What is hoisin sauce made of?

In this blog, we will answer the question “What is hoisin sauce made of?” and discuss the origins and some ways to use Hoisin Sauce.

What is Hoisin Sauce made of?

Hoisin sauce is created from fermented soybean paste, garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, chillies, and sugar. Preservatives, stabilisers, and colouring additives may be added to commercially manufactured hoisin sauce. 

Sugar, water, fermented soybean paste (contains wheat flour), salt, sweet potato powder, modified cornstarch, sesame paste, garlic, chilli peppers, and spices are among the ingredients present in the famous Hoisin Sauce brands like Lee Kum Kee. 

What are the origins of Hoisin Sauce?

The origin of hoisin sauce is unknown other than it is Cantonese. The word “hoisin” comes from the Chinese word “seafood,” and older versions of the sauce may have included a seafood ingredient to provide an umami taste. 

It no longer contains any seafood. Not only that but it’s rarely used with seafood, therefore the name’s origin is a mystery. 

What are some ways to use Hoisin Sauce?

Because the distinct flavour might be overpowering, especially if you’re new to Asian food, it’s best to start with a small amount and work your way up. Or, before using in a recipe, dilute the flavour by adding water or oil to the hoisin sauce. 

Hoisin sauce is a terrific method to give a stir-fry or noodle meal a real Asian taste, thickening, and colour. In addition to egg rolls, spring rolls, and other finger foods, it can also be used as a dipping sauce. Here are several options for using Hoisin Sauce:  

  • Hoisin Chicken Stir-Fry
  • Stir-fried beef with hoisin sauce
  • Sticky Hoisin Honey Chicken

Hoisin Chicken Stir-Fry


  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cored, seeded, and thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 3/4-inch chunks
  • Salt and black pepper- freshly ground
  • 6 oz. trimmed snow peas
  • red chile flakes, crushed
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced (optional)
  • a third of a cup of hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp. liquid
  • 1/3 cup cashews or dry-roasted peanuts


  • In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes after adding the onion. 
  • Cook, stirring occasionally until the bell pepper and onion are browned around the edges, about 4 to 6 minutes. Take the vegetables out of the skillet and set them aside. In the same skillet, pour the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. 
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add it to the boil and cook, tossing constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until both sides are golden brown. Add the snow peas and red chile flakes and mix well. 
  • If using, add the ginger. Reduce the heat to low and add the hoisin sauce and water, stirring constantly. 
  • To wilt the snow peas and finish cooking the chicken (don’t overcook it), simmer for 1 minute. Serve over rice with a sprinkling of peanuts or cashews. 

Stir-fried beef with hoisin sauce


  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sherry (dry)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, fat and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh root ginger, coarsely chopped (or fresh ginger paste in a jar)
  • 200g thinly sliced across the grain lean sirloin steak
  • sesame seeds, 1 tbsp
  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 100g mangetout, cut in half lengthwise
  • 140g chopped mushrooms
  • a third of a teaspoon of hoisin sauce
  • Noodles from China, ready to eat


  • In a shallow dish, combine the soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Add the meat and set aside for 20 minutes to marinate (or longer, if you have time).
  • Heat a big heavy-bottomed frying pan or wok over high heat, then add the sesame seeds and toast for a few minutes, turning constantly, until brown. Place on a platter.
  • Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan or wok until it’s hot when you’re ready to cook. Stir in the steak and marinate for 3-4 minutes over high heat, or until lightly browned. 
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a platter, leaving the juices in the pan.
  • Stir fry the carrots for a few minutes before adding the mangetout and cooking for another 2 minutes.
  • Return the steak to the pan, along with the mushrooms, and toss to combine. Stir in the hoisin sauce for the last minute of cooking. 
  • Serve immediately with toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on top. 

Sticky Hoisin Honey Chicken


  • 1 entire chicken (about 3–4 lbs/1.5 kg)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tsp pepper (ground)
  • hoisin sauce, 2 tbsp
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • sesame oil, 1 tbsp
  • sesame seeds, 1 tbsp (toasted)


  • Chicken should be cut into 8 to 10 pieces. Remove any extra fat. Place on a baking sheet to cool. Season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
  • In a small bowl, combine the hoisin sauce, honey, and sesame oil. Apply the sauce on both sides of the chicken pieces with a brush or a spoon.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F and bake chicken for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and place the pieces on a plate. Fill a small saucepan halfway with the juices. 
  • Cover the chicken with aluminium foil and return it to the baking tray. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius).
  • Bring the fluids to a boil until they are thick and syrupy.
  • Apply on the chicken pieces with a brush or a spoon. Toss with sesame seeds that have been roasted.
  • Return the chicken to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and serve right away.

Other FAQs about Sauces that you may be interested in.

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What is ponzu sauce used for?

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In this blog, we answered the question “What is hoisin sauce made of?” and discussed the origins and some ways to use Hoisin Sauce.

Hope this blog was helpful. If you have any queries, feel free to comment below.