12 Best Plum Sauce Substitutes for Your Cooking!

Best Plum Sauce Substitutes for Your Cooking
19 min reading time

Plum sauce is a sweet and savory condiment often used in Chinese cuisine to give dishes a unique flavor and texture. While this type of sauce can be hard to come by, it doesn’t have to limit your cooking options! In this blog post, you’ll learn about twelve different plum sauce substitutes that you can use as an alternative when making Asian-inspired stir-fries, appetizers, noodles, and more. From apricot jam and apple butter to hoisin sauce and honey mustard dressing – there’s bound to be an alternative substitute that will fit all of your culinary needs!

Keep reading for the ultimate guide on how to replace the traditional ingredient with something just as delicious but much easier (and faster!) to find in stores or make at home.

What is Plum Sauce?

Plum sauce is a condiment that has been popular in Chinese, American, and Southeast Asian cooking for many years. It typically consists of plums or Chinese dates, vinegar, sugar, garlic, onion or shallots, and spices such as ginger. In some cases, it may also include star anise and sesame oil.

The sauce can be used to marinate meat before cooking or barbecuing; as a dip for deep-fried snacks; in stir fries; to give extra flavor to rice dishes; with egg rolls or spring rolls; as a base ingredient for marinades and glazes; as well as other uses according to one’s imagination!

Plum sauce is very versatile and easy to make at home from scratch. This richly colored red-brown condiment adds depth of flavor but not too much heat so it works well with both sweet dishes like applesauce cake while still being tart enough to pair nicely with savory foods like roast pork belly! It’s also fantastic when added into sauces for noodles – particularly udon – giving them an incredible depth of flavor.

Uses of Plum Sauce

Plum sauce is a sweet, tangy condiment made from plums and other ingredients such as sugar, vinegar, ginger and garlic. It has a thick consistency and can be used as an accompaniment to many types of dishes. Here are some of the uses of plum sauce:

  1. As a marinade: This versatile ingredient is great for enhancing the flavor of meats like chicken or pork.
  2. As a dipping sauce: Plum sauce makes for a perfect addition to any appetizer plate when served alongside spring rolls or dumplings. It’s also great for dunking Vietnamese Summer Rolls in!
  3. Stir-frying and cooking sauces: Add Chinese-inspired flavor to almost any dish by using plum sauce in stir fries. The sweet taste combined with the savory flavors like soy or oyster truly bring out Asian cuisine flavors at their best!

Why Should We Substitute Plum Sauce?

If you’re looking for plum sauce substitutes, there are a number of reasons why you might want to consider doing so.

First and foremost, plum sauce is a versatile condiment that can be used in multiple dishes such as grilled meats, spring rolls, egg rolls, or even on pizza. However, many people may be allergic to plums or not have access to the ingredients needed to make it from scratch. Furthermore, some store-bought versions of plum sauces contain high amounts of added sugar and preservatives which can impact health negatively.

Luckily, there are several alternatives available if you’re looking for substitutes for plum sauce including hoisin sauce (which is made from fermented soybean paste), char siu (made with fermented red bean curd) or barbeque sauce, spicy teriyaki sauces and other Asian influenced sauces like sweet chili garlic or orange peel varieties.

Making your own substitute at home is also an option if you know how to mix flavors properly depending upon what type of dish the replacement is going into—simply experiment with different combinations until you find one that works best!

How to Choose the Best Plum Sauce Substitute?

When it comes to choosing the best plum sauce substitute, there are a few considerations. To begin with, consider the flavor profile that you are looking for in your dish – is it a sweeter taste or more acidic? A good way to determine this is by reading through any recipes that call for plum sauce and getting an idea of what ingredients will be used and how they work together.

Next, think about whether you want your substitute to be authentic or not – do you really need the exact same flavor as real plum sauce? Finally, texture should also be taken into account when selecting a substitute for plum sauce – some options like orange marmalade may provide too thick a consistency whereas others like hoisin might be too thin and watery.

Best Plum Sauce Substitutes: 12 Alternatives to Know About

When it comes to Asian cuisines, plum sauce is a popular condiment with a sweet and tangy flavor. However, it’s not always easy to find this sauce at your local grocery store or Asian market. Fear not, as there are several plum sauce substitutes that will give your dishes the same burst of flavor.

1. Hoisin Sauce

hoisin sauce - one of the plum sauce substitutes
Source: www.inspiredtaste.net

Hoisin sauce is an incredibly versatile and flavorful condiment typically used in Asian cuisine, so it makes sense that it would be a great substitute for plum sauce. Although the two sauces are similar in texture and color, there are some differences between them.

Hoisin sauce is usually made with soybeans, garlic, chilis, fennel seed, five-spice powder (ground star anise, cloves, cinnamon bark or dried ginger root), vinegar, sugar or honey and sesame oil. It has a salty-sweet flavor with a slight smoky taste from the five-spice powder. Plum sauce on the other hand has added sourness because of rice vinegar or Chinese black vinegar giving it more complexity than hoisin which tends to be just sweet and savory.

