Is Hoisin Sauce Vegan?

I

Don’t confuse hoisin sauce with fish sauce or oyster sauce.

Most hoisin sauce is vegan, while fish sauce is of course not vegan.

Hoisin sauce is typically made with soybeans and a collection of spices.

This may include:

  • Chili
  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Vinegar
  • Xanthan Gum

I’ve yet to come across a hoisin sauce with animal products in it, but let me know if you have.

You might notice that some hoisin sauces are labelled “vegetarian” while some aren’t, particularly in Asian countries.

It has to do with garlic and onion not being suitable for strict vegetarian buddhists. Don’t be concerned by it, you can get either kind as a vegan and be fine.

The only potential issue is that some hoisin sauces contain artificial colors like Red #40, Yellow #5, etc.

Many vegans don’t eat artificial colors because of animal testing that surrounds them. Keep an eye out for them on the ingredients label if you’d like to avoid them.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

2 comments

  • Not all packaged hoisin sauce is vegan. Some contain Yellow 5 and Red 40, both potentially cancer causing and both derived from animals. Check the ingredients before purchasing and using the sauce. If you are vegan, and if hoisin sauce is used in food you are ordering, ask the staff if the sauce contains food coloring. If the staff is too lazy to check, does not know, or are guessing, consider it to have food coloring and do not let theme add ito to your meal. If they cannot tell you all the ingredients in that hoisin sauce, chances are that sauce is not vegan. Stay awake.

    • Neither Yellow 5 or Red 40 are derived from animals, they are both made of synthetic materials (hence it’s an “artificial color”, and not a “natural” one).