14 Best Pantry Staple Dark Soy Sauce Substitutes

Soy sauce is an essential ingredient in numerous Asian cuisines. It adds depth of flavor and umami to dishes.

It originated in China and is made from fermented soybeans, now widely available worldwide.

Soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans with water, salt, and enzymes. The fermentation process breaks down the beans’ proteins into amino acids, which give soy sauce it’s characteristic salty flavor.

Soy sauce is a universal condiment that can be utilized in many various dishes. It can be utilized as a dipping sauce, marinade, or stir-fry sauce. It is also a familiar ingredient in many Asian dishes such as sushi, noodles, and rice.

There are different kinds of soy sauce available in the market, ranging from light to dark soy sauce. Light soy sauce has a milder flavor, while dark soy sauce is more intense in flavor.

So, Choosing the right type of dark soy sauce substitutes according to your preference and taste is very important.

What is dark soy sauce? 

Dark soy sauce is a type of soy sauce that is darker in color than regular soy sauce. It is richer, less salty, slightly thicker, and has a sweeter taste than other types of soy sauce. 

Dark soy sauce is commonly used in Chinese and other Asian cuisines.

What is dark soy sauce called?

lăo chōu

What can I substitute for dark soy sauce?

If you don’t have dark soy sauce, you can use a combination of soy sauce and molasses or honey. Or,

For vegan or gluten-free versions, try coconut aminos. You can use tamari, which is a type of soy sauce that is usually darker in color and has a more intense flavor.

You can also try using fish sauce, oyster sauce, or hoisin sauce as substitutes. Read Continue to more additional alternatives to dark soy sauce.

Dark Soy Sauce substitutes

1. COCONUT AMINOS- A gluten-free substitute for dark soy sauce (Vegan)

Coconut aminos is a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce made from the fermented sap of coconuts. It has a bit sweet and salty taste that can be used in place of soy sauce in any dish.

Coconut aminos are rich in amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, making them an excellent source of nutrition. It is also lower in fat and calories, making it a healthy option for people trying to lose weight.

coconut aminos are rich in amino acids and a great substitute for dark soy sauce

Coconut aminos can be utilized in any dish that calls for soy sauce, such as stir-fries, marinades, and sauces. It can also be utilized as a dipping sauce or added to soups and stews for added flavor.

If you’re searching king for a healthy, gluten-free alternative to soy sauce, look no further than coconut aminos! It is a delicious way to add flavor to your favorite dishes without all of the unhealthy ingredients. Give it a try today!

2. Light soy sauce- Best Dark Soy Sauce Substitute

When it comes to soy sauce, there are actually a few different types that you can choose from.

The most available variety of soy sauce is actually light soy sauce, which most people use when cooking.

To substitute light soy sauce for dark soy sauce, you will need to use a bit more of the light soy sauce to get the same flavor.

Keep in the sense that dark soy sauce is also sweeter than light soy sauce, so you may like to adjust the amount of salt and sugar in your recipe accordingly.

So bring the exalt flavor of dark soy sauce mix 1:1 ratio of light soy sauce and either molasses or brown sugar for similar consistency and flavor.

3. SWEET SOY SAUCE- Perfect Dark Soy Sauce Alternative 

Sweet soy sauce is popular and originated in Indonesian cuisine. It is also known as Kecap Manis.

Sweet soy sauce is an excellent replacement for dark soy sauce. It has a similar taste and can be used in the same way. Try it in stir-fries, marinades, and sauces. It’s also a suitable option for those who are watching their sodium intake.

4. Substitute TERIYAKI SAUCE for Dark soy sauce 

In many recipes, dark soy sauce is used to add color and depth of flavor to a dish. However, if you’re looking for a substitution for dark soy sauce, teriyaki sauce is a great option.

Teriyaki sauce is produced with soy sauce, sugar, and mirin (a Japanese rice wine), and it has a slightly sweeter flavor than dark soy sauce. Try the best alternatives for teriyaki sauce at the same time.

Here are some recipes that call for dark soy sauce:

  • Chinese Braised Pork Belly with Dark Soy Sauce
  • Stir-Fried Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables in Dark Soy Sauce
  • Braised Eggplant with Minced Pork in Dark Soy Sauce
  • Peking Duck with Dark Soy Sauce

As you can see, dark soy sauce is used in various recipes. If you don’t have dark soy sauce on hand or are looking for a sweeter flavor, teriyaki sauce is a great substitution. Try it in your next stir-fry, braise, or noodle dish!

