Use soy sauce for great homemade brownies

A warm, fudgy brownie is perfect after a delicious meal, and while pre-made brownies will satisfy your basic chocolate cravings, making brownies from scratch lets you add unique ingredients to the batter. Among the most unique we’ve ever heard? Soya sauce. Yes, you read that right. It seemed a bit far-fetched to me, but since the recommendation came from iron boss judge Nilou Motamed, I had to try it for myself. Here is what happened.

Why You Should Add Soy Sauce to Brownie Batter

Soy sauce is the last ingredient you would expect to see in a brownie recipe. But Chris Kimura, corporate chef at Lee Kum Kee (a company specializing in Asian sauces and condiments), says First for women why this salty condiment is, in fact, a perfect fit.

“As opposed to salt, which just adds saltiness (or saltiness), soy sauce is a great way to add complex flavor that complements chocolate,” he explains. “It also subtly brings out more sweetness in the brownie while delivering a fuller, richer flavor.”

For this dessert, Chef Motamed recommends using a sweeter variety like Lee Kum Kee’s Sweet Soy Sauce (available at Walmart and Amazon). “[It’s] both sweet and savory, so you’re gonna have all that umami [flavor that] will make your brownies even more special,” she says.

How to make soy sauce brownies

The recipe below takes soy sauce brownies to the next level by adding pure sesame oil and tahini to the batter. These ingredients are made from sesame, which also gives the brownies a nutty flavor.

“You get this very beautiful aromatic fragrance [while making the batter] which feels really sturdy and almost makes you feel like you’re smelling like a big jar of peanut butter, only better! Chief Motamed explains.


  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (between 60 and 65 percent), chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup tahini, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons pure sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon sweet soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8 x 8-inch nonstick pan with 2 sheets of parchment paper, overlapping them and leaving long edges so the parchment covers all 4 sides of the pan.
  2. Place chocolate and butter in microwaveable bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted; stir between each interval. Put aside.
  3. Whisk together sugar, tahini, eggs, cocoa powder, sesame oil, vanilla and soy sauce.
  4. Stir in chocolate mixture, then stir in flour until just blended. Scrape into a baking dish.
  5. Bake until edges are just set and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the brownies comes out clean, about 29 to 31 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt and let cool.
  6. Cut into evenly sized squares and enjoy!
Courtesy of Lee Kum Kee

My taste test

With an open mind and curious taste buds, I took the first bite – immediately noting the rich chocolate flavor of the brownie. Plus, the light sprinkle of sea salt on top added a crunch that complemented the dense, melty texture of the dessert.

Truth be told, the soy sauce, tahini and sesame oil were barely noticeable. However, these ingredients allowed the bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder to shine. I would absolutely make this recipe again – and next time I will serve the brownies with a scoop of ice cream for a brownie sundae.

Some of the ingredients in this recipe can also be enjoyed in everyday dishes. Tahini works well in homemade hummus and salad dressings. Plus, soy sauce and sesame oil are tasty additions to the crunchy Asian salad and spicy tofu and green beans.

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