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Hoisin Sauce Substitutes That Tastes Great

Also known as Chinese barbeque sauce, hoisin sauce is generally used in Chinese cuisines. This delicious sauce comprises soybeans, red chili pepper, vinegar, fennel, garlic, and sugar. 

All these ingredients work together to bring out the distinct flavors in thick, dark, and fragrant hoisin sauce. 

Hoisin sauce is easily available in the market. You can also prepare this rich sauce at home. However, if that sounds like a lot of work, you can always use one of the many hoisin sauce substitutes

Before we move on to check out the various hoisin sauce replacement options, let’s take a look at what it tastes like. 

Considering the ingredients of hoisin sauce, you can probably already tell that this sauce is the ideal amalgamation of sweet and salty flavors. It is sweet, spicy, and savory – perfect for authentic Asian and Asian-inspired dishes. Now that you know about the hoisin sauce flavor, let’s take a look at some of the best hoisin sauce substitutes.

Hoisin Sauce Substitute

Hoisin sauce has a complex flavor. However, the good news is that it is easy to mimic. So, if you are out of your favorite sweet and savory sauce, try the following hoisin sauce replacement options!

1. Brown Sugar and Bean Paste

You can use a mixture of brown sugar and bean paste to get the desired taste and consistency. The best part is that you can prepare this concoction in just a few minutes. 

All you’ll need is 4 prunes, 1/3 cup of dark brown sugar, 3T of black bean sauce, 2 T of soy sauce, 1t of rice wine vinegar, 1/2t of Chinese five-spice powder, and 1/2 t of sesame oil. 

If you are a fan of Chinese food, you probably already have all these ingredients in your pantry. Simply puree all the ingredients in a blender and your hoisin sauce substitute will be ready! 

Use this mixture just like hoisin sauce. It will give you the same taste and consistency as hoisin sauce!

2. Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a great hoisin sauce replacement option. However, it is important to mention that soy sauce is much thinner than hoisin sauce. It is also a bit saltier and less sweet than your standard hoisin sauce. 

Nevertheless, when used in the right quantity, it can be the perfect hoisin sauce substitute. The best way to use soy sauce as hoisin sauce replacement is to substitute half soy sauce for hoisin. 

So, for example, if the recipe calls for 4T of hoisin sauce, you can add 2T of soy sauce. 

A quick tip is to taste the dish after adding soy sauce. If required, add more! You can also enhance the sweet flavor of the soy sauce by adding some brown or white sugar to the recipe. You can also use honey for this purpose!

3. Garlic and Prunes

Did you know that you can use prunes to make your very own hoisin replacement sauce? 

In around 2 cups of water, boil 3/4 cup of pitted prunes. Once they are soft and tender, shift them to a blender. Add 2 garlic cloves, 2T of soy sauce, and 1 1/2T of dry sherry. Blend away and VOILA… an ideal hoisin sauce substitute is ready! 

You can use it just like hoisin sauce in stir fry and meat and vegetable dishes.    

4. Miso Paste

Miso paste is the paste of Japanese fermented soybean. It will add a lovely, complex savory flavor to your recipe. You can use it as a hoisin sauce replacement. However, keep in mind that Miso is saltier and thicker than hoisin. The savory flavors are also stronger than hoisin sauce but it is not as sweet. 

The trick to using Miso is to start by adding 1/4 the amount of hoisin required in the recipe. You can add more if required. You can match the sweetness of hoisin by adding sugar or honey. Add brown sugar for a sweet caramel-like flavor!  

Sweet and savory – hoisin sauce offers a complex flavor that can be paired up with various dishes. If you are out of hoisin sauce, try one of the above-mentioned hoisin sauce substitutes to enjoy the same taste. Whether you use it to glaze the meat, add it to your stir fry recipe, or use it as a dipping sauce – hoisin sauce will add a unique flavor to your meal.

Hoisin sauce substitutes

Hoisin sauce substitutes

Prep Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 1 minute

if you are out of hoisin sauce this is our favorite hoisin sauce replacement.


  • 2T of soy sauce


  1. If the recipe calls for 4T of hoisin sauce, you can add 2T of soy sauce.

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