Homemade Hoisin Sauce

Homemade Hoisin Sauce - Try this homemade hoisin sauce once and you will never want to use a store bought one again. | omnivorescookbook.comTry this homemade hoisin sauce once and you will never want to use a store bought one again. This is a flexible recipe that you can customize based on the ingredients you have on hand.

Why would you ever want to make hoisin sauce at home when you can easily get it from an online store or any Asian market? The answer is that it tastes a hundred times better. The end.

Hoisin sauce is very popular in southern Chinese cooking. As a northerner myself, I seldom use it. If I need to enhance the flavor of a dish with a sauce shortcut (like in this recipe), I’ll use oyster sauce most of the time. However, hoisin sauce does play an important part in making marinades and glazes, such as that for Chinese BBQ.

It never occurred to me that someone might want to make hoisin sauce at home, until a reader mentioned to me that it could be pretty expensive to purchase, depending on where you are. Plus, it doesn’t make sense to buy a big bottle of it when you just need a tablespoon for a special recipe.

Homemade Hoisin Sauce - Try this homemade hoisin sauce once and you will never want to use a store bought one again. | omnivorescookbook.com

When I tried to make a small batch of hoisin sauce last week, I was even more convinced of how great an idea it was. The homemade version uses better quality ingredients, such as honey, natural peanut butter, and fresh garlic. It has a superior flavor compared to the bottled one. I wouldn’t say the homemade version tastes 100% identical to a supermarket-bought hoisin sauce, but it adds a great subtle flavor to the dishes I used it in and I was very satisfied with the taste.

After some research, I found that the only problem with making this sauce is that you need to use another sauce as an ingredient. Most of the recipes online call for hot sauce, sriracha, or miso. Its sounds strange. But the problem is that real hoisin sauce gets its flavor from fermented beans, and it’s quite difficult to create this subtle hint from most of the basic spices found in the average pantry.

In the end, I decided to use the hoisin sauce recipe from Food.com as a base. I divided the base into four parts and experimented with miso, doubanjiang (Chinese spicy fermented bean paste), Thai chili sauce, and gochujang (Korean spicy fermented chili paste) to complete the various trials. In the end, miso paste and doubanjiang created the taste most similar to hoisin sauce. However, all of them yielded satisfying results.

In this recipe, I listed all four options. Depending on what do you have in your pantry, you can easily make a great tasting hoisin sauce in 5 minutes!

Homemade Hoisin Sauce - Try this homemade hoisin sauce once and you will never want to use a store bought one again. | omnivorescookbook.com

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5.0 from 9 reviews
Homemade Hoisin Sauce
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Condiment
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: generate 1/2 cup sauce
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
    Homemade Hoisin Sauce Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  2. Store hoisin sauce in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to a month.

The nutrition facts are calculated based on 1 tablespoon of the sauce generated by this recipe.

Homemade Hoisin Sauce Nutrition Facts | omnivorescookbook.com

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Meet Maggie

Born and raised in Beijing, Maggie now calls Texas home. She’s learned to love barbecue, but her heart belongs to the food she grew up with. For her, Omnivore’s Cookbook is all about introducing cooks to real-deal Chinese dishes, which can be as easy as a 30-minute stir-fry or as adventurous as making your own dim sum. Recipes, step-by-step photos and video are the tools she uses to share her knowledge—and her enthusiasm for Chinese food.

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55 thoughts on “Homemade Hoisin Sauce

  1. Kevin | keviniscooking

    Hoisin sauce is by far one of my favorites in Chinese cooking. I have never tried ot make it as I usually use the Dynasty or Lee Kum Kee brands. Most have sweet potato as an ingredient so I was intrigued when yours had peanut butter! Interesting. I will definitely give this a try and see.

    I do love Plum, Black Bean sauce a swell. What tickles me is the pungent aspect of these sauces and even though hoisin gives an almost plum or raisin type taste, it contains neither.

