//Paleo Hoisin Sauce

Paleo Hoisin Sauce

Have you missed Chinese hoisin sauce ever since going paleo? Well, your healthy condiment wishes have been granted: I have a thick, fragrant, lip-smacking paleo hoisin sauce that you can whip up in 15 minutes—and it’s vegan and Whole30-friendly, too!

A collage of the cooking steps to make paleo hoisin sauce.

I originally created this sunbutter paleo hoisin sauce recipe for our second cookbook, Ready or Not!, but it’s become such a fan favorite that I’ve decided to share it on my blog and iOS app, too.


What is hoisin sauce?

Hoisin sauce—a centuries-old Chinese barbecue sauce—can be hard to pin down. A thick, robust sauce used as a glaze or condiment, hoisin literally means “seafood” in Cantonese, even though the sauce actually contains zero seafood, and isn’t typically served with it. In the West, this tangy-sweet sauce is often misidentified as plum sauce or raisin sauce, despite containing neither plums nor raisins. To top it off, there’s a dizzying number of hoisin sauce varieties out there, and each one offers a slightly different flavor profile.

After weeks of tinkering, I came up with a fantastic Whole30 version of this rich sauce using Paleo-friendly ingredients that still delivers all the complexity and flavor of the classic, with none of the soy, wheat, sugar, or preservatives!

How do you use hoisin sauce?

The possibilities are endless if you love hoisin sauce. Traditionally, it’s used as a dipping sauce for meats or slathered on buns or wraps filled with Moo Shu Pork or Peking Duck. You can also mix it into marinades for grilled meats because hoisin sauce imparts a sticky and savory yumminess. Squeeze bottles filled with hoisin sauce are also commonly found at your table when you’re dining at Vietnamese restaurants because it’s used to flavor steaming bowls of phở.

Can you substitute the sunbutter?

Yes! I’ve tried this paleo hoisin sauce recipe with almond butter and tahini in place of sunbutter, and both work well in this recipe.

How long can you keep the paleo hoisin sauce?

This condiment can be kept in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 1 week. (If it gets too firm, just stir in a tablespoon or two of water when you’re reheating it.)

Ready to make Paleo Hoisin Sauce?

Makes ¾ cup

Ingredients:

4 large dried Medjool dates, pitted
¼ cup sunflower butter
¼ cup coconut aminos
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt

Equipment:

Chef’s knife
Cutting board
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Small saucepan
Silicone spatula
Immersion blender

Method:

First, use a sharp knife to mince and mash up the dates until they’re the consistency of a thick, sticky paste.

A closeup of a chef's knife mincing Medjool dates on a gray cutting board.

Next, combine the minced dates with the rest of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

An overhead shot of the ingredients of paleo hoisin sauce in a saucepan before it gets cooked.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the sauce thickens and darkens. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

A closeup shot of paleo hoisin sauce simmering in a small stainless steel saucepan

Want a smoother sauce? Blitz it with an immersion blender until it reaches your desired consistency.

Using an immersion blender in the the saucepan to make the paleo hoisin sauce smooth.

Time to slather this paleo hoisin sauce on everything! Make some Moo Shu Pork already!

An overhead shot of paleo hoisin sauce in a gray bowl topped with sesame seeds and chives

Looking for more amazing paleo and Whole30-friendly sauce recipes? Grab our cookbook, Ready or Not!

Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013) and Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017)!

Recipe IndexNom Nom Paleo CookbooksNom Nom Paleo App

 PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD

Paleo Hoisin Sauce

This lip-smacking Paleo Hoisin Sauce can be made in 15 minutes! My Whole30-friendly version still delivers all the complexity and flavor of the classic, with none of the soy, wheat, sugar, or preservatives!  

4 large dried Medjool dates (pitted)
¼ cup sunflower butter
¼ cup coconut aminos
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt

First, use a sharp knife to mince and mash up the dates until they’re the consistency of a thick, sticky paste.

Next, combine the minced dates with the rest of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the sauce thickens and darkens. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Want a smoother sauce? Blitz it with an immersion blender or high powered blender (my Vitamix gets it super smooth) until it reaches your desired consistency. Time to slather this paleo hoisin sauce on everything!

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