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Low-Carb Hoisin Sauce

4.6 stars, average of 9 ratings

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Hoisin Sauce made low-carb! This was undeniably one of the most tested, hardest recipes to convert. In the end to make this low-carb, I only made a few small modifications. My goal was to keep this sauce as authentic as possible without making it a sugar bomb. Too many modifications were not simply worth the few extra carbs I'd have saved.

I know what you're thinking. Yes, there is soy bean paste, and yes there are prunes in this recipe. But before you blacklist this recipe as "non keto", let me explain why you can still use it as part of a healthy low-carb diet, and yes even the keto diet.

Is Soy Keto?

Soy products are not typically recommended if you follow a healthy low-carb diet. But the type of soy bean paste used in this recipe is fermented which means it's one of those foods you can enjoy on a healthy low-carb diet together with other fermented soy foods such as Natto, Tempeh, and tamari sauce which is also used in this recipe.

Some (non keto) recipes online recommend using peanut butter instead of fermented soy bean paste, but I found that using peanut butter made it taste more like satay sauce and less like hoisin sauce. Delicious but not quite right.

Is High Carb Fruit Allowed on Keto?

Another ingredient in this Low-Carb Hoisin Sauce is dried prunes. They sure are high in carbs but I found that without them the sauce was missing a key ingredient. The sweet, earthy, umami taste of prunes is unlike anything else. So instead of omitting prunes altogether and finding a less suitable low-carb option, I decided to include them. In any case it's only 4 or 5 prunes per recipe which isn't that much per serving!

And it's not the first time I used a seemingly "banned" ingredient in a low-carb or keto recipe. My readers love this Low-Carb Chocolate Chip Banana Bread! Despite using a real banana, there's only 4.4 grams of net carbs per serving.

Why Being Low-Carb Doesn't Mean Excluding Higher-Carb Options

Let’s put a stop to nutrition/diet cultism which only serves those promoting their "one way for all" approach.

The Keto Food List is merely supposed to be used as a guide to help people transition to a healthy low-carb lifestyle. There is no one way to do keto and the approach you will need to follow will depend on your goals and your unique biology.

Whether a certain food is suitable for your diet will matter on your daily net carb (or total carb) limit and your goal. For instance, deep ketosis is essential for therapeutic purposes but not for weight loss. For some people this means aiming for no more than 20 grams of (total) carbs, for others this can be achieved by eating up to 30 grams of (net) carbs typically for weight loss, and even more for weight maintenance.

Over the years I've proven over and over again that you can use higher-carb whole food ingredients as long as you keep you are aware of the right serving size for you. Here are some of the recipes which use ingredients not typically recommended on a keto diet:

Recipe Tips & Substitutions

  • Allulose syrup can be replaced with granulated Allulose or Erythritol or brown sugar substitute. You'll may need to use up to 6 tablespoons to achieve the same sweetness. General tip: Use sweetener to taste.
  • Fermented soy bean paste also known as black bean sauce can be substituted with the same amount of smooth peanut butter or almond butter. This will however change the flavor so keep that in mind.
  • Sriracha sauce can be substituted with a pinch of dried chile flakes or omitted altogether if you prefer to make it without it.

How to Use Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is widely used in Chinese cooking. It can be used as a table condiment and for flavoring meat, poultry and shellfish dishes.

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Hands-on Overall

Serving size 1 tbsp/ 15 ml

Allergy information for Low-Carb Hoisin Sauce

✔  Gluten free
✔  Dairy free
✔  Egg free
✔  Nut free
✔  Pork free
✔  Avocado free
✔  Coconut free
✔  Fish free
✔  Shellfish free
✔  Beef free

Nutritional values (per serving, 1 tbsp/ 15 ml)

Net carbs1.9 grams
Protein0.9 grams
Fat0.8 grams
Calories18 kcal
Calories from carbs 43%, protein 19%, fat 38%
Total carbs2.2 gramsFiber0.3 gramsSugars1.4 gramsSaturated fat0.1 gramsSodium404 mg(18% RDA)Magnesium2 mg(1% RDA)Potassium17 mg(1% EMR)

Ingredients (makes about 1 cup/ 220 to 240 ml)


  1. Place all of the ingredients apart from the water in a blender or a food processor.
    Note: See recipe post for more tips, substitutions, and reasons why we're using these ingredients. Low-Carb Hoisin Sauce
  2. Process until smooth and creamy. Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of water to thin down as needed and stir or process again. Low-Carb Hoisin Sauce
  3. Pour in a storage jar or serve immediately just like you would Hoisin Sauce. This sauce can be stored in the fridge in a sealed jar for up to 2 weeks or frozen in an ice tray for up to 6 months. Low-Carb Hoisin Sauce

Ingredient nutritional breakdown (per serving, 1 tbsp/ 15 ml)

Net carbsProteinFatCalories
Fermented Soybean Paste (Unknown)
0.8 g0.4 g0.2 g6 kcal
Plums, dried (prunes), stewed, without added sugar
0.5 g0 g0 g2 kcal
Tamari sauce (gluten-free soy sauce)
0.2 g0.5 g0 g3 kcal
Rice vinegar
0.1 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Allulose syrup, natural low-carb sweetener
0.3 g0 g0 g1 kcal
Chinese five spice
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Garlic powder, spices
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Sriracha chili sauce, hot sauce
0.1 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Sesame oil, toasted
0 g0 g0.6 g5 kcal
Water, still
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Total per serving, 1 tbsp/ 15 ml
1.9 g0.9 g0.8 g18 kcal

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Martina Slajerova
Creator of

Martina Slajerova

I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s when I decided to quit sugar, grains, and processed foods, and to start following a whole-foods-based ketogenic approach to food.

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Comments (4)

Hi! Would a dark miso sub work in place of soybean paste?

Hi Sarah, you can use peanut butter (see recipe tips) 😊

Yes I saw that, but you said it will alter the flavour and I don't want that so was wondering if the flavour of dark miso is more in keeping with fermented black bean paste?

Yes, that would actually work really well in this recipe as it's a touch sweeter.