10 Great Substitutes For Hoisin Sauce That Tastes Great

substitutes for hoisin sauce that taste great
16 min reading time

Whenever you’re making Asian-inspired dishes at home, it can be a hassle to track down the right ingredients. All of those exotic sauces and flavorings often require special trips to specialty grocers or ordering online—which isn’t always possible if you need dinner tonight. Well, what if I told you that there was an easy way to satisfy your cravings for Hoisin sauce without adding a single item on your grocery list? That’s right: You don’t necessarily have to buy hoisin sauce; with just a few simple kitchen staples, you can whip up delicious alternatives in minutes!

So let’s take a look at some fantastic (and oh-so easy) substitutes for hoisin sauce below!

What is Hoisin Sauce?

Hoisin sauce is a thick, reddish-brown condiment made from fermented soybeans, garlic, chilies and spices. It is one of the most popular sauces used in Chinese cuisine and can be found in many Asian restaurants or grocery stores. The ingredients vary by region and may include fish sauce, hoisin paste (a fermented bean paste), maltose syrup, vinegar, chili pepper flakes and other herbs and spices. Other versions may contain red dates or sesame oil for added flavor complexity.

The texture of Hoisin sauce is thick like a syrup but viscous enough to cling to food surfaces making it an ideal glaze ingredient due to its caramelized layer when exposed to heat during cooking processes such as roasting or grilling meats. Because of this caramelization property along with its strong flavors it can also be used as a marinade for barbecues mainly on beef short ribs or pork spare ribs creating distinctive dark mahogany color after cooked throughly.

Overall , Hoisin Sauce delivers very complex yet intensely flavorful nuances which makes it adds unique character to any dish while remaining true identity at its core throughout your culinary journey which will leave you wanting more!

How Does Hoisin Sauce Tastes Like?

This savory sauce packs a punch because it combines many flavors at once – sweet and spicy thanks to sugar and chili peppers; salty due to the fermentation process; umami or savory from mushrooms; plus hints of sourness and bitterness which come from rice vinegar and garlic paste respectively. All these flavors blend together seamlessly into one unique taste sensation!

Ready-made Alternatives for Hoisin Sauce

There are several ready-made alternatives that provide similar flavor profiles with less hassle.

One of the most popular ready-made hoisin sauces available in grocery stores is Lee Kum Kee brand Hoisin Sauce. This all-natural product contains no preservatives or artificial flavors and provides an authentic taste well suited for many different types of cuisine. Additionally, this brand also produces gluten free options so those with dietary restrictions do not have to miss out on enjoying a great tasting meal.

Another convenience option you may want to consider is Panda Brand Hoisin Sauce packets which come in premixed drizzle cups perfect for dumpling dipping.

How to Choose a Best Substitute for Hoisin Sauce?

Choosing the right substitute for hoisin sauce can be challenging, especially when you consider the distinct flavor that it adds to Asian-inspired dishes. However, the good news is that there are several alternatives that you can use.

Peanut butter or soy sauce are good options that can provide a similar flavor profile, while oyster sauce and plum sauce can also work well when used in small amounts.

If you’re looking for a healthier option, you could also try using tahini or miso paste. It all really depends on the specific dish that you’re looking to make, so be sure to experiment and find the right substitutes for hoisin sauce that work best for your recipe.

Once you’ve found your favorite alternative, you’ll be able to make delicious meals with ease.

10 Best Substitutes for Hoisin Sauce You Must Try

If you’ve ever found yourself without hoisin sauce in your pantry, there are many substitutes you can use to achieve a similar flavor profile. Soy sauce, oyster sauce, and plum sauce are all good options, providing a combination of saltiness, sweetness, and umami. Additionally, you can make your own hoisin-style sauce at home by mixing together soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and sesame oil. Who knows, you might even discover a new favorite flavor!

With these substitutes for hoisin sauce, you can still enjoy all your favorite Asian dishes even without hoisin sauce.

Simple Substitutes For Hoisin Sauce

1. Soy Sauce

Soy Sauce with soy bean

While it is technically possible to substitute soy sauce for hoisin sauce, the result may be less than desirable. Soy sauce and hoisin sauce are similar in that they are both made from fermented soybeans. However, there are some key differences between them that must be considered when deciding whether or not to use a substitution.

