This homemade hoisin sauce is loaded with flavor and has the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and tangy! Hoisin sauce is a must-have in Asian cuisine, perfect for stir-fries, marinades, and glazes. This version is naturally sweetened, vegan, and ready in less than 10 minutes!
I love Hoisin sauce. The thing is, most sauces available at the store are loaded with white sugar, preservatives, and colorings. So I decided to make my own version, and let me tell you: it tastes even better!
📘 What is Hoisin Sauce
Hoisin sauce (海鲜酱) is a thick black sauce used in Asian cuisine, and more particularly Chinese dishes. It is used as a glaze, in stir-fries, or even as a dipping sauce.
This sweet, salty, and slightly tangy sauce could be described as the Chinese version of barbecue sauce.
⭐️ Why this is the Best Hoisin Sauce Recipe
- It tastes like the original: If you are familiar with the store-bought version, this recipe tastes incredibly similar to it! Plus, it has the same thick consistency.
- Healthier: This hoisin sauce recipe is refined sugar-free and doesn't contain any additives, as opposed to the store-bought one.
- Quick and easy: It takes just 10 minutes from start to finish to prepare, and requires only 7 ingredients + a few spices.
- It keeps well: This recipe only makes use of shelf-stable ingredients, meaning you will be able to keep the sauce at room temperature for up to 1 month!
- The reviews speak for themselves: Emilia said, "I will NEVER buy hoisin sauce again - trust me. This recipe is AWESOME".
This sauce is so good you will want to use it everywhere! Let's do it!
🥣 How to Make Hoisin Sauce
This recipe requires only 7 ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Here are the ingredients you will need:
- Maple syrup - To keep the sauce refined sugar-free.
- Soybean paste - Also called Doenjang, this dark paste is prepared from fermented soybeans. As opposed to miso, it doesn't contain rice and has a more pungent flavor. It's a key ingredient in hoisin sauce. It can be found in almost every Asian store, or you can get Doenjang online.
- Soy sauce - For extra umami and saltiness.
- Rice vinegar - For acidity and to create the perfect balance of sweet/salty/tangy. Use regular rice vinegar, not the seasoned kind.
- Dates - In addition to bringing sweetness, dates help thicken the sauce.
- Garlic - While you could use garlic powder, I recommend going with fresh garlic.
- Spices - Ground anise, cinnamon, and coriander. If you have five-spice powder on hand, feel free to substitute the spices with ¼ teaspoon of five-spice powder.
- Toasted sesame oil - Just a drizzle, to finish the sauce with a delicious nutty flavor.
- Chili sauce - Or sriracha, for a hint of spiciness.
Making the sauce couldn't be easier:
- Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender.
- Process for 20-30 seconds, or until smooth.
- Transfer to a clean jar. Your hoisin sauce is now ready to use!
🍜 Where to Use It
Hoisin sauce is incredibly versatile! It can be used:
- In stir-fries: Stir in a tablespoon of hoisin sauce at the end of cooking. It also makes a great base for noodle sauces.
- As a glaze: For seitan, tempeh, or tofu.
- As a dipping sauce: For tofu nuggets, roasted vegetables, spring rolls, egg rolls, and more!
- Added to soups: Hoisin sauce is sometimes stirred in Vietnamese Phở.
- To make a marinade: Dilute with soy sauce, and add lime juice, oil, ginger, and scallions for a fresh and flavorful marinade!
If you are looking to use this sauce right away, check out these Sesame Crusted Hoisin Tofu Bowls!
- Should I use a blender or a food processor? It's up to you! If you prefer a slightly chunkier sauce, use a food processor. However, if you want a very smooth sauce, use a blender.
- Can I substitute the soybean paste for miso? You can use light brown miso, but the flavor will be different. Soybean paste works best here.
- Is there peanut butter in hoisin sauce? No, there is no peanut butter used in authentic hoisin sauce.
- How to store homemade hoisin sauce? This sauce keeps perfectly at room temperature, stored in a clean jar.
- How long does hoisin sauce keep? Since this recipe only contains shelf-stable ingredients, it will keep for up to 1 month at room temperature or 2 months in the refrigerator!
This easy homemade hoisin sauce is simply said, amazing! It's quick to prepare and flavor-packed. You will never want to buy it at the store again!
🥢 More Asian-Inspired Sauces
Let me know in the comments, and feel free to leave a rating if you try this recipe!
Easy Hoisin Sauce
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 medjool dates pitted (or 5 small dates)
- ⅓ cup soybean paste (or brown miso)
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon white rice vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/16 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/16 teaspoon ground anise
- 1/16 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ⅛ teaspoon chili paste (sambal oelek or hot sauce, to taste), optional
- Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, or blender. Process for 10-15 seconds, or until smooth.
- Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. Hoisin sauce will keep for up to 2 months in the refrigerator.
what can be subbed for the soybean paste or miso
I'm afraid you will have to get one or the other.
You can use chickpea miso and chickpea tamari in lieu of the soy ingredients. Works like a charm for those of us who are allergic or have an intolerance.
I try to stick to low sodium diet. I love Asian foods but the sauces are loaded with salt. Ugh. Even the so-called low-sodium sauces are extremely high. I do use a "white sweet miso" fairly often to make a nice soup. It has the lowest salt of the misos I've seen. Maybe that would work here?
Yes, I think it would work here, the flavor will be slightly different though as Hoisin sauce is usually made with black soybean paste that is stronger than white miso. I would reduce the number of dates or maple syrup since white miso is usually sweeter.
