Soy sauce is an essential ingredient in many kitchens. It’s available as light, regular, or dark soy sauce.
Most Chinese Pantries usually have dark soy sauce as it works magic when used on various Asian dishes.
Dark soy sauce is often preferred to light soy sauce and regular ones due to its thick consistency and dark color. It colors dishes and gives them a perfect umami flavor.
Some of the best dishes that use dark soy sauce include fried rice, sauces, noodles, and marinades. Its sweetness makes the meal more flavorful and enjoyable.
So, what happens in cases where you have soy allergy and gluten intolerance but want to prepare dishes that require dark soy sauce?
This is where dark soy substitutes come in handy.
Away from soy allergies, you may also want to prepare a meal that uses dark soy sauce only to find out that you don’t have it in your pantry.
But you shouldn’t panic as there are several effective dark soy sauce substitute that will still deliver amazing results.
Read on to discover the best sauce to use instead of the dark soy sauce!
7 Best Dark Soy Sauce Substitutes
- Coconut Aminos Sauce
The coconut aminos sauce is a soy-free, vegan dark soy sauce alternative made from the sap of coconut trees.
This sauce is an excellent substitute because it contains less Sodium than dark soy sauce and other substitutes.
With amino acids, the gluten-free coconut aminos sauce delivers various health benefits to the body.
The only downside of this substitute is that it’s not readily available in local stores, and it’s an expensive option.
Its taste is also not precisely similar to dark soy sauce, as the coconut aminos sauce has a slightly nuttier and sweeter taste. But it still provides perfect meals, especially when extra salt is used to balance the extra sweetness.
- Light Soy Sauce
Light soy sauce is another perfect way to substitute dark soy sauce in a recipe as their flavors are similar.
The main difference between the two soy sauces lies in the color and thickness, whereby the dark one is thicker. So, you shouldn’t expect the dish to be too dark when using the light soy sauce.
And while adding light soy sauce to your meal will give a similar salty taste and umami flavor, you won’t get the silky appearance that dark sauce delivers.
The sweetness shouldn’t be an issue, as you can add a splash of molasses to balance the umami salty flavors.
- Oyster Sauce
Oyster sauce is an excellent dark soy sauce substitute that will give amazing results. It has a sweet and salty flavor, just like the dark soy sauce.
This sauce is also dark to color your meal, as the dark soy sauce would do. It will also enhance the umami flavor, especially when marinating chicken, duck, spicy noodles, and beef.
The only difference is that oyster sauce will add the oyster flavor and subtle notes of caramel to your meal.
- Kikkoman Japanese Soy Sauce
The Kikkoman Japanese soy sauce is brewed in the US, and most Americans consider it an all-purpose sauce.
It’s made from soybeans, wheat, salt, and water, giving it a flavor similar to that of dark soy sauce.
You can use the Kikkoman Japanese soy sauce for both Chinese and Western recipes to make perfect meals. It works great when used in marinades, stir-fries, and dipping.
It’s important to note that this sauce is high in Sodium, but there is a similar umami flavor with a less salty taste from Kikkoman.
- Homemade Dark Soy Sauce
If you have the regular soy sauce in your pantry, you can use it to make your own homemade dark soy sauce.
All you have to do is add molasses, about half the amount of the sauce, and an eighth of brown sugar, then mix thoroughly to dissolve.
The mixture will be an excellent sauce for marinating, basting, and dipping. You can also use it on noodles and simple beef recipes.
- Fish Sauce
Fish sauce is another way to substitute dark soy sauce in your recipe and still get great-tasting meals.
It’s usually made from strong-flavored fish covered with salt then fermented for about two years.
Compared to dark soy sauce, fish sauce has a strong flavor and works magic when used on marinades and dipping sauces.
It’s a perfect option for gluten intolerance, but you should use it with cautiousness due to its high sodium level.
- Maggi Seasoning Sauce
This is a popular seasoning sauce from Europe and has been there for over a hundred years. It’s one of the most versatile sauces, as you can use it on just about any meal.
Like the dark soy sauce, the maggi seasoning sauce contains soy and enhances the flavor of most dishes.
If you are looking for a flavor booster that differs from the dark soy sauce and will enhance your meal’s flavor, don’t hesitate to try the maggi seasoning sauce.
Q: Can I Use Regular Sauce Instead of Dark Soy Sauce?
A: Yes, you can use regular sauce instead of dark soy sauce, but this will depend on what you want to prepare.
If you want your dish to have a dark color, you may not achieve it with regular sauce, but the taste will be similar.
Luckily, you can make dark soy sauce with the regular sauce by adding molasses and brown sugar. It will work exactly the same as the original dark soy sauce.
Q: Is Dark Soy Sauce the Same as Hoisin Sauce?
A: No, Dark soy sauce is not the same as Hoisin sauce. However, you can use the Hoisin sauce instead of dark soy sauce to achieve almost similar results.
Hoisin sauce also has the sweet and salty taste you get from dark soy sauce but contains additional ingredients that will improve your meal’s flavor.
Q: What is the Best Dark Soy Sauce Substitute?
A: If you love the dark color in dark soy sauce, you can’t go wrong with oyster sauce or Kikkoman Japanese soy sauce. Other sauces like teriyaki and double black soy sauce will make your dishes irresistible.
You can use the coconut aminos sauce for a healthier option since it’s a gluten-free sauce with less Sodium.