a newbie brought a cook book that use amino oil n I didn’t know what it was but will be using soon to try out these dishes in the paleo foodie cook book

  7. salvatore costello says

    I cannot eat anything with glutamates in it.

    Maybe Coconut Aminos do not have MSGs…but I ate it the other night and I got sick, so it must be some kind of glutamate.

    My 2 cents.

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