Char Siu Sauce Recipe | Sauced


Char Siu doesn't refer to a sauce particularly, but the final product after this "Chinese barbecue sauce" is applied to pork that is hung onto fork skewers and roasted. Still, there's a fairly common base set of ingredients including hoisin, honey, soy sauce, sherry, Chinese five spice powder that imparts the ubiquitous flavor and glossy sheen to Char Siu.

The resulting sauce is sweet and salty with a distinct Asian flavor from the fermented soy in the hoisin, and a spiced kick from the five spice powder—a mixture of anise, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, and Sichuan peppercorns.

You can add food coloring to give that standard red hue, but last time I did that, my Chinese-style spare ribs looked like some mutant, unnaturally bright red form of meat. Since then I've been sticking to the sauce sans food coloring, which results in a more earthy red color that I actually find more visually appealing.

Use this sauce as a marinade on pork belly, ribs, loin—any piece of pork you want to give an Asian barbecue flavor to, but it's also great as a dip or spread as well.

Recipe Details

Char Siu Sauce Recipe | Sauced

Prep 5 mins
Active 10 mins
Total 5 mins
Serves 8 servings
Makes 1 cup


  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry

  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder


  1. In a small bowl, mix together hoisin sauce, honey, soy sauce, sherry, and five spice powder.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
63 Calories
0g Fat
14g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 643mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 9mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 61mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)