I will NEVER buy hoisin sauce again - trust me. This recipe is AWESOME! I could eat this sauce by spoon straight from the mixer! Luckily I didn’t, so now I have a lot of sauce to enjoy in different meals... Yay!
So glad to hear you liked the sauce Emilia!
This sauce is delicious. Tried it today with baked mushrooms, amazing!
Thanks for the feedback Debby! 🙂
I can’t wait to try this. How long can it be save in the fridge?
For up to 2 months.
That sauce is really very good,
Thanks Thomas for another good recipe!
Thanks France! 😉
this recipe has really upgraded our stir fry and rice noodles. thankyou!
Thanks! Glad you liked it!
So far all the recipes I've tried in your blog turned out fantastic. For this one, since I used salted soybeans, it was a bit watery, so I added some cooked rice to make it more pasty. Next time maybe I'll use 1/4C syrup and 1/4C brown sugar so that I don't need to use rice. Thanks for the great recipe!
Thanks for sharing!
The tofu pictured here looks really good! What's the coating? Have you posted a recipe for it? I searched tofu, but didn't find one. Thanks so much. Love your blog.
The tofu here was coated in breadcrumbs 🙂 First dipped in a mix of water and flour and then dipped in breadcrumbs + fried.
Really excited to try this as I've been looking for a Hoisin recipe that doesn't use refined sugars! A few questions though. (1) How can I go about this without a food processor? I have a blender but not sure it'll get the same results. (2) Can I use red miso instead of brown? Should I use less? (3) I don't have any anise unfortunately. Would it be sacrificing much to skip it? Thanks so much!
This sauce is thick so I doubt a blender will work for this recipe, especially with the dates.
Red miso will work, however, you will have a different flavor compared to Korean soybean paste. I would recommend using just 1/4 cup of red miso.
Regarding the anise, you can omit.
I used my vitamix to make this because I wanted a smooth sauce with no date bits and it worked just fine.
Really excited to try this recipe! I've been looking for a hoisin recipe without refined sugar. I do have a few questions though! (1) I don't have a food processor, do you think a blender would do the job? It's quite large. (2) Can I substitute red miso for brown miso? (3) I don't have any anise unfortunately. Would I be missing out on much by skipping? Thanks so much!
Thanks for this recipe. I really appreciate your ability to recreate this traditional Asian sauces in a lore healthful way. I don’t feel comfortable with the sugar content of most of these sauces, the caramel color added to them all and oftentimes they contain gluten which I am sensitive to. I took your suggestion from the comments to reduce the sweetener if using mellow white miso, because that is what I had on hand. I used date syrup instead of maple to add back that richness and depth that might be lost from using a milder miso. Used 1/4 cup of syrup instead of a 1/2 cup and it turned out fantastic. My only adjustment if I make it next time would be to reduce the toasted sesame oil or add it to taste. It was a bit strong for me in this quantity. I think my Chinese husband will be very impressed we can still have hoisin without the additives, cane sugar and plastic bottle. I used it to make the peanut dipping sauce that typically accompanies Vietnamese summer rolls around here. Was just great. Please keep posting more Diy end healthier Asian sauces that can be made with organic, real Whole Foods.
Thanks so much for your great feedback Haley!
I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe 🙂
Hello Haley. Since you seem to be an expert, could I ask you a question for a swap since you know so in depth the flavor (I never had hoisin sauce cause i get everything online and rarely in the recipes I recreate and sauces or can be subsistute)
What’s the question? I will try to help.
Ehi! I’m very sorry I didn’t se ethe comment earlier! I totally forgot to check.anyway, I was wondering if you think using red miso(so made only from soy, the more rich salty flavorful one) is okay? Cause I don’t really use normal rice miso, it’s too mild for me and also I saw you commented you added some depth to the milder miso so I was curious if in your opinion the red miso was okay or too much.
Thank you for your reply!
I think Thomas actually recommended red miso if you don’t have the recommended paste which I definitely didn’t. I don’t see why that wouldn’t work.
Just want to update you that I have now tried this recipe with red miso and it still turned out delicious. I actually have some recent health issues requiring me to eliminate all sugars including liquid sweeteners and the sauce was still great without the maple syrup and added 4 dates to increase sweetness and a little water to help it blend. It was not as thick as actual hoisin this way probably too much water but still so good. Hope you give it a try. It is worth it!
This was soooo good! I used garam masala that I had made the day before in place of the anise, coriander and cinnamon as I did not have anise. I substituted tahini without added oil in place of the sesame oil. This tasted just like hoisin. I will be using it in a recipe tonight. Thank you for the recipe!
Thanks Kathi! 🙂 Happy to hear you liked the sauce!
Hello, could ask a couple of question cause I’m not sure for a couple of ingredients
thank you so much!!!
Hi Thomas Been loving all your recipes!!! Thank you sooooo much.. Question on the Anise.. is it Ground Anise Seed or Ground Star Anise?
Thank you again
The one I used was ground green anise (the one made from the seeds).
Mmmm. This turned out so good (even with my lemon juice substitute 1 tbsp instead o 2 tbps of vinegar)! I'm gonna throw out the store bought vegetarian bottles which are bland in comparison and full of preservatives. Yay!
Oh I'm glad you enjoyed this homemade hoisin sauce 😉 Thanks for your feedback!