5. Try MISO PASTE Instead of Dark Soy Sauce 

Miso paste can be utilized as an alternate for dark soy sauce in many recipes. It is a fermented paste made from soybeans, rice, barley, and salt and has a strong, salty flavor.

When substituting miso paste for dark soy sauce, use the same amount of miso paste and jaggery or molasses as you would dark soy sauce.

Depending on the recipe, you may need to add a little water to thin out the paste.

6. MUSHROOM-FLAVORED SOY SAUCE- Keto substitute for dark soy sauce

Mushroom soy sauce is made from fermented mushrooms, soybeans, and salt. It has a rich, earthy flavor that pairs well with many Asian dishes.

Plus, it’s a good source of umami, the fifth taste that is often described as “savory” or “delicious.” It is perfect for stir-fries, marinades, or as a dipping sauce.

So if you’re on the keto diet and missing dark soy sauce, give mushroom soy sauce an attempt. You might just discover that it’s your new favorite condiment!

7. Dark soy sauce substitute OYSTER SAUCEl

Oyster sauce is a thick, dark sauce made from oyster extract, sugar, and salt. It is generally used in Chinese cuisine as a stir-fry seasoning or for top-cooked vegetables.

To substitute oyster sauce for dark soy sauce, simply use an equal amount of the former in place of dark soy sauce. 

Keep in mind that oyster sauce is less sweet than dark soy sauce, so you may want to adjust your recipe accordingly. Additionally, oyster sauce is thicker than dark soy sauce, so it may affect the consistency of your dish.

8. HOISIN SAUCE- Similar To Dark Soy Sauce 

If you want to make a dish more authentically Chinese, you can use hoisin sauce instead of dark soy sauce.

Hoisin sauce is produced from a mixture of sweeteners and spices and has a thick, syrupy consistency.

It will give your dish a sweeter flavor than dark soy sauce, so you may want to adjust the other seasonings accordingly.

9. Add TAMARI SAUCE To the Place Of Dark Soy Sauce 

Tamari is a kind of soy sauce that is created without wheat, so it’s gluten-free. It has a similar flavor to dark soy sauce, but it is slightly sweeter and less salty.

Tamari can be used in all the same ways that you would use dark soy sauce.

To substitute tamari for dark soy sauce, simply use an equal amount of tamari instead of the dark soy sauce. Try it in stir-fries, marinades, and sauces.

10. WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE- Suitable Replacement for Dark Soy Sauce 

If you want to substitute Worcestershire sauce for dark soy sauce, you can do so by mixing the two in a 1:1 ratio. So, for every 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce, add 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.

This substitution will work best in dishes where the soy sauce is used for flavor rather than as the main ingredient.

11. Try FISH SAUCE instead of Dark Soy Sauce 

Fish sauce is not an excellent substitute for dark soy sauce; it still can use in certain recipes. It is made from fermented fish and has a similar umami flavor, but it’s much lighter in color and body.

Fish sauce is a popular alternative for dark soy sauce

Plus, it won’t make your dish as salty, so you can use less of it overall. When substituting fish sauce for dark soy sauce, start with half the amount called for in the recipe and then adjust to taste.

12. Use BALSAMIC VINEGAR – A great substitute for Dark Soy Sauce  

Balsamic Vinegar can’t be a great alternative but pairs well with some recipes when you don’t have other subs. Try it in a vinaigrette or on grilled vegetables.

Balsamic vinegar is made from the juice of white grapes. The juice is boiled until it evolves into a viscous syrup and is then aged in wooden barrels. Balsamic vinegar has a deep, rich flavor and is used as a finishing vinegar.

To substitute balsamic vinegar for dark soy sauce, use a 1:1 ratio. So if the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce, use 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar instead.

How do you make dark soy sauce from regular soy sauce?

To make dark soy sauce from regular soy sauce, you will need to add molasses, brown sugar, and/or caramel coloring to the soy sauce.

This will give the soy sauce a darker color and a sweeter flavor.

