8 Best Substitute For Dark Soy Sauce

Dark soy sauce is a well-known ingredient in Asia areas.

However, in western supermarkets, you might rarely see the kind of sauce. As a result, I want to provide you with the list of the eight best substitutes for dark soy sauce, which would help you still have the desired meal without tiredly seeking the missing ingredient.

Substitute For Dark Soy Sauce

List of The 8 Best Dark Soy Sauce Substitutes

As some of you might have known, dark soy sauce often appears in Asian, especially Chinese food. It has a dark color like the light soy sauce. However, its consistency is thicker, and it is sweeter than the light one.

The sauce adds extra umami flavor and a darker color to some unique dishes, such as stir-fried meat and noodles.

Suppose you have not had the sauce in your pantry yet your recipe includes it; choose one of the eight alternatives below:

1. Teriyaki Sauce

The first name on our list is teriyaki sauce, a pretty popular condiment you can find in most supermarkets.

The teriyaki sauce mainly contains soy sauce. The ingredient’s color is as black as the dark soy sauce, ensuring you have the glossy stir-fried dishes with virtually no difference.

The teriyaki flavor is also pretty similar to the dark one; both are sweet and salty. Hence, you can use it as an alternative ingredient or marinade.

However, the teriyaki sauce might give a slightly different flavor from the dark one as a result. Cause it has extra garlic or gingers.

2. Hoisin Sauce

Another replacement for the dark soy sauce I highly recommended is the hoisin sauce.

As a big fan of the hoisin flavor, I am utterly absorbed with its glossy dark color and the fragrant scent together with a perfect combination of sweetness and saltiness. Most of the time, it even does a better job than the dark soy sauce in stir-fried dishes.

You can use the ingredient in a wide range of food, such as vegetables, beef, duck, or chicken pork. That is why you can see it in many Asian restaurants, particularly in the Cantonese ones.

On the other side, the hoisin sauce is not similar to the original dark sauce. It has extra ingredients such as chili pepper, sesame seeds, or garlic.

3. Worcestershire Sauce

The Worcestershire sauce is a popular name in Asian and Italian food. Chefs often use it to add extra umami flavor in burger patties, marinades, and other dishes.

For more details, the sauce is well-known for its combination of tangy, savory, and salty flavor. However, unlike the dark soy sauce, the Worcestershire might be less sweet and have thick inconsistency.

4. Light Soy Sauce

As its name indicated, light soy sauce is a kind of sauce with a more golden color and less silky appearance than its cousin.

On the other hand, both have a similar salty flavor. That being said, you can replace the dark sauce with the light one without changing the original taste. Plus, the replacement can increase the umami flavor as well as its prototype for any Asian cuisine.

But, sometimes, when I try a new recipe without the dark soy sauce, I find out that the light one does not give me the sweer flavor as I expect. Luckily, I’ve already prepared a bottle of molasses. The secret ingredient immediately balances my dish’s taste as usual.

5. Oyster Sauce

Once you are a cooking lover, your pantry might never lack the oyster sauce. Cause it can easily give your food an extra flavor of umami, caramel, and subtly oyster.

Moreover, it is also an ideal substitute for dark soy sauce. Both have a similar color and sweetness. And you can use them in various dishes from beef, duck, chicken, and tofu.

6. Mushroom Dark Soy

I suggest dark mushroom soy as a good substitute for dark soy sauce because it contains excellent flavors. For instance, it gives an extra mushroom taste, one of my favorite condiments.

Of course, it also has a similar color and texture to its peer. Hence, it serves you well in any savory dish.

7. Double Dark Soy Sauce

The double dark soy sauce, as its name indicated, is a sauce that is about twice thicker, sweeter, and darker than the original one. For this reason, it is a good substitute.

However, you should reduce the amount of double dark soy sauce tablespoons in the initial recipe so that your dishes’ sweetness will not change the balance.

8. Self-Made Dark Soy Sauce

The last option is to make the dark soy sauce yourself once you hurry and cannot find any alternative.

To do that, you need one cup of standard soy sauce, two cups of dark brown sugar, and ½ cup of water.

First, pour water and sugar into a pan. Turn on the stove and cook at high heat. Stir the composite from time to time until it boils.

After the sugar has dissolved, turn down the flame to a medium-low level and stop stirring. Wait a few minutes for the composite to darken. Then, you would notice it has a similar look as the molasses.

Next, pour the sot sauce into the mixture slowly and stir simultaneously. Stop when you see the liquid become dark and thick enough inconsistency. Please remove it from the heat and keep it in a tight container when you are done. Please put it in the refrigerator for more extended time usage.

Soy Sauce Substitute: Easy Soy Sauce Alternative/Replacement (Homemade Soy Sauce) – No Soy!

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I use ordinary soy sauce instead of dark soy sauce?

Of course, the usual soy sauce (or light soy sauce) is an excellent substitute for dark soy sauce. It also gives your food a more golden color compared with its peer. Also, both have the same level of sweetness and similar flavor.

Can you replace dark soy sauce with Kecap Manis?

Of course, you can use the Kecap Manis instead of dark soy sauce cause they are both sweet, thick, and dense. However, the Kecap Manis might not be as salty as its peer, so use a little more if you want the desired flavor.

What are good dark soy sauces?

There are some well-known kinds of dark soy sauces you can refer to, namely Yamaroku Kiku Bisiho Soy Sauce, Lee Kum Kee dark soy sauce, and Kimlan Lou Chau soy sauce. They are pretty intense in color and flavor.

Hence, add them into any savory dishes such as barbecue, stews, and recipes, and you would be amazed by how it looks and tastes differently.

Why is dark soy sauce dark?

The dark color has its roots from the long ferment period. That being said, the longer you use the soy sauce, the darker it becomes. Besides, the soy beans’ taste in the dark sauce has already descended while the umami flavor increases.

Plus, the aged soy sauce might be a bit sweeter and saltier than the light one.

How to Make Dark Soy Sauce (Gluten Free)


To conclude, above are the eight best substitutes for dark soy sauce.

In my opinion, you could use the light soy sauce or the teriyaki sauce cause they might be the easiest ones to find on the market. Plus, if you want an alternative that does a great job in stir-fried dishes,  the hoisin sauce is my suggestion.

Overall, we hope the article has helped you have the best meal for your loved ones.