What Is Dark Soy Sauce? + Other Common FAQs

Soy sauce is a beloved condiment around the world, and there are many varieties of soy sauce that you can use.

One popular type of soy sauce you may be wondering about is dark soy sauce. I looked up the facts, and here is what I discovered!

What Is Dark Soy Sauce?

Dark soy sauce is a type of soy sauce that is much darker and slightly thicker than regular soy sauce. Dark soy sauce has a sweet flavor, and dark soy sauce is less salty than regular and light soy sauce. Normally, dark soy sauce is used to add color to recipes, but you can use dark soy sauce for other purposes.

Do you want to learn more about dark soy sauce and how you can use dark soy sauce? Check out the rest of the article to find out!

What Is Considered Dark Soy Sauce?

Soy sauces are considered dark soy sauce when the soy sauce is very dark brown or nearly black.

Additionally, dark soy sauces usually have a sweeter and savorier flavor profile, and many dark soy sauces are not very salty.

Moreover, you will see if a soy sauce is a dark soy sauce based on the label since many brands will explicitly state if their soy sauce is dark soy sauce.

What Does Dark Soy Sauce Taste Like?

Most dark soy sauces have a slightly sweeter flavor than other soy sauces since dark soy sauce usually contains added sugars.

However, many dark soy sauces will still have a very savory and slightly salty taste since dark soy sauce is initially made the same way as regular soy sauce.

Therefore, the main difference between dark soy sauce and regular soy sauce is manufacturers add sweeteners to dark soy sauce.

How Do You Use Dark Soy Sauce?

Dark soy sauce’s main purpose is to add color to dishes since dark soy sauce is nearly black, meaning dark soy sauce can make pale dishes appetizing by darkening them.

For instance, dark soy sauce is ideal in fried rice recipes because rice is usually white, so dark soy sauce can make the fried rice more appealing by turning the fried rice brown.

Moreover, you can use dark soy sauce to add color to many recipes like soups and stews.

Additionally, you can use dark soy sauce as a seasoning since dark soy sauce has sweet and savory flavors with a slightly salty taste.

Since you can use dark soy sauce to add color and season food, dark soy sauce makes a great base or additional ingredient to many marinades.

For example, you can use dark soy sauce as a base for a marinade for pork and beef, adding a nice color and flavor to your recipe.

Plus, the dark soy sauce contains sugar, meaning the dark soy sauce will help caramelize your meat when you cook the meat.

What Is The Difference Between Soy Sauce And Dark Soy Sauce?

What Is The Difference Between Soy Sauce And Dark Soy Sauce?

Soy sauce and dark soy sauces are both similar in color, but dark soy sauce is nearly black whereas most regular soy sauces are dark brown to reddish-brown.

Additionally, soy sauce and dark soy sauce have slightly different flavor profiles because dark soy sauce is sweeter than regular soy sauce.

Regular soy sauce tends to be a lot saltier than most dark soy sauces, but you can still taste a bit of saltiness in dark soy sauce.

Moreover, dark soy sauce has a slightly thicker consistency than regular soy sauce since regular soy sauce has a very liquid consistency.

How Is Dark Soy Sauce Made?

Depending on the manufacturer, most dark soy sauce recipes start the same way regular soy sauce recipes do.

Firstly, wheat is roasted then crushed while soybeans soak in water then the wheat and soybeans get combined with a culturing mold, which will help the fermentation process.

Water and salt get added into the wheat and soybean mixture then the mixture ages in a fermentation tank for several months or years, depending on the brand.

When the fermentation process is done, the mixture gets laid over cloth then pressed to separate the liquid from the solids, and the resulting liquid is soy sauce.

Generally, most manufacturers will add sugar, such as palm sugar, into the finished soy sauce to create a molasses-like flavor, which dark soy sauce is known for.

Other manufacturers may opt to add thickeners like cornstarch to make their dark soy sauce thicker, but thickeners are not always necessary.

Can I Substitute Light Soy Sauce For Dark Soy Sauce?

You can use light soy sauce in place of dark soy sauce, but you will need to add a bit of sugar to mellow out how salty the light soy sauce is.

Despite adding sugar into your light soy sauce, you may still not get the exact flavor profile as dark soy sauce.

Moreover, you will not get the same coloring effect that dark soy sauce has by using light soy sauce since light soy sauce has a golden to amber-like color.

What Brands Are Dark Soy Sauce?

Many brands that have the words “dark soy sauce” on their labels mean that they are dark soy sauce.

For instance, Lee Kum Kee has a type of soy sauce that specifically says “dark soy sauce” on the label.

Some other brands that offer dark soy sauce are Kimlan, Blue Dragon, Yuasa, and Pearl River Bridge.

What Can I Substitute Dark Soy Sauce For?

In most cases, regular soy sauce will work as a substitute for dark soy sauce since dark soy sauce is dark with savory and salty flavors.

However, you may want to add sugar or molasses to your regular soy sauce to make the regular soy sauce taste like dark soy sauce.

Take a look at our related articles to learn what ponzu sauce is, what poke sauce is, and what Datu Puti is.


Dark soy sauce is a nearly black soy sauce that has a salty and savory flavor featuring sweet notes, making dark soy sauce a fantastic ingredient.

Generally, dark soy sauce is used to add color to recipes, but many people use dark soy sauce for seasoning, dips, marinades, and more.

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