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2 Ingredient Kecap Manis – Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce

05/08/2021

The thick Indonesian sweet soy sauce you know and love – Kecap Manis! You only need 2 ingredients and 7 minutes to easily make this popular condiment at home.

Thick kecap manis on a spoon in a white dish.

Why We Love This

This sauce is SO versatile. Use it in a stir fry, salad, as a marinade or a dipping sauce! One of our favourite ways to use it is for dipping with pandan chicken or spring rolls!

It also keeps a long time in the fridge, as it’s only sugar and soy sauce.

Related: Unagi Sauce / Yakitori Sauce

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Dark Indonesian kecap manis in a small dish.

What is Kecap Manis? 

Kecap Manis (ketjap manis) is a popular sweet soy sauce from Indonesia. You may know it as the sweet dark sauce in a packet of mie goreng, used it in dishes like nasi gila or squeezed it on top of a big bowl of bakso soup.

At local supermarkets the most popular brands to look out for are the red bottle – ABC Kecap Manis and the blue bottle – Bango Kecap Manis.

What You’ll Need

  • Soy Sauce – Use regular or light soy sauce for best results. If you want a sweeter sauce, use reduced salt soy sauce or add more sugar.
  • Sugar – Brown sugar will work great, or use the more traditional palm sugar if you have it. Molasses or golden syrup also make great substitutes.
Soy sauce and brown sugar laid out to make kecap manis.

How to make homemade Indonesian sweet soy sauce:

  • Place the soy sauce and brown sugar into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Bring to a boil, it will bubble up quite a bit, so stir as you go to avoid any sticking. Important: Remove from heat immediately if it starts to boil over, then reduce the heat slightly to avoid a repeat.
  • Continue boiling for around 7 minutes. You’ll notice the sauce reduces quite a bit. Turn the heat off and allow to thicken on standing.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Keep Watch – It’s so easy for this sauce to boil over, we can’t stress enough to keep watch!
  • Storage – Once made, store in a clean jar in the fridge. It should last well over a month if only using sugar and soy sauce.

FAQs

Best substitutes for kecap manis:

The best substitute if using in a dish would be regular soy sauce and sugar without cooking it down, to give both the salty and sweetness. Next options would be to use hoisin sauce or oyster sauce.

Is kecap manis sweet?

Yes! It’s sweet AND salty. “Manis” literally translates to sweet in Indonesian.

What is the difference between kecap manis and sweet soy sauce?

Nothing, it is the same sauce. Sweet Soy Sauce is the English name, and Kecap Manis is the Indonesian name for the sauce.

Variations

  • Make Sambal KecapOnce your homemade kecap manis is cooled, add some sliced shallots, sliced chilli, sliced fresh tomato and a squeeze of lime juice for a spicy dipping sauce.
  • Add Extra Flavour – For a more robust kecap manis, add in some garlic, ginger and star anise to pack some flavour punch!
Dipping a spoon into homemade Indonesian sweet soy sauce.

These dishes pair perfectly with Kecap Manis:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Shiny, thick kecap manis in a small white dish.

2 Ingredient Kecap Manis – Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce

The thick Indonesian sweet soy sauce you know and love – Kecap Manis! You only need 2 ingredients and 7 minutes to easily make this popular condiment at home.
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time: 0 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Course: Basics, Condiment
Cuisine: Indonesian
Servings: 1 small jar
Calories: 488kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: Under $5

Ingredients

  • ½ cup soy sauce 125ml / 4.2floz, light or regular, reduced salt is even better
  • ½ cup brown sugar 60g / 2oz, palm sugar (most traditional) or molasses

Instructions

  • Place the soy sauce and brown sugar into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
    ½ cup soy sauce, ½ cup brown sugar
  • Bring to a boil, it will bubble up quite a bit, so stir as you go to avoid any sticking. Important: Remove from heat immediately if it starts to boil over, then reduce the heat slightly to avoid a repeat.
  • Continue boiling for around 7 minutes. You’ll notice the sauce reduces quite a bit. Turn the heat off and allow to thicken on standing.

