14 Best Dark Soy Sauce Substitutes


Dark Soy Sauce can be a delicious addition to many recipes, but what if you’ve run out or your grocery store doesn’t carry it? The good news is we’ll help you find the best dark soy sauce substitute, which includes many options as well as making your own.

Soy Sauce with soy beans
Soy Sauce with soy beans

What is Dark Soy Sauce?

Dark Soy Sauce is thicker, darker, and slightly sweeter than regular soy sauce. It’s intended for the same uses, but it gives a darker color and a bit bolder flavor when used.

Light and regular soy sauce are made from pressing fermented soybeans, while dark soy sauce is made from the residuals of the fermented soybeans.

What Is Dark Soy Sauce Used For?

Dark Soy Sauce is used mainly in Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine to add color and flavor to dishes such as meats, vegetables, and stir-fries. It can also be used for dipping sauces.

What Does Dark Soy Sauce Taste Like?

Dark soy sauce is sweeter, thicker, and darker than light soy sauce. Light soy sauce has a saltier flavor and is lighter and thinner in consistency.

soy sauce in bowl
soy sauce in bowl

Along with its slightly sweet flavor, dark soy sauce also has the presence of umami taste.

Dark Soy Sauce Nutritional Value

The nutritional facts of a single serving of soy sauce are as follows.

Calories 10
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 990mg
Total Carbohydrate 0g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 0g

Substitutes for Dark Soy Sauce

Are there really adequate substitutes for dark soy sauce? The answer it yes.

We’ve created a list below that will give you some options that stay in line with the great umami flavor of soy sauce as well as have a similar color and consistency.

What is Dark Soy Sauce? How’s it Different from Regular Soy Sauce?

The difference between dark soy sauce and regular soy sauce is its color and flavor. Dark soy sauce has more molasses, is thicker in consistency, and is slightly sweeter in flavor.

Olive oil and soy sauce in glass jars
Olive oil and soy sauce in glass jars

14 Best Dark Soy Sauce Substitutes

What can I substitute for dark soy sauce? Here are some of the best options.

Light Soy Sauce

Regular or light soy sauce is the number one dark soy sauce substitute. It encompasses the same flavor, consistency, and a bit lighter color.

Using light soy sauce will not compromise the flavor of your dish.

Substitute ratio: 1:1

Mushroom Flavored Soy Sauce

Mushroom flavored soy sauce is a dark soy sauce that has a unique umamai flavor that naturally comes from the mushroom flavoring.

It’s traditionally infused with the flavor of dried straw mushrooms. It too has a dark brown color.

Substitute ratio:  1:1

Double Black Soy Sauce

Double black soy sauce is essentially a dark soy sauce that’s make with molasses.  The molasses makes it thicker and darker in color and flavor.

Double black soy sauce can make a good replacement for dark soy sauce, be we always recommend going light when adding it to your recipe then adding more later on if you want to.

Substitute ratio: 1:1

Kecap Manis (Sweet Soy Sauce)

Sweet soy sauce and Kecap Manis are one in the same sauce.  Sweet soy sauce is the English name for it while Kecap Manis is the Indonesian name for it.

Sweet soy sauce is an Indonesian condiment made from palm sugar and soy sauce. It’s generally used as a dressing, marinade, glaze, dipping sauce, and more.

Substitute ratio: 1:1

black soy sauce
black soy sauce

Teriyaki Sauce

Because teriyaki sauce includes soy sauce, it too can be used as a viable substitute.  Teriyaki, however, has a bit of a sweeter flavor than the salty aspect of soy sauce.

Teriyaki sauce combines mirin, soy sauce, sugar, and sake, along with the addition of honey, garlic, and ginger by some brands.  

Substitute ratio: 1:1

Hoisin Sauce

At your first glance of hoisin sauce, it might be easy to confuse it with soy sauce as far as appearance is concerned.

It’s made from soybeans, sugar, water, salt, sesame seeds, cornstarch, garlic, and spices.

Substitute ratio: 2:1

Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is noted for its dark brown color and saucy aspects that cause it to appear similar to soy sauce. The flavor is that if umami, tangy, and savory, which makes it a good substitute when needed for dark soy sauce.

oyster sauce
oyster sauce

Oyster sauce is made from oysters, cornstarch, flour, caramel color, sugar, and salt. It can also be purchased in vegetarian versions.

Substitute ratio:  1:1


Depending on the recipe, molasses can be used as a substitute for dark soy sauce. It mimics the texture and color of soy sauce, but the flavor will be altered slightly sweeter when it’s used in its place.


Molasses is made as a byproduct of the processing of sugar beet and sugar cane.

Substitute ratio:  1:1


Tamari, a dark brown sauce, is a great gluten free option if you’re looking for a good substitute for dark soy sauce.

It’s made from soybeans, water, salt, and fermented rice. It’s loved by clean eaters and health conscience individuals since it’s free from all the additives which are typically found in other sauces.

