What can I use Instead of Dark Soy Sauce?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “what can I use instead of dark soy sauce?” and provide you with insights on how you can substitute dark soy sauce with others to enhance flavor.

What can I use instead of dark soy sauce?

You can use teriyaki sauce, mushroom flavored soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and others instead of dark soy sauce.

All these sauces belong to the same family and would work very well if you do not have dark soy readily available. Or if you want to use something that is slightly less strong in flavor.

Teriyaki sauce

Teriyaki sauce might be one of the best options to use instead of dark soy sauce. It has the same dark and glossy color that will make all your food look appealing.

Thanks to its dark and glossy appearance that resembles dark soy sauce, teriyaki sauce is one of my go-to substitutes. It has a sweet and salty flavor that is similar to that of dark soy sauce.

This substitute works great in stir fry dishes because of how irresistible it makes them look. You can use teriyaki sauce in savory dishes that call for dark soy sauce, marinades, and as a condiment.

Notably, soy sauce is one of the main ingredients in teriyaki sauce. However, it contains other ingredients like garlic and ginger which may slightly alter the flavor of your dish. 

According to some people, these two ingredients make dishes taste even better.

Mushroom flavored soy sauce

Mushroom flavored dark soy will add the taste of mushroom to food. If you are okay with adding a different feel to your meal, then this is an excellent option. 

Its texture and color are similar to dark soy so it will work in any savory dish you’re contemplating. It also promotes the dish by adding the umami flavor that dark soy normally does.

Mushroom soy sauce is a very commonly used sauce and a very common alternative for regular soy sauce or even dark soy sauces. 

It is the type of sauce that people use in their signature dishes as a “secret ingredient”. So it would be quite helpful to use that sauce in your dishes.

Hoisin sauce

Hoisin sauce is quite popular in Asian cuisine. It can go great as a marinade for beef, duck, chicken, and even pork. You can use it on veggies as well and it makes for a good replacement for dark soy sauce.

This sauce also contains sesame seeds, chili peppers, and garlic. Thus, you should expect a variety of flavors. 

It will enrich the taste of your food but it will also make it taste different than if you added dark soy sauce.

What is dark soy sauce?

Soy sauce is a very popular ingredient, it is a must-have in my kitchen. There are three main varieties of soy sauce available in the market; light soy sauce, regular soy sauce, and dark soy sauce.

Dark soy sauce is thicker, darker, and slightly sweeter than regular or light soy sauce. Like regular soy sauce, it is used to flavor dishes, but more importantly, it’s used to darken the color of sauces, fried rice, noodles, etc.

dark soy sauce has about 15% more sodium than regular/light soy sauce. Its mild sweetness offsets the saltiness, making it only seem less salty.

How is dark soy sauce used?

Chinese and Taiwanese people usually use dark soy sauce in stew types of dishes, like red-braised pork. The dark soy sauce gives the dish a nice caramel color and provides a little sweetness. 

It is not recommended to use too much dark soy sauce in dips, dressings, or stews, though, as it can dye your ingredients a dark brown color.

Dark soy sauce is mainly used for adding color to dishes and is usually paired with light soy sauce to achieve the ideal color and taste.  

Try cooking with dark soy sauce, it makes a great addition to pork recipes, stews, and barbecue favorites.


In this brief article, we answered the question, “what can I use instead of dark soy sauce?” and provided you with insights on how you can substitute dark soy sauce with others to enhance flavor.



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.