We’re all aware of the wonders of soy sauce, a versatile and popular condiment we use on so many dishes. But have you ever heard of dark soy sauce?
You’re probably thinking – dang, isn’t hot sauce dark enough? Or at least, that’s what we thought!
All jokes aside, dark soy sauce is just as incredible as regular soy sauce, but we know that not everyone has this in their kitchens.
So, if your recipe calls for dark soy sauce, what do you do? What can you use instead of dark soy sauce?
Read on and let our list of the best dark soy sauce substitutes help you.
- 1. Light Soy Sauce
- 2. Oyster Sauce
- 3. Hoisin Sauce
- 4. Double Black Soy Sauce
- 5. Molasses
- 6. Teriyaki Sauce
- 7. Worcestershire Sauce
- 8. Miso Paste
- 9. Tamari – A great gluten-free alternative to soy sauce
- 10. Fish Sauce
- 11. Mushroom-Flavored Dark Soy
- 12. Balsamic Vinegar
- 13. DIY Dark Soy Sauce at Home
1. Light Soy Sauce
Light soy sauce is a perfect substitute for dark soy sauce as it has the similar salty flavor you expect from dark soy sauce. Furthermore, it enhances the umami flavor of meat, making it a versatile option for many dishes.
Light soy sauce has a thinner consistency than dark soy sauce, so it might not be the best substitute if you want a thicker dipping sauce. It may also not have the dark and silky appearance dark soy sauce has.
You can fix this by adding a bit of molasses to the light soy sauce, which thickens the sauce while adding some sweetness to it.
2. Oyster Sauce
Thanks to the sweet and salty flavor that works amazingly as an alternative for dark soy sauce, we recommend oyster sauce. It adds more color to dishes while enhancing umami flavor in duck, chicken, beef, or tofu.
Expect a bit of oyster and caramel flavors to your dish, though in our opinion, those make any dish better!
3. Hoisin Sauce
If you have seen Peking ducks hanging in Asian restaurants before, you most likely witnessed hoisin sauce. It’s a colorful marinade made for beef, chicken, duck, pork, and vegetables!
This sauce adds sweet and salty flavors to dishes and is fantastic when used on stir-fries.
However, hoisin sauce contains many other ingredients, such as chili pepper, garlic, and sesame seeds. Because of this, you shouldn’t expect the exact same flavor as dark soy sauce, but it will still work in adding color and good taste.
4. Double Black Soy Sauce
Yes, there’s such a thing as double black soy sauce, too! It has the same flavor and texture as dark soy sauce but much sweeter, thicker, and darker as it contains more molasses.
When using this, we recommend to add half the amount your recipe needs first. Since double black soy sauce is sweeter, it can throw the dish’s flavor off-balance if you add too much.
This is the best reaplacement for dark soy sauce, but it may also be challenging to find in Western supermarkets. You may find it in Asian supermarkets, though!
Molasses has a rich and bittersweet flavor, usually found in barbecue sauce. However, it does not contain any salt, as opposed to dark soy sauce. That’s why you’ll need to add more salt to your dish.
While molasses has a similar color to dark soy sauce, it has a thicker texture and might burn quicker, so avoid adding it to your dishes early on.
6. Teriyaki Sauce
This sauce offers a similar dark and glossy appearance that has stir-fries look even more delicious! Teriyaki sauce also provides a similar sweet and salty flavor you can find in dark soy sauce; may you use it as a condiment, marinade, or cooking ingredient.
Teriyaki sauce is a good substitute since one of its main ingredients is soy sauce. What makes it different is that teriyaki sauce contains other spices and ingredients like garlic and ginger. That said, expect a similar appearance but different taste!
7. Worcestershire Sauce
If you want the combination of salty, tangy, and savory flavors, then go for Worcestershire sauce! It’s not only great for Asian dishes but Western cuisine as well.
You can use this versatile sauce and up the umami in marinades, sauces, burgers, and the like. However, Worcestershire sauce isn’t as sweet and thick as dark soy sauce, with a waterier texture.
Learn more: Worcestershire Sauce Substitute
8. Miso Paste
Miso paste has the same flavor as dark soy sauce, but they aren’t the same texture. Like the name, it comes in a paste form, so you need to dilute miso paste in water to make it into a sauce, or you can just add it to your stew or soup.
Since miso paste has a strong flavor, use one tablespoon for every cup of dark soy sauce required in a recipe. While the color won’t be the same, the taste will be similar and just as delicious.
9. Tamari – A great gluten-free alternative to soy sauce
Tamari is an excellent dark soy sauce alternative since it has a similar flavor, is made from soybeans. Furthermore, it’s gluten-free and contains the same sodium content as dark soy sauce.
While the color won’t be similar, tamari gets the flavor right so that you can use an equal 1:1 ratio.
Read more: The Best Substitutes for Tamari Sauce
10. Fish Sauce
If you have fish sauce in your kitchen, you may want to consider this as your substitute, too. However, it has a powerful fish flavor and different colors, so you’ll need to reduce the required quantity.
It might not also pair with all types of dishes requiring soy sauce, so we highly recommend using it more on fish and other seafood dishes.
11. Mushroom-Flavored Dark Soy
Mushroom-flavored dark soy, as the name suggests, adds mushroom flavor to your food. It will give your dish a different taste, but an interesting one if you’re willing to explore.
We think it’s a good substitution as it has a similar texture and color, which works in various savory dishes. Since mushroom-flavored dark soy contains dark soy sauce and mushrooms, you can use it with an equal 1:1 ratio.
12. Balsamic Vinegar
We definitely won’t have balsamic vinegar as our first alternative, but if this is the only ingredient you have, then it’s worth trying. It’s best to use in cold dishes or salads.
This sauce gives off a sweet and sour flavor while adding the dark color you want to fish. Just make sure you add only half the amount needed or dilute the vinegar with water.
13. DIY Dark Soy Sauce at Home
Yes, you can make homemade dark soy sauce from regular soy sauce!
Here are the ingredients:
- 2 cups of brown sugar
- 1 cup of regular soy sauce
- ½ cup of water
– HOW TO MAKE –
Follow these directions:
- Add your water and sugar to a pan, cooking on high heat and stirring until boiling.
- After the sugar dissolves, stop stirring and let the mixture continue cooking on low-medium heat until it starts to darken. You’ll notice it begins looking like molasses.
- Add the regular soy sauce in, then stir until you achieve the thick texture similar to molasses. Once you do, remove your homemade soy sauce from the heat, storing it in an airtight container once it cools.
Our Favourite Dark Soy Sauce Brands
Frequently Asked Questions
There’s a lot more to learn about when it comes to dark soy sauce! Check out these frequently asked questions:
Wrapping It Up
If you’re creating an Asian-inspired meal but have no dark soy sauce, look into any of these replacements such as Light Soy Sauce, Teriyaki Sauce or Oyster Sauce. These will work excellently with your dishes without compromising the delicious taste.
Did you find the perfect ingredient to replace dark soy sauce with?
Let us know which one worked best for you in the comments section below!