This Hoisin Sauce recipe takes only minutes to make at home from ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
What is Hoisin Sauce?
Hoisin sauce is a thick and intensely flavorful sauce commonly used as a glaze for meats, a dipping sauce, or a stir fry pan sauce in Chinese cooking.
(If you like to use teriyaki sauce in your stir fries, then there’s a good chance hoisin sauce will be right up your alley.)
Hoisin sauce could be compared to a barbecue-style sauce, with its dark color, thick consistency, and sweet and tangy flavors. (But not quite as sweet and tangy as sweet and sour sauce.)
In fact, you may even hear it called Chinese Barbecue Sauce.
However, there is one other element that makes this sauce stand apart from traditional barbecue sauce, and that is its soy-sauce saltiness.
If you can image a sweet, tangy, and soy-infused barbecue sauce, then you’re probably pretty darn close to imagining the flavor and consistency of hoisin sauce.
Is There Seafood In Hoisin Sauce?
The word hoisin (pronounced HOY-szin) is from the Chinese word for seafood.
Despite the name’s meaning, hoisin sauce does not contain any seafood, nor is it commonly used with seafood.
How the sauce got its name is a mystery that no one seems to know the answer to.
What Is The Difference Between Soy Sauce And Hoisin Sauce?
Hoisin sauce is going to be much thicker than soy sauce and much sweeter in flavor.
We use soy sauce in our hoisin sauce, but hoisin sauce also contains a number of other ingredients that give it a distinct flavor.
Hoisin Sauce vs Plum Sauce
While they are similar in flavor, hoisin sauce is not to be confused with plum sauce.
Hoisin sauce is typically spicier with more potent flavors, while plum sauce is more of a jammy sauce made from plums.
The good news is that they are close enough in flavor that, in a pinch, the two can be substituted for each other.
What Is Hoisin Sauce Made Of?
A main ingredient in traditional hoisin sauce is fermented soy bean paste.
This bean paste gives the sauce its thick consistency and deep and tangy flavor.
The flavor and texture of bean paste are quite unique, but don’t think that you can’t make your own homemade hoisin sauce just because you don’t have bean paste!
Our Homemade Hoisin Sauce Recipe
Our homemade hoisin sauce recipe is designed to create an authentic tasting hoisin sauce using pantry staples.
No bean paste here!
Actually, we’re using two pretty simple ingredients to mimic the effects and flavor of bean paste:
- creamy peanut butter
While, yes, the flavor will be slightly different than if you used a traditional, fermented bean paste, these substitutions are a great way to be able to whip up some hoisin sauce at home, using ingredients that are already in your pantry.
With these simple substitutions, you can create your homemade hoisin sauce in less than 10 minutes!
How To Use Hoisin Sauce
Hoisin sauce is used often in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine as a dip and condiment.
Here are some ways to use it:
- As a dip for your favorite Chinese egg rolls
- As a sauce for Peking duck and Chinese barbecue pork
- As a dip for Vietnamese spring rolls
- As a condiment for Vietnamese Pho, beef noodle soup
- As a sauce for a beef stir fry
What do you love hoisin sauce on?
- In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except cornstarch. Heat over medium heat until the molasses and peanut butter have dissolved.
- In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 1 1/2 tsp cold water. Stir until the cornstarch has dissolved.
- Increase the heat under the saucepan to medium-high and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Simmer until the mixture begins to thicken, 1-2 min.
- Remove the sauce from the burner to cool. (The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.)
- The sauce can be used immediately to marinade meat, as a dip, or sauce for a stir fry.
- Store extra sauce in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. (The sauce will firm up in the refrigerator, just give it a good stir before using.)
* 1/2 c of Hoisin Sauce is enough to coat 1 lb of meat and roughly 1 lb of veggies
This recipe was updated April 2017. We made a few tweaks to make the sauce even better. Enjoy!
Serving Size:1 Tbsp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 34Total Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 0gSodium: 353mgCarbohydrates: 5.3gSugar: 3.1gProtein: 0.9g
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Sarah is co-owner of Curious Cuisiniere and the chief researcher and recipe developer for the site. Her love for cultural cuisines was instilled early by her French Canadian Grandmother. Her experience in the kitchen and in recipe development comes from years working in professional kitchens. She has traveled extensively and enjoys bringing the flavors of her travels back to create easy-to-make recipes.