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Is Hoisin Sauce Vegan?

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: May 17, 2022

Hoisin sauce is a popular Chinese condiment made from a mixture of soybeans, vinegar, sugar, and spices. It is thick and dark brown in color, with a sweet and salty flavor. Hoisin sauce is commonly used as a marinade or dipping sauce, but it can also be used in stir-fries and other dishes. Thanks to its unique flavor, hoisin sauce has become one of the most popular Asian condiments in the Western world.

How Does Hoisin Sauce Taste?

Hoisin sauce has a dark color with thick consistency with a strong aroma. It has a slightly sweet flavor with a hint of spice. The sauce also has a strong salty taste, but it is richer with a unique flavor and aroma.

Is it Vegan?

Hoisin is a Chinese name for “seafood”; however, Hoisin sauce is purely vegan. Hoisin sauce gets the name from the Chinese culture where they eat seafood with the sauce. However, you need to understand that Hoisin sauce is not oyster sauce.

Fermented soybean sauce is one of the key ingredients in making Hoisin sauce. It is made of fermented soybean paste (Doubanjiang), combining a balanced proportion of sweet, tangy, and salty flavors to enhance the appeal of almost any food it is added to.

Other Hoisin Sauce Ingredients

  • Salt
  • Modified cornstarch.
  • Sweet Potato powder
  • Sesame oil
  • Sesame paste
  • Chilies
  • Garlic

In the commercial preparation process of Hoisin sauces, manufacturers add stabilizers, coloring agents, and preservatives. Therefore, store-bought Hoisin sauces contain artificial colors like Red #40 and Yellow #5, which may include animal products.

Is there a difference between Soy Sauce and Hoisin Sauce?

You should note that even though hoisin sauce is the same color as soy sauce, it is much thicker and has a sweet flavor. Soy sauce is the main ingredient of Hoisin sauce. Besides, various ingredients are added, but the sauce maintains the color of soy sauce.

Hoisin Sauce Preparation

Most people doubt the nature of additives, stabilizers, food colors, and preservatives that manufacturers will add to Hoisin sauce. The best way is to manufacture your Hoisin Sauce at home. You need about ten minutes when you have all the ingredients.

Ingredients for Homemade Hoisin Sauce

  • Molasses- ¼ cup
  • Salt- 3 tablespoons
  • Soy Sauce- 2 teaspoons
  • Rice vinegar or white vinegar- 2 tablespoons
  • Creamy peanut butter- 2 tablespoons
  • Garlic powder-1/2 teaspoon
  • Cornstarch-1 teaspoon
  • Sesame oil- 1 teaspoon
  • Hot sauce/Chilli paste- ½ tablespoon

Homemade Hoisin Sauce Recipe

  1. Take a small saucepan and put all the ingredients except the cornflour or cornstarch. Heat all the ingredients over medium heat until you have a light superfluous mixture.
  2. Take a small bowl, and mix the cornstarch with cold water. Ensure that you stir until you get a mixture with a thick consistency.
  3. Pour the cornstarch mix into the boiling mixture and whisk it gently to ensure that it dissolves well.
  4. Increase the heat from medium to high and stir the mixture for about two minutes.
  5. Let the sauce cool and put it in a clean glass bottle, and refrigerate.
  6. You can use the source to marinade meat, stir-fry vegetables, or even as a dipping sauce.
    Use tamari if you're going to keep your homemade hoisin sauce recipe gluten-free.

What to Do if you Can't Find all the Ingredients for Homemade Vegan Hoisin Sauce?

Traditional ingredients include fermented soybean sauce, salt, and other flavorings. If you fail to get these ingredients, you can use other substitutes.

Miso resembles peanut butter, and its main component is a fermented mixture of soybeans. It is a good substitute for soybean sauce if you have an allergy. If you also can't get soybean sauce, you can use Chinese brown bean sauce.

You can take Siracha and Chinese five-spice powder and American sweet barbecue and mix in the vegan hoisin sauce recipe. Alternatively, red pepper flakes or red chili peppers can be used as a spice. If you do not have a spicy fermented bean paste, the best alternative is Siracha.

You can soak raisins or dates for the sweet taste and blend them. The raisins play a role in making the Hoisin sauce thick. It also mixes with the spices to provide Hosin sauce with a balanced level of sweetness and spiciness.

You can add one teaspoon of ground cinnamon, cloves, and star anise to enhance a flavourful sauce for stir-fries or other Chinese dishes.

Alternatively, you can replace the cornstarch with tapioca or potato starch.

Does Hoisin Sauce Contain Gluten?

Some of the ingredients could potentially contain gluten. Therefore read the ingredient list carefully before using them. You can also purchase gluten-free soy sauce.


In conclusion, hoisin sauce is a delicious and versatile condiment that can be prepared using only plant ingredients. Whether you're looking to add a flavorful kick to tofu or simply want some tasty sauce to drizzle over spring rolls or stir-fries, hoisin sauce is sure to become a staple in your kitchen. With essential ingredients like soybeans, miso, ginger, garlic, and fresh chili peppers, you can easily whip up this tasty condiment at home without any animal products or preservatives.

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