Thick soy sauce is a fantastic ingredient to add to stirfries, stews, and more, but not everyone has thick soy sauce in their kitchen.
If you have a recipe that calls for thick soy sauce but you do not have any, you need to use thick soy sauce substitutes. I did the research, and here is what I discovered!
8 Thick Soy Sauce Substitutes
1. Dark Soy Sauce
Dark soy sauce makes an excellent replacement for thick soy sauce because dark soy sauce is sweet like thick soy sauce, but dark soy sauce is not as thick as thick soy sauce.
Luckily, you can mimic thick soy sauce’s consistency by adding a thickening agent into the dark soy sauce.
Typically, cornstarch is added into soy sauces by manufacturers to thicken soy sauce because cornstarch is flavorless, cheap, and an effective thickener.
Generally, you can add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch into every cup of soy sauce and mix the soy sauce well to see how thick the soy sauce gets.
Ideally, it is best to add a little cornstarch at a time to avoid making the dark soy sauce too thick, and you can always add more if needed.
Additionally, you will likely want to add sugar like brown sugar or molasses into your dark soy sauce if you want the dark soy sauce to be as sweet as thick soy sauce.
2. Regular Soy Sauce
Similar to dark soy sauce, you can add sugar and a thickening agent to regular soy sauce to replace thick soy sauce.
However, most regular soy sauces have little to no sweet notes, so you will need to add a lot more sugar into regular soy sauce to get the taste right.
3. Oyster Sauce
If you want a substitute for thick soy sauce with a similar consistency, oyster sauce is a great alternative to try.
Oyster sauce is very thick and heavy like thick soy sauce, meaning oyster sauce will blend into recipes the same way thick soy sauce would.
Moreover, oyster sauce is full of natural savory and slightly sweet flavors that can mimic thick soy sauce’s savoriness, and the oyster sauce has a similar color to thick soy sauce.
However, you will need to add a sweetener like brown sugar into the oyster sauce if you want to copy the sweeter tastes of thick soy sauce.
4. Coconut Aminos
If you need a thick soy sauce substitute because you are allergic to soy, you can try coconut aminos.
Coconut aminos are a soy-free alternative to regular soy sauce because coconut aminos contain fermented coconut sap and salt.
However, you will need to adjust coconut aminos if you want the coconut aminos to replace thick soy sauce.
Coconut aminos have a naturally salty and sweet flavor, so you will need to add more sugar. Plus, you may want to add cornstarch or flour to make the coconut aminos thicker.
5. Hoisin Sauce
Hoisin sauce is a thick sauce made from fermented soybean paste and spices, making hoisin sauce an excellent alternative to thick soy sauce.
Since hoisin sauce has a thick consistency like thick soy sauce, hoisin sauce blends seamlessly into dishes that call for thick soy sauce.
Moreover, hoisin sauce is a sweet sauce, but hoisin sauce is also spicy and tangy, so you may need to add sugar and salt to mimic thick soy sauce.
6. Tianmian Sauce
Tianmian sauce is a sweet bean sauce that has a very thick, paste-like consistency that can easily replace thick soy sauce.
However, Tianmian sauce can be sweet, savory, or mild, so you want to choose sweet Tianmian sauce if you want a substitute for thick soy sauce.
If you have other Tianmian sauce flavors like a mild Tianmian sauce, you may opt to add more sugar to adjust the taste.
Moreover, you may want to lightly dilute your Tianmian sauce with a little water or dark soy sauce if the Tianmian sauce is an extremely thick paste.
7. Tamari Soy Sauce
Tamari soy sauce is soy sauce made from soybeans, salt, and water. Since tamari soy sauce does not contain wheat, the high concentration of soybeans gives tamari soy sauce a deeply savory flavor.
However, using tamari soy sauce on its own is not a good replacement for thick soy sauce. You need to add cornstarch or flour into tamari soy sauce to make it thicker.
Moreover, tamari soy sauce does not have wheat so tamari is not sweet, so adding sugar into your tamari soy sauce can slightly mimic thick soy sauce.
8. Tamarind Paste
Tamarind paste is a paste made from tamarind, which is a sticky, dark, and sour fruit.
Typically, tamarind paste is very sour and is mostly used in savory recipes, but tamarind paste has a similar texture and color to thick soy paste.
Moreover, you can add sugar and water to tamarind paste to mute the sourness of the tamarind.
However, tamarind paste should be considered as a last resort for thick soy alternatives since tamarind paste is very sour.
Despite its sourness, tamarind paste can be a decent thick soy sauce substitute when you mix tamarind paste with sugar and water.
Check out our other articles to learn about fried rice soy sauce substitutes, what thick soy sauce is, and what sweet soy sauce is.
Thick soy sauce is an excellent ingredient to add color and flavor to many dishes, but there are many thick soy sauce substitutes you can try if you do not have thick soy sauce.
While they may need some adjustments, some great alternatives to thick soy sauce include dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, and more.