What Is An Alternative To Sweet Soy Sauce? A Simple Guide

Are you looking for a substitute for sweet soy sauce?

Maybe you’re trying to avoid soy for health reasons, or perhaps you just don’t have any on hand. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of alternatives available that can add a similar flavor to your dishes.

From homemade sweet soy sauce to coconut aminos and hoisin sauce, there are many options to choose from. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best substitutes for sweet soy sauce and how to use them in your cooking.

So, let’s dive in and discover some delicious alternatives!

What Is An Alternative To Sweet Soy Sauce?

Sweet soy sauce, also known as kecap manis, is a popular condiment used in many Indonesian dishes. It has a sweet, slightly salty, and caramel-like flavor with a smoky undertone. However, if you’re looking for an alternative to sweet soy sauce, there are several options available.

One of the best substitutes for sweet soy sauce is homemade sweet soy sauce. To make it, simply boil light or regular soy sauce with sugar until it becomes thick and syrupy. You can use palm or coconut sugar for a more authentic taste, but brown sugar works just as well.

Coconut aminos are another great alternative to sweet soy sauce. They are soy-free and have a sweeter flavor with less salt than regular soy sauce. To substitute for kecap manis, mix one part coconut aminos with one part honey or sugar.

Hoisin sauce and oyster sauce are also excellent substitutes for sweet soy sauce. You can even make your own by combining low-sodium soy sauce with honey or maple syrup.

If you prefer a healthier option, consider using tamari sauce or tianmian sauce instead of sweet soy sauce. Tamari sauce is a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce that has a similar flavor profile. Tianmian sauce is a Chinese condiment made from fermented wheat flour and sugar.

Why Look For An Alternative To Sweet Soy Sauce?

While sweet soy sauce is a popular condiment used in many Indonesian dishes, there are several reasons why you might want to look for an alternative. For one, if you have a soy allergy or intolerance, you may need to find a soy-free substitute. Additionally, some people may be looking for a healthier option that is lower in sodium or sugar. Finally, if you simply don’t have sweet soy sauce on hand, it’s helpful to know what alternatives you can use instead. Fortunately, there are many substitutes available that can provide a similar flavor profile to sweet soy sauce, so you can still enjoy your favorite dishes without compromising on taste.

Homemade Sweet Soy Sauce Recipe

If you’re looking for a homemade alternative to sweet soy sauce, you can easily make it at home with just two ingredients: soy sauce and sugar. Here’s a simple recipe to follow:


– 1 cup light or regular soy sauce

– 1 cup palm or coconut sugar (or brown sugar)


1. In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce and sugar.

2. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves.

3. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low.

4. Simmer the mixture for about 15-20 minutes or until it becomes thick and syrupy.

5. Remove the saucepan from heat and let it cool completely.

6. Transfer the sweet soy sauce to a jar or bottle and store it in the refrigerator for up to a month.

This homemade sweet soy sauce is perfect for marinades, glazes, stir-fries, and dipping sauces. It may not have the same syrupy consistency as store-bought kecap manis, but it delivers the required umami, saltiness, and sweetness that you need in your dishes. Plus, making your own sweet soy sauce allows you to control the ingredients and adjust the sweetness level to your liking.

Coconut Aminos: A Soy-free Option

Coconut aminos is a popular soy sauce substitute that is soy-free, gluten-free, and has a sweeter flavor than regular soy sauce. It’s made from fermented coconut palm sap and contains much less sodium than soy sauce, making it a healthier alternative. However, it’s important to note that while coconut aminos is often associated with the same health benefits as coconut, no studies have confirmed this.

Coconut aminos is not rich in nutrients and should not be considered a health food. It’s also not entirely salt-free, so portion size should still be monitored for those on low-sodium diets. Additionally, coconut aminos is more expensive and less available than traditional soy sauce, which may be a significant barrier for some people.

Despite these drawbacks, coconut aminos is still a great alternative to sweet soy sauce. Its milder flavor can easily mimic the sweetness of kecap manis when mixed with honey or sugar. Coconut aminos has been embraced by people following the paleo diet specifically because of its soy-free and gluten-free properties.

If you’re looking for an alternative to sweet soy sauce, give coconut aminos a try. Taste preferences vary, but you won’t know if you like it until you try it. It’s a healthier option that can add depth of flavor to your dishes without compromising on taste.

Hoisin Sauce: A Flavorful Alternative

Hoisin sauce is a popular Chinese condiment that can be used as a flavorful alternative to sweet soy sauce. It has a thick consistency and a sweet, savory, and slightly spicy flavor. Hoisin sauce is made from soybeans, sugar, vinegar, garlic, and chili peppers.

To use hoisin sauce as a substitute for sweet soy sauce, start by substituting about 1/4 of the amount in the recipe and add more as needed. Hoisin sauce is stronger, saltier, and thicker than sweet soy sauce. If you want to match the sweetness of sweet soy sauce, you’ll need to add some sugar or honey. Brown sugar or palm sugar will add extra caramel-like flavors.

Hoisin sauce is a great alternative for recipes that include hoisin in smaller quantities. However, in many recipes, hoisin sauce is the main flavor ingredient. For example, any chicken, pork, or beef dish that calls for a glaze or marinade. While the suggestions above will work, take a look at the ideas below for substitutes that provide the closest flavor combos and consistency as the original secret sauce.

Tamari Sauce: A Gluten-free Option

Tamari sauce is an excellent gluten-free alternative to soy sauce that has a similar flavor profile. Tamari is a Japanese condiment that is made from fermented soybeans, but unlike traditional soy sauce, it does not usually contain wheat. This makes tamari a great option for people who are allergic to gluten or following a gluten-free diet.

Tamari sauce has a rich, savory flavor that pairs well with Asian cuisine. It can be used in the same way as soy sauce, and many people won’t even notice the difference between the two. Tamari can also be purchased in reduced-sodium versions, making it a healthier option than regular soy sauce.

It’s important to note that tamari is not soy-free and should be avoided if you are allergic to soy. When purchasing tamari, always double-check the label to ensure that it is gluten-free if you have a gluten allergy or intolerance.

Worcestershire Sauce: A Tangy Substitute

Worcestershire sauce is a tangy and savory alternative to sweet soy sauce. It is a popular condiment in Western cuisine, particularly in British and American dishes. Worcestershire sauce is made from a blend of vinegar, molasses, anchovies, tamarind, onion, garlic, and various spices.

To use Worcestershire sauce as a substitute for sweet soy sauce, mix together soy sauce, ketchup, and white wine vinegar. This combination brings together the tangy, salty, and savory flavors that are characteristic of Worcestershire sauce. You can also add a dash of hot sauce for a bit of spice.

Hoisin sauce is another great option for those looking for a tangy substitute for sweet soy sauce. It has a sweet and savory flavor profile with a hint of sourness that makes it perfect for marinades, stir-fries, and dipping sauces.

If you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative to sweet soy sauce, tamari sauce is a great option. It has a similar flavor to soy sauce but is made without wheat. Tamari sauce works well as a substitute in recipes that call for soy sauce or kecap manis.