The 5 Best Hoisin Sauce Substitutes 

Explore the best hoisin sauce substitutes and how to boost their flavors for genuine culinary authenticity.

Hoisin sauce, a key component in Chinese cuisine, is renowned for its sweet and salty flavors, enriched by a complex blend of spices, soybeans, and typically, a variety of sweeteners like brown sugar, honey, and molasses. When the pantry runs out of this versatile ingredient, or you’re looking to experiment with homemade versions, there are several substitutes and additional ingredients that can help mimic or even improve upon the original taste. 

hoisin sauce on spoon smeared on white plate

Here’s an enhanced guide to the best hoisin sauce substitutes, incorporating a broader range of ingredients for more dynamic culinary creations. From seafood to poultry, here’s when to use what.

Best Hoisin Sauce Substitute for Each Recipe

1. Oyster Sauce with Sugar and a Dash of Soy Sauce

Oyster sauce combined with a sprinkle of dark brown sugar closely resembles the sweetness of hoisin. Incorporating a bit of soy sauce can add depth. This combination, rich in savory flavors, is perfect for those looking to replicate hoisin’s unique umami character in their dishes.

2. Barbecue Sauce with Soy Sauce and Spices

Blend barbecue sauce with soy sauce, adding a pinch of Chinese five-spice powder or garlic powder to introduce the complexity that hoisin sauce offers. This mix, enhanced by spices and possibly a touch of sriracha for heat, serves well in recipes requiring hoisin’s signature zest. If you have Chinese barbecue sauce on hand, even better!

3. Black Bean Paste with Garlic, Honey, and Sesame Oil

For a robust substitute, mix black bean paste with minced garlic or garlic powder, honey for sweetness, and a small amount of sesame oil for its nutty aroma. This concoction stands in well for hoisin sauce, especially in marinades and sauces where a thick, rich texture is desired. If you don’t have black bean paste, you can also use black bean sauce.

4. Plum Sauce with Molasses and Rice Vinegar

Plum sauce, thickened with molasses for added depth and a splash of rice vinegar to cut through the sweetness, offers a fruity alternative to hoisin. This substitute, possibly refined with a bit of dry sherry and red pepper flakes, is excellent for glazing or as a dipping sauce.

5. Teriyaki Sauce with Brown Sugar and Chinese Spices

Teriyaki sauce, sweetened with extra brown sugar and spiced with a hint of Chinese five-spice or star anise, provides a quick and easy alternative. The addition of spices infuses a layer of complexity, making it a suitable stand-in for hoisin in glazes and stir-fry dishes.

Enhancing Your Hoisin sauce Substitute

  • Miso Paste and Fermented Soybean Paste: Add umami and depth, perfect for homemade hoisin sauce recipes.
  • Peanut Butter or Sesame Oil: For a nutty flavor that complements the sweetness and tanginess of the substitutes.
  • Sriracha or Red Pepper: To introduce a hint of heat, adjusting to taste.
  • Honey or Molasses: For sweetness and consistency similar to traditional hoisin sauce.
  • Garlic Cloves or Garlic Powder: To infuse a pungent, aromatic quality that’s characteristic of hoisin sauce.
  • Rice Vinegar or White Vinegar: To balance the sweetness with a touch of acidity.
  • Dry Sherry or Worcestershire Sauce: For additional depth and a slight tangy twist.

DIY Hoisin Sauce Recipe Elements

Creating your own hoisin sauce substitute at home can be a rewarding experience. Utilize ingredients like soy sauce, brown sugar, a blend of spices including Chinese five-spice powder, garlic, sesame oil, and a thickener like peanut butter to achieve the desired consistency and taste. Mix in a food processor and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, ensuring your homemade hoisin is ready for your next culinary adventure.

Incorporating these substitutes and additional ingredients into your cooking not only saves a trip to the store but also allows you to customize the flavor to suit your specific taste preferences. Whether you’re whipping up a stir-fry, marinating meat, or in need of a flavorful dip, these hoisin sauce alternatives and enhancements are sure to elevate your dishes.

More Recipe Substitute Info

13 Almond Meal Substitute Options

7 Best Dijon Mustard Substitutes and Alternatives

7 Xanthan Gum Substitutes

6 Substitutes for Red Wine Vinegar

hoisin sauce substitutes Substitutes - pinterest pin

Have questions or suggestions about a Hoisin sauce substitute? Leave them in the comments below.

Leave a Comment