8 Best Plum Sauce Substitutes

Plums have an important place in traditional Chinese cuisine. They were first cultivated in China. And they are still quite popular and take part in different recipes.

One of them is Plum sauce or Duck sauce, a delicious and often-used product that can be found in every Chinese restaurant. However, don’t be confused by the name. There is no duck in it. It is used as a sauce for the famous Peking duck.

However, there are plums, honey, spices, ginger, garlic, vinegar, chili, and other ingredients that make this sauce the best for its purpose.

It’s not a sauce from the packets or squeezes bottles from the take-out restaurants. It’s a sauce with history and tradition.

Plum sauce can be stored for two weeks or stored for a few months. It can be used as a dipping sauce for dumplings, egg rolls, wontons, or spring rolls. Or as a finishing sauce with fish, shrimp, pork, chicken, and of course roasted duck.

As drizzled on rice, glaze for baked pork, seafood, tossed with noodles, stir-fry sauce, or as a basting sauce for grilling meats, poultry, and seafood. For this sauce, you can use fresh or dried plums. Some recipe variations of this sauce are made with apricots, peaches, or even pineapple.

The best substitutes for plum sauce are Hoisin sauce, duck sauce, sweet and sour sauce, Garlic teriyaki sauce, Garlic and prunes, Black beans with plums, Garlic with miso, mustard, and raisins or Ginger with plum jam. 

Plum Sauce Substitutes

1. Hoisin sauce

Hoisin sauce is the closest in flavor to the plum sauce. Thus, they’re great substitutes for each other. Hoisin sauce is spicier with powerful flavors.

The key ingredient is fermented soybean paste but you can make many varieties adding vinegar, garlic, red chilies, fennel seeds, or peanut butter, etc, depending on your taste.

2. Duck sauce

Its orange jelly-like sauce made from apricots, peaches, pineapples, and originally plums added to sugar, vinegar, ginger, and chilly papers.

The name duck comes from the way he was served (with Peking duck) in his first use.

3. Sweet and sour sauce


You can make it by mixing brown sugar, white sugar, or honey as sweet ingredients. Or white vinegar, apple cider vinegar. Or rice vinegar and pineapple juice as sour ingredients.

The sweet and sour sauce is sweeter and tart than plum sauce, but the plum sauce is thicker and jammier.

4. Garlic teriyaki sauce

Teriyaki Sauce

Garlic is one of the ingredients of plum sauce. Therefore, this sauce can be used as a substitute, adding kidney beans, red vinegar, teriyaki sauce, molasses, and spices as you wish.

Mix them in a blender and you can add them to prepare chicken, beef, or salmon. It’s meant to be cooking sauce, but can be safely used as a dip or a condiment.

5. Garlic and prunes

Green garlic

Prunes (some type of tree different than plums) or dried plums you can use as a substitute for the plum sauce. Simply boil them in a pan with water until they are soft and mushy.

Just let them cool then blend them mixed with soy sauce, garlic, and sherry. Add spices to your taste and enjoy your meal.

6. Black beans and plums

Mix plums, brown sugar, and water in a saucepan and boil until they become soft, add black bean and garlic. Let them cool. Additionally, blend with adding soy sauce, vinegar, oil, and spices as you wish.

7. Garlic with miso, mustard, and raisins

Miso Paste

Raisins are a very good substitute for plums for their similar taste. First, you soak the raisins for one hour. Then add water, sesame oil, miso paste, mustard, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Blend all the ingredients and use them on your meat or ham.

8. Ginger and plum jam

plum jam

If you have a jar of plum jam in your pantry, now you can use it for making a delicious sauce. Mix 2 tablespoons of the jam with 1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce, 2 cloves garlic,1-inch of ginger,1/2teaspoon crushed red pepper. Now you have a new sauce with ingredients from your pantry.

How Do You Make Plum Sauce From Scratch?

It’s very easy to make plum sauce from scratch. Just follow the next easy steps and you will get a delicious homemade plum sauce in no time.


  • 15-20 plums(depends on the size)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced


  1. Cut the plums in half and each half to 6 pieces.
  2. Mix the plums in the saucepan with garlic, onion, soy sauce, ginger, and chili sauce.
  3. Heat on medium for 20 minutes. And stir from time to time.
  4. Blend it and if you want it thinner add water.
  5. Store in the freezer for 6 months or the fridge for 2 weeks.

Sometimes you have to adjust the recipes according to the ingredients you have, your taste, and wishes.

Plum sauce is a smooth and sticky seasoning that brings a balance of sweet, tart, and spice flavor to the dishes you add.

Sometimes you can use apricots, peaches, or pineapple, it all depends on your taste and what kind of sauce you want to make.

Whatever you choose make it your recipe that you will share with your loved ones for the moments spend together eating your favorite food.

Related Questions

Is hoisin and plum sauce the same?

Hoisin sauce is made from fermented soybean paste. And is spicier with a more powerful flavor. Plum sauce, on the other hand, is made from plums. However, they have similar flavors and can be each other’s substitute.

Is sweet and sour sauce the same as plum sauce?

The original combination of sweet and sour sauce is rice vinegar and sugar, and it was used as a condiment or a sauce for fish, meat, and vegetables.

Plum sauce is not quite sweet and tart as sweet and sour sauce, so they a different thing but can be easily transformed with adding the right ingredients.

Final Words

As you can notice, there’s a wide array of substitutes for plum sauce. So the next time you don’t have plum sauce on hand, use some of the substitutes mentioned above. Also, don’t forget to share your cooking tips and tricks in the comments.

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