Homemade Hoisin Sauce
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No more store bought hoisin sauce, the homemade version is so much better! This hoisin sauce is savory, sweet, garlicky, nutty, and has plenty of umami. It’s delicious as a dipping sauce and as an ingredient to add to your favorite stir fry. Ready in 5 minutes from start to finish.
Hoisin sauce is one of those mysterious ingredients that always seems to taste better in restaurants.
I was never able to figure out whether it was I who didn’t know how to pick a good hoisin sauce at the store, or whether the restaurants I frequented had their own secret recipe.
The only thing I know for sure is that the good ones I’ve had have more depth of flavor than the store bought version. They are not just sweet but savory and nuttiness as well.
I started making my own hoisin sauce a few years ago after urgently needing some for a recipe I was making. I had none left in my pantry so I searched online for an easy hoisin sauce recipe that I could make on the spot. I looked at a few recipes, wrote down common ingredients all the recipes had and made my own sauce. The result was delicious! So delicious in fact that it’s the only hoisin sauce I have been using ever since.
My sauce doesn’t taste or look like the store bought version. It’s quite different actually – the texture is thin like syrup and the taste is more on the savory, nutty, garlicky side.
If you find store bought hoisin sauce too sweet, you will love this recipe.
What is Hoisin Sauce?
Hoisin sauce is a reddish brown sauce used in Chinese cooking as a seasoning for stir fries, as a glaze for meats and Peking duck (in the US), and as a dipping sauce for dumplings and potstickers. It’s mainly used in Cantonese cuisine which originated from Southeast China and Hong Kong.
The word hoisin is the shortened Chinese version of the words hói sīn jeung, which translate to seafood sauce. While the sauce actually doesn’t contain any seafood, nor is it eaten or served with seafood, the term “seafood flavor” or “fish fragrant” is commonly used in Chinese cuisine.
The sauce is thick, dark in color, and made with a mixture of soybeans, garlic, red chili peppers, and sometimes five-spice powder, and vinegar. The hoisin sauce found in SE China is quite different than the one we are accustomed to tasting here in the US. While sugar tends to be the main ingredient used here, it’s sometimes entirely omitted in China.
Substitute for Hoisin Sauce
Finding another sauce to replace something as unique as the taste of hoisin sauce can be a challenge. You can make it from scratch by following this recipe, or you could swap it for oyster sauce, if the recipe you are making only calls for a little, such as 1-2 teaspoons.
Ingredients for Hoisin Sauce
- Soy sauce: You didn’t think we would be making an Asian sauce without
- Miso paste: Preferably white or awase miso paste. Red miso paste can be very smoky and salty, which might be overwhelming for this recipe.
- Honey: I recommend using something not too floral since the sauce is already super flavorful. I’m using raw organic honey but that’s not necessary. Something like Golden Blossom Honey also works well.
- Salt: Just a pinch to help balance the sweet and salty.
- Peanut butter: I’m using natural smooth peanut butter but you can use any type of peanut butter for this recipe. Keep in mind that you may need to use less honey if the peanut butter you are using contains sugar.
- Rice vinegar: Rice vinegar is great for toning down the sweetness of the sauce while infusing it with a little acidity.
- Water: The water is just to thin out the sauce. If you like a thick sauce, skip the water.
- Garlic: Hoisin sauce should be a little pungent and that’s what the garlic brings to it. I recommend mincing it as fine as you can.
- Sriracha sauce: Just a teaspoon but go ahead and add more if you like your sauce to have some heat.
How to Make Hoisin Sauce
- Gather all of your ingredients in one place along with a bowl and whisk.
- Whisk all of the ingredients into the bowl until the honey, miso paste, and peanut butter have softened and blended with the other ingredients.
- Transfer the sauce to a jar or other storage container with a lid.
- Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 month.
Make it sweeter: Add an additional 1 tablespoon honey.
Make it spicier: Add 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce instead of the 1 teaspoon listed in the recipe.
Make it more pungent and savory: You can either add one more garlic clove or 1 to 2 extra teaspoons of miso paste. Or add both if you like it aggressively pungent and savory.
How to Use Hoisin Sauce
Hoisin sauce can be used in so many different ways and for so many different dishes that it would take a whole post to list them all. Here are the most popular that it can be used:
- As a glaze or marinade for meats, seafood and other protein
- As an addition to stir fries
- As a dipping sauce for dumplings, potstickers, and egg rolls
- As a flavor enhancer for noodle soups
- As a spread for sandwiches (baguette or banh mi)
- As a finishing sauce for vegetables
No matter how you use it, hoisin sauce is a wonderful ingredient to have on hand as it goes well with just about anything. Once you get comfortable using it, it will become your favorite condiment!
Other delicious and easy homemade sauces:
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Homemade hoisin sauce has much more complex flavor than what you get at the store. It’s less sweet, more savory and with a touch of umami. Use it in stir fries, with noodles, or as a dipping sauce.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 cup 1x
- Category: Sauces
- Cuisine: Chinese
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon white or awase miso paste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove, grated
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce
- Put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth.
- Refrigerate for up to 1 month.
This hoisin sauce will keep for about 1 month, refrigerated.
- Serving Size: 8
- Calories: 79
- Sugar: 6.2g
- Sodium: 524.2mg
- Fat: 2.3g
- Saturated Fat: 0.3g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0.5g
- Carbohydrates: 12.3g
- Fiber: 1.3g
- Protein: 1.8g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: recipe, condiment, Asian, stir fry sauce, vegetarian
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