What Is Hoisin Sauce?


What is Hoisin Sauce?
Hoisin is a thick, glossy, reddish-brown sauce used in Chinese cooking. It is great in stir fries, on chicken, seafood and beef as a marinade, glaze or dipping sauce and so much more. It is a classic ingredient in savory dishes like Peking duck. Its sweet, tangy and salty flavors originated from China and in Chinese cuisine.

Upon researching the origin of the sauce, we found there is much information left undocumented. However, it is known to have originated in the Chinese culture and the word “hoisin” means with seafood. So it is assumed that its origin was used with seafood.

what is hoisin sauce

Hoisin sauce is sometimes called Peking sauce, but is not to be confused with plum sauce (that is similar in appearance) or duck sauce, which is a sugary orange colored American invention that is used as a dubious dip with Chinese American egg rolls and other fried platter foods. 

Homemade Hoisin Sauce Recipe
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions: whisk together soy sauce, peanut butter, dark brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, hot sauce, garlic and black pepper. Use as desired.

15 Ways To Use Hoisin Sauce
1. In stir fries
2. As a marinade
3. On vegetables – raw or cooked
4. As a dipping sauce
5. Added to soup stock
6. Smothered as a glaze on chicken or beef
7. Slathered on a sandwich or burger
8. Vinaigrettes and dressings
9. On noodles
10. As a condiment
11. A substitute for ketchup
12. As a sauce for Chinese styled pizza
13. In fried rice
14. With seafood
15. As a chicken wing sauce

Hoisin Sauce Substitutes
Coming up with your own homemade alternative for this classic Chinese sauce might be easier than you think. Depending on what you have in your pantry or refrigerator, you may or may not be able to make your own version. If not, there are several ready-made sauce alternatives that can be just as delicious.

If you’re making a seafood dish, for example, you can substitute with oyster sauce, which has a very unique and fishy flavor. Soy sauce and tamari sauce are also perfect for adding flavor to noodles and vegetables. Barbecue sauce is a great substitute for meat dishes, or you could use orange or duck sauces for dipping.

My Recipe Calls for Hoisin Sauce. I Don’t Have It. What Can I Use Instead?
1. Worcestershire sauce is not as sweet and has a watery consistency in comparison, but it can be sweetened and thickened to make it a viable alternative.

2. Teriyaki sauce has a cleaner and simpler flavor. Hoisin sauce can come in a runny form or a paste like form. In our opinion, teriyaki sauce and hoisin sauce are not really interchangeable.

3. Oyster sauce is quite a bit saltier in flavor. But hoisin has more spices in it and is significantly sweeter than oyster sauce. If you don’t have hoisin sauce, you can substitute it with oyster sauce, adding some sweetener and spices to give a similar flavor.

4. Tonkatsu sauce is not really a good substitute. It has a different flavor profile and in our opinion is not interchangeable.

Hoisin Sauce Storage
Store any prepared sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The shelf life varies, but it should keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Health Benefits of Hoisin Sauce
low in fat
Includes antioxidants
Good source of vitamins A, C, iron and manganese

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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