The best hoisin sauce is thick, flavorful, and complex. Before I get into what else I look for in a store bought hoisin sauce, let me answer the question you might be asking, “What is hoisin sauce?”
I love hoisin sauce and eat it regularly, but this taste test made me realize I didn’t really know what it was. I knew it was a thick, sweet, salty, and savory Chinese sauce that I used for cooking or eating along with my pho. What I learned is that this reddish-brown sauce is made from soybeans, vinegar, sugar, and spices. It’s Cantonese, but it is now used throughout Asia (which is why you see it on the table at many Vietnamese restaurants).
We were looking for hoisin sauce that packs a punch of complex flavor and would be perfect as a dip or an ingredient. After trying a bunch of different versions, we found that these are the best bottles of hoisin sauce to buy!
- Sun Luck All Natural Hoisin Sauce
If you like your hoisin sauce on the sweeter side, Sun Luck All Natural Hoisin Sauce is the best hoisin sauce you’ll find at the grocery store. This is sweet and thick and has an almost apple butter-like quality to it. It’s a little bit grainy, but in a way that’s extremely texturally pleasing. I think this would be wonderful mixed with chili crisp or sriracha to make a sweet and spicy dipping sauce for summer rolls or used as a stir-fry sauce for pork. Sweet freaks, buy Sun Luck!
Credit: Merc / Vons
- Kroger Hoisin Sauce
The thin consistency of Kroger’s Hoisin Sauce makes it perfect for using as an ingredient when cooking. It would beautifully coat meat and veggies. It’s a little thinner than some of the other hoisin sauces we tried and not so goopy. Plus, the sauce is so complex that it really doesn’t need anything else. It can really be a stand-alone sauce. You get a lot of salty umami from the miso and hints of fruitiness from the pumpkin. This hoisin is definitely one of the best hoisin sauces you can buy and, since it’s Kroger brand, it’s available at a lot of grocery stores.
Credit: Merc / Ralphs
- Lee Kim Kee Hoisin Sauce
Lee Kum Kee is great. We love their sweet and sour sauce and their oyster sauce, so it’s no surprise that we like their hoisin sauce. This is easily the best hoisin sauce for dipping because it is so thick. It is also super salty in a great way and would complement something fresh and light, like a veggie-filled summer roll. I also think this is a great starter hoisin sauce for the uninitiated because the flavor is mild and Lee Kum Kee is the hoisin sauce of choice at a lot of restaurants. If you’ve been to a Vietnamese restaurant, you’ve probably had Lee Kum Kee. If you haven’t, go right now and try the Lee Kum Kee there before you buy a bottle for your home.
Credit: Merc / Safeway
- Kikkoman Hoisin Sauce
Kikkoman’s hoisin sauce is perfect. It’s sensationally balanced. It’s perfectly sweet and salty. It’s thick but still pourable. It has plum puree and you really get that nice, fruity flavor. It has tons of umami. You could use this for literally anything. I cannot say enough good things about Kikkoman’s hoisin sauce. I love you, Kikkoman hoisin!
Credit: Merc / Amazon
Best for Dipping
Best of the Best
Other Products We Tried: Wok Mei, 365, Sprouts