Light soy sauce is not only a fantastic condiment but an excellent ingredient in many dishes. Its salty and umami flavors mean that there is a place for it in different cuisines.
Whether you’re trying out a new recipe or you’re just unfortunate enough to run out of light soy sauce, you need not worry. Here are 13 light soy sauce alternatives you can use!
Light Soy Sauce Substitute (13 Alternatives To Use)
1. Dark Soy Sauce
It may come as a bit of a surprise but you can tweak dark soy sauce to make your own light soy sauce.
To mimic the taste and consistency of light soy sauce, add a bit of salt to your dark soy sauce and use some water to thin it out.
This customized light soy sauce can work if you need to season your food but note that it may darken it as well.
Tamari soy sauce can easily replace light soy sauce because it is still soy sauce with the main difference being that it doesn’t contain wheat.
Tamari soy sauce tastes slightly different from light soy sauce because it is made of more soybeans for a stronger flavor.
That said, you can just dilute the tamari or use less of it in your recipe as a light soy sauce substitute.
3. Liquid Aminos
Liquid aminos is a common replacement for soy sauce and it can easily replace light soy sauce in a recipe.
You can use liquid aminos in an almost equal ratio to light soy sauce but this will mostly depend on your preference.
However, liquid aminos are not as salty as light soy sauce so you may need to add some salt to make up for it.
4. Coconut Aminos
Similar to liquid aminos, coconut aminos make a great replacement for light soy sauce when used properly. It is salty and savory but with a bit of sweetness to it.
To use coconut aminos in your recipe, add the same amount first. Then you may add more salt to the recipe if needed.
5. Miso Paste
Miso paste can work as a decent replacement for light soy sauce, especially if you are making a Japanese dish.
Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans like soy sauce, creating a salty and savory paste. It isn’t a perfect replacement but it can add the unique saltiness you’re looking for.
It would be best to mix the miso paste with some water before mixing it into your dish.
6. Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce is a fermented sauce with a distinct flavor profile featuring umami, salty, and tangy flavors.
While it does not taste the same as light soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce can make up for any missing flavors that you would get from light soy sauce.
However, it would be ideal to use less Worcestershire sauce in your dish as it has a stronger taste than light soy sauce.
7. Hoisin Sauce
Like light soy sauce, hoisin sauce is another popular Chinese sauce but it is normally used as a dipping sauce or glaze because it has a stronger flavor and a thicker consistency.
Soy sauce is one of the main ingredients of hoisin sauce which is why hoisin sauce has the salty flavor you look for in soy sauce. On top of that, it has notes of sweet and tangy flavors.
If you want to use hoisin sauce to replace light soy sauce, it works best in recipes that have thick sauces like dipping sauces and stir-fries.
Additionally, you may need some rice wine vinegar since hoisin sauce is thick, or add more sweetness to your recipe with sweet and tangy ingredients like pineapple.
8. Oyster Sauce
Oyster sauce is a thick condiment made from oyster extracts. It has sweet, salty, and slightly smoky flavors without tasting like oysters.
Oyster sauce can easily be used in recipes that need light soy sauce but you may need to add salt to your recipe and thin out the oyster sauce with water before you add it.
9. Teriyaki Sauce
One of the main ingredients of teriyaki sauce is soy sauce, meaning it can easily be a substitute for light soy sauce.
However, teriyaki sauce is thick and has sweet and tangy flavors, so it is best used as a glaze or dipping sauce that needs light soy sauce.
If you want to tone down the sweetness, you can add salt or use rice wine vinegar to balance out the flavors.
10. Fish Sauce
Fish sauce features salty and umami flavors like soy sauce but it has a distinctly fishy taste and strong smell.
Additionally, fish sauce works if you add it to Asian recipes but people who don’t like the taste of fish will not enjoy it.
Moreover, you will need a light hand when you add fish sauce as fish sauce is very strong in flavor.
11. Regular/All Purpose Soy Sauce
Regular soy sauce can work to replace light soy sauce in many recipes and it will work much better than diluting dark soy sauce.
Regular soy sauce will taste similar to light soy sauce, the main difference being that there is more “soy” flavor in regular soy sauce.
You may want to add less regular soy sauce to a recipe that calls for light soy sauce and add a bit of salt.
In rare cases, you can add 1-3 small and finely chopped anchovies into your recipe to substitute light soy sauce.
Anchovies have a salty taste, and can easily blend into a dish when you chop them up well. They can replace light soy sauce in thick sauces and stews such as curry.
Salt can replace light soy sauce in certain recipes because the main flavor of light soy sauce is salt.
If your recipe needs light soy sauce as a salty seasoning, then a few pinches of salt should work.
However, salt doesn’t have umami like light soy sauce does so your recipe will lack that savory flavor.
Light soy sauce is an excellent condiment and ingredient for seasoning but there are many substitutes that you can use if it is unavailable.
However, some of these alternatives need to be adjusted since they are not the perfect alternative to light soy sauce.