If you are looking for a hoisin sauce substitute, I’ve gathered a list of the best alternatives that will leave everyone none-the-wiser! I've got easy, straightforward swaps and a few unexpected replacements that are sure to get the job done!
If you're craving Asian food and find yourself out of hoisin sauce, don't worry I've got you!
If you are like me, you love Asian food but do not always love the price of eating out. If you have found this blog, then you have probably started to explore how to recreate some of your favorite Asian dishes at home.
While some restaurant favorites are easy to figure out how to replicate the desired flavor others can be more difficult.
- What Is Hoisin Sauce?
- What Is The Best Substitute For Hoisin?
- 10 Best Hoisin Sauce Substitutes
- Simple Substitutes for Hoisin Sauce
- 1. Soy Sauce
- 2. Black Bean Sauce
- 3. Oyster Sauce
- 4. Fish Sauce
- 5. Teriyaki Sauce
- Hoisin Substitutes For Glazing or Dipping
- 6. BBQ Sauce
- 7. Peanut Butter And Honey
- 8. Spicy Peanut Butter And Soy
- 9. Miso And Raisins
- 10. Black Bean Paste Sauce
- The Key to a Good Hoisin Substitute
- ❓ FAQ
- 📋 Recipe
It may seem like trying to recreate your favorite Asian-inspired dishes at home may be complicated. The flavors are often complex, recreating them doesn't have to be! All you need is the secret sauce.
What Is Hoisin Sauce?
The secret to the perfect salty and sweet balance of your favorite Asian dishes is hoisin sauce!
Hoisin sauce is a dark brown sauce with a complex flavor palette of sweet and salty. It is used as a glaze for meats or as a delicious addition to stir fry. Many people love to use it as a dipping sauce as well.
The complex flavor of hoisin comes from a combination of several ingredients. Traditionally, it is made with soybeans or black bean paste, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and various spices.
While this is the most common combination found in pre-made hoisin sauce, many cooks have created their own hoisin sauces with some variations.
Even though you will find several options for different ingredients you can use in your own hoisin substitute, you will notice all of them aim to include a balance between sweet, salty, and tangy ingredients. These three flavors are key to a good hoisin sauce substitute.
What Is The Best Substitute For Hoisin?
The best substitute will depend on how the hoisin is used in the recipe. Hoisin is made up of several flavors. This complex flavor combination means that the best substitutes will also be a combination of several ingredients.
Complex flavor does not have to mean it's complex to make. All the substitutes below are as easy as measuring and mixing.
The first several substitutes can quickly be made with a few ingredients that you quickly whisk together. These substitutes will provide you with a simple flavor combo of the sweet, tangy, and salty tastes found in hoisin sauce and are perfect for stir-fry-style dishes.
If you want a sauce that has a few more layers of flavor, check out the hoisin sauce recipe variations below. These are perfect for any recipe calling for hoisin sauce, but especially great for glazes or as a dipping sauce.
10 Best Hoisin Sauce Substitutes
Each of these wonderful hoisin sauce substitutes will taste delicious in its place. Try out a few different options and see what you prefer!
Simple Substitutes for Hoisin Sauce
1. Soy Sauce
If you are making a quick dish like a stir fry and want a simple 1:1 ingredient substitute, soy sauce is a good option. Commonly used in Asian cooking, soy sauce will provide a simple flavor substitute that maintains authentic flavor.
However, it will not provide the same taste as hoisin. The flavor will be simple and missing the complexity of the sweet and savory taste of the original recipe made with hoisin.
If you decide you want some of that complexity, but without any extra prep and blending, add in a dash of sweetness with a bit of sugar or honey. Try adding 1 teaspoon of sugar or honey for every 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.
2. Black Bean Sauce
A key ingredient in many traditional hoisin sauce recipes is black bean paste, therefore, its cousin black bean sauce is great as an authentic substitute. Black bean sauce can be used as a 1:1 substitute for hoisin.
While black bean sauce will provide a similar consistency to hoisin sauce, like soy sauce it won’t provide the complex flavors. To punch up the flavor add in your choice of sweetener and even some soy sauce for saltiness and rice wine vinegar for tang.
Add 1 teaspoon each of honey, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar for every 1 tablespoon of black bean sauce.
If you want to get even closer to a real hoisin flavor, look for some Chinese Five Spice at your grocery store and add a dash to your mixture above.
3. Oyster Sauce
Oyster sauce is another popular ingredient in Asian dishes. It provides a similar consistency to hoisin sauce; however, the flavor is quite different.
If you are looking for a substitute for a seafood dish though, oyster sauce can be a delicious alternative as a simple 1:1 substitute.
4. Fish Sauce
Fish sauce can be a bold alternative for a seafood dish or stir-fry. Closer to the consistency of soy sauce, fish sauce has a quite strong flavor.
Therefore, I would recommend only using this in dishes that call for a small amount of hoisin sauce. I would also recommend starting with a ¼ of the amount the recipe calls for and then adding more as needed.
5. Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki sauce naturally provides the sweetness of hoisin that some of the other sauces are missing. It is also a similar consistency to hoisin.
