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If you often create Asian dishes, soy sauce is one of the most commonly purchased products at the grocery store. Light soy sauce, standard soy sauce, and dark soy sauce are the three varieties of soy sauce available on the market.

Dark soy sauce has a darker color and a thicker consistency, as the name indicates. It enhances the color and umami taste of meals.

Dark soy sauce is crucial in noodle dishes, fried rice, and marinades. If you run out of dark soy sauce, you may still obtain a black and lustrous look in your meal by using another dark soy sauce.

Light soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, miso paste, teriyaki sauce, tamari, hoisin sauce, mushroom flavored soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and Balsamic vinegar are among the ingredients. If you can obtain the specific components, you may also manufacture your own black soy sauce at home.

What Is Dark Soy Sauce?

As previously said, soy sauce comes in a variety of colors and consistency, ranging from light to dark. They all have highs and lows based on the dish to which they are added.

Dark soy sauce is the kind of soy sauce covered in this article. It is known asllo chu in Chinese and has a somewhat sweeter flavor than ordinary or light soy sauce.

Dark soy sauce not only offers a distinct taste to meals, but it also gives them a dark and shiny appearance. It may be used in noodles, sauces, fried foods, and braising pig; black soy sauce adds a rich, amber-colored glaze to braised pork.

On the negative, dark soy sauce has a high sodium concentration, so if you don’t want to take too much salt, want a fresh taste, or simply run out of dark soy sauce, consider the alternatives below and choose the one that best fits the recipe.

Best Dark Soy Sauce Substitutes

1. Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki sauce is the most similar to black soy sauce. It has a similar dark and glossy hue, making your food seem appealing.

Substitute the quantity of dark soy sauce called for in a recipe with teriyaki sauce; it may also be used in stir-fries, salads, and soups.

Teriyaki sauce has a sweet and salty taste that is comparable to dark soy sauce. Soy sauce, along with ginger and garlic, is a component in teriyaki sauce.

2. Light Soy Sauce

If you don’t want to deepen the color of your meal, use light soy sauce. They have comparable flavors and may be used in the same amount.

Using mild soy sauce to any pork meal will give it an umami taste that works well with all Asian foods.

3. Oyster Sauce

Another good dark soy sauce replacement is oyster sauce, which has a sweet and salty flavor and tastes like oysters. If you do not want to add seafood taste to your cuisine, you must choose another option.

Oyster sauce may be used in the same amount as dark soy sauce in recipes with fish or vegetables.

4. Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is a relatively unknown condiment in Asian cooking. It may be marinated with beef, duck, chicken, or pig. It may also be used on vegetables and is an excellent substitute for dark soy sauce.

Hoisin sauce also includes sesame seeds, chile peppers, and garlic, which gives it a variety of tastes. It gives your cuisine a rich flavor that is distinct from black soy sauce.

5. Worcestershire Sauce

Most recipes that call for dark soy sauce may benefit from the addition of Worcestershire sauce. This sauce has a salty taste and a pungent flavor that adds just the proper amount of zing to your cuisine.

Nevertheless, because to its thin consistency and lack of sweetness, Worcestershire sauce may be inappropriate as a substitute for dark soy sauce in certain recipes.

To substitute dark soy sauce in your recipes, use the same amount of Worcestershire sauce.

6. Mushroom Flavored Soy Sauce

Mushroom-flavored soy sauce is usually dark in color. As a result, it may be used in place of black soy sauce in any recipe.

This sauce includes dark soy sauce as well as mushrooms and other tasty herbs and spices.

Hence, you may use the same quantity of mushroom-flavored soy sauce that the recipe calls for, but bear in mind that the meal will also have a mushroom flavor.

7. Balsamic Vinegar

When you don’t have any other options, utilize balsamic vinegar as a last resort. It has a sweet and sour flavor and imparts a dark hue to foods.

When replacing black soy sauce with balsamic vinegar of any sort, use less or dilute it with water.

Since balsamic vinegar has an acidic and strong flavor, use half the quantity of dark soy sauce called for in the recipe. This alternative works well in salads and other cold foods.

8. Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is comparable to oyster sauce and makes an excellent dark soy sauce alternative. It has a strong fish taste that goes well with fish or seafood recipes.

This sauce may be used in any cuisine that calls for soy sauce, but the amount will need to be adjusted.

Minimize the quantity of fish sauce you use in a meal; for example, if your recipe asks for a cup of dark soy sauce, use half a cup of fish sauce instead; this gives the food the proper umami taste.

9. Tamari

Tamari is manufactured from soybeans and has a taste similar to soy sauce; it is an excellent substitution for dark soy sauce and gluten-free sauce. Tamari has the same amount of salt as conventional black soy sauce, but it is a different color.

