Dark soy sauce makes a flavorful addition to stir-fries, homemade sauces, meat dishes, or it can be used on its own as a dipping sauce. If you don’t have any in your pantry, no problem! These are some of the best dark soy sauce substitutes, so you can still make the recipe you wanted.
Finding a new recipe that you want to try out can be exciting. You take your time to go through the instructions to make sure you have a game plan.
Then you move on to the ingredient list. This part is fun until you find out you’re missing dark soy sauce. At this point, you may be wondering what is the best dark soy sauce substitute.
There are many substitutes that can take dark soy sauce’s place in a recipe. Some of them are easier to find than others.
Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients that work well as dark soy sauce replacements.
📖 What Is Dark Soy Sauce?
Dark soy sauce originates from China and is a condiment with a unique flavor profile.
The sauce is made by heating soybeans until they turn soft. Fermentation also helps turn the beans into a deep shade of brown.
Then, the fermented soybeans go through a press with wheat and salt to create this dressing.
This leaves you with a thick dressing with a honey-like consistency. It’s a complex, salty sauce, with many layers of flavors.
The most prominent one is umami, which is another word for savoriness. Still, the sauce can also add a slight smoky sweetness to many dishes.
The combination of savory and sweet makes dark soy sauce perfect for many uses. This includes
- Fried rice base
- Braised meat
- Salad dressings
Not only does dark soy sauce boost the flavors of a dish, but it also helps with presentation.
Adding this condiment to any recipe gives the meal a much darker color. The sauce also contributes a glossiness that makes food look more appetizing.
Is Dark Soy Sauce A Common Ingredient?
Dark soy sauce has been around for many years. Still, it isn’t a staple in everyone’s pantry.
The condiment is incredibly popular in Asian cuisine. They use it in many dishes and sometimes as a dipping sauce.
However, it’s less common in western dishes. This doesn’t mean that the ingredient is hard to find.
In fact, most grocery stores carry this delicious sauce in their condiments section.
Overview Of 8 Dark Soy Sauce Substitutes
|Substitute||Conversion (Dark Soy Sauce: Substitute)||Notes|
|Light Soy Sauce||1:1.5||For closest flavor use 2 parts light soy sauce and 1 part molasses.|
|Worcestershire Sauce||1:1||Add honey or molasses to balance sweetness.|
|Teriyaki Sauce||1:1||1 Kaffir Lime Leaf = 1 Tsp Dried Lemongrass|
|Tamari Sauce||1:1||1 Sprig of Lemon Thyme = 1 Tsp Dried Lemongrass|
|Coconut Aminos||1:1||Add sweetener (honey, molasses, or sugar) and salt.|
|Double Black Soy Sauce||1:1/2||–|
🥄 Best Dark Soy Sauce Substitutes
Dark soy sauce is an excellent way to add a little depth to the flavor of a dish. However, it’s sometimes difficult to come by.
Therefore, if you can’t find the condiment, or don’t want to use it, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at eight alternatives for dark soy sauce.
Light Soy Sauce
This is the most common substitute for dark soy sauce. If you can’t find the dark condiment, try using the light variety instead.
These sauces have a similar flavor. However, there are a few key differences between them.
For starters, the consistency is completely different. Light soy sauce has a much thinner consistency, and it flows like water. This makes the sauce less suited for glazes and marinades.
In addition, light soy sauce is slightly less salty. Most people can’t tell the difference, but dark soy sauce has a marginally higher sodium content.
The dark sauce is also sweeter than the light. This, however, is noticeable. Therefore, you may need to add a little sugar or other sweeteners to match the flavor.
For the perfect substitute, try mixing one part of light soy sauce with a half part of molasses. This will give an almost exact replica of the dark soy sauce flavor.
Finally, the light soy sauce is much paler. So, it may not give your food the color or shine you’re looking for.
Oyster sauce is a salty and sweet condiment that can work well to replace dark soy sauce.
As you can guess by the name, the main ingredient in this sauce is oysters. The overall dressing has an earthy, sugary, umami flavor. One that’s a close match to dark soy sauce.
This makes oyster sauce amazing with most proteins and noodles.
Still, you can taste the oysters in the sauce. The oysters add a subtle fish flavor with a hint of caramel. This can throw off the balance of flavor in many dishes.
As a result, oyster sauce won’t work as a universal replacement.
This is probably the most familiar sauce to many people. We all struggle to pronounce the name, but it can be a great replacement for dark soy sauce.
It’s wonderful in marinades and homemade sauces like this Smoked Pumpkin Bourbon BBQ Sauce.
Worcestershire sauce is a combination of many elements. When they come together, they produce a salt, savory flavor, with a tangy twist.
For this reason, the dressing can work as a stand-in for dark soy sauce. However, the Worcestershire sauce is much less sweet.
The condiment does have some sugariness to it, but nowhere near enough. Moreover, the sauce has a thinner consistency.
This may mean that you need to add honey or molasses to address these issues.
Teriyaki sauce is another common dressing in Asian cuisine. We make this delicious condiment with soybeans, mirin, sugar, and a little garlic. The flavors combine together and make a wonderfully sweet, sticky sauce.
This is one ingredient that can help you make quick and tasty recipes. Don’t take my word for it though, try this honey Teriyaki chicken recipe and see for yourself.
For a vegan alternative, there will be no regrets if you make honey Teriyaki tofu and skip the meat.
If you’re searching for a replacement that can match the color of dark soy sauce, look no further. Teriyaki has an almost identical shade.
Even though both sauces have the same main ingredient, they don’t taste similar. Teriyaki has a few more additives like garlic and ginger that enhance its flavor.
Still, this means you can’t use this sauce if the recipe relies on the dark soy sauce flavor.
Tamari is the Japanese iteration of soy sauce. They’re both soybean products and are produced similarly.
However, they have different flavor profiles. Tamari is a much milder sauce, with a better sweet and sour balance.
This means the condiment is less sugary and salty than its Chinese counterpart.
Because of this, tamari has a few added medical benefits. It can help you maintain your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Moreover, both tamari and dark soy sauce have a pronounced umami flavor. For this reason, you can use the sauces interchangeably.
Still, you may not be able to achieve the shiny, deep color of dark soy sauce with tamari.
If you’re trying to avoid soybeans altogether, you can try coconut aminos. This is a sauce made of coconut tree sap and sea salt.
The resulting product has a light earthy flavor with a kick of savoriness. That flavor profile can replace dark soy sauce in almost any dish.
In addition, coconut aminos sauce has over 17 amino acids, minerals, and vitamins. This gives the condiment a huge number of medical benefits.
Coconut aminos are milder than dark soy sauce. Therefore, you may not be able to achieve a perfect flavor match without adding more salt and sugar.
This condiment has an intense, sharp flavor. Adding hoisin sauce to any dish can give it a sweet and sour twist.
Like soy sauces, hoisin is also made of soybeans, but it includes some other additives, including:
- Sesame seeds
- Chili peppers
This makes for a sticky flavorful sauce that can complement any type of protein. However, because of all the additions, it doesn’t match the flavor of dark soy sauce.
You can use hoisin to match the color of dark soy sauce, but not the taste. Therefore, it may be best for marinades and stir-fries.
Double Black Soy Sauce
The main difference between light and dark soy sauce is the sugar content. Dark soy sauce tends to have a lot more smoky, sweet molasses.
Double black soy sauce has even more of the sugary confection. It’s basically a highly concentrated version of dark soy sauce.
That makes it the perfect substitute. However, double black is incredibly potent. You only need to use about half the amount you would with dark soy sauce.
Double black soy sauce is also far thicker than its lighter alternative. This may cause issues in the texture of your final dish.
🍲 Recipes With Dark Soy Sauce
Dark soy sauce, and its light counterpart pair wonderfully with meat and most veggies.
If a recipe calls for regular soy sauce you can replace it with dark soy sauce but don’t forget to adjust the sweetness of the dish.
Here are some of my favorite recipes that turn out amazing when using dark soy sauce as an ingredient.
Honey Teriyaki Chicken – This is a life-saving 30-minute meal that can help you get dinner on the table fast. Feel free to use light or dark soy sauce, depending on how rich you’d like the flavor of the final dish to be.
Broccoli Stir Fry – With tasty sides like this one, adding more veggies to your diet is not a problem!
Poor Man’s Burnt Ends – The sweet and savory profile of this recipe makes it pair nicely with soy sauce. However, if you use the dark variety, you might want to add less brown sugar.
Grilled Marinated Ranch Steak – Next time you fire up your grill, give this super easy recipe a try. Adding soy sauce to the marinade will enrich the flavor and contribute to an incredibly tender ranch steak.
Grilled Half Chicken – Substitute the light soy sauce and molasses with dark soy sauce for a deeper flavor profile. The homemade Teriyaki BBQ sauce make this inexpensive grilled chicken unbelievably good!
Dark soy sauce has a high molasses content and thicker consistency. Moreover, the dark variety can add a beautiful dark color and sheen to most dishes.
Yes, you can combine two parts of light soy sauce with one part of molasses to get a near-perfect match.
All of your substitutes needs all in one handy reference spot! Comprehensive list substitutes here or to print off for your own menu binder. You to find an ingredient option that will allow you to not run out to the store or you may find a flavor combination you love even better than the original. Garlic Powder Substitute, Cojita Cheese Substitute, Parsley Substitute, Green Chilis Substitute, Italian Seasoning Substitute, Mustard Seed Substitute, Cilantro Substitute, Sriracha Substitute, White Pepper Substitute, Onion Powder Substitute, Five Spice Substitute, Turmeric Substitutes, White Wine Vinegar, Cardamon Substitute, Parsley Substitute, Cremini Mushroom Substitute, Egg Yolk, Leeks, Egg Wash, Coconut Cream, Tomato, Stewed Tomatoes, Coconut Sugar, Palm Sugar, Hoisin, Adobo, Chili Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Escarole, Watercress, Rice Wine Vinegar, Ketchup, Tomato Puree, Tomato Paste, Lemongrass, Chervil, Cheesecloth, Worcestershire Sauce, Fennel, Dark Soy Sauce.
If you’re searching for a dark soy sauce alternative, there are a few options out there, and I’m sure one of these replacements is something you already have in your pantry.
Some of them will need to be adjusted with sweeteners like honey, molasses, or sugar, and for the low-sodium substitutes you might need to add more salt too.
Experimenting with these dark soy sauce substitutes might yield some unexpected but delicious results!