Hoisin sauce is a thick, fragrant dark brown reddish-brown condiment with sweet and sour notes as well as umami flavors derived from tamarind, garlic, chili peppers, sugar and other spices. It has a much sweeter taste compared to soy sauce which is salty and savory. Hoisin sauces vary in flavor due to different regional ingredients but generally have a deep robust flavor profile.

While soy sauce doesn’t have the sweetness that hoisin sauce does, it still brings a depth of flavor and saltiness to the dish. If you’re looking for a closer match, adding some honey or brown sugar to your soy sauce can help recreate that caramel-like sweetness of hoisin sauce. Just remember to adjust the salt level accordingly as soy sauce is saltier than hoisin sauce. Don’t let a missing ingredient ruin your meal, get creative and try out this substitution!

2. Black Bean Sauce

Black Bean Sauce: substitutes for hoisin sauce
Source: allrecipes.com

You can use black bean sauce as a substitute for hoisin sauce in some Chinese cooking recipes. The flavor will not be the same, but it is an acceptable alternative.

When substituting black bean sauce for hoisin you need to adjust certain ingredients in your recipe because of the difference in flavor between them. Black bean sauce tends to be oilier than hoisin so adding extra oil may be necessary to make up for this difference when cooking stir-fries or noodle dishes. Additionally, you may want to add a bit of sugar into your dish if using black bean instead of hoisin because hoisin has a hint of sweetness that isn’t present in black bean sauces due to their lack of added sugar content; though if you are looking for a low-carb/low calorie option this might actually be preferable!

3. Oyster Sauce

Oyster Sauce: hoisin sauce substitutes
Source: asianinspirations.com.au

Oyster sauce and hoisin sauce are two different, yet commonly confused sauces used in many types of Asian cooking. Hoisin sauce is a sweet-savoury Chinese condiment with a thick consistency, made from fermented soybeans, sugar, garlic and spices. It’s widely available in most supermarkets and has a unique flavour that’s used to add savouriness to everything from stir-fries to marinades.

On the other hand, oyster sauce is essentially reduced oysters mixed with salt and MSG for additional flavour. It has a more intense umami savoury flavour than hoisin sauce, making it an excellent substitution in recipes that call for the latter but lack any sweetness or strong smoky flavourings.

When substituting oyster sauce for hoisin in a recipe, it’s important to adjust the quantity you use accordingly as oyster sauce tends to be saltier than its counterpart. You may also want to consider adding some honey or brown sugar if your dish needs more sweetness (as well as other seasonings such as chili flakes or sesame oil).

4. Fish Sauce

Fish Sauce: you can use for hoisin sauce
Source: cdn.shopify.com

Fish sauce is a great substitute for hoisin sauce in dishes because of its complex umami flavor. It adds a unique depth to recipes while still providing the salty and tangy flavors associated with traditional Chinese cuisine. Fish sauce can add a wonderful layer of savoriness, sweetness, and saltiness without being too overwhelming or overpowering the other ingredients in the dish.

In terms of nutrition, both fish sauce and hoisin are good sources of protein. Fish sauce does not contain any added sugar or carbs. Thus it may be a better option if you are watching your intake levels carefully or have dietary restrictions such as diabetes. It can be enjoyed guilt-free on occasions where one wants to indulge in flavorful meals without compromising health goals!

Overall, substituting regular Hoisin Sauce with Fish Sauce makes for delicious food that appeals to all taste buds – even picky eaters who shy away from conventional Chinese food will likely enjoy the new twist!

5. Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce: substitutes for hoisin sauce

Teriyaki sauce is an adaptation of traditional Japanese marinades, and it’s made with soy sauce, sake, sugar or honey, and ginger. This combination produces a sweet-and-savory flavor profile that can be used in much the same way as hoisin sauce in many recipes.

When using teriyaki as one of the substitutes for hoisin, adjust the other seasonings of your recipe accordingly. Teriyaki tends to be much sweeter than hoisin due to its added sugar content; adding additional salt may help balance out the sweetness.

