Hoisin Sauce vs Soy Sauce: A Delightful Journey

I love Chinese food! Everybody does. But I like to cook Chinese food as well as eat. But while cooking, I got confused between hoisin sauce and soy sauce a few times. Both are frequently used in Chinese cuisine. So, I did thorough research to avoid any confusion. I thought you would be benefitted from my findings too. 

Hoisin sauce is sweet and tangy, made from soybeans, garlic, sugar, and various spices. Soy sauce, on the other hand, is salty and made from fermented soybeans and wheat. In addition to their flavor differences, Hoisin sauce is thicker and richer, while soy sauce has a more liquid consistency.

Let me help you with a detailed comparison of these two condiments so that you can use them expertly next time while cooking Chinese food at home. 

Hoisin Sauce vs Soy Sauce
Hoisin Sauce vs Soy Sauce

Hoisin Sauce vs Soy Sauce: An Overview

Before I take you into a deep dive, let me provide you with some basic information about hoisin sauce and soy sauce. 

CriteriaHoisin SauceSoy Sauce
FlavorSweet, tangy, and savorySalty, umami, and savory
IngredientsSoybeans, garlic, sugar, vinegar, and spicesFermented soybeans, wheat, water, salt, and sometimes other grains
ConsistencyThick and richLiquid and runny
UsageGlaze, dipping sauce for meats and spring rollsSeasoning, marinade for various dishes
Gluten ContentMay contain glutenMay contain gluten
Common DishesPeking duck, Chinese barbecue dishesSushi, stir-fries, noodles, and soups
Regional OriginsChinese cuisineChinese, Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian cuisines
Nutritional ProfileHigh in sugar and calories, moderate in sodiumLow in calories, high in sodium
Allergen InformationPotential allergens: soy, wheat, and garlicPotential allergen: soy
VersatilityLimited due to its specific flavor profileWidely used and versatile in various cuisines
Hoisin Sauce vs Soy Sauce

Hoisin Sauce vs Soy Sauce: Detailed Difference

There are several differences between hoisin sauce and soy sauce. The list can be made so large, but I am mentioning the major ones:

Hoisin Sauce vs Soy Sauce

Flavor and Taste

When it comes to flavor, Hoisin sauce is your go-to for a sweet, tangy, and savory experience. It’s like a party in your mouth, with a mix of soybeans, garlic, sugar, vinegar, and a bunch of spices adding depth to your dishes. 

On the other hand, Soy sauce brings that classic salty, umami-rich, and savory punch that we all love. It’s thanks to the fermentation process of soybeans, wheat, water, and salt that it gets that distinctive umami flavor.

Read More: Tamari Vs Dark Soy Sauce

Ingredients and Preparation

Hoisin sauce gets its goodness from a blend of soybeans, garlic, sugar, vinegar, and spices. You might also find some varieties adding sesame oil, miso, or peanut butter for an extra twist. 

Soy sauce, however, comes from the fermentation of soybeans, wheat, water, and salt. The mixture ferments over time, and then the liquid is extracted to give us the dark liquid gold we know and love.


Hoisin sauce is all about being thick and luxurious, almost like a glaze that hugs your food. It sticks to your meat and gives it that perfect coating. Soy sauce, on the other hand, is the more liquid sidekick. It’s runny and flows smoothly, making it easy to mix into any dish and soak up those flavors.

Read More: Dark Soy Sauce vs Light Soy Sauce

Culinary Applications

I like to use hoisin sauce as a glaze for roasted or grilled meats, and you’ll taste the magic. Plus, it’s the perfect dipping sauce for those spring rolls and dumplings. But hey, don’t underestimate Soy sauce either – it’s a real multitasker! I love it with sushi, marinades, stir-fries, noodles, and soups from all around Asia.

Gluten Content and Allergen Information

Now, here’s a heads up: both Hoisin sauce and some types of Soy sauce contain gluten because of the wheat. If you’re gluten-sensitive, make sure to grab those gluten-free versions to enjoy the flavors worry-free.

Read More: Hoisin Sauce vs Oyster Sauce

Nutritional Profile

Ah, let’s talk about health for a sec. Hoisin sauce tends to be higher in sugar and calories, thanks to that sweet taste we love. Remember to enjoy it in moderation. 

As for Soy sauce, it’s pretty low in calories but can pack a sodium punch, so keep an eye on that if you’re watching your sodium intake.

Similarities Between Hoisin Sauce and Soy Sauce

Don’t get surprised. Along with so many difficulties, soy sauce and hoisin sauce share several similarities too. For example,

  • Both Hoisin sauce and Soy sauce are popular condiments in Asian cuisine.
  • They are both dark-colored sauces with rich flavors.
  • Both sauces contain soybeans as a primary ingredient.
  • Both sauces may contain gluten due to the presence of wheat in some varieties.
  • They are used to enhance the taste of various dishes, from meats to stir-fries and noodles.
  • Hoisin sauce and Soy sauce are widely available in grocery stores and Asian markets.
  • They both play essential roles in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian cuisines.
  • Both sauces are versatile and can be used as dipping sauces, glazes, or marinades for meats and vegetables.

Read More: Tomato Sauce Vs Tomato Puree

Which Is Good For what

Because of their different taste, I like to have hoisin sauce and soy sauce to complement different foods. Hoisin sauce is good for adding a sweet and tangy flavor to dishes. It works well as a glaze for roasted or grilled meats, particularly in Chinese cuisine, and is perfect for dipping spring rolls and dumplings.

Soy sauce is good for providing a salty and umami-rich taste to a wide range of dishes. It is ideal for seasoning stir-fries, marinating meats and seafood, and enhancing the flavors of sushi, noodles, and soups. 


You have to appreciate the unique qualities of both Hoisin sauce and Soy sauce. Hoisin sauce delights me with its sweet and tangy profile, while Soy sauce impresses with its savory and umami-rich taste. Each sauce adds its distinct flair to Asian cuisine, making them indispensable in my culinary adventures.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top