If you plan to use teriyaki sauce as a simple 1:1 substitute, be mindful that the sweetness will usually be stronger than the original recipe.
Balance out the sweetness of the teriyaki sauce with a splash of soy sauce and even a splash of rice wine vinegar to add another layer of flavor.
Start with 1 teaspoon each of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar for every Tablespoon of teriyaki sauce. If you don’t have rice wine vinegar, just add 1 teaspoon of soy sauce.
Hoisin Substitutes For Glazing or Dipping
The substitutes above are best used for a recipe that includes hoisin in smaller quantities. However, in many recipes hoisin sauce is the main flavor ingredient. For example, any chicken, pork, or beef dish that calls for a glaze or marinade.
While the suggestions above will work, take a look at the ideas below for substitutes that provide the closest flavor combos and consistency as the original secret sauce.
6. BBQ Sauce
Hoisin sauce is the go-to for Asian barbecue dishes, so using a good old American BBQ sauce is a yummy substitute with an American flare. One major difference between these two styles of barbecue sauces is again the complex flavors.
American barbecue sauce is often a much simpler flavor. It is also traditionally less sweet.
Since you are using barbecue sauce for an Asian-inspired meal, I recommend doctoring up your basic barbecue sauce with some authentic Asian flavors.
Add 2 tablespoons of either honey or molasses and a ½ tablespoon soy sauce to ½ cup barbecue sauce. If you have some Chinese Five-Spice powder, add 1 teaspoon of that as well.
7. Peanut Butter And Honey
Peanut butter may sound like an odd ingredient for a sauce; however, it is one of the closest consistencies to the black bean or soybean paste used in traditional hoisin recipes. It’s also a lot easier to find than black bean paste!
Try this combination for a yummy homemade version of hoisin sauce:
- ½ cup Soy Sauce
- ¼ cup Unsweetened Creamy Peanut Butter
- 1 tablespoon Honey
8. Spicy Peanut Butter And Soy
Traditional hoisin sauce often includes a layer of spice that comes from garlic. To get that next layer of flavor, add a few more ingredients to the simple peanut butter and soy sauce mixture.
Blend everything together and use it as a 1:1 substitute for any recipe that calls for hoisin.
- ¼ cup Soy Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Creamy Peanut Butter
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha or other Hot Sauce
- 2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
- 2 teaspoons Rice Wine Vinegar
- 1½ teaspoons Brown Sugar
- 1½ teaspoons Molasses or Honey
- ⅛ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon Garlic Powder
9. Miso And Raisins
Allergic to peanut butter? Try this combination of miso and raisins, plus a few other ingredients for a new spin on hoisin. This variation provides authentic flavors from the miso, which is made from soybeans, and sesame oil.
However, it will be less sweet than the original sauce. Blend all ingredients and use it as a 1:1 substitute in your recipe.
- 2 cups Raisins - soak in warm water for 1 hour and then blend with other ingredients.
- 3 Garlic Cloves - or 1 teaspoon minced garlic.
- 2½ cups Water
- 2 tablespoons Sesame Oil
- 2 teaspoons Miso Paste
- 2 teaspoons Mustard Paste or Mustard Powder
- ½ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper or Hot Sauce
10. Black Bean Paste Sauce
If you can find black bean paste at your grocery store, by all means – give it a go! The black bean paste alone won’t give you the layers of a traditional hoisin sauce.
The addition of a few other fun ingredients gives you the perfect balance of all the delicious complexities of hoisin. Blend everything together and use it as 1:1 exchange for your hoisin sauce.
- ⅓ cup firmly packed Dark Brown Sugar
- 3 tablespoons Chinese Black Bean Paste
- 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Water
- 1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
- ½ teaspoon Sesame Oil
*This is a personal favorite, although it may not be the easiest. If you're out of hoisin sauce, you may not have the black bean paste on hand either!
The Key to a Good Hoisin Substitute
The best substitute for hoisin sauce is the one that is easiest for you! As with all substitutes, there will be a change in flavor from the original recipe.
All of the suggestions above will provide you with a delicious alternative. Choose what you have the ingredients and time for and give it a go!
The key to a good hoisin replacement is that it has a balance of sweet and salty. If you can also get a bit of tanginess, then you are good to go!
For any of the suggestions above, feel free to add a splash or dash of honey, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and five-spice as you feel it is needed.
The exact shelf-life of these homemade substitutes varies based on the ingredients. The safest bet is to place unused sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use it within 3 weeks.
I don't see why not! The best way to find your preferred hoisin substitute is to play around. Try sweeter peanut butter (when applicable) with half the recommended amount of the sweet additive. Give it a taste and adjust it as needed!
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Hoisin Sauce Substitute: Black Bean Paste Sauce (+9 More Great Alternatives!)
- Add all in ingredients (firmly packed dark brown sugar, Chinese black bean paste, soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, Chinese Five Spice, and sesame oil) in a blender or food processor.⅓ cup dark brown sugar, 3 tablespoon Chinese black bean paste, 2 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, ½ teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Seasoning, ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- Process or blend in short pulses until you have a smooth consistency.
- Use in a 1:1 ratio to replace hoisin sauce in any recipe.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!