When substituting teriyaki for Hoisin sauces you should also consider how long and at what temperature you plan on cooking your food; higher temperatures will result in more rapid caramelization of sugars which yields deeper flavors and color but shorter cooking times; whereas lower temperatures will reduce this reaction over longer periods of time resulting in milder flavors without burnt notes or bitter tones while still providing some depth from Maillard reactions with amino acids present within the ingredients making up the base components of Teriyaki Sauce(soy sauce/maltose syrup/mirin).

Hoisin Substitutes for Glazing or Dipping

6. BBQ Sauce

 BBQ Sauce: substitutes for hoisin sauce

BBQ sauce is an excellent substitute for Hoisin sauce because it offers a similar flavor profile but with a unique twist. BBQ sauce has the sweetness of hoisin, combined with the smokiness of smoked paprika or chipotle pepper and other spices like garlic powder and onion powder. The result is an unmistakable depth of flavor that can be used to enhance dishes in much the same way that hoisin does- as a dipping sauce, basting liquid, marinade or glaze.

The great thing about using BBQ sauce as a substitute for Hoisin is its versatility. It pairs wonderfully with pork chops, ribs, chicken wings and drumsticks- all dishes traditionally associated with barbeque style cooking.

Another reason why BBQ Sauce makes such a great substitute for Hoisin is its convenience factor; most grocery stores already carry at least one brand of barbecue sauce so you don’t have to hunt down any special ingredients if you’re running out of time! Plus, using BBQ Sauce instead means you don’t have to worry about adding too much sugar from traditional Hoisin sauces – many brands are naturally low in sugar content yet still provide big on taste.

And finally, if health benefits are your goal – look no further than bbq sauces! Most commercially available brands contain little more than vinegar (which acts as natural preservative) spices and zero fat; providing essential minerals like calcium and phosphorous while avoiding unhealthy fats found in old fashioned versions products with added lard or butter . This makes it an ideal choice even for those watching their weight while still wanting their meal packed full of flavour!

7. Peanut Butter & Honey

Peanut butter is naturally salty with a savory nuttiness that pairs well with honey’s floral notes. So when combined, this simple duo mimics the smooth texture and sweet-savory flavor of traditional hoisin sauce quite nicely.

For best results, start by whisking together creamy peanut butter (avoid chunky peanut butter) with honey until completely blended. You should use one part honey for every two parts of peanut butter used so that you don’t overpower the natural taste of each ingredient while also still getting enough sweetness from the combination overall.

8. Peanut Butter and Soy

You can use spicy peanut butter and soy as a substitute for hoisin sauce in certain recipes. This combination of ingredients can add flavor and sweetness to many dishes, including stir-fries, marinades, salad dressings, sauces, and glazes.

Spicy Peanut Butter has a unique nutty flavor with a kick of heat from the addition of chilli peppers or other hot spices like cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Combined with soy sauce which is naturally salty, this substitution will offer a salty-sweet taste that is similar to hoisin sauce. In fact, some chefs have used this combination in the past as an alternative to traditional hoisin sauce due to its cost effectiveness and ease of preparation.

This substitute is not only delicious, but is also a great option for those with dietary restrictions or allergies to specific ingredients. So next time you’re in a pinch, give this tasty substitute a try!

9. Miso and Raisins

Miso paste is a fermented soybean condiment typically used in Japanese cooking. It has a salty taste and thick texture similar to hoisin sauce and can easily replace it as an ingredient for marinades or dipping sauces. You will need about twice as much miso paste as you would hoisin; two tablespoons of miso per tablespoon of original recipe hoisin called for should do the trick. Mix it with some water, rice vinegar, brown sugar or honey if desired for additional sweetness and tanginess to emulate the flavor of hoisin sauce more closely.

Raisins are another clever substitute for hoisin sauce due to their natural sweetness and unique umami flavor profile when cooked down into a syrup-like consistency. To use them as a replacement simply mix one cup of raisins with about half cup of hot water until they soften up (about 5 minutes). Mash into small pieces while stirring continuously before adding other ingredients such as garlic powder or fresh ginger according to your recipe instructions. Depending on how much depth of flavor you want from this substitution, feel free to add more raisins than instructed here – up to 2 cups per 1/4 cup original recipe-called-for amount should work well without becoming too sweet, though taste test accordingly if using larger amounts!

