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The 5 Best Substitutes for Light Soy Sauce

Have you ever wondered what the difference between light and regular soy sauce is?

Light soy sauce is an essential ingredient for many Asian dishes, but it can be difficult to find in some stores.

Fortunately, there are plenty of substitutes available that can add that same delicious flavor to your food.

Many people are surprised at just how easy it is to substitute light soy sauce in recipes; whether in stir-fries or marinades, you’ll be sure to get the same distinct taste.

Here’s all you need to know about using and substituting light soy sauce in your cooking.

What is Light Soy Sauce?

Light soy sauce, also known as thin soy sauce, is a common condiment and seasoning found in Asian cooking.

It is produced from fermented soybeans, wheat flour, salt, and sugar.

Light soy sauce has a thinner consistency compared to other varieties, such as dark and sweet aromatics soy sauces.

Compared to other types of soy sauce, light soy sauce is milder in flavor with a slightly salty taste.

Its light color usually ranges from light amber to yellow-brown.

Light soy sauce can be used for various dishes such as stir-fried noodle dishes, dipping sauces for dim sums, or Kuey Teow dishes.

Furthermore, it can also be used in marinades or main entrées like roasted meats or deep-fried foods.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Light Soy Sauce

If you’re looking for alternatives to light soy sauce, there are many options available.

Here are the five best substitutes for light soy sauce that you can use:

1 – Tamari Sauce

No dish is complete without a touch of flavor, and tamari sauce is here to deliver.

Tamari sauce originated in Japan as an alternative to soy sauce, so if you’re looking for soy sauce-like qualities but with less salt, tamari sauce should be your condiment of choice.

It’s thick and syrupy in texture, composed of fermented soybeans and wheat.

The taste is bolder than light soy sauce while being less salty – even allowing one to detect hints of sweetness at times.

If light soy sauce is what your recipe calls for, but all you have in-house is Tamari, don’t worry.

Simply reduce the amount used slightly, and the recipe should turn out just fine.

2 – Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos are a tasty and nutritious alternative to regular soy sauce.

Derived from coconut tree sap, it has a unique taste and texture that adds flavor to Asian-style dishes.

It’s lighter in flavor than light soy sauce but still salty and savory, with an underlying sweetness from the coconut blossom nectar.

It contains 17 naturally occurring amino acids and is much lower in sodium than conventional soy sauce or Tamari.

Unlike regular soy sauce, coconut aminos are vegan and contain no wheat or gluten.

As a substitute for light soy sauce, it works especially well in salad dressings, marinades, stir-fries, and as a condiment on sushi since its delicate flavor won’t overpower the flavors of other ingredients.

3 – Miso Paste

Miso paste is a traditional Japanese condiment that has been used for centuries.

It’s made from fermented soybeans and can range in color from light yellow to deep red, depending on the ingredients used to make it.

Miso has a savory and salty flavor, balanced by a subtle sweetness, and ranges from a creamy smooth texture to one that is more coarsely ground.

A good way to substitute it for light soy sauce is as an additional layer of umami flavor, as well as to add dimension to a dish.

It can also be mixed in with warm water or broth to make a flavorful base for soups or sauces, which may require reducing the liquid to prevent the over-salting of your dishes.

4 – Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a thick, concentrated condiment with a complex flavor that’s used around the world.

It’s made from a blend of vinegar, salt, tamarind, garlic, onion, and spice extracts – including chili pepper and cloves.

The flavor of Worcestershire sauce is both salty and tangy, with subtle hints of sweetness.

Its texture is smooth yet slightly syrupy.

If you don’t have any light soy sauce on hand and need to substitute it in a recipe, Worcestershire sauce may be an adequate replacement due to its similar composition.

Just remember to use only half the amount that the recipe calls for, as Worcestershire sauce tends to be more powerful than light soy sauce.

5 – Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is a thick, sweet-salty sauce used for either dipping or flavoring stir-fry dishes.

It’s an essential condiment in Chinese cooking and has a distinct reddish-brown color coming from its main ingredient, fermented soybeans.

When added to a dish, it gives it a tantalizing flavor of sweetness with some warmth, thanks to its chili content.

The texture is glossy and smooth, which makes it perfect for both marinating and as a topping.

It differs from light soy sauce because its thicker consistency has more of an intense flavor suitable for stronger flavored dishes.

You can substitute hoisin sauce with light soy sauce, but you’ll need to reduce the amount you’d use since it’s much richer in taste.


In conclusion, light soy sauce can be replaced by various other sauces, pastes, and condiments, depending on the flavor profile you’re aiming for.

These alternatives range from Tamari to Worcestershire sauce, coconut aminos to miso paste, and even hoisin sauce.

As all of these substitutes have different flavors and consistencies, it’s important to consider how they will affect the overall outcome of your dish.

With a little experimentation, you can easily find a replacement for light soy sauce that will more than satisfy your taste buds.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Light Soy Sauce

The 5 Best Substitutes for Light Soy Sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Tamari Sauce
  • Coconut Aminos
  • Miso Paste
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Hoisin Sauce


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

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