What Can Be Substituted for Hoisin Sauce?

Reviewed on 3/19/2021
You could try out some of the substitutes that are equally delicious and flavorful
You could try out some of the substitutes that are equally delicious and flavorful

If you are trying out some authentic Asian recipes and you run out of hoisin sauce, or you couldn’t find one in the store, then do not panic. You could try out some of the substitutes that are equally delicious and flavorful. Some of the sauce alternatives can be made at home. These sauces can provide the same taste and consistency as a hoisin sauce.

Garlic teriyaki

As garlic is an ingredient in hoisin sauce, you can make your version with minced garlic cloves. For this sauce, you need to add the following ingredients to the blender:

  • Canned dark red kidney beans: Three-fourth cup
  • Garlic: Two cloves (minced)
  • Molasses: Three tablespoons
  • Teriyaki sauce: Three tablespoons
  • Red wine vinegar: Two tablespoons
  • Chinese five-spice powder: Two teaspoons

After blending these ingredients, pass it through a sieve into a small bowl to get a smoother texture. Store this puree in an air-tight container.

Garlic and prunes

Prunes are not a common ingredient in hoisin sauce. Adding prunes would definitely give that delightful twist to your palette. You need the following ingredients to make this sauce:

  • Garlic: Two cloves (crushed)
  • Water: Two cups
  • Pitted prunes: Three-fourth cup
  • Dry sherry: One and a half tablespoons
  • Soy sauce: Two tablespoons

Simmer the prunes in two cups of boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes to soften the prunes. Once soft, remove the prunes and cool them. Then, add them to the blender with the remaining ingredients. Make a smooth and thick puree. You can also add chili flakes for heat in the sauce.

Barbecue and molasses

It is one of the easiest recipes to try out as a substitute for hoisin sauce. To make this sauce, you need to blend the following ingredients:

  • Barbecue sauce: Three-fourth cup
  • Molasses: Three tablespoons
  • Soy sauce: One tablespoon
  • Chinese five-spice powder: Half a tablespoon

If the puree is thick, add some water to get the desired consistency.

If these homemade recipes don’t appeal to you, you can try some of the readymade substitutes, such as:

  • Oyster sauce for seafood
  • Soy sauce or tamari sauce for vegetables and stir-fry dishes
  • Barbecue sauce for meat dishes

What is hoisin sauce?

Hoisin sauce, also known as Chinese barbecue sauce, is an extensively used sauce or condiment in many Asian dishes. Hoisin in Chinese means seafood; however, there isn’t any seafood present in the sauce. The sauce tastes somewhat like the American-barbecue sauce.

Hoisin sauce is mainly used to marinate and cook meat, but many use it with vegetables or stir-fry dishes. Hoisin sauce has umami, salty, tangy, and sweet flavor. The flavor could be overpowering; hence, it is recommended to start with a tiny bit if you are not used to the taste.

Hoisin sauce is made from a combination of:

  • Fermented soybean paste
  • Garlic
  • Vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Chilis
  • Sweetener

As hoisin sauce is devoid of any meat or animal products, vegans or vegetarians can add these to your dishes.

How to use hoisin sauce?

Hoisin sauce can be used:

  • As a marinade for meat dishes.
  • In stir-fry dishes.
  • As a dip for rolls.
  • As a sauce for meat dishes.
  • As a condiment for beef noodle soup.
  • In soup broths for flavor.
  • As a base-sauce in pizza.
  • With burgers.
  • As barbecue sauce.
  • In vinaigrettes.


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Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopedia. Hoisin Sauce. Encyclopedia Britannica. September 23, 2019. https://www.britannica.com/topic/food.https://www.britannica.com/topic/food

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