I love Asian food- and I find dark soy sauce popping up in many dishes I enjoy eating. Making my own version was a must- but I realized finding a substitute for dark soy was more cost and time effective.
The following recipe makes the closest thing to regular dark soy sauce bought from the Asian market. It is easy to do, uses high-quality ingredients, and tastes fantastic.
Why Make your Own Soy Sauce Substitute?
Many store-bought soy sauces have preservatives and additives to help them last longer, whereas a homemade substitute does not.
It is also a great choice for anyone with a soy or wheat allergy since this recipe is gluten-free!
My substituted dark soy recipe calls for a lot less salt than you find in the real thing- so it is perfect for anyone trying to reduce their sodium intake.
Dark Soy Sauce VS Light Soy Sauce
When I first started exploring Asian cooking, I was surprised to learn just how different dark soy sauces and light soy sauces are.
Turns out, it is not just the color- they bring completely different things to a dish.
Light soy (the standard soy sauce you find in most average supermarkets) has a unique flavor used in most Chinese dishes.
It is salty and has a punchy, bright taste- a sort of umami flavor- that makes up a lot of the classic taste people expect from stir-fried noodles and other fan-favorite Asian recipes.
Dark soy sauce is a far more sweet soy sauce. The flavor profile is fuller-bodied and thicker.
It is more commonly found in meat-based dishes in Chinese cooking and Thai cooking- often used for braising or adding color.
Most dipping sauces use light soy sauce rather than dark soy sauce. It is much thinner and more refreshing. Dark soy is a thick soy sauce, and the flavor can be a bit too heavy for dipping sauces.
How to Make Your Own Delicious Sweet Dark Soy Sauce Substitute
Dark soy sauce is a must-have in my kitchen. A good soy sauce is one of the best flavor enhancers and is the not-so-secret ingredient in most of my favorite Asian cuisines.
A naturally-brewed, homemade version is great for many reasons- and this simple recipe is just the ticket.
All you need is a saucepan and a sealable bottle to store your finished sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make real dark soy sauce?
You can make your own real dark soy sauce from scratch- but it takes a long time!
It involves soaking soybeans for several days and then leaving your sauce mixture to mature for almost a year! Yep- that’s right- a genuine soy sauce takes 365 days to make!
What other recipes do you have?
We have an entire sauce category, but some favorites are our patty melt sauce recipe, and our cajun butter sauce.
Is this soy sauce recipe vegan-friendly?
Sadly no, it is not. The beef broth is essential for getting the dark soy flavor, so it doesn’t work for vegans.
Genuine dark soy sauce is vegan-friendly, so it is better to buy from a store or try a lighter alternative if you follow a vegan diet.
Does a soy sauce substitute actually taste like dark soy sauce?
It really does! Soy sauce is mainly used in cooking, so it is hard to tell the difference when using a substitute.
You might notice a slight difference in flavor from regular soy sauce if using it as a dipping sauce, but it is close enough and super tasty!
What can I use dark soy sauce for in my cooking?
Dark soy sauce or dark soy sauce substitutes can be used in all kinds of cooking. It is traditionally used in Asian dishes- including stir-fries, noodle soups, fried rice, and dumplings.
If you want a good substitute for real dark soy sauce you can make at home using basic ingredients in less time than it takes to cook a pot of rice, give this recipe a go!
It may not be the real thing, but it has the same dark color, mild sweetness, and thick consistency- and it tastes every bit as good.
Dark Soy Sauce
This recipe is the closest thing to regular dark soy sauce from the Asian market. It is easy to make, uses high-quality ingredients, and tastes fantastic.
- 1 1/2 c. water
- 4 tbsp. beef broth (add more if you want a thin soy sauce)
- 4 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp. dark molasses (or dark brown sugar if you don't like molasses)
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 pinch of garlic
- 1 pinch of white pepper
- Start by pouring the water and beef broth into a small saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Quickly move on to step two before it heats too much.
- Add the molasses, balsamic vinegar, ginger, garlic, and white pepper to the water and beef stock. Mix everything thoroughly and then increase the heat.
- Bring the mixture to the boil slowly while continuing to stir. When it starts to bubble, reduce the heat slightly and leave it to simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Turn off heat once the mixture has reduced to about 1 cup.
- Pour your homemade substitute dark soy sauce into a sealable bottle and store it in the refrigerator.
- The sauce doesn't keep very long at room temperature, but it can last a couple of months when you keep it refrigerated.
- It is best to leave the sauce to cool before bottling. It gives the flavors a chance to meld and settle.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 66Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 248mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 0gSugar: 14gProtein: 1g