Hoisin sauce, also known as Haixian sauce, originated in the southern parts of China, particularly in the Guangdong province and Hong Kong. It is difficult to pinpoint a specific individual who created Hoisin sauce, as the sauce has deep roots in Chinese culinary history.

photo of Hoisin Sauce and grilled skewrs

It has been used in Chinese cuisine for centuries, and like many traditional recipes, it has been passed down through generations. The precise origin of the sauce remains unclear, but the Chinese people are credited with developing this rich, sweet, and savory condiment.

Some sources claim that it was first made in Beijing and was originally called Peking sauce.
The name Hoisin comes from the Chinese word for seafood, although the sauce does not contain any seafood ingredients and is not commonly consumed with seafood.
The sauce is a thick, fragrant sauce commonly used in Cantonese cuisine, as a glaze for meat, an addition to stir fry, or as dipping sauce.

It is dark-colored in appearance and sweet and salty in taste, and usually includes soybeans, fennel, red chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, five-spice powder, and sugar.
Earlier formulations might have had a seafood ingredient to provide the umami flavor, but today it doesn’t contain any seafood.

The key ingredient of hoisin sauce is fermented soybean paste; and some hoisin sauce ingredients include starches such as sweet potato, wheat, and rice, and water, sugar, soybeans, sesame seeds, and white distilled vinegar.
Although hoisin sauce is a Cantonese sauce, it is used in many Chinese dishes and some Vietnamese food recipes.

hoisin sauce next to a oriental dish

Traditional Hoisin Sauce Recipe

This traditional recipe for Hoisin Sauce is easy to make and uses high-quality ingredients such as soy sauce, honey, and rice vinegar. It has a sweet and savory flavor that is perfect for dipping or as a sauce for stir-fry dishes. The nutritional table shows that it is low in fat and cholesterol, making it a healthier alternative to store-bought sauces.
Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. I hope you enjoy making your own hoisin sauce at home!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Sauces
Cuisine Vietnamese
Calories 56 kcal


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon molasses


  • In a mixing bowl, add the soy sauce and peanut butter. Whisk until well combined.
    The soy sauce provides saltiness and umami flavor, while the peanut butter provides creaminess and nutty flavor.
  • Add the brown sugar, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Whisk until well combined.
    The brown sugar provides sweetness, the rice vinegar provides acidity, and the sesame oil provides nutty flavor.
  • Add the minced garlic, Sriracha, and molasses. Whisk until well combined.
    The garlic provides flavor and aroma, the Sriracha provides heat, and the molasses provides sweetness and depth of flavor.
  • Let the sauce sit for about 30 minutes, to allow the flavors to meld and develop.
  • Store the hoisin sauce in a container and refrigerate for up to two weeks.


Nutritional facts (per 1 tablespoon):
  • Calories: 56
  • Total Fat: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 282mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 5g
  • Protein: 2g
*Please note: Nutritional facts may vary depending on the brand of hoisin sauce, peanut butter, and other ingredients used. This is just a rough estimate.
Keyword Hoisin Sauce, Sauce
Hoisin sauce and sushi photo


How long does it take to make Hoisin sauce at home?

The time it takes to make Hoisin sauce at home can vary depending on the recipe, but most recipes take about 10-15 minutes to prepare.

Can I customize the recipe for Hoisin sauce based on the ingredients I have on hand?

Yes, you can. For example, you can use black bean paste instead of peanut butter, or honey instead of molasses,

How can I adjust the level of sweetness or saltiness in Hoisin sauce?

You can adjust the level of sweetness or saltiness in Hoisin sauce by adding more or less sugar or soy sauce, depending on your taste preferences.

Can I make Hoisin sauce less spicy or more spicy according to my taste?

Yes, you can, simply by adjusting the amount of chili paste and garlic, and or omitting one of them altogether.
Modify the flavor profile by tweaking the amounts of other ingredients, such as molasses, vinegar, and sesame oil.

What are some dishes that I can use Hoisin sauce with?

Hoisin sauce can be used with a variety of dishes, including stir-fries, dipping sauces and glazes. Some popular dishes that use Hoisin sauce include Mu Shu Pork, Peking Duck, and Chinese BBQ Pork. Also Pho Tai.
It’s also used as a marinade for meat, fish, or tofu.

How long can I store Hoisin sauce in the refrigerator?

You can store Hoisin sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

What are some popular variations in the recipe for Hoisin sauce?

Some popular variations in the recipe for Hoisin sauce include using black bean paste instead of peanut butter, using honey instead of molasses, adding prunes for sweetness, or using different types of chili paste for spiciness.

What is the difference between homemade Hoisin sauce and store-bought Hoisin sauce?

Homemade Hoisin sauce can be customized to your taste preferences and does not contain any preservatives or additives. Store-bought Hoisin sauce may contain additional ingredients or preservatives.

What is the ideal consistency of homemade Hoisin sauce?

The ideal consistency of homemade Hoisin sauce is thick and smooth, similar to barbecue sauce or ketchup. You can adjust the consistency by adding more or less liquid to the sauce.

How can I make a low-sodium or low-sugar version of Hoisin sauce?

For a low-sodium version, use low-sodium soy sauce or tamari. To reduce sugar, you can try using sugar substitutes like stevia or monk fruit sweetener in place of honey.

What is the best way to use Hoisin sauce as a dipping sauce or marinade?

For a dipping sauce, you can serve Hoisin sauce as-is, or you can mix it with other ingredients like soy sauce, sesame oil, or lime juice. For marinades, combine Hoisin sauce with other complementary flavors like soy sauce, ginger, and garlic.

Can I use Hoisin sauce as a replacement for other sauces, like soy sauce or oyster sauce, in recipes?

Hoisin sauce can be used as a replacement for some sauces, but the flavor profile may change. For example, you can use it instead of oyster sauce, but it will be sweeter and less salty. Using it as a substitute for soy sauce is possible, but be aware that the flavor will be distinct and may alter the intended recipe outcome.

Can I make a vegan or vegetarian version of Hoisin sauce?

Traditional Hoisin sauce is typically vegan, as it doesn’t contain any animal-derived products. Just make sure your ingredients, like soybean paste and sweeteners, are vegan-friendly.

How do I know when my homemade Hoisin sauce has gone bad or spoiled?

Homemade Hoisin sauce can go bad when exposed to air and moisture. Signs of spoilage include a sour or off smell, mold growth, or a change in color or consistency. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to discard the sauce and make a fresh batch.

Are there any tips or tricks for making the perfect Hoisin sauce at home?

For the perfect Hoisin sauce, ensure that you use fresh, high-quality ingredients and properly measure them to achieve a balanced flavor. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavor combinations.

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