After some experimenting, I’ve finally cracked the case for the ultimate hoisin sauce!
Hoisin sauce and Chinese food – the two go hand in hand. And if you’re like me there have been too many times when you wanted to make a Chinese dish, scanned the ingredients, and realized you didn’t have any hoisin sauce. And unless you have a Chinese store right around the corner it’s not like you can simply jump in the car and go grab some. Some grocery stores with really well-stocked Asian sections carry it, but most don’t. So you either have to get it at an Asian grocery store (if you have one locally) or order it online (and pay a premium).
That said, making good hoisin sauce isn’t simply a matter of grabbing commonly stocked ingredients from your pantry (unless your pantry is less than common). Most of the ingredients in this you’ll readily have on hand, but are there a few you’ll have to make it a point to stock if you want to be able to make hoisin sauce on a whim. You’ll need Chinese five spice powder and black bean sauce (aka black bean paste or black bean garlic paste – and no, black bean paste is not made out of black beans, it’s made out of fermented soy beans. See my recipe for black bean paste further down. Also, you’ll find a lot of recipes online for hoisin sauce calling for things like peanut butter and molasses – neither of those belong in hoisin sauce.). You simply cannot make proper hoisin sauce without these ingredients. You can find Chinese Five Spice in the spice section of most grocery stores. However, like hoisin sauce, the black bean sauce may be a little more challenging to find. And in both cases, the store-bought stuff just isn’t nearly as good as homemade.
I’m telling you, just like our Best Homemade Teriyaki Sauce, there simply is no comparison.
Fortunately, I’ve got ALL your bases covered!
Below are the homemade versions for everything you’ll need to make THE best hoisin sauce!
Homemade Chinese Five Spice Powder (nothing compares to the flavor of freshly ground spice blends!)
Homemade Black Bean Sauce (this stuff is the BEST!)
Black bean sauce is a key ingredient to the best Chinese food, so you’ll want the ingredients on hand to make that anyway (of course you can also use store-bought black bean sauce as well. But honestly, this black bean sauce is seriously the best stuff!) So now you just combine the Chinese five spice powder with the black bean sauce and a few other ingredients and you’ve got the most amazing hoisin sauce ever!
Hoisin sauce is kind of all-purpose condiment. Here are just a few ways to use it:
- In stir-fries
- In noodles
- Slathered on chicken, pork, ribs, duck or tofu and baked or grilled
- Added to veggies
- Barbecue sauces
- A general substitute for ketchup
- A new twist for meatloaf
- Slathered on burgers
- For pulled pork or pulled chicken
- Added to soup broths for a great flavor
- The base sauce for Chinese-style pizza
- Added to mayo for a Chinese twist
- As a dipping sauce for Chinese dumplings, eggrolls, wontons, chicken nuggets, etc.
It’s just plain awesome stuff!
Let’s get started!
Get ready, this is pretty labor intensive and time-consuming:
Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Yep, that’s it, you’re done!
*NOTE: We’re adding a few prunes for sweetness and texture. However, hoisin sauce is not the same thing as plum sauce (I’ll be publishing that recipe in the future!)
Store the hoisin sauce in the fridge in a non-reactive airtight container for at least a week.
- ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons Chinese black bean sauce (homemade highly recommended, otherwise store-bought). For truly the BEST hoisin sauce you'll want to use the homemade black bean sauce!)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 4 prunes
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder (homemade highly recommended, otherwise store-bought)
- If you prefer a little heat, add some red chilies or sriracha to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Store in the fridge in a non-reactive airtight container. Will keep for at least a week.