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Best Sweet Soy Glaze Substitute For Your Next Dish.

Are you looking for a suitable sweet soy glaze substitute? With its strong flavor and deep color, sweet soy glaze is a popular condiment used in many dishes. If you’re looking for something different, there are plenty of ingredients that can help you achieve similar flavors.

This article will tell you what sweet soy glaze is, your choices for an alternative, and where and how you can use each. Take your pick, and enjoy your Asian cuisine experience.

dish with cooked salmon topped with sweet soy glaze.

What Is Sweet Soy Glaze?

Sweet soy glaze is a condiment popular in Asian cuisine.

People make it with various ingredients, including soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar. Some replace sugar with honey for a more complex taste.

Other recipes for sweet soy glaze include sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and rice vinegar. No matter the ingredients in the sweet soy glaze, this sauce is always thick, glossy, and sticky. For this reason, it does a great job of coating meat and vegetables.

Regarding flavor, sweet soy glaze boasts an umami taste from the soy sauce.

This sauce also strikes a delicate balance of sweet, tangy, and salty flavors.

In Asian cuisines, such as Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean dishes, sweet soy glaze is a popular ingredient.

This condiment can be a dipping sauce or a marinade. Some people use sweet soy glaze as a basting sauce as well.

People also brush this sweet, thickened soy sauce into cooked food as a finishing touch.

Sweet soy glaze pairs well with any protein. Use it with chicken, pork, beef, seafood, and tofu. This condiment is also a common additive to stir-fries.

Reasons For Sweet Soy Glaze Substitutes

There are many reasons why you may need to find a substitute for sweet soy glaze.

1. Unavailability of Sweet Soy Glaze

Sweet soy glaze is a widely available condiment. You can find it in the supermarket’s international aisle or in Asian markets.

If you don’t live near these places, you might not be able to find sweet soy glaze easily. But, if you cannot find this condiment for some reason, it’s high time you look for an alternative.

2. Ingredient and Health Concerns

Another reason you might need a sweet soy glaze alternative is dietary restriction. Commercial versions of this condiment contain high-fructose corn syrup. This ultra-sweet ingredient makes it a no-no for people who watch their sugar intake.

Sweet soy glaze can also contain a significant amount of sodium. People with diets geared towards less sodium will find it unsuitable.

Soy sauce contains gluten, so it may not be suitable if you follow a gluten-free diet. You may also be looking for a vegan or vegetarian alternative to the classic sweet soy glaze.

3. Budget and Affordability

Lastly, there may be better options than sweet soy glaze if you are on a tight budget. There are more affordable alternatives that can lend the same flavors.

Sweet Soy Glaze Substitutes

Here are our top 10 picks to substitute sweet soy glaze.

1. Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki sauce is a popular condiment in Japanese cuisine. It is a thick mixture of soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and sake. Like sweet soy glaze, teriyaki sauce is sweet and savory, too.

It differs from sweet soy glaze because it has mirin, an alcoholic ingredient. Not to worry, though; teriyaki sauce won’t get you drunk. You need to reduce teriyaki sauce until it’s thick, which cooks the alcohol off.

That said, this sauce works just like sweet soy glaze. It can be a marinade, an ingredient for dipping sauces, or a glaze for cooked food.

Teriyaki sauce is a common condiment, too, so you will easily find it. You can make a quick substitute if you don’t have the time for a quick grocery run. Combine a bowl of soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and brown sugar.

Tips: Use the same amount of teriyaki sauce to replace an equal amount of sweet soy glaze. If you need something thinner, water down the teriyaki sauce.

Using broth to dilute teriyaki sauce also does the job. Teriyaki sauce works best with grilled chicken, but you can also try it with other proteins.

2. Hoisin Sauce

A Chinese cuisine staple, hoisin sauce is a great alternative to sweet soy glaze. Hoisin sauce comes from fermented soybeans with sesame oil, chilies, and garlic. Fennel, Chinese five-spice powder, and vinegar are also common ingredients.

