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This easy Copycat Ah-So Sauce is delicious used as a marinade, or a sauce to brush on meats and shrimp.

Copycat Ah-So Sauce

You may never buy the jarred version again, once you make our delicious, homemade Copycat Ah-So Sauce!

It only takes about twenty minutes to prepare, and chances are you already have most of the ingredients to make this easy, copycat version of this Copycat Ah-So Sauce at home!


How do you make Copycat Ah-So Sauce?

Our copycat recipe is a mix of honey, brown sugar, Hoison sauce, 5-spice powder, oil, sherry, and tomato paste, plus some corn starch to thicken your Copycat Ah-So Sauce and red food coloring to give it that distinctive bright color.

Copycat Ah-So Sauce

The original Ah-So Sauce is a sweet and sticky, bright red marinade that has been popular in the Northeast region of the United States for as long as I can remember. These days, you can find it online, as well as at many major grocery chains.

But with today’s recipe, save yourself a trip to the store (as well as save some money). You might even decide that our Copycat Ah-So Sauce tastes better than the original.


Copycat Ah-So Sauce

Follow along with us all week because we’re sharing a delicious Chinese Barbecued Pork recipe made with this Copycat Ah-So Sauce, as well as sharing a recipe for Egg Foo Young. You don’t want to miss it!

You may enjoy these other homemade sauce recipes:

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Copycat Ah-So Sauce

Copycat Ah-So Sauce

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups
  • Category: sauce
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian


Use this easy recipe as a marinade* or a sauce!


¾ cup honey, *see Notes below if using this recipe as a marinade

3 tablespoons brown sugar

½ cup Hoisin sauce

2 teaspoons 5-spice powder

2 tablespoons red food color

4 teaspoons vegetable oil

¼ cup dry sherry

¼ cup tomato paste

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons corn starch *see Notes below if using this recipe as a marinade

See note below about optional white miso


If using as Marinade*:

Place half the honey, brown sugar, Hoisin, 5-spice powder, red food coloring, vegetable oil, sherry, tomato paste and soy sauce in a medium sauce pan. Heat to hot, simmer three minutes then cool and marinate your meat or fish.

Once the meat is done marinating, pour marinade into a sauce pan, add in the remaining honey and in a small bowl, stir in the corn starch with a little of the cold marinade then add to the sauce pan. Heat at a medium simmer for three minutes. Brush on your marinated meat or fish before and after cooking.


If using strictly as a sauce, heat honey, brown sugar, Hoisin, 5-spice powder, red food coloring, vegetable oil, sherry and tomato paste in a medium sauce pan until hot. Mix the soy sauce with the corn starch and once dissolved, add to the sauce pan and heat until thick. Use to bush meat or fish before roasting or grilling.


*If using for a marinade, use half the amounts of honey and corn starch as listed in the ingredients.

One ingredient intentionally left out is white miso. Miso (fermented soy beans) can be added to this recipe in small quantities before using as a marinade or sauce. It changes the flavor enough that it no longer tastes like the jarred version so we left it out intentionally, but please feel free to add. I would use two tablespoons in the recipe if you chose to use.

Keywords: Copycat Ah-So Sauce


Copycat Ah-So Sauce

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  • Mary wrote:

    I used just 1/2 cup corn sirup & omitted the tomato paste. It’s good. Not having any Ah-So Sauce on hand to compare I’m not sure how close it is. I also think there was too much five-spice; kind of overpowered it. Did add the Miso to give it the saltiness of Ah-So.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback Mary.

  • Andrea wrote:

    It was very good but was wondering if it would taste closer to the real sauce if made with Corn Syrup instead of honey ,cause I could taste the honey quite a bit . I did enjoy 😊

    • Martha wrote:


  • Morry Korman wrote:

    I wanted to print your recipie for this sauce but I found that I needed to print 7 pages in order to do that. When you post these things on the web . . . is it possible to separate the recipie from everything else in the name of paper and ink conservation.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Morry – At the top of every recipe, there is a print button that will just print the recipe. For some reason, do you not see that? If so, please let me know so I can troubleshoot.

  • Katie Horan wrote:

    Have you ever tried to seal this in a mason jar to preserve the shelf life of it? If so, how long do you boil the jars for? Thank you!

    • Martha wrote:

      No Katie – We haven’t tried canning it. (If you decide try, just be sure to follow safe canning procedures and know the acidity of this sauce to ensure that it is safe for water bath canning. Not all foods are…)

  • Marissa Siraco wrote:

    How long could you store the sauce for?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Marissa – I’d say 1 to 2 weeks in the refrigerator should be safe.

  • Dawn Blanchard-Vincent wrote:

    Better than the store bought. We substituted water for the food coloring and it was perfect.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Dawn!

  • Jessica White wrote:

    So you mean cooking sherry ?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Jessica – Actually, no…we don’t recommend the supermarket cooking sherry (it’s loaded with salt and, in our opinion, tastes terrible). We suggest that you go to a liquor store and buy dry sherry – which can be used for cooking or drinking.

  • Gabrielle wrote:

    What type of hoisin sauce would you recommend for this recipe, a homemade type made with peanut butter or a certain store bought brand?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Gabrielle – We use store-bought and don’t really have a favorite brand…any brand should work just fine in this sauce.

  • Andrea wrote:

    I had a jar of Ah-So sauce but I needed more for my boneless spare ribs. I tried your recipe, and honestly it’s 100x better than the jarred sauce. The Ah-So sauce makes the meat look pink and doesn’t taste as good. This sauce was delicious. My spare ribs came out looking and tasting exactly like take-out boneless spare ribs. Thank you so much for sharing. My family devoured it!

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe Andrea!

  • Norma wrote:


    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Norma – To get the super vivid red color, you’ll need more than two drops. Feel free to keep adding drops until you get the color you’d like.

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