The Best Kecap Manis Substitutes (Sweet Soy Sauce)

kecap manis substitutes

Looking for an alternative to sweet soy sauce also known as Kecap Manis? You’re in the right place! Keep reading for my favourite simple Kecap Manis substitutes.

What is Kecap Manis?

Kecap Manis, also called Sweet Soy Sauce is a thick syrupy condiment used in Indonesian cuisines. It adds deeply sweet caramel flavours with a little savoury saltiness.

It’s made by fermenting soy beans and grains with Aspergillus mould and then combining the fermented product with lots of palm sugar to create a syrup.

The ingredients include Palm Sugar, Sugar, Soy Extract (11%) (Water, Salt, Soybean, Wheat), Salt and Caramel Colour (150a). Most brands also include preservatives, acidity regulators and stabilizers.

The Best Kecap Manis Substitutes

1. Honey + Soy Sauce

If I ever wanted to cook an Indonesian dish, I’d substitute 3 parts honey (or maple syrup) and 1 part soy sauce for the kecap manis.

2. Brown Sugar or Palm Sugar + Soy Sauce

You could use brown sugar or palm sugar in a similar way to the honey above. And white sugar will work as well it will just lack the caramel flavours.

3. Honey + Fish sauce

If you want a soy-free alternative, fish sauce has a lot of the salty complex flavours of soy sauce and when mixed with honey (or brown sugar) it will make an excellent substitute.

4. Coconut Aminos

If you’re avoiding soy for health reasons, coconut aminos are another soy-free option. The flavour is much sweeter and significantly less salty than soy sauce. So to substitute for kecap manis I’d use a 1 part coconut aminos and 1 part honey or sugar.

5. Oyster Sauce

Like coconut aminos oyster sauce has more inherent sweetness than regular soy sauce but not as much as kecap manis. So I’d use 2 parts honey or brown sugar and 1 part oyster sauce as a substitute.

Can I use soy sauce instead of kecap manis?

Absolutely you can. You’ll also need to add some sweetness so try with either honey, maple syrup or sugar in the ratios mentioned above.

Delicious Kecap Manis Flavour Pairings

  • Chicken & Kecap Manis
  • Fish & Kecap Manis
  • Chilli & Kecap Manis
  • Ginger & Kecap Manis
  • Garlic & Kecap Manis
  • Rice & Kecap Manis
  • Green Onions (Scallions) & Kecap Manis

More Ingredient Substitutes

Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x