Hoisin Sauce vs Teriyaki Sauce: The Differences, Similarities, and Specialities

Hoisin sauce and teriyaki sauce are both very popular ingredients in Asian Cuisine. Though at first glance, I thought both were similar, after testing them, I found out they were much different. So I got interested and studied more about these two delicious sauces to find more about them. 

Hoisin sauce is a rich, savory, and sweet sauce used as a glaze or dipping sauce. Teriyaki sauce, on the other hand, is often used for marinating and grilling meats. While hoisin is made from soybean paste, garlic, and spices, teriyaki is made using soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar or honey, and ginger.

These two sauces can mesmerize you with their magical tastes and improve your food experience significantly. Let’s learn about their similarities, differences, and specialties. 

Hoisin Sauce vs Teriyaki Sauce

Hoisin Sauce vs Teriyaki Sauce: An Overview

Hoisin and Teriyaki are very popular among Asian food lovers. Nonetheless, if you have only tasted them without knowing much about them, now is the time to have a short overview of the two condiments. 

CriteriaHoisin SauceTeriyaki Sauce
FlavorRich, savory, sweetSweet, savory
Main IngredientsSoybean paste, garlic, spicesSoy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar/honey
UsageGlaze, dipping sauceMarinade, grilling sauce
TextureThickModerately thick
Cooking MethodOften used in stir-fries and as a sauce for Peking duckIdeal for marinating and grilling meats and vegetables
VersatilityLimited use in specific dishesVersatile and can be used with various meats, seafood, and vegetables
Common DishesSpring rolls, Peking duckTeriyaki chicken, beef, salmon
Hoisin Sauce vs Teriyaki Sauce

Hoisin Sauce vs Teriyaki Sauce: Detailed Differences

Despite both sauces being soya-based and Asian cuisine memberships, they are different in several aspects. Let’s have a detail discussion on it:

Hoisin Sauce vs Teriyaki Sauce


Hoisin sauce is known for its rich, umami flavor with a perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness. Teriyaki sauce offers a sweet and savory flavor profile. It includes soy sauce as its base, which provides the umami taste, while the sweetness comes from sugar or honey.

Read More:  Dark Soy Sauce vs Light Soy Sauce

Main Ingredients

You need soybean paste, sugar, vinegar, garlic, and various spices. Some recipes also include ingredients like sesame oil and red chilies for added depth and spiciness. The use of soybean paste gives hoisin sauce its characteristic texture and flavor.

On the other hand, the primary components of teriyaki sauce include soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar or honey. Soy sauce is the foundation for the sauce’s savory base, while mirin and sake contribute the signature sweetness and subtle alcohol undertone.


Hoisin sauce is used as a glaze for roasted or grilled meats, especially for Peking duck, pork, or chicken. Teriyaki sauce,, in contrast, is used as a marinade for meats, fish, and vegetables before grilling or broiling. 

Read More: Hoisin Sauce vs Oyster Sauce


Hoisin sauce has its origins in Chinese cuisine. The name “hoisin” translates to “seafood” in Cantonese. However, to my surprise, I figured out that the sauce does not contain any seafood ingredients. 

Teriyaki sauce has its roots in Japanese cuisine. The word “teriyaki” is a combination of two Japanese words: “teri” and “yaki” The sauce’s sweet glaze was traditionally used for basting fish or meat while grilling or broiling.


The relatively thick and smooth consistency of hoisin sauce makes it similar to barbecue sauce. Its thickness allows it to adhere well to the surface of the meat. Teriyaki sauce is also thick, but not as thin as hoisin. Its viscosity enables it to penetrate the food during the marinating process and form a glaze.


Hoisin sauce, while flavorful and delicious, is somewhat limited in its applications. Its distinctive taste works best with certain Chinese dishes and specific meats.

In contrast, the sweet and savory flavor profile of teriyaki sauce makes it highly versatile. It complements a wide range of meats, including chicken, beef, pork, and seafood. Additionally, you can use the sauce with various vegetables too.

Read More: Hoisin Sauce vs Soy Sauce

Common Dishes

Common dishes that incorporate hoisin sauce include Peking duck, moo shu pork, and various Chinese stir-fries. Teriyaki sauce is famously used in dishes like teriyaki chicken, beef, and salmon. 

Similarities Between Hoisin Sauce and Teriyaki Sauce

Hoisin and teriyaki sauces do not only contain differences, but they also bear several similarities. I have noted them down for your better understanding:

  • Both are popular Asian sauces widely used in various dishes.
  • Both sauces contain umami flavors, providing a balance of sweetness and savory elements.
  • Soy sauce is a common ingredient in both sauces, contributing to their umami taste.
  • Both sauces often include sweetening agents, such as sugar or honey, to create their characteristic sweet notes.
  • They can be used as glazes for meats and vegetables, enhancing their flavors during grilling or roasting.
  • Hoisin and teriyaki sauces are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, making them valuable additions to a cook’s pantry.
  • Both sauces are used in Westernized Asian cuisines, such as stir-fries and noodle dishes, due to their delicious and distinctive flavors.
  • Both sauces are found in supermarkets and grocery stores, making them easily accessible for home cooks and chefs alike.

Which Is Good For What?

Hoisin sauce is good for adding depth of flavor as a glaze or dipping sauce in Chinese cuisine, especially with roasted or grilled meats like Peking duck. It has a rich, savory, and sweet taste.

On the other hand, teriyaki sauce is good for marinating and grilling meats and vegetables in Japanese-inspired dishes. Its sweet and savory profile creates a delicious glaze on the food during cooking.

Both sauces offer unique flavors and are versatile in their applications, enhancing various dishes with their distinct taste. The choice between the two depends on the specific culinary context and the desired flavor profile of the dish.


Hoisin sauce and teriyaki sauce are both delicious condiments, each offering its own distinctive flavors and culinary applications. Hoisin sauce shines as a glaze and dipping sauce in Chinese dishes, while teriyaki sauce excels as a marinade and grilling glaze in Japanese-inspired cuisine. I would say both are incomparable in their specialties, make sure you try them both at least once. 

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top