Is Hoisin Sauce Vegan?

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Hoisin is a popular and tasty sauce prevalent in Chinese cuisine, so it’s no wonder you’d be interested in adding it to your vegan food cupboard.

Hoisin can be used as a glaze, to spice up a stir fry, or as a fun dipping sauce. But what goes into making it? And does it contain any animal-derived ingredients?

Can vegans eat hoisin sauce?

Hoisin sauce is almost always vegan-friendly. Although hoisin sauce is named after the Chinese word for ‘seafood’. it doesn’t actually contain seafood at all. In fact, fermented soybeans make up the bulk of hoisin sauce.

The remainder of this article will detail the ingredients in hoisin sauce, which non-vegan ingredients in store-bought brands you may want to look out for, and how to make the most out of this beautiful condiment! 

What are the ingredients in hoisin sauce?

The primary ingredient in hoisin is fermented soybean paste. Spices such as fennel, red chilli peppers, and garlic are typically used as well – of course, all of these are vegan. Many types of hoisin also contain vinegar, five-spice, and sugar. 

What non-vegan ingredients should I look out for with hoisin sauce?

Some brands of hoisin sauce contain artificial colours. The consumption of artificial colours can cause concern for some vegans due to the animal testing surrounding the use or production of these ingredients.

You can check for these yourself on brand labels, but if you’re looking for certified vegan hoisin sauces, here are my top recommendations for hoisin sauces that are clearly labelled as suitable for vegans:

Blue Dragon Hoisin Sauce

Blue Dragon Hoisin Sauce is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. The bottles are also made from 100% recycled plastic which require less energy to produce and transport than glass bottles.

Lee Hum Kee Hoisin Sauce

Lee Hum Kee Hoisin sauce is suitable for vegans and vegetarians and is also gluten-free. It has no MSG, preservatives, colours or flavour enhancers.

Sharwood’s Hoisin Sauce

Sharwood’s Hoisin Sauce is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. It contains no MSG and no artificial preservatives.

Can I make hoisin sauce at home? 

Yes! Hoisin is a relatively simple sauce with few ingredients, so it’s easy to prepare at home. Vegan hoisin sauce recipes are also readily available online, making it even easier!

In addition, homemade hoisin comes with the bonus of knowing exactly what goes into it, giving you peace of mind and the freedom to enjoy your food.

What foods pair well with hoisin sauce?

Although it’s traditionally served with duck, hoisin pairs well with steamed rice or noodles, vegetable wraps, mushrooms and tofu. Hoisin is a highly variable condiment and can shine in many ways with almost anything you can conjure up. So get creative and spice up your meals with hoisin!

Suggested read: 18 Best Vegan Rice Noodle Recipes From Around The World

Is hoisin sauce the same thing as oyster sauce?

No. Though hoisin sauce and oyster sauce are sometimes confused, these are two very different sauces. The most obvious difference is that oyster sauce contains oysters so oyster sauce isn’t vegan. Additionally, oyster sauce is often used to add a salty, umami flavour, whereas hoisin sauce adds more spice. 

hoisin sauce

Is hoisin sauce gluten-free?

Not all hoisin sauces are gluten-free. Though hoisin is made from soybeans and doesn’t have wheat in the ingredients, many store-bought brands cannot guarantee that their sauce will be gluten-free. In that case, search out a specific gluten-free hoisin sauce to meet your needs.

I recommend Lee Hum Kee hoisin sauce which is both vegan and gluten-free.

Is there an alternative to hoisin sauce if I have a soy allergy?

If you want to make a hoisin-like sauce at home but can’t have soy, you can substitute this ingredient for something else rich and creamy. Michaela from ElaVegan suggests peanut butter, tahini, or sesame paste – all will succeed in creating a thick, delicious sauce! 

What is the best way to make hoisin sauce at home?

You can prepare hoisin with different methods: in a bowl, blender, or a pan.

If you want to whip up a batch quickly, you can throw your ingredients in a blender; if you want to work on those arms, you can whisk them! The creamiest, thickest hoisin can be made in a pan, keeping the sauce at a simmer to make it extra thick.

To conclude

So, the be-all-end-all is this: yes, hoisin sauce is vegan! It’s also a great way to spice up those bland, old foods you’ve grown tired of. With its creamy, spicy flavour, hoisin will add a whole new dimension to your diet while being healthy to boot!

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