15 Substitutes for Dark Soy Sauce that will Make your Mouth Water

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This is the ultimate guide to substituting Dark Soy Sauce – a flavorful sauce used predominantly in East-Asian cuisine. 

When it comes to stir-fries, there is nothing quite like the intense flavor of dark soy sauce.

But sometimes, you just don’t have any on hand. Luckily, there are a few substitutes that can come close to replicating that umami flavor.

Here are the best substitutes for dark soy sauce:

So let’s dive right into it!

15 Best Substitutes for Dark Soy Sauce

1. Light Soy Sauce

Light soy sauce is not very different from dark soy sauce and is easily replaceable in most dishes.

It has the same savory notes as dark soy but lacks the thick consistency and a tinge of sweetness. 

It is also comparatively low in sodium. 

How to Substitute

Substitute slightly more than the quantity mentioned in the recipe. 

Watch this video to learn more about light and dark soy sauce

2. Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki is a soy-based Asian sauce with sweet and salty flavors similar to dark soy sauce.

It substitutes well in marinades, dumplings, stir-fries, and other dishes. It also has hints of ginger and garlic. 

Have it in moderation as It has an unhealthy amount of sodium, which could lead to cardiovascular diseases.

How to Substitute

Substitute as per taste preferences. 

Try out this popular dish

3. Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is a commonly available sauce that tastes good as a substitute in gravies, stir-fries, marinades, and other dishes.

In addition to that, it’ll dial up the umami flavor in seafood (or mushroom) dishes. 

It is a good source of Vitamin B12, which is critical for nervous system management and metabolism.

How to Substitute
Substitute in a 1:1 ratio.

Learn how to use the oyster sauce to flavor dishes –

4. Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is a thick, fragrant sauce commonly used as a marinade or glaze in several dishes.

It is primarily made using soybean paste and has a sweet, salty, and umami flavor that resembles dark soy sauce.

It will also darken your dish, similar to dark soy sauce.

It is suitable for vegan or vegetarian dishes. 

How to Substitute

Substitute in a 1:1 ratio. 

Try out this delicious recipe

5. Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is an excellent gluten-free option that goes well with almost every dish.

It is a flavor-packed sauce with a rich tangy and umami element. Vinegar, garlic, and tamarind juice are some of the main ingredients of Worcestershire sauce.

These ingredients are known to have antimicrobial benefits.  

It is also available in vegetarian and vegan variants. 

How to Substitute

Substitute in a 1:1 ratio.

Check out this quick recipe –

6. Mushroom-flavored Soy Sauce

Mushroom-flavored soy sauce is not very different from dark soy sauce.

It has a similar taste profile with added umami flavor. It works well in dishes like stir-fries, noodles, dumplings, glazes, and marinades. 

It has high amounts of sodium so consume it in moderation. 

How to Substitute

Substitute in the same quantity as mentioned in the recipe. 

Try out this recipe

7. Homemade Dark Soy Sauce

If you want identical flavor, color and consistency, making dark soy sauce yourself is your best bet.

It is a simple and easy process if you make it by using regular soy sauce.

You can also DIY the soy sauce, but the process and ingredient list will be slightly longer.

You can substitute it in all dishes.

How to Substitute

Substitute in the same quantity as mentioned in the recipe.

Learn how to make dark soy sauce at home –

8. Tamari

Tamari is the Japanese version of Soy sauce that is just as flavorful.

You can use it as a condiment or glaze/marinade and substitute it in stir-fries, noodles, fried rice, dumplings, etc. Unlike soy sauce, Tamari is also gluten-free. 

It is comparatively healthier than soy sauce. It contains manganese, which is essential for disease control. 

How to Substitute

Substitute as per taste preferences. 

Try out this tamari sushi ball recipe –

9. Coconut Aminos

Coconut Aminos is a popular substitute made with fermented coconut and sea salt.

It is not only vegan but also gluten-free. You might think it’d have an intense coconutty flavor, but surprisingly it doesn’t!

You can substitute it in most dishes, but make sure to test it out first. 

It is also healthier than dark soy sauce as it doesn’t have as much sodium. 

How to Substitute

Substitute as per taste preferences.

Try out this healthy recipe

10. Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is a commonly available substitute popularly used in dishes like stir-fries, noodles, dumplings, soups, etc.

There’s a distinct, pungent fishiness to the sauce, with hints of sweetness. It’ll also increase the umami flavor in your dish.

It is also an excellent source of Vitamin B12, which is essential for optimal health.

How to Substitute

Substitute as per taste preferences. 

Learn how to use fish sauce –

11. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a type of Italian vinegar that has a sweet and sour taste.

It is usually used as a salad and in other cold dishes. Similar to dark soy sauce, it has a dark, intense color. 

It also has anti glycemic properties, making it a good choice for diabetics.  

How to Substitute

To substitute, reduce the mentioned quantity by half.

Try out this quick recipe

12. Double Black Soy Sauce

Double black soy sauce is essentially dark soy sauce but sweeter, darker, and thicker.

This is because of the extra molasses present. By just adjusting the quantity, you can substitute it in most dishes. 

It might be hard to find at your local grocery store, but you can order it on Amazon or other e-commerce websites. 

How to Substitute

Use half of the quantity mentioned in the recipe. 

Try out these noodles

13. Miso Paste

Miso is a Japanese fermented paste made using soybeans and mold called koji.

It has a rich umami flavor with sweet and savory notes. It goes well with dumplings, sushi, noodles, stir-fries, and other dishes.

Studies have shown that miso helps reduce LDL Cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol).

To get the same color as dark soy sauce, dilute miso paste with water and add molasses. 

How to substitute

For every cup of dark soy sauce, use 1 tbsp of miso paste.

Learn how to make miso soup –

14. Molasses

Molasses are yet another unexpected substitute on the list.

Although it’ll lack the umami flavor, molasses with a pinch of salt will somewhat resemble dark soy sauce.

Molasses are also easily available in the form of syrups and used in several dishes. 

It is a good source of iron, selenium, and copper, all of which help maintain bone health.

How to Substitute

Substitute a little lesser than the quantity mentioned. 

Try out this delicious sauce recipe

15. Maggi Seasoning Sauce

Maggi seasoning sauce is a popular flavor enhancer, available in a dark liquid form, granulated powder form, and cube form.

Its consistency and salty flavor replicate that of dark soy sauce. It is commonly available and also inexpensive. 

Use it in moderation as it has high amounts of sodium and potassium.

How to Substitute

Substitute as per taste preferences. 

Try out this fried rice recipe –

FAQs

Are dark soy sauce and light soy sauce the same?

No. Dark soy sauce and light soy sauce differ in terms of intensity of flavor and color. Dark soy sauce contains more molasses that give it its intense color.
Light soy sauce is usually used for seasoning, whereas dark soy sauce is used for seasoning and darkening the dish.  

What can I substitute dark soy sauce with in soups and dumplings?

Tamari, light soy sauce, miso paste, teriyaki sauce, and hoisin sauce are all excellent substitutes to use in soups and dumplings. 

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a delicious, umami-packed dark soy sauce substitute, look no further than the above substitutes!

These substitutes will give your food the flavor you’re looking for without all the sodium.

So next time you’re in a pinch, give one of these a try.

And don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family!

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About Amanda Jones

Amanda is a person with an eye for detail. She has been cooking since her childhood and loves to bake too. Recently, she's made the decision to pursue baking full-time and quit her 9 to 5 job. In the meantime, she still enjoys cooking and baking for friends and family, especially when it comes time for special occasions like birthdays or holidays!

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