Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is one of the standards of Asian dishes and most frequently associated with Peking duck and Mu Shu pork.

Fermented soybeans make up the base for this dark, red-tinged sauce, which explains the sometimes pungent and offsetting aroma. When added to marinades or used as a dipping sauce, however, a wonderful burst of flavors is uncovered. Other ingredients include sugar, salt, vinegar, and spices, which give it the descriptive sweet/sour/salty taste.


Hoisin, Peking (or duck) sauce, and Asian barbecue sauce are the same product.

Buying Tips

Hoisin sauce is found in most grocery stores, but brands will be limited (one; no more than two). Asian markets will have a wider selection. Among these, taste and consistency may vary based on ingredients.

Storage Tips

Unopened, it can remain unrefrigerated for about twelve months. After opening, refrigerate – it will keep almost indefinitely.

Jarred products are preferred, but if purchased in a can, open and transfer to a glass or plastic container, then refrigerate.

Usage Tips

  • Add hoisin to standard barbecue sauce.
  • This is a very strong sauce and should be added in small increments. For stir-fries, combine with other ingredients such as dry sherry, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and fish sauce. Thicken with cornstarch and include in the last few minutes of cooking time.
  • Wait until the last half hour of cooking when basting meats or poultry. Otherwise, hoisin’s high sugar content will cause the sauce to burn.
  • To soften the impact as a table condiment, mix in soy sauce and grated gingerroot.

Try one of our favorite hoisin sauce recipes:
Chinese-Style Spareribs
Barbecued Spareribs
Tofu with Hoisin Sauce

Suggested Pairings

Bean sprouts, beef, duck, fish, mush