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What is Hoisin Sauce?

Find out what hoisin sauce tastes like, how to make your own, and more!

What is Hoisin Sauce
What is Hoisin Sauce
This image courtesy of bigstockphoto.com

Hoisin sauce is a dark, thick sauce that’s often used in Asian cuisines. It’s found in stir fry dishes, it’s used to baste meat, and it’s sometimes also a dipping sauce. You might recognize it from recipes like mu shu pork, where it's used as a dipping sauce for those yummy pancakes.

Whether you buy hoisin sauce at the store (it's pretty easy to find) or make your own at home, this condiment is a delicious addition to many recipes.

What does hoisin sauce taste like? The color and texture of hoisin sauce will remind you of barbecue sauce. The taste is sweet and salty, with flavors from a variety of different spices. Hoisin sauce ingredients include soy beans, garlic, vinegar, sugar, starch, and various spices. Chinese five spice or hot sauce is a common ingredient.

Are there good hoisin sauce substitutes? I hope you're not wondering that because you're in the middle of a recipe emergency (although we can still help!). There are a few different alternatives to hoisin sauce, but the best thing to do is simply make a homemade version. This recipe is easy to make, and you probably have everything you need already on hand. 

Easy

Total TimeUnder 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter or black bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon honey or molasses
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
  • 20 drops Chinese-style hot sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together until well blended.

Hoisin Sauce Alternatives

If you don’t want to make your own, you could also purchase one of these hoisin sauce alternatives: brown bean sauce or chee hou sauce. These are spicier than hoisin sauce, so consider diluting them a bit with some vinegar or soy sauce.

If you want your hoisin sauce gluten free, be sure to purchase one that is labelled as “gluten free.” Many bottled sauces contain wheat, so be sure to check the labels. To make the recipe above gluten free, be sure to use gluten free soy sauce and hot sauce.

To make the above hoisin sauce vegan, use molasses instead of honey.

Recipes with Hoisin Sauce

You might wonder, “What is hoisin sauce used for?” It’s used in a variety of delicious Asian-style dishes like these! These recipes will be delicious when made with store bought hoisin sauce or our homemade hoisin sauce recipe above. Enjoy!

Dump & Go General Tsaos Chicken
Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps
Asian Noodles in Hoisin Sauce
Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Hoisin Glazed Chicken Drumsticks
10-Minute Hoisin-Glazed Pork Loin
Stovetop 3-Ingredient Asian Ribs

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