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Soy Paper Vs. Seaweed – A Comparison Guide

If you love your sushi, then you may already know seaweed paper which is used to wrap your delicious rice and fish.

While most restaurants prefer to use the traditional seaweed paper, you can also find some greater nori alternatives, such as soy paper.

Soy paper and seaweed do not just differ in their appearance and flavor but also in how long they can last. 

We tested both of these practical sushi wraps, and created this handy comparison guide, so you can find the right paper for your favorite Japanese food.

Soy Paper Vs. Seaweed – A Comparison Guide

What Is Sushi Seaweed?

Also better known as nori, sushi seaweed is dried seaweed sheets which are made from red algae.

The algae turns green when it is dried and that’s why, nori paper has a dark green color.

Sushi seaweed is typically used to wrap snacks, sushi and seasoning. Nori is one of the most popular wrapper for sushi in restaurants around the world.

Nori paper comes in 8” x 7” sheets which is the perfect size for wrapping rice balls as well as sushi rolls.

However, you can also find nori seaweed in other forms, included powdered nori, flakes and nori strips.

There are also large price variations when it comes to different food-grade seaweed. This depends on the type of algae that was used to produce the nori.

Cheaper varieties of seaweed usually have a lighter color and they are also thinner. There is also a slight difference in flavor with different nori grades.

When it comes to taste, seaweed nori has a slightly nutty, salty and crispy taste which is ideal for sushi.

As it is usually used in dry form, it can be paired with more sticky foods, such as rice.

What Is Soy Paper?

Despite its name, soy paper does not just contain soy. It has a range of ingredients, including soybean oil, sesame seeds, soybeans, soy flour, food coloring and rice syrup.

These ingredients are mixed together and pressed into extremely thin sheets. 

Due to the many different ingredients in soy paper, you won’t be able to taste the soybeans in this sushi wrapper.

While this doesn’t make soy paper very interesting as a snack on its own, it is ideal for anything where you want to taste the flavors inside the wrap, such as sushi.

Depending on the brand, you might find different flavoring in soy paper to give your sushi a distinctive taste.

Another great advantage of soy paper is that it doesn’t have a smell which allows you to enjoy your sushi without any overpowering taste or smell of soybeans.

What Is The Difference Between Seaweed And Soy Paper?

Both soy paper and seaweed are ideal for sushi and other Japanese dishes. You can even use them for spring rolls or as dessert wraps.

However, it’s worthwhile mentioning that seaweed paper is often only used for sushi as it has a slight sea flavor and smell.

Here are some of the most important differences to keep in mind when you want to swap your seaweed for soy paper or vice versa.


Nori seaweed may be made from red algae but when it is dried, then the sheets turn a dark green. 

This is what we have come to know as the traditional sushi wrapper.

In comparison, soy paper is available in a large range of colors, including orange, white, pink, green and yellow.

The majority of soy paper brands add just a little bit of natural coloring to the paper. For example, manufacturers can add paprika to soy paper to turn it orange or they add in turmeric to make the soy paper yellow.

When you are buying colored soy paper, then make sure that you check the ingredients don’t contain any artificial flavoring.


Seaweed paper is well known for its slight fishy taste and smell which isn’t very nice when you snack on it.

However, this natural smell and taste make nori paper perfect for sushi and fish-based dishes.

In comparison, soy paper doesn’t have a distinctive aroma or flavor. Without any taste, soy paper is ideal when you just want a little bit of crunch.

Both seaweed and soy paper are very thin, although soy paper is more flexible, allowing you to make more creative dishes.

Culinary Uses

Due to their different textures and odors, soy paper and nori are used slightly differently in the kitchen.

You can use both to create your favorite sushi rolls as they roll up without breaking.

However, seaweed is limited in its use for sweet dishes, as it has a distinctive fishy smell which wouldn’t pair well with sweet desserts, or even some savory dishes.

On the other hand, soybean paper doesn’t have an aroma which means you can use it for a lot more recipes.

From pudding to dumplings, soy paper works very well as a wrap for both sweet and savory dishes.


A good brand of quality soybean paper can last up to two years if left unopened. However, you will need to make sure that you store it in a dry and cool place.

The same applies to nori. When seaweed is unopened, then it can last for a couple of years.

However, the difference between the two sushi wrappers is when you open the packaging.

Nori seaweed can last for up to 3 weeks when store in an airtight container. Seaweed absorbs any surrounding moisture very quickly, so you will need to store it in a sealed container.

In comparison, soy paper doesn’t last as long as seaweed. You can expect soy paper to last for around two weeks.

However, it’s important that you also store it in an airtight container.

Nutritional Value And Health Benefits

Due to their different ingredients, seaweed and soy paper have very different health benefits and different nutritional values.

They are both very healthy foods. As they are made only with plant-based ingredients, you can eat them when you are on a gluten-free diet and when you are vegan.

However, it’s worthwhile saying here that soy paper has more calories but fewer carbs than seaweed.

The amounts, however, are relatively small, so it would only make a big difference if you were to eat a lot of sushi.

Nutritionists often recommend seaweed paper over soy paper as it contains more fiber, magnesium and Omega-3.

Where Can You Buy Seaweed And Soy Paper?

Seaweed paper is relatively easy to find, and you should be able to buy it at your local grocery store. Nori is usually placed in the Asian aisle

It’s more difficult to buy soy paper as you will need to either buy it online or check with your nearest Asian grocery store.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Make Soy Paper Stick To The Rice?

Just sprinkle a few drops of water on the edges of the soy paper and then wrap your sushi roll as normal.

The water will help to make the edges of the soybean paper sticky, so that you can wrap it around the sushi rice easier.

What Can You Use As A Substitute For Soybean Paper?

If you don’t have any soy paper, then you can easily use rice paper or seaweed paper as alternative.

If you are looking for a healthier option, then you can also slice some cucumber and wrap your sushi filling with cucumber.

Is Soy Paper Keto Friendly?

Yes, soybean paper is keto friendly as it has a lower amount of carbs. It also doesn’t any of the typical keto ingredients, such as refined oils, sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Make sure that you check the ingredients of the soy paper carefully to avoid any of these ingredients.

Final Thoughts

While both seaweed and soy paper are used for sushi, they are different in appearance, taste and nutritional value.

Jess Smith