10 Hoisin Sauce Substitutes (With Recipes)

Hoisin sauce is a famous sauce in the Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines, also known as Chinese barbecue.

The sauce is dark, has a pungent smell, is also thick, and has some very nice flavor.

It is used in fries, grilled dishes, and marinades. It adds an Asian flavor to the dishes as it balances the tangy, sweet, and salty flavors giving it the umami feeling.

Hoisin is a Chinese word meaning seafood. However, it is not made from seafood. On the contrary, the sauce is used as an accompaniment for seafood.

The best thing about it is that vegetarians and vegans can use it as it does not have any animal traces.

Boiled seafood

What are the components of hoisin sauce?

Homemade hoisin is made from soybeans, sesame, chilies, sweetener, garlic, and vinegar. For the commercial ones, they are slightly different as there is additional sweetener, preservatives, and coloring.

Hoisin has a strong salty and tangy flavor. It more resembles the American-style barbecue sauce, only that it is extra decadent, salty, and less sweet but with a unique taste.

Seafood Bird’s Nest

Hoisin uses

Because hoisin sauce consists of sweet, salty, and savory flavors, you can use it in most ingredients while cooking at home, like in noodles, a glaze, or marinade for meat or tofu in dipping sauces in stir fry dishes soups, as a base sauce in pizza and fried rice.

Seafood Congee

The list is ceaseless when it comes to hoisin use. You can only be limited to use hoisin sauce in any recipes by your thoughts. Additionally, you can make the hoisin sauce prior and store it in the fridge until it’s ready for use.

What are some of the Hoisin substitutes?

If you visit the store and miss out the hoisin, you don’t need to give up on the recipe you want to prepare, since you can still make something close to hoisin, by that I mean you have to have a combination of the following ingredients, and you are good to go.

1. Garlic and prunes

When you ponder about hoisin, it is actually a blend of salty and sweet. Prune is essentially dried plum characterized by tangy and sweetness. They are a specific variety of plums, also known as the European plum. When blended with garlic has all it takes to make it the perfect hoisin substitute.


  • Two tablespoon soy sauce
  • 11/2 tablespoon of cherry
  • ¾ cup pitted prunes
  • Two cloves garlic
  • 2 cups water


  • In a saucepan, add water and prunes and boil until the prunes are soft and tender. Leave the mixture for a few minutes to cool, then transfer the mixture to a blender or a processor.
  • Blend the soft prunes 11/2 cherries, two cloves of garlic, two tablespoon soy sauce, and blend until they are smooth

2. Garlic teriyaki 

Garlic itself forms part of the hoisin sauce. To make a unique version of the hoisin using garlic, you need to puree the ingredients below in a blender. Then you can use it with any stir-fried food you prepared for dinner.

Garlic teriyaki sauce


  • Two tablespoons. red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup kidney beans, cleaned and dried
  • Three tablespoons. molasses
  • Two garlic cloves
  • teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
  • Two teaspoons five-spice powder2 teaspoons five-spice powder (Sichuan peppercorns cinnamon, cloves, fennel, and star anise.

3. Black bean and plums

In the absence of prunes, you can also use plums. Plums add some hint of a fruity taste to the sauce, which resembles that of the hoisin.

Black bean sauce

Here is what you will need for the recipe:

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • Two tablespoons water
  • Two tablespoons soy sauce
  • One tablespoon rice vinegar
  • Three tablespoons black bean and garlic sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • Two large plums, chopped


  • Take a saucepan, put brown sugar, water, and plums, and boil until the plum becomes soft. Combine garlic sauce and black bean.
  • Leave the mixture to cool for some time, then transfer to a blender or a food processor.Add vinegar, oil, five-spice powder, and soy sauce, then blend the mixture as you check on the consistency.

