Sweet soy sauce or kecapmanis is an Indonesian sweetened soy sauce with dark color and thick texture.
Kecapmanis is made from fermented soybeans, palm sugar, salt, water, garlic, and spices like cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, star anise, clove, and coriander.
You can find it in many Indonesian dishes. It provides a sweet, slightly salty, caramel, flavor with a smoky undertone. Sweet soy sauce is used as an ingredient in marinades, soups, glazes, stews, barbecue sauces, salad dressings, stir-fries, seafood, meats, noodle, and rice dishes, but it is also used as a dipping sauce.
If you want to make a recipe that calls for sweet soy sauce, however, you don’t have it at home you can use some other ingredients instead.
Substitutes for sweet soy sauce include soy sauce and brown or palm sugar, soy sauce, and honey, coconut aminos, oyster sauce, or some of the following products.
Let’s learn more about these substitutes below!
Substitutes for Sweet Soy Sauce
Sweet soy sauce is a common ingredient in different dishes to add a sweet, mild, slightly salty caramel flavor and beautiful color.
However, there are also other ingredients you can use to get a similar sweet soy sauce flavor in your dishes. Here are some of them.
1. Soy sauce and brown or palm sugar
Soy sauce is one of the best substitutes for sweet soy sauce made of fermented soybeans and has a similar flavor to sweet soy sauce.
However, to get better flavor and texture in your dish add some brown sugar in the soy sauce and use instead of the sweet soy sauce in your recipes. You will need one cup of soy sauce, one cup of water, and one cup of brown or palm sugar.
Add the water and the brown sugar to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the soy sauce and let it simmer until it gets a thick texture.
You can use this soy sauce in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for sweet soy sauce.
2. Soy sauce and honey
Soy sauce and honey are also good alternatives for sweet soy sauce.
Just mix¾ of a cup of honey, one cup of water, one cup of soy sauce, and bring it to a boil. Simmer until it thickens. Soy sauce will give a salty flavor to the sauce, while honey will be the one that will add sweet flavor, and thicken up the sauce.
You can use it in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for sweet soy sauce in the recipes that calls for sweet soy sauce. Don’t use honey with strong floral flavors because it will alter the flavor of the sauce.
3. Coconut aminos
Coconut aminos have a sweet-salty umami flavor and similar texture and color to light soy sauce. They consist of the fermented sap of the coconut palm tree. The best part? They are soy and gluten-free.
So, coconut aminos are suitable for people allergic to soy and gluten. Coconut aminos are used in salads, stews, soups, sauces, marinades, stir-fries, dressings, and as a dipping sauce.
They can be used as a substitute for sweet soy sauce in a 1:1 ratio.
4. Oyster sauce
Oyster sauce is made of oyster extract and has a salty, earthy, slightly sweet flavor with a hint of caramel. It has a dark brown color and thick consistency and is usually used in stir-fries, marinades, barbecue sauces, vegetable and meat dishes.
Because the oyster sauce is less sweet than sweet soy sauce you can add brown or palm sugar to get a similar flavor to the flavor of the sweet soy sauce.
Substitute one tablespoon of sweet soy sauce with one tablespoon of oyster sauce in your recipes.
5. Hoisin sauce
Hoisin sauce is a thick and dark-colored sauce with a salty and slightly sweet flavor.
It is made of fermented soybeans, sesame oil, garlic, vinegar, sweetener, five-spice powder, and chilies. However, there are also other variants made with different ingredients.
Hoisin sauce works great in different stir-fries, duck and pork dishes, noodles, vegetables, grilled dishes, marinades, and as a dipping sauce.
It is less sweet than the sweet soy sauce. However, you can use hoisin sauce in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for sweet soy sauce and add some palm sugar if needed.
6. Tamari sauce
Tamari sauce is a soy-based Japanese sauce. However, it has a different flavor than the other soy sauces because it is made differently.
It is made of the liquid which is drained during the fermentation process of the soybeans. So, tamari sauce has a thicker consistency and richer but less salty flavor than regular soy sauce.
This sauce is a common ingredient in marinades, stir-fries, stews, soups, dressings, as a dipping sauce, or as a condiment for dumplings, noodles, tofu, and fish.
Use tamari sauce in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for sweet soy sauce.
7. Tianmian sauce
Tianmian sauce or sweet bean sauce has dark brown color and salty, slightly sweet flavor. Made of wheat flour, salt, sugar, and fermented soybeans, this sauce gives a beautiful umami flavor to dishes.
Tianmian sauce is a common ingredient in stir-fries, sauces, noodle and pork dishes, fried rice, curries, soups, etc. You can use it as a substitute for sweet soy sauce in a 1:1 ratio.
8. Shoyu sauce
Shoyu sauce is Japanese soy sauce that is usually made from fermented soybeans, wheat, water, and salt. There are also other types of shoyu sauce made with different ingredients and production methods.
Shoyu sauce has a salty-sweet umami flavor and is used in many different dishes as cooking and as a table sauce. It gives an umami flavor to marinades, stir-fries, sauces, dressings, and dips.
Substitute sweet soy sauce with shoyu sauce in a 1:1 ratio in your recipes.
9. Liquid aminos
Liquid aminos come from soybeans and have a similar flavor to soy sauce. However, they are less salty than the regular soy sauce and have a slightly sweet umami flavor.
They don’t have preservatives, chemicals, or artificial colors and make a good source of amino acids. You can use them to add a rich umami flavor to marinades, stir-fries, sauces, dips, soups, dressings, and stews.
Use liquid aminos in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for sweet soy sauce.
10. Homemade sweet soy sauce
Sweet soy sauce is easy to make. All you need is the following ingredients.
- 1 cup of soy sauce
- 1 cup of palm or brown sugar
- ½ cup of water
You can also add 1 clove of garlic, 1 anise pod, and a piece of ginger root (2,5 cm long). If you are using these ingredients you need to prepare them first. Mince the garlic clove, and slice the ginger root.
Put the water and sugar in a saucepan, mix, and bring them to a boil with stirring occasionally. Let the mixture boil for 5-10 minutes.
When it changes its color to deep amber, remove the saucepan from the stove. Let the mixture cool down a little and add the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and anise pod.
Put the saucepan on the stove at medium heat. Let the mixture simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove the saucepan from the heat and voila!
Leave your sauce to cool down and thicken before you use it in your favorite dishes.
Is hoisin sauce the same as sweet soy sauce?
Hoisin sauce is not the same as sweet soy sauce.
Hoisin sauce is made from fermented soybeans, sesame oil, garlic, vinegar, sweetener, five-spice powder, and chilies. It has a salty, slightly sweet flavor, dark color, and thick consistency.
Is sweet soy sauce the same as kecapmanis?
Sweet soy sauce is the same as kecapmanis.
What do you call sweet soy sauce?
Sweet soy sauce is also called kecapmanis. In the Indonesian language, kecap means soy sauce, while manis means sweet.
Sweet soy sauce is a delicious and super versatile sauce you can add to many different dishes. However, if you are out of it you can try some of these sauces mentioned above as a substitute for sweet soy sauce.
They don’t have exactly the same flavor as sweet soy sauce but they will improve the flavor of your dish. Try them and let us know which one works best for you in the comment section down below!