    By the way Maggie, when I Goggled Hoisin sauce, your post showed up as #4 and you just posted the recipe 4 hours ago. Pretty cool, huh?! Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Exactly! I never thought about making this sauce at all and always uses Lee Kum Kee. I wrote about this only because a reader asked and I thought it’s worth trying. I didn’t expect the result turned out pretty good, and actually I like the homemade version better! For the peanut butter, make sure you used the natural one, otherwise it will taste too sweet.
      It’s interesting that this one gets a good rank on Google! Thanks so much for letting me know 🙂

      Reply
      1. Tewie

        I looked for homemade hoisin because Dynasty has wheat-based soy sauce component. I cook for gluten-free person. If anyone knows a gluten-free brand, please post it. Thank you for posting your recipes.

        Reply
        1. Karin

          I sub Bragg’s Aminos for soy sauce. Equal amounts as soy sauce called for in recipes. I also sub fresh lemon juice for vinegar. Tastes great! Thanks Maggie! ?

          Reply
          1. Maggie Post author

            Hi Karin, wow, what a great idea for substitutions! I’ll try it out next time. The addition of aminos sounds very interesting.
            I’m glad to hear you like the recipe 🙂

    1. Maggie Post author

      So when you blend in all the spices, it doesn’t really taste like peanut butter but a good savory flavor. Hope you like how it turns out 🙂

      Reply
  2. Nancy | Plus Ate Six

    I have a jar of hoisin sitting in the fridge that must be two years old and full of additives and who knows what – this is brilliant. Really surprised with the peanut butter but I trust you!

    Reply
  3. Susan

    Hi Maggie,
    I’m really looking forward to trying this (I just bought a jar of Hoisin sauce last night, which seemed huge for what I need). Your timing is perfect.

    I wish you the best on your interview and hope everything with your visa goes smoothly.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Thanks Susan! I hope your cooking goes well, and do let me know whether you like the taste of this recipe. Have a great weekend 🙂

      Reply
  4. Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine

    Hmm.. I could use almond butter instead of peanut butter, but what to sub for the miso? Is thai chili sauce really a good substitute? It’s so sweet, and miso is salty?

    These are sauces I can never have because of my allergies– but they always look so yummy! Thought I would check your recipe for this because I love making Pho and never serve it with the traditional hoisin because of allergies 🙂

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Michelle, the Thai chili sauce is not the best substitution, but since you only add a tiny amount to adjust flavor, the sauce won’t taste sweet. Do you rule out miso because of the allergy or you cannot find it at the market?

      Reply
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  6. jane @ littlesugarsnaps

    This is so perfectly timed. Last night I threw out a nearly full jar of Hoisin because it had 48g of sugar per 100g and I just could not bring myself to serve that sugar hit up to my daughters. I have a feeling that your 1 tbsp of honey may be more like it. Pinning and most definitely making this one. Thankyou Maggie

    Reply
  7. David

    Maggie, your version IS better than the bottled stuff! Also very difficult to find the gluten free brands. I used the miso paste and also added five spice because I love the taste. Next time I may try using slightly less peanut butter.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      I’m so glad to hear you like it David! Yes, it’s not easy to find gluten free sauces, so I always recommend my readers to make their own. Hope you’ll like the peanut butter version too! 🙂

      Reply
      1. Peggy

        I am gluten-intolerant and never even thought of hoisin sauce being a problem. Sure enough, looked at the label on the one in my fridge and it lists wheat in the soy sauce ingredient. I’ll throw that out and make this instead. Thanks, Maggie!

        Reply
        1. Maggie Post author

          You’re the most welcome Peggy! Yes many manufactured Asian sauces contain wheat, so nope they’re not gluten-free. It’s always safe to make your own because you know exactly what goes into it 🙂 Happy cooking and let me know how the sauce turns out!

          Reply
  8. Diedra

    Decided to make Pho for lunch but was out of Hoisin sauce. Found your recipe. Excellent. The leftover sauce almost didn’t make it to the refrig since I was eating it off the spoon. lol Thanks

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Helen, I never had the chance to test this, because we usually finish it within a week. It contains raw garlic, so I won’t suggest storing this in the fridge for too long time. I’d venture to guess that it should last about 2 weeks to a month. If you decide to make a big batch and are not going to use it often, I suggest you to freeze the rest in ice tray.

