Dark soy sauce is an amazing kitchen staple that adds rich flavors to dishes and lends its color to them.
If you can’t have dark soy sauce, you may be wondering what alternatives are out there. I made a list of 13 dark soy sauce substitutes you can try, and here they are!
13 Dark Soy Sauce Substitutes
If you can’t have dark soy sauce because it contains gluten, don’t worry. Tamari is a gluten-free soy sauce that you can safely enjoy.
Tamari is another traditional soy sauce but it only excludes wheat from the recipe, making it safe for people who can’t have gluten.
While tamari has deep and rich umami flavors like regular soy sauce, it is a bit milder than its darker counterpart.
You can use tamari as you would normally use dark soy sauce in a recipe but you may need to increase the amount.
2. Coconut Aminos
Coconut aminos makes a great replacement for soy sauce because it has a similar color and flavor profile to soy sauce.
Additionally, coconut aminos are made from salt and fermented coconut sap. It has a salty and umami flavor that can replace soy sauce in many recipes.
You can use coconut aminos in a 1:1 ratio as soy sauce as a seasoning, dip, etc. However, it has a mildly sweet flavor, so you may need to add a pinch of salt.
3. Liquid Aminos
Liquid aminos are fermented soybeans that were treated with a solution that breaks it down into amino acids, leaving you with a sauce that can substitute for soy sauce.
Liquid aminos is a gluten-free and vegan alternative to soy sauce. It has a salty and savory taste, meaning you can use it just like you would use dark soy sauce.
4. Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce is also a fermented sauce but it is similar to soy sauce thanks to its salty and umami taste.
However, Worcestershire sauce also has a distinct and tart taste because it is a mixture of many ingredients, like sugar, anchovies, tamarind extract, and more.
Worcestershire sauce can replace dark soy sauce in recipes like stir-fries but you may want to add a little of it at a time to prevent it from overpowering your dish.
5. Oyster Sauce
Oyster sauce can replace dark soy sauce because it’s salty and savory, but it is also sweeter and tarter than dark soy sauce.
In many recipes that call for color and seasoning, oyster sauce can replace dark soy sauce but you may need to add salt.
Moreover, oyster sauce is thicker than soy sauce so you may want to dilute it in water before mixing it into your recipe.
6. Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki sauce can replace soy sauce because one of the main ingredients is soy sauce, but it has salty, sweet, and tangy flavors.
You can use teriyaki sauce instead of soy sauce in recipes to glaze meat, stir-fries, and more.
However, if you are making a recipe that has ginger and honey or sugar, you cannot use teriyaki sauce.
7. Light Soy Sauce
Light soy sauce can replace dark soy sauce because it has the same salty and savory flavor but it is milder than dark soy sauce.
If you are using it as a seasoning, light soy sauce can be a substitute for dark soy sauce but you won’t get the same color. Moreover, you may want to add a bit more light soy sauce to make it taste stronger.
8. Fish Sauce
Fish sauce is a condiment made from fermented fish and salt, offering a tangy, briny, and salty flavor.
You can use fish sauce to replace soy sauce if your dish needs salt, but it will not be a perfect replacement.
Fish sauce has a strong and pungent smell and taste that can easily overpower a dish, so you should only add a little to your recipe.
9. Miso Paste
Miso paste is another fermented product that is made from soybeans like soy sauce, but it has a somewhat milder flavor once you mix it with water.
If you want your dish to have a strong and bold flavor, you can add miso directly into your recipe but be sure to blend it in well.
10. Hoisin Sauce
Hoisin sauce is another fermented soybean paste mixed with other ingredients like sweet potato and sugar, giving it a slightly sweet and very salty flavor.
Hoisin sauce can replace dark soy sauce in many recipes, like vegetable-based recipes. Moreover, hoisin sauce will add notes of garlic, sesame, and chili pepper to your dish.
11. Maggi Seasoning Sauce
Maggi seasoning sauce is a wheat-based sauce that has lots of umami, tangy, salty, and sweet flavors. It doesn’t taste the same as soy sauce but it can work in certain situations.
For instance, Maggi seasoning sauce shines best when you use it in stews and soups because it easily blends into the liquid.
Moreover, you can use this in a 1:1 ratio as you would with dark soy sauce but you may adjust the amount to your preference.
12. Double Black Soy Sauce
One of the best replacements for dark soy sauce is double black soy sauce because it is a type of dark soy sauce.
Double black soy sauce is thicker and darker than dark soy sauce because it has more molasses and it works well in braises and stews.
13. Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is a good replacement for dark soy sauce if you are planning to blend it into your recipes as a seasoning.
Balsamic vinegar is salty and sweet with sour notes, but it has a milder flavor than dark soy sauce.
Typically, you can use 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar for every half tablespoon of dark soy sauce.
If you want to learn more about soy sauce, you can see our related posts on soy sauce substitutes, light soy sauce substitutes, and whether soy sauce is gluten-free.
Dark soy sauce is a great way to enhance the taste and color of your dishes. If you can’t use it, however, there are many alternatives to choose from. They may not be perfect for every recipe, but they can easily make a dish tasty in a pinch.