But, if the color does not affect the outcome of your dish, you may use this alternative in any recipe that asks for dark soy sauce. If you utilize a 1:1 replacement ratio, your food will have a strong umami taste.

10. Miso Paste

Miso paste is another dark soy sauce replacement that has a similar flavor but a distinct texture to soy sauce. Since miso is a paste, you must dilute it in water to produce a sauce, or you may add the paste straight to your soup or stew.

For every cup of dark soy sauce, one spoonful of miso paste is required. It lacks a dark hue, so your meal will be lighter than it would be with dark soy sauce, but it makes up for it in flavor.

11. Homemade Dark Soy Sauce

If you truly want and need the unique black soy sauce flavor but can’t locate any, you may create your own at home using this method.

Homemade Dark Soy Sauce Recipe

If you don’t want to use any of the aforementioned replacements, here’s how to create black soy sauce using brown sugar. It’s much simpler than you think. Here’s a simple recipe to try:


  • 1 cup ordinary soy sauce
  • 2 c. dark brown sugar
  • a glass of water


  • In a saucepan, bring the dark brown sugar and water to a boil, stirring regularly.
  • Stop stirring after the sugar has melted and decrease the heat to keep the mixture simmering gently until it turns black in color. When finished, the sugar mixture should resemble molasses.
  • You’ll need a cup of ordinary soy sauce; add it to the mixture and whisk until it’s thick.
  • Let the homemade dark soy sauce to cool before transferring it to an airtight container.
  • The handmade dark soy sauce may be kept in the refrigerator.

Can I Substitute Dark Soy Sauce For Soy Sauce?

Sure, you may swap dark soy sauce for soy sauce, however there are certain variations between dark and light soy sauce that you should be aware of.

To begin, dark soy sauce is thick and black in color, with sweet and salty tastes that compliment dishes.

Light soy sauce, on the other hand, has a thinner consistency and is more popular, particularly in western families. It lacks the dark hue and sweetness of dark soy sauce.

Dark soy sauce may be used in a variety of savory recipes, marinades, and as a dipping condiment. Mild soy sauce may be used in identical meals, although the color and sweetness may not be the same.


What can I replace dark soy sauce with?

If you don’t have dark soy sauce, use a combination of ordinary soy sauce, molasses, and sugar, or twice the black soy sauce.

What can I use instead of light and dark soy sauce?

Worcestershire sauce is replaced with light soy sauce.
Tamari sauce is a gluten-free substitute for soy sauce.
Hoisin sauce: You may need to dilute it slightly with water.
Teriyaki sauce: Another alternative with a sweet and savory taste is teriyaki sauce.
Thin the oyster sauce with a little water.
More to come…
•Aug 22, 2019

Can I use tamari instead of dark soy sauce?

Tamari is thicker than soy sauce and may provide more body and flavor to stews, stir-fries, and glazes; try replacing soy sauce with tamari in this recipe for Korean Fried Chicken with Soy-Garlic Glaze. Tamari is also an excellent gluten-free alternative to soy sauce since it is prepared without wheat.

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

Dark soy sauce has a much thicker consistency than ordinary soy sauce. Common variations are often used in stir-fries and as a salty component in other sauces. Dark soy sauce is most typically used as a dipping sauce for dumplings and a pork glaze.

Do you really need dark soy sauce?

Light soy sauce and all-purpose soy sauce may be used interchangeably in recipes. But, unless a recipe asks for it, you should never use black soy sauce since it is quite powerful and will overshadow the meal!

What is considered dark soy sauce?

Black soy sauce (or black soy sauce) is a thick soy sauce that is darker in color and has a sweeter flavor than regular soy sauce. Since dark soy sauce is significantly more viscous than standard soy sauce, it is used as a marinade or glaze rather than a dipping sauce.

Is Kikkoman light or dark soy sauce?

In Japan, Kikkoman’s Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce is classified as a dark soy sauce.

Can I use sweet soy sauce instead of dark?

As a general rule, light soy is best for dipping (or using in any recipe that simply calls for’soy sauce,’ dark soy or the even richer, molasses-like black soy is best for coating fried noodles, greens, or pork belly, and sweet soy is best for final drizzling on staples like fried rice or, again, fried noodles (one can never have too much…

What is the difference between light and dark soy sauce Kikkoman?

What exactly is the difference between light and dark soy sauce? Chinese soy sauces come in both light and dark varieties. Some are manufactured chemically, while others are partly brewed. Dark soy sauces may include caramel coloring (E150), but light Chinese soy sauces are often quite salty.

Is Kikkoman Tamari soy sauce dark soy sauce?

Kikkoman Tamari Soy Sauce is deeper in color, gentler in flavor, and more fragrant than normal soy sauce. Its distinct taste and color make it suitable for dishes that call for delicate, refined flavors.

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