Hoisin Sauce (Better Than Store Bought)
Hoisin sauce has quickly become one of my favorite homemade sauces. Whenever I find myself at a loss for dinner ideas, I simply combine whatever ingredients I have in the fridge with this homemade hoisin sauce, and voila! I’m enjoying a seriously delicious meal in no time.
Unlike its store-bought counterpart, which tends to be excessively salty, overly sweet, and disappointingly thick, this hoisin sauce recipe tastes sweet, salty, tangy, and downright delicious. Use this umami-rich sauce for chicken, salmon, ribs, tofu, and veggies.
Since perfecting this recipe, we’ve explored countless ways to use it. To date, we have generously coated and roasted salmon, tossed it with tofu, and slathered it onto tender baked ribs (don’t miss these hoisin sticky ribs — link coming soon!). We are also excited to try this with lettuce wraps; stay tuned!
Hoisin sauce is commonly used in Chinese cuisine and often used as a condiment or added to stir-fries, marinades, glazes, and dipping sauces. It adds a wonderful richness to dishes. It’s also particularly well-known for its role in Peking duck, barbecue, and as a dipping sauce for spring rolls.
Related: Garlic Ginger Stir Fry Sauce
Making Hoisin Sauce at Home
Not only is our homemade version better than what you can find in most US grocery stores, it’s also quick to make from (mostly) common pantry ingredients, including light soy sauce, garlic, ginger, molasses, maple syrup, peanut butter, and rice wine vinegar.
If you were to look in our pantry, we usually have most, if not all, of these ingredients already on hand. In addition to the ingredients above, we add two less common ingredients:
- Gochujang: Traditional hoisin sauce incorporates fermented beans. So, we’ve included Gochujang (a spicy Korean condiment with rice and fermented soybeans). You can substitute miso paste and, if you’d like to add some spice, add a dash or two of hot sauce or chili paste like sambal oelek. I can usually find Gochujang in the International aisle of my grocery store. It’s also sold online or in Asian markets.
- Chinese Five Spice: A fragrant combination of star anise, fennel seeds, Szechuan peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon. It is commonly found in the spice aisle of larger grocery stores. It is also an excellent substitute for cinnamon in your baking recipes.
It only takes about 15 minutes to make hoisin sauce at home. You’ll need a small saucepan and a spoon or whisk. To make it, sauté fresh garlic, ginger, and scallions until softened, then stir in everything left on your ingredient list. The peanut butter melts into the sauce, and the garlic and ginger perfume the sauce nicely. It tastes intensely flavorful.
We include cornstarch in our recipe, which helps to thicken the sauce. You can stick with our suggested amount or add more for a thicker sauce. (As written, the hoisin is slightly thinner than what you might find with store bought.)
And that’s it, homemade hoisin sauce ready for your next meal. It makes weeknight dinners a breeze. Whenever I have something like chicken or tofu in the fridge with no plans on what to do with it, I reach for this sauce. Toss whatever you have in the fridge in some sauce and bake. Easy!
We developed this hoisin sauce recipe with Chef Richard Hattaway, and I’m so excited to share it with you. This sauce is a game-changer for quick and delicious meals, and we can’t wait to share it with you. Give it a try, and please share your creations using it in the comments. We love to hear what you think.
Hoisin Sauce (Better Than Store Bought)
One taste of this homemade hoisin sauce, and you’ll never feel the need to buy it from the store again. Feel free to adjust the spice level, saltiness, and sweetness to your tastes. I love the little bit of heat the Gochujang adds, but you can substitute for miso paste if you’d prefer. Increase the cornstarch for a thicker sauce. I like to keep it on the thinner side, which makes it more saucy when tossing it into stir-fries or slathering it over ribs.
Makes 1 cup
You Will Need
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated
One 1-inch thumb-size piece fresh ginger, finely minced or grated
2 green onions, whites and light green parts only, finely minced
5 tablespoons (70 grams) light tamari or light soy sauce, plus more to taste
5 tablespoons (85 grams) pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons (28 grams) molasses
1 tablespoon (20 grams) peanut butter, try homemade peanut butter
1 ½ teaspoons Gochujang, see notes
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon Chinese Five Spice, see notes
¼ teaspoon cornstarch
1Heat sesame oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and green onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Set the saucepan aside to cool.
2Stir in soy sauce, maple syrup, molasses, peanut butter, Gochujang, rice wine vinegar, and the Chinese Five Spice. Return the saucepan to medium heat, and, while stirring, slowly bring to a simmer. Taste the sauce and adjust with 1/2 tablespoon to 1 tablespoon of soy sauce if it needs it.
3Make a cornstarch slurry by mixing 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch with 2 teaspoons water. Whisk the slurry into the sauce. As it simmers, the sauce will thicken. Once thickened, remove from the heat and let cool.
Adam and Joanne’s Tips
- Gochujang and a substitute: Traditional hoisin sauce incorporates fermented beans. We’ve included Gochujang (a spicy Korean condiment with rice and fermented soybeans). Substitute miso paste and, if you’d like to add some spice, add a dash or two of hot sauce or chili paste like sambal oelek.
- Chinese five spice: A fragrant combination of star anise, fennel seeds, Szechuan peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon. It is commonly found in the spice aisle of larger grocery stores.
- Storing and make ahead: Refrigerate homemade hoisin sauce for up to one month. As it sits, it may separate. We store our sauce in an airtight glass jar, which allows us to shake it to combine before using it. The sauce also freezes well — keep it in the freezer for up to three months.
- Most of the Gochujang sold is vegan, but ensure that you check the packaging.
- For gluten-free hoisin sauce, ensure all products are labeled gluten free (especially the soy sauce or tamari).
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
Nutrition Per Serving