4. Sriracha and molasses

Sriracha is pretty much everyone’s favorite; hence it’s most probably found its way into your kitchen. Therefore, you take one tablespoon of sriracha and combine it with all the ingredients below.

sriracha sauce


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. molasses
  • One 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

Please put on the heat and turn it to medium level, then gently add all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir until all the ingredients have mixed. Once the sauce is ready, let it cool, then serve as you prefer.

5. Bean paste and brown sugar

This is just the perfect hoisin substitute. From the color to the salty-sweet flavor, the bean paste has it all as a hoisin substitute. If you don’t have hoisin at home, use the following ingredients for the exact taste, flavor, and texture of a hoisin.

Red Bean Paste

To get absolutely hoisin flavor do a combo of the below ingredients

  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • Three tablespoons Chinese black bean sauce
  • Four pitted prunes
  • Two tablespoons soy sauce
  • Two tablespoons water
  • One tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Blend a combo of the ingredients in a processor or blender. This sauce is the legit kind of substitute for hoisin.

6. Soy and peanut butter

Peanut butter could be the last on your list for hoisin as they do not have so much in common. However, it can be used in this case because it has a rich nutty flavor and, equally, for its natural sweetness. It can really make a tasty sauce when in combo with other ingredients. Making the sauce is also easy.

Miniature Peanut Butter Treats

Here is what you need to do the magic

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • Two tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • Two teaspoons hot pepper sauce
  • Two teaspoons sesame oil
  • Two teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until it makes a fine thick paste, then serve in your favorite dish.

7. Garlic, miso, mustard, and raisins

Raisins can also be used in making hoisin sauce in case you don’t have prunes or plums. Take the raisins and keep them in water. Leave them to soak for an hour. Then Combine the rising with the following ingredients.

Butterscotch Rum Raisin cookies

  • 1/4 cups water
  • One tablespoon sesame oil
  • One teaspoon miso paste
  • One teaspoon prepared mustard
  • Two cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Process or blend all the ingredients and serve them.

8. Oyster sauce

Oyster sauce is often used with fish sauces. This is to add flavor to stir-fried food. However, the oyster is not that nearer to hoisin sauce because it is not sweet, but it’s pretty salty and has a very sharp flavor.

Oyster sauce

Oysters can serve as a legit non-vegetarian substitute for hoisin if you serve it with a green and leafy stir fry. It blends well with shrimp, fried rice, and any other seafood.

9. Ginger and plum jam

You can decide to use a whole plum, but a plum jam can also be an option if you can’t find one.

If you intend to make something spectacular with a bit of aroma, then you can mix two tablespoons of plums and the following ingredients

  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • One tablespoon teriyaki sauce
  • Two cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Mix the plum with the ingredients and blend it, then serve as you please.

10. BBQ and molasses

Hoisin is also known as Chinese barbecue sauce because they both have a sweet and tangy taste. In this sauce, the molasses has the sticky and rich texture of hoisin, thus making it the perfect substitute for hoisin.

Serve Ribs with barbecue sauce

Blend the ingredients below:

  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • Three tablespoons molasses
  • One tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons five-spice powder

Continuously add a little bit of water as you blend it. Hoisin sauce tends to be extra thicker, so you might need water to get the right consistency.

How to store hoisin sauce

A bottle of hoisin that was recently purchased and not opened can stay on the shelf for several years as long as it is kept in a cool, dry, and dark place. But first, you have to check on the expiry date.

If you are not sure about the length of time your hoisin has been on your shelf, check to see if there are molds or if it has a foul odor.

For an opened bottle, you have to store it in the refrigerator immediately, and it should last up to a year.

The microorganisms are kept on the bay with high salt content; hence it is hard to form molds. In that case, if it expires, watch out for the discoloration or the smell.


Now that we have taken a look at the substitute of hoisin sauce next time you want to make your stir-fried rice and there is no hoisin sauce in the store, I hope you find the above helpful substitute, and it inspires you to cook whatever recipe you had in mind.

Leave a Comment