Is Hoisin Sauce Vegan?

Is hoisin sauce vegan? This thick, salty, and sweet sauce offers a tantalizing blend of oriental flavors, but can it be part of your daily vegan routine?

Let’s explore the ingredients and production process of hoisin sauce to determine whether it aligns with a plant-based lifestyle!

Is Hoisin Sauce Vegan?

Short answer: Yes, hoisin sauce is typically vegan, containing only plant-based ingredients. However, it’s always important to check the labels before buying, as recipes may differ from brand to brand.

Detailed Answer

Hoisin sauce, a savory and thick condiment often used in Asian cuisine, is generally considered to be vegan.

It is primarily made from fermented soybeans, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and various spices. While some variations of hoisin sauce may contain additional ingredients such as honey or modified starch, the traditional recipe is free of animal products.

The main ingredient in hoisin sauce, fermented soybeans, provides a rich umami flavor, making it a popular choice for enhancing the taste of dishes. The use of garlic, vinegar, sugar, and spices further contributes to its unique and delicious taste.

It is important to note that different brands or homemade versions of hoisin sauce may have slightly different ingredient lists, so it is always advisable to check the label or recipe to ensure that it aligns with your dietary preferences.

Key Takeaways

  • Hoisin sauce is generally vegan-friendly as it is primarily made from fermented soybeans, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and spices.
  • Double-check the ingredient list of hoisin sauce, as some variations may contain non-vegan ingredients such as honey or modified starch.
  • Consider making your own hoisin sauce at home using vegan-friendly ingredients if you have any concerns about store-bought options.
  • Be mindful of cross-contamination if you have strict dietary requirements, as hoisin sauce may be processed in facilities that handle non-vegan products.

What Is Hoisin Sauce?

Hoisin sauce is a thick, dark, and fragrant condiment commonly used in Chinese, Vietnamese, and other Asian cuisines. It is a versatile sauce that adds a sweet and savory flavor to a wide range of dishes.

The word “hoisin” translates to “seafood” in Cantonese, but the sauce itself does not contain any seafood ingredients.


IngredientUsageIs it vegan?
Fermented SoybeansProvides umami flavorYes
GarlicEnhances taste and aromaYes
VinegarProvides acidityYes
SugarAdds sweetnessYes
SpicesContributes to flavor profileYes

Does nutrition ever seem confusing? It doesn’t have to be. Learn how simple (and delicious) healthy eating can be in the FREE Food for Health Masterclass. This 1-hour presentation makes things clear—finally. Click here to reserve your free spot!

Is Hoisin Sauce Healthy?

Hoisin sauce, like many condiments, should be consumed in moderation due to its relatively high sugar and sodium content.

While it does provide some nutritional value through the inclusion of fermented soybeans and garlic, it is not considered a healthy food.

However, incorporating hoisin sauce as a flavor enhancer in a balanced and varied diet can be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Alternatives for Hoisin Sauce

If you need a substitute for hoisin sauce or are looking to switch up the flavors in your dish, there are a few options you can try:

  • Black bean sauce: Made from fermented black soybeans, it offers a rich and salty flavor.
  • Tamari or soy sauce mixed with molasses and garlic: It provides a similar umami taste.
  • Plum sauce: Offers a sweet and tangy flavor profile that can complement various dishes.

Examples of Dishes or Recipes Using Hoisin Sauce

Here are a few delicious dishes that incorporate hoisin sauce:

  • Hoisin-Glazed Tofu Stir-Fry: A quick and easy stir-fry dish with crispy tofu, colorful veggies, and a flavorful hoisin-based sauce.
  • Vegan Lettuce Wraps: These refreshing wraps feature a filling made of minced mushrooms, water chestnuts, and a flavorful hoisin sauce.
  • Hoisin-Glazed Eggplant: Roasted or stir-fried eggplant coated in a delicious hoisin glaze, perfect as a side dish or main course.

Looking for a sign that it’s time to take charge of your diet? This is it. Watch the Food or Health Masterclass—completely free—and discover the 10 surprising nutrition breakthroughs everyone should know. Reserve your free spot here!


Can I add hoisin sauce to a gluten-free diet?

Some brands of hoisin sauce may contain wheat or gluten as a thickening agent. However, gluten-free options are available, and you can easily make your own gluten-free hoisin sauce using gluten-free soy sauce and other suitable ingredients.

Is hoisin sauce high in calories?

Hoisin sauce is relatively high in calories due to its sugar content. However, since it is used in small quantities as a condiment, its overall impact on calorie intake is usually minimal.

Does hoisin sauce contain nuts?

Typically, hoisin sauce does not contain nuts. However, it is always important to check the ingredient list or consult with the manufacturer if you have any specific allergy concerns.

Can I use hoisin sauce in a keto diet?

Hoisin sauce is not recommended for a strict keto diet due to its sugar content. However, if you are following a slightly more relaxed version of the keto diet, you may use a small amount of hoisin sauce as long as it fits within your daily carbohydrate limit.

Is hoisin sauce spicy?

While hoisin sauce is not typically spicy, it does have a complex flavor profile that includes sweet, savory, and tangy notes. If you prefer spiciness, you can always add a dash of chili sauce or crushed red pepper flakes to your dish.


Hoisin sauce is generally vegan-friendly, being primarily made from fermented soybeans, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and spices. However, it is important to check the ingredient list, as some variations may contain non-vegan ingredients.

When consuming hoisin sauce, it is recommended to do so in moderation due to its sugar and sodium content.

If you need a substitute, consider black bean sauce, soy sauce mixed with molasses and garlic, or plum sauce.

However, if you prefer to stick to hoisin sauce, you can include it in a variety of delicacies like hoisin-glazed tofu stir-fry, vegan lettuce wraps, or hoisin-glazed eggplant.

Two More Recommendations for Your Plant-Based Journey

1. This is the best free video training I’ve found on plant-based nutrition. You’ll learn how to reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and obesity—all with plant-based food. Watch the free “Food for Health Masterclass” here.

2. This is the best vegan multivitamin I’ve found in my 14 years of being vegan. It has vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3—and nothing else. Translation: It only has the nutrients vegans are actually low in. Read my full review of Future Kind’s multivitamin here (with 10% discount).