People may wish to substitute hoi sin sauce for many reasons, such as an intolerance or allegy to a specific ingredient, to reduce their salt or sugar intake, to manage blood glucose levels or weight, or simply for taste. People can easily make many delicious alternatives at home to fit their preferences.

Hoisin sauce is a condiment that people use in Asian recipes and cooking. For example, they may use it as a dip for spring rolls or dim sum, add it to stir fries, or use it as a marinade or glaze to add flavor to meat or seafood.

The dark-colored sauce has a thick consistency and a sweet, salty, tangy flavor. People sometimes refer to hoisin sauce as Chinese barbecue sauce, and stores sell different flavors.

Although “hoisin” is the Chinese word for seafood, the sauce does not contain seafood and is usually suitable for vegans. However, people should check for added thickeners, colors, or flavorings that may not be vegan.

People can easily make a quick substitute for hoisin sauce using store cupboard staples but should be aware that this may alter the flavor of the recipe, which they may need to adjust. The following is a list of suitable alternatives.

a woman and child spreading hoisin sauce on pancakes at a tableShare on Pinterest
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There are many hoisin substitutes a person can easily make at home, including:

Teriyaki sauce and kidney beans

Hoisin sauce contains soybean paste, making it thicker than teriyaki sauce with a more salty flavor.

According to a 2021 review, kidney beans have approximately 5.7 grams (g) of dietary fiber in each half-cup, which may help someone feel fuller and prevent unintended weight gain.

Use kidney beans to thicken the sauce for the following recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • ¾ cup cooked kidney beans
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar

Method

Drain and rinse the beans and puree them with the other ingredients using a blender. Pass the mixture through a sieve or muslin cloth for a finer texture.

Soybean paste and dates

The main ingredient in hoisin sauce is fermented soybean paste, and people can use this to make their recipe at home.

Some hoisin sauce may have a high sugar content, which may lead to weight gain if someone eats it too often.

People can try using dates, which have a lower glycemic index than sugar, for a healthier hoisin sauce that may help better balance their blood glucose.

This vegan hoisin sauce recipe includes maple syrup as an additional sweetener. However, a person can omit this and add a few extra dates instead if they are watching their sugar intake.

Garlic and prunes

This recipe uses prunes as a sweetener for hoisin sauce.

Prunes are a good source of fiber and minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

Additionally, this recipe contains garlic, which research suggests has health-promoting and disease-preventing benefits.

Barbecue sauce and molasses

People sometimes refer to hoisin sauce as Chinese barbecue sauce, and an individual can use regular barbecue sauce in a recipe for a suitable alternative.

Molasses adds more depth of flavor and sweetness to the sauce and is a source of minerals and antioxidants.

For a quick and easy recipe, someone can try blending the following. If the sauce is too thick, they can also add a little water

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp molasses
  • ¾ cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder

Peanut butter and soy sauce

Adding peanut butter to a homemade hoisin sauce is tasty and provides extra protein.

A person can try crunchy peanut butter, which makes an excellent sauce for dipping. Try this recipe.

Miso paste

Traditional hoisin sauce contains soybean paste, which retailers sometimes refer to as doenjang.

However, people can make hoisin sauce using miso paste instead. Miso paste is a type of soybean paste originating from Japan. Miso producers use grains such as rice or barley to start the fermentation process. Doenjang is a soybean paste originating from Korea, which does not use grain in the fermentation process.

According to scientific consensus, the process of fermentation that producers use to make doenjang and miso has benefits for gut health.

If a person has a soy intolerance or allergy, they can use brown rice miso and omit the soy sauce in this recipe.

Sriracha sauce

Sriracha sauce adds a spicy element to a hoisin alternative and is very easy to make using just three ingredients:

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar or 2 tbsp molasses

Someone could also add a clove of garlic and a tablespoon of peanut butter if they wish.

Plum jam and teriyaki sauce

If a person happens to have some plum jam and teriyaki sauce at home, they can make a hoisin sauce substitute using the following recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp of plum jam
  • 1 tbsp of teriyaki sauce
  • 2 cloves of grated garlic
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1-inch piece of grated root ginger

Method

To make the sauce, first, mix the plum jam and teriyaki sauce until they blend well, then add the other ingredients.

Black bean sauce and plums

Using ripe plums in a hoisin sauce adds a fresh flavor and additional vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Plums also have numerous health benefits due to their nutrition profile.

This recipe uses a black bean sauce, which a person may have in their cupboard if they do not have hoisin sauce.

Oyster sauce

Oyster sauce is not as sweet as hoisin and has a fishy flavor. It may make a suitable alternative for a stir fry or seafood recipe, and someone can adjust the flavor by adding a suitable sweetener.

However, people following a vegetarian or vegan diet and those who have an allergy to oysters should be aware that it contains oyster extracts, so it is not appropriate for them to consume.

Depending on what someone requires for their recipe, they may be able to use one of several ready-made sauces and condiments instead of hoisin sauce. These include:

  • soy sauce
  • tamari, which is suitable for gluten-free diets
  • oyster sauce
  • chili sauce
  • barbecue sauce
  • sweet and sour sauce
  • teriyaki sauce

Although hoisin sauce has its own unique flavor, people can make a similar sauce at home using ingredients in their store cupboards.

Using sweeteners such as dates or plums instead of sugar can create a sauce with a lower glycemic index. This will impact a person’s blood sugar and weight less than store-bought sauces with added sugars.

People may need to adapt their recipes according to the ingredients they use.