      Reply
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  10. Harry in CA

    Hi Maggie, really liked this as it used all “pantry” ingredients. I always have miso paste in the freezer to use. I used almond butter instead of peanut butter. Used the sauce with some soy sauce and mirin to pressure cook some beef short ribs. The sauce held up under “high pressure”

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Glad to hear the almond butter worked out. And it’s interesting to hear the sauce does well under high pressure! Thanks so much for sharing this piece of information 🙂

      Reply
  11. Anisa

    Thank you so much! I’m keeping this recipe and will make it often. I usually prefer homemade things to store bought and this was both easy to make and delicious!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      You’re the most welcome Anisa! Me too, I prefer homemade everything, because I know exactly what’s inside of the food.
      Have a wonderful week 🙂

      Reply
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  13. Gord Wait

    Very surprised to see peanut butter in the online recipes I’m finding.
    None of the commercially made ones I’ve looked at use peanut butter.
    What’s up with that?

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Gord, the commercial hoisin sauce contains fermented wheat flour that give the sauce a consistent sticky texture and umami. It is not a process that home cooks could easily conduct in their own kitchen, so they use all sort of substitute to recreate the same consistency and flavor. I had the same question when I was researching hoisin sauce recipes online and I thought peanut butter sounds strange. However, when I made this sauce, it does taste very similar to hoisin sauce (not the same of course, a bit nuttier). But when you use it in a recipe, it works really well. It gives the sauce the right texture. It tasted way less “peanut butter” after adding other pungent ingredients such as soy sauce.

      Reply
  14. Shannon

    Hi Maggie.
    I am going to try making this this week. I am not able to have soy, so I use Coconut Aminos when ever soy is used. I have never had hoisin before, so I have nothing to go by. ?

    Reply
  15. Julie

    Hi Maggie, thank you for your recipes. I love hoisin sauce and the best I’ve had is at Charlie Hong Kong In Santa Cruz, Ca. They make their own so I was very happy to see your site with a variety of ingredients to try.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      I’m glad to hear you find this post helpful! Yes, homemade hoisin sauce is the best. And I believe there are many possibilities to make a delicious sauce!

      Reply
  16. Dave

    Hi Maggie. One day I was making Chinese ribs and chcken satay for a football party wanted to get stuff in the marinades the night before. We only had a smidge of hoisin sauce , but it was late and snowing so I quickly Googled homemade but knew full well I wouldn’t have everything even if a recipe did show. Yours came right up and it was fantastic, had everything on hand and within a few min we had amazing sauce that we now use as a marinade, dipping sauce for fresh spring rolls, dumplings, won tons….just adjusting fresh herbs to match the dish. WONDERFUL.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Dave, I’m so happy to hear that the sauce works for you, in so many ways! It’s a very versatile sauce isn’t it? I’ve never used it for wonton dippings sauce yet, but now I can’t wait to try out!
      Thanks for taking time to leave a comment. Happy cooking and hope you have a great week ahead 🙂

      Reply
  17. Stuart

    What a tasty sauce. I made the version with “1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce + 1/4 teaspoon five spice powder” and although it tastes different than my store bought LEE KUM KEE it definitely worked well on my pork noodle soup. I stored this Hoisin Sauce in my old empty Hoisin bottle. Comparing the store bought ingredients I notice that Maggie’s list of ingredients DOES NOT include: “modified corn starch, wheat flour, caramel color, acetic acid, FD&C red food color No. 40, nor potassium sorbate.” Hmmm …. could this be why the Asian diet with it’s fresh ingredients is acclaimed to be healthier then so many alternatives ….?

    Can’t wait to run out so I can make another version … maybe as a dipping sauce for dim sum.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Rob, I’m glad to hear you like the sauce! Yes the homemade sauce tastes different from the store bought sauce but it works great in many recipes as a hoisin sauce alternative. If you use miso paste or the fermented bean paste, the taste will be a bit closer.
      I definitely agree with you that homemade sauces will make your meals healthier 🙂 The other thing is, Chinese sauces go very well with vegetables. While I was living with my parents, our dinner table for three usually have two to three big plates of vegetables and one meat dish. Eating vegetables was never a painful thing because they are so delicious 🙂

      Reply
  18. Roston

    Hi Maggie

    I never usually post on things like this, but the recipe was so mad and tastes so great! I’m going to use it in a char siu style marinade for some pork ribs (nom)

    Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Glad the recipe worked for you Roston, and thanks for taking time to leave a comment!
      Hope your char siu marinade will turn out great as well. Happy cooking 🙂

      Reply