Substitute ratio:  1:1

Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce, another shelf stable brown sauce can be used as a good replacement for dark soy sauce. It has somewhat of a tangy flavor as well as savory and umami.

Its ingredients usually include molasses, vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt, tamarind extract, and chili pepper extract.

Substitute ratio: 2:1

Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos is a brown liquid condiment that’s similar to soy sauce. It makes a good substitute when needed, though it’s a bit more expensive. 

It’s made from the fermented sap of a coconut palm tree and sea salt.

Substitute ratio:  1:1

LKK Vegetarian Stir Fry Sauce

Stir fry sauce is another dark brown liquid sauce that contains soy sauce and makes a good replacement without compromise.

It’s made from water, sugar, soy sauce, salt, modified cornstarch, and yeast extract.

Substitute ratio: 1:1

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar, known for its tangy and tart aspect, works well as a substitute for dark soy sauce when you’re in a pinch.

Balsamic vinegar is a reduction made from sweet white grapes that are left to ferment. It’s brown in color and very similar in appearance to dark soy sauce. 

Substitute ratio: 1:1

Balsamic vinegar
Balsamic vinegar

Make Your Own

You can easily make your own dark soy sauce if you have regular or light soy sauce on hand. To make dark soy sauce, begin with 2 teaspoons regular soy sauce and whisk in ½ teaspoon molasses and 1/8 teaspoon sugar.

This can be used as a one to one substitute.

Substitute ratio: 1:1

How is Dark Soy Sauce Used?

Dark Soy Sauce is used for a variety of purposes such as in stir fries, in sauces, dipping sauce, glaze for meats, and more.

Buying & Storing

Soy sauce can be purchased at most grocery stores and supermarkets. 

Most soy sauce can be stored at room temperature until it’s opened. After soy sauce has been opened, it should be refrigerated.

Gluten Free Dark Soy Sauce

Our Favorite Dishes That Use This Ingredient:

Turkey Spring Rolls
Chicken Fried Rice

Can I Make Dark Soy Sauce at Home?

Yes, dark soy sauce can be made at home.  To make dark soy sauce at home, use 2 teaspoons of regular soy sauce and add ½ teaspoon of molasses and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar. Mix well until combined and the sugar is dissolved. 

sushi rolls topped with sesam
sushi rolls topped with sesame

What is Double Black Soy Sauce?

Some recipes call for the use of double black soy sauce, and you might wonder what this is.

Double black soy sauce has double the molasses so it’s darker in color and bolder in flavor.

How Do You Make Light Soy Sauce from Dark Soy Sauce?

To make light soy sauce from dark soy sauce, you can simply dilute it. Add the desired amount of soy sauce to a dish and add a dash of water and a pinch of salt.

Stir until the salt is fully dissolved. Your light soy sauce is ready to be used.

Is Soy Sauce Healthy?

Whether soy sauce is healthy for you depends on your dietary restrictions. For example, if you require a low sodium diet or gluten free diet, then eating soy sauce might not be beneficial for you.

Despite its high sodium content, soy sauce can still be enjoyed as a part of a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables.  If you require a low sodium diet, purchase a brand that offers a salt reduced option, or simply use less. 

How Many Calories are in Soy Sauce?

The number of calories in a single serving of soy sauce varies depending on the brand.

However, our bottle of Kikkoman soy sauce indicates it contains 10 calories per 1 tablespoon, a single serving size.

Bowls of soy sauce
Bowls of soy sauce

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions that relate to dark soy sauce substitute. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop it to us in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.

Can you use normal soy sauce instead of dark?

Yes, normal soy sauce will work fine as a substitute for dark soy sauce. The only difference will be its boldness of flavor.

What’s the difference between regular soy sauce and dark soy sauce?

The main difference between regular soy sauce and dark soy sauce is the boldness of color and the boldness in flavor. Dark soy sauce is the bolder choice.

How do you make dark soy sauce out of regular soy sauce?

To make dark soy sauce out of light soy sauce, use 2 teaspoons of regular soy sauce and add ½ teaspoon of molasses and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar. Mix well until combined and the sugar is dissolved. 

Can you substitute Tamari for dark soy sauce?

Yes, in fact Tamari is one of the best substitutes for dark soy sauce because it’s very similar in flavor. The other bonus is it doesn’t contain wheat so it’s naturally gluten free.

dumplings with soy sauce
dumplings with soy sauce

Is Kikkoman soy sauce light or dark?

It’s considered dark soy sauce in Japan.

Can I use Tamari for gluten free soy sauce?

Yes, Tamari is a great substitute for soy sauce because it’s similar in flavor and it’s naturally gluten free because it doesn’t contain wheat like many soy sauces do.

Related Items:

Is Soy Sauce Gluten Free?
Does Soy Sauce Need To Be Refrigerated?

Save to Pinterest:

dark soy sauce substitute Pinterest Pin
dark soy sauce substitute Pinterest Pin

For more posts like this one, follow us on PinterestFacebookInstagram and YouTube.

Photo of author
Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating