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9 Hoisin Sauce Substitutes

Hoisin sauce, also known as Chinese barbecue sauce, is a popular ingredient in many Asian cuisines. It’s used to marinate and cook meats, and many people add it to vegetables and stir-fry dishes for a sweet and tangy burst of deliciousness.

If you’re preparing an Asian-inspired dish and realize you don’t have any hoisin sauce, you might think that you’ve ruined your meal. No worries. You can mix up your own hoisin sauce with ingredients already in your kitchen.

Hoisin sauce, which has Cantonese origins, comes in different varieties, with many sauces containing ingredients like vinegar, soy beans, garlic, fennel seeds, and red chilies.

Interestingly, hoisin is Chinese for seafood, though it doesn’t contain any seafood ingredients.

Whether you’re preparing a seafood dish, a meat dish, or a vegetable dish, here’s a look at nine make-it-yourself substitutes for hoisin sauce.

Hoisin sauce is thick and dark with a sweet and salty taste. If you run out of sauce, a concoction of bean paste and brown sugar can provide the taste and consistency you’re looking for.

For this recipe, combine:

  • 4 prunes
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. Chinese black bean sauce
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Chinese five spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil

Puree all ingredients in a blender, then add the mixture to your stir-fry, vegetable, or meat dishes.

Hoisin sauce includes garlic as an ingredient. To make your own version with garlic cloves, puree the following ingredients in a blender:

  • 3/4 cup kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp. molasses
  • 3 tbsp. teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Chinese five spice powder

When you think of hoisin sauce, you might not think of prunes. But you can use this fruit to make your own sauce, too.

  • Boil 3/4 cup of pitted prunes with 2 cups of water until soft and tender.
  • Blend the soft prunes with 2 garlic cloves, 2 tbsp. soy sauce, and 1 1/2 tbsp. dry sherry in a blender or food processor.
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    Prunes aren’t the only fruit you can use to make hoisin sauce. If you don’t have prunes, use plums instead.

    For this recipe you’ll need:

    • 2 large chopped plums
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 3 tbsp. black bean and garlic sauce
    • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
    • 1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
    • 1/2 tsp. Chinese five spice powder
  • Combine the plums, brown sugar, and 2 tbsp. of water in a saucepan. Boil until the plums are tender. Add the black bean sauce to the pan.
  • Pour saucepan mixture into a blender, then add the remaining ingredients. Blend to the desired consistency.
  • This is by far one of the easiest recipes for substitute hoisin sauce. Make it by blending:

    • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
    • 3 tbsp. molasses
    • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
    • 1/2 tbsp. Chinese five spice powder

    If the mixture is too thick, add a little bit a water until you have the desired consistency.

    Peanut butter might be another ingredient that you don’t associate with hoisin sauce. But it can make a tasty sauce when combined with a few other essential ingredients.

    For this recipe you’ll need:

    • 4 tbsp. soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
    • 2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
    • 2 tsp. sesame oil
    • 2 tsp. white vinegar
    • 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
    • 1/2 tbsp. honey
    • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
    • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder

    Mix all ingredients in a bowl to form a paste, then add it to any dish’s recipe.

    This unique recipe includes a cup of raisins. Soak raisins in water for about an hour. Next, combine the raisins with:

    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1 1/4 cups water
    • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
    • 1 tsp. miso paste
    • 1 tsp. mustard paste
    • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

    Blend all ingredients and it’s ready to use.

    If you don’t have whole plums, use plum jam instead. You only need 2 tablespoons of jam to make a great hoisin sauce.

    Mix and blend the plum jam with:

    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1 inch grated ginger root
    • 1 tbsp. teriyaki sauce
    • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
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    This sweet and spicy recipe requires:

    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp. molasses
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 1 tbsp. peanut butter
    • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
    • 1 tbsp. sesame seed oil
    • 1 tbsp. Sriracha sauce
    • 1 tbsp. water
    • 1/2 tsp. Chinese five spice powder

    Heat all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until blended. Let the sauce cool before serving.

    Depending on what you have in your pantry or refrigerator, you may or may not be able to make your own hoisin sauce. If not, several ready-made sauce alternatives can create a dish just as delicious.

    For example, if you’re making a seafood dish, you can substitute with oyster sauce, which has a unique fishy flavor. Soy sauce and tamari sauce are also perfect for adding flavor to vegetables and stir-fry dishes.

    Barbecue sauce is a great substitute for meat dishes. Or, use duck or orange sauce for dipping.

    Coming up with your own homemade alternative for hoisin sauce is easier than you might think. Keep in mind that you might need to add more or less of the ingredients, depending on how much sauce you want to prepare.

    Store any leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The shelf life of homemade hoisin sauce varies, but it should keep for several weeks.

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