Best dark soy sauce substitutes you should try now

substitutes for dark soy sauce
substitutes for dark soy sauce

Substitutes for dark soy sauce

What do you do when you run out of an ingredient you so badly need at the moment? Most of us fret or abandon the dish. But, the best and easy thing to do is to find an amazing substitute or replacement for the recipe. There are lots of excellent substitutes for dark soy sauce that can perfectly fit into any recipe.

What is dark soy sauce?

Dark soy sauce is very popular in Chinese cuisines. The sauce has a dark color and is sweeter, thicker, and darker than the light soy sauce.

This sauce is mostly used to add color and umami flavor to savory dishes such as fried rice and noodles. When this sauce is added to a dish as marinades, the dish looks shiny and has a pleasant dark color.

So, the sauce is added to different dishes for specific reasons. There are numerous substitutes for dark soy sauce that can complement that reason.

Most households, especially in the west, do not make use of the dark soy sauce. But, if need be that you make use of it in your next recipe, this article contains excellent alternatives for dark soy sauce that you use every day.

Difference between dark soy sauce, regular soy sauce, and light soy sauce.

You may be wondering what is the difference between dark soy sauce, regular soy sauce, and light soy sauce. Well, the answer is right here.

Dark soy sauce is darker in color, slightly sweet, salty, and has a thick consistency.

On the other hand, regular soy sauce is light soy sauce and vice versa. This sauce is lighter in color, sweet, and has a thin or watery consistency.

Both dark and regular or light soy sauce is used to add flavor to dishes. But, dark soy sauce is majorly used to darken the color of fried rice, noodles, and sauces.

substitutes for dark soy sauce

Substitute for dark soy sauce

These substitutes are easy to find in supermarkets and have similar attributes as dark soy sauce. We hope you try them out.

  1. Oyster sauce

The first dark soy sauce substitute on our list is oyster sauce. Adding just a few drops of this sauce to your dish will give it the similar salty and sweet flavor that the dark soy sauce has. It is also amazing for adding an appealing color to food and giving your dish a shiny and mouth-watering appearance. The umami flavor in dark soy sauce is paramount in foods like chicken, tofu, duck, and beef.

Using oyster sauce to your dish will live It with a subtle note of caramel and oyster flavor. This flavor is only unique to the oyster sauce and not dark soy sauce, nevertheless, your dish will still taste great. If your recipe calls for color and flavor, try the oyster sauce. You could use oyster sauce as a replacement for dark soy sauce in broccoli and simple beef dish or Sichuan noodles.

  1. Light soy sauce

This sauce has a similar salty flavor as dark soy sauce only that its color is lighter hence it may not be good for dishes requiring a dark, shiny and silky appearance. Using it in any meat dish will enhance their umami flavor perfectly. Also, light soy sauce does not have a thicker consistency than its dark cousin and may not be appropriate for recipes requiring a thick texture.

This sauce is not really sweet but adding few molasses might enhance its taste and balance out the salty taste in your dish.

  1. Double black soy sauce

If you prefer using dark soy sauce because of its flavor and texture, a good substitute will be double black soy sauce. It is darker, sweeter, and thicker than dark soy sauce just because of the extra molasses used to prepare it.

A great tip to take note of when using the double black soy sauce as a substitute for dark soy sauce is to use it in moderation. This is because the extra sweetness present in the double black soy sauce may ruin the dish.

  1. Worcestershire sauce

As sweet and unique as its name sounds, this sauce is loaded with plenty of flavors in one bottle. From salty to savory and tangy, it is perfect in Italian sauces, Asian dishes, as marinade and burger patties.

The only difference with Worcestershire sauce is it has a thin or watery consistency and is also not as sweet as dark soy sauce. If you want to prepare a dish that needs umami flavor, this sauce is perfect for it.

  1. Teriyaki sauce

Teriyaki sauce has a dark color and thick consistency- just like dark soy sauce. Adding it to any dish will give it an appearance that is appealing and irresistible. It has a sweet and salty flavor similar to dark soy sauce and can be used as a condiment or marinade.

Teriyaki sauce also contains a little bit of ginger and garlic which may change the flavor of your dish. But, they can also improve the taste of some dishes. In conclusion, teriyaki sauce is worth a trial.

  1. Hoisin sauce

This sauce adds a sweet and salty flavor to food and is mostly used in stir-fry foods- which is really amazing.

If you are looking for a colorful marinade for vegetables, chicken pork, beef, and duck, then Hoisin sauce is a great choice. But, it is not totally a good replacement for dark soy sauce if your recipe requires this unique sauce. This is because hoisin sauce has lots of extra ingredients like chili pepper, sesame seeds, ginger, and garlic. And these ingredients may put your dish out of balance.

  1. Mushroom flavored dark soy

The name of this sauce has already given itself away. Yes, it has mushroom in it as a major ingredient and if you are totally okay with adding it to your recipe, go on. The addition of mushroom flavored dark soy may give a different feel to your meal, but it may be delicious instead of bad.

This sauce has a similar texture and color and is also perfect for savory dishes- just like dark soy sauce.

  1. MYO dark soy sauce

MYO stands for making your own dark soy sauce. Just in case you run out of dark soy sauce and do not have any of the above substitutes, you could make your own homemade dark soy sauce. All you need is a saucepan and a few ingredients. Below, is how to make dark soy sauce.


  • One cup dark brown sugar
  • Half cup water
  • A cup of regular soy sauce


  • In a saucepan, add sugar and water and bring to boil. Ensure the heat is high and stirring is done occasionally.
  • After the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and allow the liquid to cook on low heat till it becomes dark.
  • Add the regular soy sauce into the liquid and stir till it is thick as molasses. Remove the pan from the heat and store it in a tight container. You could refrigerate till when needed.

Tips for using dark soy sauce

  • When using this amazing sauce, ensure the quantity is not much. To make your dish rich and dark, use one or two teaspoons. Ensure you taste your food after every addition of dark soy sauce to avoid consuming over-salted food or over-seasoning your dish.
  • If you need a substitute that has low sodium content, then opt for low sodium soy.
  • If you want to prepare a dish that has to be super sweet using dark soy sauce or its substitute, you could add extra molasses to the sauce. This extra addition will improve the sweetness of the sauce.


If you run out of dark soy sauce and you need it to be replaced, opt for the best options which are oyster sauce, light soy sauce, and teriyaki sauce. If you are patient enough or do not have any of the dark soy substitutes listed in this article, then you can make your own dark soy sauce- it is quick, easy and an amazing replacement.