The Best Simple Hoisin Sauce Substitute For a Great Taste

The Best Simple Hoisin Sauce Substitute For a Great Taste

Here is the best simple hoisin sauce substitute. Hoisin sauce may be tasty considering its name means ‘delicious’. However, it’s packed with sugar, so I prefer using these healthier hoisin sauce substitutes.

What Is Hoisin Sauce? 

It’s a Chinese commercial sauce with a delightful, salty, savoury flavour. It’s commonly used as a dipping sauce for roast pork in Cantonese cooking, but it can also be used as a marinade. Sang Choi Bau uses it to flavor the meat.

Similar in consistency to ketchup, it’s a thick reddish-brown sauce. A delicious (or not) list of ingredients appears on my bottle: sugar, water, fermented soybeans, thickener (1422), salted lemon, red yeast rice, sesame seeds, garlic, food acid (260), chili, salt. And from a nutritional perspective, it’s 35.3% sugar.

What Is A Substitute For Hoisin Sauce
What Is A Substitute For Hoisin Sauce

The Top 5 Hoisin Sauce Substitute

Barbecue sauce 

Hoisin is Chinese barbecue sauce, so American barbecue sauce is a suitable substitute. While it’s good on its own, there are a few things you can do to add some authenticity.

You might want to add some sugar to your barbecue sauce, depending on how sweet it is. It is best to choose molasses, as the flavor is more closely related to the original taste of hoisin. Dark brown sugar is similar but lacks a thick consistency. Honey and maple syrup are both acceptable alternatives if that’s what you have on hand.

It might seem a little too sweet at this point, but you can counteract this by adding a pinch of soy sauce and the five spices. You can also add a splash of rice wine vinegar to add some zing. Barbecue sauce makes a strong enough base that the additions are entirely up to you. If a recipe only calls for a small amount of hoisin, then equal amounts of barbecue sauce will work. 

Black Bean Sauce

The more Asian cookery becomes popular, the easier it is to find good stir-fry sauces. The black bean sauce has found its way into store cabinets and pantries and is readily available in major supermarkets. This sauce is made from the same base as hoisin, and in many ways is its cousin. Although hoisin has a more complex flavoring, one can stand-in for the other when needed.

All essential beans are what give them a shared consistency. If hoisin is used in large quantities, black bean sauce might be the best option. You can make an even better substitute for hoisin by adding sugar, soy, and vinegar to black bean sauce. Half a teaspoon of Chinese five-spice and a dash of crushed fennel seeds work well to make it even better. 

You can boost the flavor profile of barbecue sauce and black bean sauce by adding a splash of hot sauce, especially if you have an Asian hot sauce, such as Sriracha, which contains ingredients that are similar or complementary to hoisin.

Soy Sauce

As an alternative to hoisin sauce, you can substitute soy sauce for a basic stir-fry if the above options are too much effort. Soy added to a marinade or sauce achieves many of the same benefits as hoisin, despite the difference in flavor.

Both are made from fermented soy. Soy gives an otherwise bland sauce depth and umami. If you have rice wine vinegar on hand, slowly add it to prevent over-salting. These two work well together. Now that plain soy sauce has become something wonderful with a pinch of sugar or honey.

In order to improve consistency, smooth peanut butter should thicken without affecting the taste too much. Soy might seem less appealing if you wanted to use hoisin as a dipping sauce. However, it’s famous for a reason. Soy sauce goes with almost anything.

Oyster Sauce

Hoisin sauce and oyster sauce are common ingredients in Asian cuisine that are difficult to make from scratch. The ingredients list is simple, but you need to get your hands on a whole pile of oysters. It’s easier to work with than its more pungent sibling, the long-fermented fish sauce.

If you plan to pair your hoisin with seafood or vegetables, oyster sauce is a bold alternative. While the flavor of oyster sauce is different, the consistency is the same, and oyster sauce is delicious on its own. Be aware that oyster sauce has a strong flavor, so start slowly and build up if you’re adding it to soups and curries. Otherwise, you may overwhelm the other flavors.

If you don’t mind trying something new, you can also use fish sauce. A traditional East Asian sauce made from fish (or krill) that has been fermented for up to two years is called fish sauce. Because of its long fermentation process, making it from scratch can be a challenging task. Thinner than hoisin, it’s also solid. Not much fish sauce is needed. 

Teriyaki Sauce

The most significant similarity between teriyaki sauce and hoisin sauce is how it looks, which probably seems a poor start for a recommendation. While foodies argue we eat with our eyes, tasting comes from the mouth for the most part. However, this substitution is more than just a matter of appearance.

Because of its sweet flavor and versatility, Teriyaki has gained popularity worldwide. As with hoisin, teriyaki works well as a marinade and a dipping sauce. Be careful of adding other sweeteners when using teriyaki instead of hoisin. They’re unlikely to be necessary.

A spoonful of soy sauce and some crushed garlic, however, could make all the difference. In teriyaki, soy is a minor ingredient, but in hoisin, it plays a much bigger role. Garlic is missing entirely. While teriyaki won’t be an exact substitute, it’s still an alternative worth trying, especially if you have some on hand.

How to choose a substitute for hoisin

The best way to make hoisin sauce is to spend some time making it. Due to the fact that most substitutions require some flavor matching anyway, it might not be as much of an extra step as you might think.

If you aren’t interested in making your own, what you choose comes down to what the hoisin uses. Try barbecue or teriyaki for a marinade or rub. Oyster sauce or soy sauce make great dipping sauces. Black bean sauce might make the best stir-fry sauce.

The trick is to remember the consistency and what flavor you want to emphasize. Don’t be put off by the apparent differences. You might discover something new by trying out different options.


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