Hoisin sauce has all the flavors you love from sweet soy glaze. It has umami and a salty, sweet, and tangy taste. But, it comes with extra spices, differentiating hoisin from sweet soy.

You can use hoisin sauce to replace sweet soy glaze in most recipes. This option especially works if you don’t mind some spice in your dish.

Tips: Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting sweet soy glaze with hoisin sauce. For a closer flavor match, add more sugar. Hoisin sauce is best as a stir-fry sauce or meat marinade.

3. Oyster Sauce

Another common condiment you can use in place of sweet soy glaze is oyster sauce. It has the same color and consistency, so your dish will have a similar appearance and texture.

But oyster sauce comes from slowly simmered oysters and spices. And for this reason, it can have a slightly fishy flavor not present in a sweet soy glaze.

It does have the umami element and the salty, tangy notes you’ll also find in a sweet soy glaze. And because of this, it is still a viable substitution option.

Tips: Oyster sauce pairs best with seafood because of its slightly fishy taste. Use it with fish or shrimp for the best results. But it does not mean you cannot use it in other proteins.

Oyster sauce is not as sweet as sweet soy glaze, but that is not always bad. A less sweet substitute works for some dishes. But if you want something as sweet, add sugar until you get the desired taste.

4. Shoyu Sauce

Shoyu sauce is a Japanese soy sauce people make from water, wheat, fermented soybeans, and salt.

Compared to regular soy sauce, shoyu has a sweeter taste due to its longer fermentation process. For this reason, it ticks the boxes: sweet, salty, and tangy. It has umami too!

The biggest consideration is that it does not have the same thick consistency as sweet soy glaze. Consequently, it does not readily work for all dishes that call for sweet soy glaze.

For instance, if you brush shoyu into breaded cooked meat, the breading will absorb it. And you’ll end up with a soggy breading.

Tips: Thicken shoyu sauce before adding it to recipes for a closer match. Make a slurry with water and cornstarch first. Simmer shoyu and slowly add slurry until you get the desired texture.

After thickening, use a 1:1 ratio of shoyu to sweet soy glaze. Depending on the flavor you are going for, you might have to add sugar, too. Because shoyu sauce is versatile, you can use it in most recipes that call for sweet soy glaze.

5. Kecap Manis

Kecap manis is a sweet soy sauce hailing from Indonesia. This soy sauce has wheat, soybeans, salt, and sugar.

It has a dark brown hue and a thick consistency as well. Because of this, it is one of the best sweet soy glaze substitutes.

Regarding flavor, it is not far off from sweet soy glaze. Kecap manis is sweet and savory and does not miss the umami notes.

This option is another common Asian condiment, and brands like Lee Kum Kee and Kikkoman sell it.

Tips: Use as you would sweet soy glaze. Go for kecap manis for noodle dishes and stir-fries. This option also does wonderfully well as a dipping and basting sauce.

6. Tianmian Sauce

Another Chinese condiment, Tianmian sauce, is a good sweet soy glaze alternative. People also call Tianmian sauce “sweet bean sauce.” But despite its name, this sauce does not always have soybeans.

Instead, people use fermented wheat flour as its main ingredient. Salt and sugar are also common additions, and sometimes it has fermented soybeans.

Tianmian sauce has a hint of sweetness, but the umami taste is stronger here. It is best known as an accompaniment to the famous dish Peking Duck.

This sauce has a similar appearance to sweet soy glaze. Unless you taste it, you might be unable to tell these two apart, meaning your dish will look the same.

Tip: Use the same amount of Tianmian sauce to replace sweet soy glaze in recipes, especially braised meats.

7. Honey + Soy Sauce

One of the easiest sweet soy glaze substitutes is a combination of honey and soy sauce. Since these ingredients are common in households, you can easily whip this combo up. This mixture is sweet and tangy, making it a perfect alternative.

Simmered until thick, this honey and soy sauce can coat all proteins as sweet soy glaze does.

Tips: Combine 1 cup of soy sauce, ½ cup of water, and ¾ cup of honey in a pan. Simmer until thick. Use an equal amount of thickened honey and soy sauce to replace the same amount of sweet soy glaze.

