Dark Soy Sauce Substitutes

Dark Soy Sauce is a variation of the liquid condiment Soy Sauce (Shoyu) which people traditionally produce from fermented soybeans, molds, roasted grains, and brine. 

With origins in China some 2,200 years ago, soy sauce is now an essential umami flavoring used in Asian cuisine worldwide.

If you are looking for a substitute for dark soy sauce in one of your recipes, read on to find the best alternatives for every situation.

1. Tamari

Tamari is the Japanese equivalent of Soy Sauce. It has a flavor that you will appreciate if you’re a fan of Dark Soy Sauce.

Tamari is known for being an excellent gluten-free alternative to soy sauce. In addition, the organic brands of Tamari are often MSG and preservatives free.

You can use this sauce as a substitute for dark soy sauce in stir-fries, soups, and marinades.

2. Coconut Aminos

Coconut Aminos are a popular substitute for Dark Soy Sauce because they provide a similar savory flavor to umami options and additional health benefits.

This liquid amino is typically made with fermented coconut and sea salt. Coconut Aminos are a lower sodium option than dark soy sauce.

You can use Coconut Aminos in place of Dark Soy Sauce for dipping sushi, egg rolls, and wontons. They also go well with noodles and vegetable dishes. You can also use it for delicious Japanese Yakitori.

3. Light Soy Sauce

Light Soy Sauce, also referred to as regular soy sauce, is a lighter-colored sauce without the thickness of Dark Soy Sauce.

You can use Soy Sauce to get umami flavor in recipes such as Shoyu Ramen and other Asian recipes that call for Dark Soy Sauce. 

You can use Light Soy Sauce as a direct replacement for Dark Soy Sauce with a 2:1 ratio. So two teaspoons of soy sauce for each teaspoon of dark soy sauce.

4. Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire Sauce has a similar umami flavor to dark soy sauce, making it an excellent replacement for lots of situations. It is also gluten-free.

You can use this sauce as a marinade for pork and a dipping sauce for spring rolls or noodles.

5. Hoisin Sauce

When used as a table condiment for dipping or as a marinade for chicken, duck, and shellfish dishes, Hoisin Sauce is a good option.

Compared to Dark Soy Sauce, this sauce will add additional flavors such as garlic, sesame, and a slight spiciness making it ideal for vegetable dishes too.

6. Kecap Manis

Kecap Manis, both salty and sweet, is an Indonesian sauce with a thick consistency that makes an ideal alternative to Dark Soy Sauce in several scenarios.

You can pair this sauce with fried rice, noodles, and certain vegetables, which makes it an exciting substitute if you want to try something new since the syrupy texture will never make it a direct replacement.

7. Cooking Caramel

Cooking Caramel, also known as Black Soy Sauce, should not be confused with Dark Soy Sauce. It is a thick viscous sauce with a similar texture to molasses.

This mildly sweet sauce is a great substitute when used in stir-fried dishes as the sugars caramelize, allowing you to create sticky fried rice, which is fantastic with slices of succulent pork belly.