Plum Sauce Substitute

Finding plum sauce on a store shelf is not always an option, so when that happens, make or find a plum sauce substitute! Use the plum sauce on roasted duck or even over vegetables!

Make this plum sauce substitute for chicken or duck.
Make this plum sauce substitute for chicken or duck.

What is Plum Sauce?

Plum sauce, also called Duck sauce, is generally a popular condiment for Chinese and other Asian dishes.

Plum sauce is a sweet and tangy sauce. It’s combination of plums or other fruits such as apricots, peaches or even pineapples with ginger, vinegar and chili peppers.

Plum Sauce Substitues

While plum sauce is generally readily available and can be found in most Asian grocery stores, sometimes you need to find a substitute.

Hoisin Sauce: Hoisin sauce is generally confused for Plum sauce. While the two are similar, think of hoisin as a more savory version of plum sauce. Sweet plums are the star of plum sauce, which makes it sweeter, but hoisin is a close second.

Oyster Sauce: Slightly more “fishy” and less sweet, but it is similar to both hoisin and plum sauces. Using this as a replacement will yield a flavor that is tangier and less sweet.

Teriyaki Sauce: If you like your dishes sweeter, add in teriyaki as a replacement for plum sauce. It has a lot of the same characteristics as plum sauce, but without the fruit!

Char Siu Sauce: Also known as a Chinese barbecue sauce, Char Siu sauce is usually paired with pork. It has a smokey sweet flavor and is generally a mixture of honey, hoisin, soy sauce and Chinese 5-spice.

Plum Jam: A good sub for plum sauce is plum jam! Either use the jam straight out of the container or add the jam to a saucepan and add in vinegar, salt and chili.

Ingredients for a Plum Sauce Substitute at Home

  • Plums: Use fresh sweet plums or if you can’t find those, use another sweet fruit. Other fruits such as apricots, pears or even pineapples will work for this recipe.
  • Rice Vinegar: Adding a acid, such as vinegar will balance the sweetness of the plums.
  • Sugar: Plums have quite a bit of natural sugar in them, but adding white sugar to the recipe will bring out the natural sweetness of the plums. If you are using plum jam, feel free to skip this step.
  • Chili Peppers: Use your favorite Asian pepper in this recipe, depending on what kind of heat you are looking for.
  • Salt: Adding salt to taste will balance the flavors of sweet and spicy.

How to Make a Plum Sauce Substitute

Another option is to make plum sauce yourself if you can’t seem to find it.

Make a plum sauce substitute for your poultry dishes.
Make a plum sauce substitute for your poultry dishes.

Start with plums, or another pit fruit, such as apricots or peaches. Pit the fruit and then poach to remove the skins.

Quarter the fruit and remove the pits. Place into a large saucepan and add in sugar, ginger, chili peppers, vinegar and salt. Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring every minute or so.

After the pot has simmered and the fruit has broken down further, taste the sauce for flavoring. Add in more salt or vinegar depending on your tastes.

Once finished, store the sauce and refrigerate or use immediately.

Plum Sauce Substitue

5.0 from 1 vote
Recipe by Sarah
Course: Sauce, SideCuisine: Chinese, Cantonese, AsianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1 1/2 pounds plums

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

  • 3/4 cup white sugar

  • 3 chili peppers, more if desired

  • 1/4 cup water

  • salt, to taste


  • Poach the plums to remove the skins. Then quarter and remove the pit. Add the plum pieces back into a large stockpot.
  • Add in sugar, chili peppers, salt, water and vinegar. Give it a good stir and heat over medium heat until the plums begin to break down further. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and continue stirring every minute or so.
  • Taste the sauce for seasoning. Add in more vinegar, salt or sugar depending on the flavor.
  • Once the sauce is properly seasoned, allow the sauce to cool. Store in glass jars in the fridge or serve immediately.

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