If honey is unavailable, brown sugar will do the job of adding a sweet flavor. Plus, using sugar instead of honey makes this option the most affordable.

Try it as a marinade for steak and spare ribs, or coat fried chicken wings with this delicious sauce.

8. Ponzu Sauce

Ponzu sauce is of Japanese origin. People make it with yuzu juice, mirin, rice vinegar, and tamari. Kombu and katsuobushi flakes are also basic ingredients for this sauce.

Yuzu is a sour citrus fruit resembling a cross between tangerine and lemon. It has yellow wrinkly skin that resembles lemons, but it has the round shape of a tangerine.

Yuzu is intensely sour, bringing a tangy taste to the ponzu. This sour flavor creates a balance with mirin’s subtle sweetness. And kombu and katsuobushi flakes provide a rich umami taste.

But ponzu sauce has a thin consistency, so it won’t work for all recipes that call for sweet soy glaze.

Tips: Use ponzu sauce instead of sweet soy glaze as a marinade and dipping sauce. If you need to glaze cooked meat, pick other alternatives.

Replace sweet soy glaze with an equal amount of ponzu sauce in recipes where the thick consistency is insignificant.

9. Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos is a popular soy sauce alternative for people on a keto diet. This ingredient looks like light soy sauce but does not come from soy. So, people with soy allergies can have it.

Coconut aminos is just fermented coconut sap. It is rich in umami and salty flavors but has hints of sweetness. Because of this, it makes a good option for a sweet soy glaze substitute.

Coconut aminos is also gluten-free. This condiment is the perfect swap for you if you cannot have the options above because they contain wheat.

Tips: To get a closer flavor match, add sugar to coconut aminos. This way, you can use it as a dipping sauce, marinade, or salad dressing.

If you need a thick sauce, simmer coconut aminos with sugar until you get the desired consistency. Once thickened, you can use coconut aminos like sweet soy glaze.

10. Liquid Aminos

Like coconut aminos, liquid aminos is another condiment resembling regular soy sauce. But, unlike coconut aminos, liquid aminos contain soy.

This table condiment, though, is milder than regular soy sauce. Liquid aminos is less salty and slightly sweeter. That said, it is a good choice if you dislike salty food and if you are limiting your sodium intake.

Note that liquid aminos has a thin consistency, so you cannot use it as a glaze like you would sweet soy glaze.

Tips: Use a 1:1 ratio of liquid aminos to sweet soy glaze as a marinade or dipping sauce. For a thicker and sweeter version, add sugar and reduce until thick.

Is Sweet Soy Glaze The Same As Hoisin?

No, sweet soy glaze and hoisin sauce are not the same. Hoisin sauce has seasonings like Chinese five-spice powder and chilies. These are not present in a sweet soy glaze. For this reason, hoisin sauce has a more complex flavor profile than sweet soy glaze.

What Is Sweet Soy Glaze Made Of?

The simplest recipe for sweet soy glaze combines sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar. You can add ginger, sesame oil, and garlic for extra flavor. You can experiment with the ingredients when you make a homemade sweet soy glaze.

Is Sweet Soy Glaze The Same As Soy Sauce?

No, sweet soy glaze is not the same as soy sauce. Sweet soy glaze does use soy sauce as one of its main ingredients. But it has other ingredients like sugar or honey and vinegar too. For this reason, sweet soy glaze has a sweet and savory flavor, while soy sauce is only mainly salty.


Have you taken your pick among the sweet soy glaze substitutes above? If you find it hard to decide, consider why you’re making a swap. For instance, soy sauce plus sugar is your best bet if you’re looking for a more affordable option.

If you’re looking for a soy-free alternative, go for coconut aminos. Opt for hoisin sauce if you’re after a richer, more complex flavor. Another good option not mentioned above is apple cider vinegar plus corn syrup. Ultimately, the best substitute should blend well with your dish’s other ingredients. Consider this factor as well when making your choice.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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