So what is XO sauce, anyway? XO sauce is a Chinese sauce made from chopped seafood, sesame oil and a rich blend of other ingredients that enhance food with an umami flavor.
Most recipes use dried seafood, but we’ve substituted the dried seafood with canned shrimp and scallops for a different (and less time-consuming) spin on it.
Add it to your stir fry, pour it over rice, mix it with noodles and add it to your favorite Asian dishes for a taste of the coast.
Every ingredient in this recipe is perfectly balanced to combine the flavor of seafood with spicy chilies, salty oils and savory sauces. When we were testing this version of the recipe, we thought it was one of the best XO sauce versions we’d ever tasted, despite not using the dried seafood. It still has that umami flavor that XO sauce is all about!
To store your sauce, simply pour it into an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks.
If you’re not sure how to use XO sauce, this condiment is fairly versatile. You can add it to noodle dishes, use it to flavor plain rice or use it as a dipping sauce. This sauce also pairs well with fresh fish and cooked vegetables.
You can even add it to hamburgers for a truly eclectic Asian-inspired dish. Just make sure you use it sparingly, as XO sauce has a very strong flavor. A little sauce goes a long way in the kitchen.
Once you’ve mastered the art of making XO sauce, you can experiment with other authentic Chinese ingredients to put your own twist on this classic condiment. Some suggested ingredients include chopped Jinhua ham, ginger, chilies, brown sugar, etc. Just make sure you use a delicate touch, as a single ingredient can alter the flavor of this sauce.
What’s your favorite way to serve XO sauce? Do you stick with authentic Asian dishes or do you prefer experimenting with different cuisines in a fusion-style? Let us know in the comments and if you enjoyed it, please share the recipe!
Easy XO Sauce Recipe
- 2 tbsp. canned shrimp - finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. canned scallops* - finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp. chili garlic sauce
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- ½ tsp. fish sauce
- Mix everything together. It can be stored in a jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- XO sauce can be added to stir-fries, noodles, rice, as a dipping sauce, etc. It is a strong, concentrated sauce that should be used sparingly.
Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or sauces.
Hungry for more? Try our Dill Pickle Pasta Salad