Substitutes for Hoisin Sauce in Appetizers, Meats, and Stir Fries

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Hoisin sauce is popular in many recipes, not only Peking duck, and although it is more common in Chinese cuisine, it may also be found in certain Vietnamese meals.

Hoisin sauce, also known as Chinese barbeque sauce or Peking sauce, is often used in grilled foods, stir-fries, and marinades.

Hoisin sauce is a Chinese condiment prepared from fermented soybean paste, garlic, chilies, and spices. It may also include vinegar and sugar, as well as preservatives, pigments, and stabilizers.

Hoisin sauce is a reddish brown sauce that is spicy and aromatic. Hoisin sauce includes characteristics of salt, spicy, and sweet, similar to a more nuanced, richer, and sweeter soy sauce, and it also has umami flavor since it contains fermented soybeans.

Hoisin sauce is normally good for vegetarian and vegan diets since it is not prepared with any animal components, however it is always worth checking the label before purchasing.

It is unknown when hoisin sauce was invented, although it is Cantonese. While hoisin sauce is used in a few fish recipes, the term derives from the Chinese word for seafood. Earlier versions of the sauce may have included fermented or dried fish for added umami, but they were later eliminated to reduce the cost of creating hoisin sauce.

Purchasing Hoisin Sauce

The majority of supermarket shops have hoisin sauce, however for more traditional hoisin sauces, go to a specialist Chinese grocer. There are many different types of hoisin sauce, but seek for one that is thick, dark brown, and full of soy, garlic, and chile taste. The saltiness and sweetness of the sauce should be adjusted while tasting.

While unopened, store-bought hoisin sauce is a shelf staple, but once opened, it should be refrigerated and may keep for up to a year. Before using, just inspect the sauce for any smells or mold. If the hoisin sauce is canned, once opened, transfer the unused contents to an airtight plastic or glass container and keep it in the refrigerator.

Making Use of Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce should be used sparingly to avoid overwhelming either the meal or the taste senses! Before used, it may also be diluted with a little water or oil.

As a key element in Peking duck and moo shu pork, hoisin sauce may be used undiluted as a glaze over various meats and poultry, but when doing so, season the poultry or meat beforehand to help balance out the sweetness of the sauce.

It may also be used alone or in combination with other ingredients as marinades or barbecue sauces, and it pairs particularly well with ribs and fried wings.

Hoisin sauce enhances the taste of stir-fry and noodle meals, as well as greens like bok choy, spinach, and broccoli.

It may also be used as a dipping sauce for appetizers like dumplings, spring rolls, or egg rolls. When used as a dipping sauce, dilute it with some yellow bean sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

Garlic may also give richness to stews, but no more than two or three teaspoons should be added to the pan. Hoisin sauce may also be used to produce a glaze for salmon or to season shrimp dishes.

Using Hoisin Sauce Instead

If you run out of hoisin sauce or prefer not to purchase a huge jar because you only need a little quantity, you may be able to create one of the following replacements, or perhaps construct your own from the components mentioned above, depending on what you have in your kitchen cupboards.

While looking for hoisin sauce replacements, keep in mind that portion of the taste comes from fermented soybeans, which may be difficult to imitate unless you have miso paste or doenjang paste on hand.

It is also worth mentioning that some of these substitutions may take longer to prepare, so you may need to allow for extra cooking time.

1. Barbecue Sauce

To replace hoisin sauce with barbecue sauce, just add a little sugar to the barbecue sauce, mix, and use in lieu of the hoisin sauce.

Mix three-quarters of a cup thick barbecue sauce with three teaspoons molasses, one tablespoon soy sauce, and half a tablespoon Chinese five spice powder. If the mixture is too thick when first produced, add some water to thin it down.

A sweet barbecue sauce with sriracha and Chinese five spice powder is another option.

Barbecue sauce replacements are preferable to hoisin sauce in meat meals.

2. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter may not be the first thing that springs to mind when preparing a homemade hoisin sauce alternative, but it may work quite well.

Two teaspoons soy sauce, one tablespoon natural and creamy peanut butter, and one teaspoon each sesame oil, white vinegar, and hot pepper sauce are required to prepare this replacement.

Combine them with a quarter teaspoon of honey, a quarter teaspoon of brown sugar, and a sixteenth of a teaspoon (or a sprinkle) of garlic powder and powdered black pepper to make a paste.

3. Plums

While the flavor difference between hoisin sauce and plum sauce means that plum sauce does not make an ideal alternative, you may produce hoisin sauce substitutes that include plums as well as other components.

Two big plums must be chopped and cooked until soft with two tablespoons of water and a quarter cup of brown sugar.

After that, combine the plums with three tablespoons of black bean and garlic sauce in a blender or food processor. Lastly, add two tablespoons soy sauce, one tablespoon rice wine vinegar, one and a half teaspoon sesame oil, and half a teaspoon Chinese five spice powder and mix until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.

If you don’t have fresh plums, you may use plum jam. Plum jam or preserves are preferable since they are not as sweet as jelly. Combine two grated garlic cloves, an inch of grated ginger root, a tablespoon of teriyaki sauce, and half a teaspoon of crushed red pepper in a mixing bowl. Just add two tablespoons of plum jam to this and thoroughly combine.

4. Prunes

If you don’t have fresh plums, you may substitute prunes.

To prepare this hoisin sauce replacement, combine three quarters of a cup of pitted prunes with two cups of water and cook until the prunes are mushy. This should take around 20 minutes, and after the prunes are soft, remove them from the water and put them away to cool.

After cold, combine the prunes with two teaspoons of soy sauce, two garlic gloves, and one and a half tablespoons of dry sherry in a blender or food processor.

If you want to add some more heat, add some crushed red pepper flakes.

5. Heart-Healthier Hoisin Sauce

The American Heart Association created the following recipe as a heart-healthy replacement for high-sodium Asian sauces including hoisin, soy, and others.

Brown sugar is a sugar alternative. Place the items in a skillet with the eighth teaspoons of garlic powder, ginger powder, salt, and black pepper. dark brown sugar 1 cup of reduced sodium vegetable or beef broth, 1 tablespoon of cider, rice, or balsamic vinegar, and 2 tablespoons molasses

Bring the mixture to a boil and let it there for one minute. After that, decrease the heat to medium and cook for another ten minutes before turning off the heat and leaving to cool.

6. Other Ingredients for Hoisin Sauce Substitutes

Miso paste is another product you may have in your closet or refrigerator that you can use to make a hoisin sauce substitute. Miso paste, like hoisin sauce, is prepared from fermented soybeans, salt, and koji, the mold used to make sake. Miso paste often contains rice, barley, or other grains, as opposed to doenjang paste, which is a traditional Korean paste made only of fermented soybeans and salt.

Chinese brown bean or chee hou sauce are two more probable components for DIY hoisin sauce alternative mixes.

If you prepare your own alternative, store any remaining sauce in a clean, airtight container in the refrigerator and consume it within a couple of weeks.

As you can see from this article, there is no simple sauce substitution for hoisin sauce; instead, multiple components must be blended. If you don’t have the time or supplies to make a replacement hoisin sauce, you may use soy or tamari sauce for vegetable dishes, while oyster sauce can replace hoisin sauce in seafood recipes. You may just use soy sauce for dipping, or an orange or duck sauce.


The peculiar umami taste of hoisin sauce makes finding counterparts more challenging, but in this piece, we’ve looked at many recipes for hoisin sauce substitutions, all of which are well worth trying if you have some extra time.

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