Hoisin sauce

A hoisin sauce is not difficult to make. It’s also easy to adapt the sauce to your palate.

The sweet hoisin sauce is served in China with duck (Peking duck) or spring rolls and pork. In Vietnam, hoisin sauce can be added to phở (Vietnamese noodle soup) or as a condiment to Vietnamese spring rolls. Hoisin sauce is used to glaze broiled chicken as well.

Want to see the recipe in video? Check this video or read on for the recipe in text and pictures.

Hoi sin means seafood in Chinese. But the sauce doesn’t contain any fish or other seafood. Hoisin sauce is not ‘typically’ eaten with fish at all, I learn from wiki.

A hoisin sauce can be made with slightly different ingredients in various ways. Some are very spicy too.

I like my version. It is a super sweet, syrupy sauce that becomes even thicker when it cools. It sticks to any snack or can be a delicious spice mix for noodles for example.


  • 6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (like kecap asin or Kikkoman – Japanese soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (I use Italian Dolce Agro or rice vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine – Marukin Shin Mirin)
  • 1 teaspoon chili sauce (Thai sweet chili sauce)
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon 5-spices powder (Chinese)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

It’s a long list, but from here on it’s very easy.

I measure the ingredients neatly because everything can be immediately added together in a pan on medium heat. I crush the garlic and take the skin off and leave them big and chunky simmering in the sauce (I filter them out later). For a stronger flavored sauce use a garlic press and leave the garlic in the hoisin sauce.

I let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes. The hoisin sauce thickens and the spices dissolve nicely.

I pour the sauce through a strainer to filter out the garlic chunks. (I do not throw away the garlic, but use them to season my noodles for lunch).

When the sauce cools, it thickens even more. If your sauce turns out too thick heat up your sauce for a few seconds (5 sec.) in the microwave with a tablespoon or two of water and stirr it through.

I keep my hoisin sauce for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator in a super clean jar. The sauce is great for BBQ meat or as part of a dressing for a salad. Versatile!

Today I use my hoisin sauce as a condiment to Vietnamese spring rolls; best summer snack ever. Check out the recipe here. Or check out this list of other recipes to combine with hoisin sauce.

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