Healthy foodies are suddenly adding coconut aminos to their food all the time, and nutritionists are embracing it as well. So we wondered, what actually is coconut aminos? This buzzy condiment is made of the sap that comes from coconut flower blossoms. The sap is then fermented and blended with sea salt to create a seasoning sauce.
Coconut aminos is most often used as a healthier alternative to soy sauce. “Coconut aminos has 70% less sodium than regular soy sauce,” culinary nutritionist and chef Abbie Gellman, RD, tells Health. “One tablespoon of coconut aminos contains 300 mg of sodium, whereas one tablespoon of normal soy sauce contains 920 mg of sodium.” The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day, which means just two tablespoons of regular soy sauce can send you above your daily limit. Yikes.
Gellman believes that the low-calorie condiment (one teaspoon contains just five calories) has become increasingly popular because of its allergen-friendly profile. “Coconut aminos contains no gluten or soy and is also Paleo, making it a good choice for people with allergies or food sensitivities,” she says. People who follow the Whole30 diet also love this seasoning sauce thanks to it soy- and gluten-free status.
Fans of coconut aminos tout it as a vitamin-rich option that contains amino acids, which help build muscle and boost immunity. (Protein consists of amino acids.) Whether you'll reap those benefits from adding a dash of the sauce to your dinner is unclear. "The amount [of vitamins and amino acids] per serving is low, so the nutrients are relatively negligible,” says Gellman.
How to cook with coconut aminos
Since coconut aminos is often used as a soy sauce substitute, it goes without saying that it can be used in classic Asian dishes like stir fry and fried rice. But before you add coconut aminos to all your recipes, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t taste exactly like your standard soy sauce. According to Gellman, the flavorful ingredient is sweeter than soy sauce.
Want other ideas for how to cook with coconut aminos? Use the liquid to make dressings, dipping sauces, and marinades, or sauté veggies in it, suggests Gellman. You can even add a few drops to your bloody Mary to kick the cocktail’s flavor profile up a notch.
Where to buy coconut aminos
Websites like Walmart.com, Amazon.com, Jet.com, Target.com, and ThriveMarket.com all carry the seasoning sauce, as do stores like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Kroger. Thanks to its rising popularity, coconut aminos is now widely available at other online and retail stores. It's even showing up on in more dishes on restaurant menus, so you can give it a try there before buying a stash.