You can also use double-dark soy sauce, which is made by fermenting the soy sauce for a longer period of time. Double-dark soy sauce is very dark in color and has a strong, pungent flavor.

How to make dark soy sauce with brown sugar


-1 cup of dark soy sauce

-1/2 cup of brown sugar

-1/4 cup of water

-1 tablespoon of rice vinegar

-1 teaspoon of salt


1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.

3. Lower the flame and let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes, or until it thickens.

4. Release from heat and let it cool before serving.

Is dark soy sauce the same as soy sauce?

No, dark soy sauce isn’t the exact as regular soy sauce.

Dark soy sauce is made with roasted soybeans and has a thicker, darker color than regular soy sauce. It also has a richer flavor and is less salty and sweeter than regular soy sauce.

Dark soy sauce is good for stir fry, sauce, and stews, whereas regular soy sauce is good for sushi, sashimi, and other Asian dishes.

best dark soy sauce Brands

  1. Lee Kum Kee Premium Dark Soy Sauce– It has natural ingredients and premium quality soy sauce.
  2. YUHO Organic Dark Soy sauce with Low Sodium

Wrap Up on substitutes for dark soy sauce

Although there are many substitutes for dark soy sauce, none of them can completely replicate the unique flavor and texture that dark soy sauce imparts to dishes.

The best substitutes for dark soy sauce are those that have a similar color and consistency, such as sweet soy sauce or coconut aminos ( gluten-free).

When substituting dark soy sauce in a recipe, It is necessary to begin with less than the recipe specifies and gradually add more to taste.

FAQs Related to Dark Soy Sauce & Its Alternatives

Q1. Is Kikkoman A Dark Soy Sauce?

No, Kikkoman is not a dark soy sauce. It is a sweet soy sauce that has been fermented for a shorter period of time than dark soy sauce.

The result is a lighter, less salty, more sweet flavor that is perfect for satay, marinades, stir-fries, and dipping sauces.

Q2. Can I substitute dark soy sauce for soy sauce?

It depends on what you are using the soy sauce for. If you are using it as a marinade or for a dish where the soy sauce will be fully cooked, then Dark soy sauce is not a good substitute, If your recipe needs a sweet stir fry or sauces and stews like red cook then it will be a great alternative.

Q3. Can I substitute hoisin sauce for dark soy sauce?

Hoisin sauce and dark soy sauce are both common ingredients in Chinese cuisine. They are both used to add flavor and color to dishes. While the two sauces have certain similarities, they also have some significant variances.

Hoisin sauce is made from a mixture of soybeans, sugar, garlic, and spices. It is sweet and viscous, with a deep red color. Dark soy sauce is produced from soybeans and wheat flour that has been fermented and aged. It is darker in color than hoisin sauce and has a more intense flavor.

So, can you substitute hoisin sauce for dark soy sauce? While the two sauces share some similarities, hoisin sauce is sweeter than dark soy sauce, so if you have an alternative option, go for them.

Q4. What are the ingredients in dark soy sauce?

The soybeans and wheat are fermented and then roasted, which gives the sauce its dark color. The sauce is then aged for a period of time to allow the flavors to develop. Then add sweeteners like molasses and other sweetening agents.

Q5. Can I use kecap manis instead of dark soy sauce?

Yes, you can use kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) instead of dark soy sauce. Just be aware that the dishes will be sweeter than if you had used dark soy sauce.

Kecap manis is a thick, sweetened soy sauce that originates from Indonesia. It is made by boiling soybeans and wheat with spices and sweeteners like palm sugar or molasses.

The result is a dense, dark sauce that is perfect for stir-fries, marinades, and dipping sauces.

If you cannot find kecap manis at your local grocery store, you can easily make it at home. Just simmer the soy sauce, sugar, and spices in a pot until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has thickened.

Q6. Can I substitute dark soy sauce for light? 

It relies on your personal liking and what you use the soy sauce for.

Some people might prefer the taste of dark soy sauce, while others might find it too overpowering. Finally, it is up to you to choose which kind of soy sauce you like.

Q7. Where to buy dark soy sauce?

Few spots are available where you can buy dark soy sauce, including Asian markets and some specialty grocery stores.

You can also order it online from a variety of retailers. When shopping for dark soy sauce, be sure to check the label to make sure it is authentic and of good quality.

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