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Make Sambal Kecap – Once your homemade kecap manis is cooled, add some sliced shallots, chilli, tomato and a squeeze of lime juice for a spicy dipping sauce.
  • Add Extra Flavour – For a more robust sauce, add in some garlic, ginger and star anise to pack some flavour punch!
  • Keep Watch – It’s so easy for this sauce to boil over, we can’t stress enough to keep watch!
  • Storage – Once made, store in a clean jar in the fridge. It should last well over a month if only using sugar and soy sauce.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
2 Ingredient Kecap Manis – Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce
Amount per Serving
Calories
488
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
1
g
2
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Sodium
 
6511
mg
283
%
Potassium
 
392
mg
11
%
Carbohydrates
 
114
g
38
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
109
g
121
%
Protein
 
12
g
24
%
Calcium
 
115
mg
12
%
Iron
 
4
mg
22
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks

2 Ingredient Kecap Manis - Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Debbie
    31/08/2023 at 12:20 am

    5 stars
    How long does it keep if you add the extra spices? And if I use powdered ginger and powdered garlic instead of fresh will it last longer?

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      31/08/2023 at 11:02 am

      Hey Debbie! Powdered would definitely keep for longer. If using fresh, we usually say maybe around 2-3 weeks. As it does have a high sugar and salt content, it should still keep relatively well in the fridge. Our best advice is use your senses – look for any signs of mould and give it the sniff test if it has been in the fridge for a while. If you’re ever unsure – always throw it, it’s not worth the risk.

  • Reply
    Theresa
    01/08/2023 at 3:30 am

    stumbled across your website and LIKE what I see subscribed for sure. Thanks, so much for sharing this recipe. I always buy the ABC brand and like everything else it keeps go up in price! nice to be able to make my self. as I use it to flavor poutine and other recipes love this stuff.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      01/08/2023 at 7:42 am

      Oh such a cool idea flavouring your Poutine with it. Yeah agreed, so much cheaper being able to make it yourself these days!

  • Reply
    Irena
    09/05/2023 at 5:33 pm

    Followed this recipe and I’m not sure what I did wrong, but I have ended up with basically soy sauce flavoured toffee! (Haha – oops)
    Did I have the heat too high (med high as per recipe)?
    We have copper saucepans – should I have boiled for a shorter period?
    Can you please give me an idea of when to take it off the boil to cool, ie; what it should look like rather than an exact time?

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      10/05/2023 at 9:49 am

      Hey Irena! Thanks for reaching out. Sounds like the heat may have been a little too high. It’s just slightly over cooked. Some hot plates do run quite hot, so adjust to medium heat and reduce your cooking time by a minute or two when it’s still runny as it’ll thicken on standing.

      You’re essentially looking to reduce the amount by a third to a half, and not over boil it. So heat would be the bigger issue than length of time cooked in this instance. If it’s bubbling a lot to the point of bubbling over, reduce the heat too. If it helps, also watch the video a few times and have a look at the consistency of the sauce when we remove it from the heat and pour it in the dish.

      Try again and let us know how awesome your second batch turns out. 😉

  • Reply
    marcus
    13/03/2023 at 6:54 am

    5 stars
    Found a recipe calling for “sweet soy sauce”, I was at a loss. GOOGLED it and found this website and recipe. Had required ingredients in pantry. AMAZING how delicious and versatile this sauce is! Pasta, rice and potatoes all benefit from this sauce. Had gathering of 14 people – all gave rave reviews. 1 guest wanted to know if I could cook for her upcoming dinner… and make this!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      14/03/2023 at 7:23 pm

      Oh that’s so awesome Marcus. What a cool story. Thanks for the feedback. We do love a quick recipe, especially if it saves $$ and a trip to the shop hehe.

  • Reply
    Dslayer298
    10/03/2023 at 8:12 am

    5 stars
    Wow, how cheap and easy is this to make!!
    The kind you buy is pretty overpriced, I can’t thank you enough!!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      11/03/2023 at 7:58 am

      You’re very welcome! So much easier when you can make it yourself hey! 😁

  • Reply
    Bobbi
    02/03/2023 at 10:30 pm

    5 stars
    I had just gotten a new cookbook, and found myself scrambling. Drunken Noodles — I found everything I needed but the sweet soy sauce. Soy sauce comes in a sweet variety?!?!?! I had never known. None of the markets around me carry it so I was at a loss. To google I turned, and Google did not disappoint. This recipe worked very well, and came together so easily. Keeping this one in my recipe box for sure!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      03/03/2023 at 10:00 am

      Oh yay! So glad we could help you out with the homemade version and hope your noodles were amazing!

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