10. Black Bean Paste Sauce

Black bean paste may not be the obvious substitution for hoisin sauce but it can work quite well when making certain dishes like Mapo Tofu or adding umami depth to soup bases. Black bean paste—sometimes called black beans or fermented black beans—is made by soaking dried soybeans overnight before boiling them until soft, crushing them into a mash, fermenting the mash with salt, then cooking the resulting product in oil over low heat until it develops its signature deep brown color and rich flavor.

To substitute in recipes calling for hoisin sauce, start by adding a teaspoon of sugar if your black bean paste isn’t already sweetened; decrease other salty seasonings like soy sauce or oyster/fish sauces accordingly; add garlic powder if necessary; adjust other spicing according to preference; and thin out your mixture with some water or vegetable broth if needed as many brands come relatively thick out of the jar compared to regular store-bought hoisin sauces which are thinner in consistency.

How Do You Make Hoisin Sauce From Scratch?

Making hoisin sauce from scratch is surprisingly easy and rewarding! Here’s a recipe to help you get started:


  • 1/2 cup of black bean sauce or garlic black bean sauce (dou ban jiang)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a Saucepan over medium heat. Add in the dou ban jiang and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. This will bring out the flavor of the dou ban jiang and reduce its raw taste.
  2. Once cooked, add in all other ingredients (tamarind paste, dark brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic and chili flakes). Stir fry for about 5 minutes until all flavors are incorporated together.
  3. Transfer into an airtight container or jar and let cool before using it on food dishes or as a dipping sauce! Your homemade hoisin sauce should last up to two weeks stored at room temperature in an airtight container or jar with lid securely fastened on top. Enjoy!

Delicious Flavor Pairings of Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce pairs well with a wide range of ingredients, elevating any dish to new heights of flavor.

  • One delicious pairing is hoisin sauce with tender slices of beef, creating a mouth-watering dish that’s perfect for any occasion. The richness of the beef beautifully complements the intense flavors of the hoisin sauce.
  • Another great pairing is hoisin sauce with crispy pork belly, creating a perfect balance of sweet and salty flavors. Whether you’re a fan of meat or vegetables, hoisin sauce has a match made in heaven for everyone.

Get creative in the kitchen and explore different flavor pairings with this delicious sauce!


We explored what hoisin sauce is and what flavors pair up well with it. We also discussed ten best substitutes for hoisin sauce, each providing a unique flavor that can be used in different dishes.

Whether you are looking for low-sodium options or vegan substitutes – this post has something to help you out. With these easy replacements, you can easily recreate that delicious hoisin flavor without any hassle! Enjoy cooking with these homemade perfect substitutions of hoisin sauce and get creative in the kitchen today!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to Store Leftover Sauces?

Transfer them to an airtight container as soon as possible. This will help to seal in their flavor and prevent the sauce from drying out or developing an off taste. It’s also a good idea to label the container with the name of the sauce and the date it was made, so you know exactly what you’re storing and when it needs to be used up.

Is Hoisin Sauce Vegetarian?

In most cases, Hoisin Sauce is considered to be vegetarian because it does not contain any meat products. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to check the label or ask the manufacturer to be sure.

Can I Substitute Worcestershire Sauce for Hoisin?

While Worcestershire sauce and hoisin sauce may share a similar tangy-sweet flavor, they are not interchangeable in all recipes. Worcestershire sauce contains vinegar, anchovies, and tamarind, lending it a slightly sour and savory taste that might not be desirable in dishes that call for hoisin sauce. Hoisin, on the other hand, has a thicker consistency and a more pronounced sweetness that comes from sugar and molasses.

Where Can You Find Hoisin Sauce?

Hoisin sauce is widely available in most grocery stores and online retailers. You can usually find it in the Asian food aisle alongside other sauces and spices. However, if you’re having trouble tracking it down, don’t hesitate to ask a store associate for help.

Can You Make Your Own Hoisin Sauce?

The answer is yes! With just a few ingredients and a little bit of effort, you can create your own version of this beloved sauce right in your kitchen. Best of all, you can customize the sauce to your preferences and stay away from preservatives and additives.

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