Hoisin also contains quite a bit less sodium than plum sauce; about 600 mg per tablespoon compared to 1120 mg for plum sauce. This can be beneficial for those looking to cut back on their sodium intake while still enjoying tasty food! The lack of tartness may not appeal to all palates though but adding small amounts of either lime juice or rice wine can help perk up its flavor profile if desired.

2. Duck Sauce

homemade duck sauce in a jar
Source: www.imperialsugar.com

Duck sauce is a condiment made from sweet and sour ingredients, such as apricot puree, vinegar or sugar to taste, and spices. It can be used as an alternative to plum sauce in recipes that call for a sweet-and-sour flavor profile.

Duck sauce has many benefits that make it an ideal substitute for plum sauce. First of all, duck sauce is much easier to find than plum sauce in most grocery stores—it’s usually available right on the shelf! Additionally, because it already contains a balance of sweet and sour flavors rather than one or the other like traditional sauces do, you can easily adjust its taste depending on your preference without having to add anything else. Its mild sweetness makes it especially popular with children who might not enjoy the intense flavor of traditional sauces such as soy or teriyaki.

Furthermore, if you are looking for something more nutritional than typical processed condiments then duck sauce could be the answer for you since it contains no artificial preservatives and does not contain added sugar (depending upon what recipe variation you use). It also contains large amounts of vitamins A and C which help protect your body from disease-causing bacteria by boosting immunity levels.

3. Garlic Teriyaki Sauce

garlic teriyaki sauce in a bowl
Source: aplantifulpath.com

Garlic teriyaki sauce makes an excellent substitute for plum sauce due to its sweet and slightly spicy flavor. It has a similar consistency to regular teriyaki sauce, but the addition of garlic provides a more complex flavor. Garlic teriyaki is also less expensive than most other types of Asian-style sauces, making it an accessible option for home cooks.

When using garlic teriyaki sauce as a plum sauce substitute, it’s important to adjust the amount you use based on preference and how much sweetness you’d like in your dish. If desired, adding honey or brown sugar can increase the sweetness level while maintaining the depth of flavor associated with garlic teriyaki sauces.

Another great way to add richness and complexity to dishes with garlic teriyaki is by adding ginger or red pepper flakes for some extra heat. Adding complimentary herbs such as fresh cilantro or basil can further deepen the savory flavors in your dish without taking away from its subtle sweetness.

4. Sweet and Sour Sauce

Spring rolls and sweet and sour sauce

Sweet and sour sauce is made with a combination of vinegar, sugar, tomato paste or ketchup, onion/garlic powder, peppers (like chili peppers or bell peppers), salt, pepper, ginger root or garlic cloves. This combination creates an acidic sweet-and-sour taste that complements many dishes like egg rolls or dim sum. Sweet and sour sauce is a popular substitute for plum sauce because of its similarities in flavor, texture, and color.

Not only does sweet and sour sauce bring out the sweetness in certain dishes but it also provides the perfect balance of tartness to contrast more savory flavors. The acidity provides a zestiness that brings out other delicate flavors as well as making them less overwhelming when served together on the same plate.

In addition to its unique taste profile, sweet and sour sauce can provide some extra nutritional benefits from ingredients such as tomatoes (lycopene) which are packed with antioxidants essential for improving cardiovascular health; ginger root (gingerol) which aids digestion; garlic cloves (allicin) known for their antibacterial properties.

5. Ponzu

Ponzu sauce in a white bowl
Source: www.thespruceeats.com

Ponzu is an ideal substitute for traditional plum sauce because it adds a unique flavor and complexity to dishes. Ponzu has a bright, citrusy acidity with notes of sweet onion that make it perfect for adding depth and flavor to any dish. It is also gluten-free and vegan friendly, making it a great option if you’re looking for an alternative to traditional plum sauce while still keeping your dish flavorful.

Ponzu consists of rice vinegar, dashi (fish stock), soy sauce, mirin (sweet cooking sake) as well as yuzu juice or lemon juice. This combination allows the ponzu to have both sweetness from the mirin and acidity from the acidic fruit juices/vinegar which creates balance when added on top of food or used in marinades. Compared with sweeter alternatives like Hoisin Sauce and Sweet Chili Sauce, ponzu provides more complexity without being overly sweet.

When used as a substitution in recipes where you would traditionally use Plum Sauce, Ponzu can give your ingredients more depth without taking away from their unique characteristics or flavors.

6. Soy Sauce

Bowl of soy sauce, soy beans on white background, space for text

Soy sauce is a great substitute for plum sauce because it provides the same umami flavor and tangy taste that you get from plum sauce. Soy sauce also contains less fat, sodium, and sugar than traditional plum sauces do. In addition, soy sauce has a longer shelf-life than plum sauces – allowing you to keep it on hand for several months without worrying about spoilage.

When using soy sauce as a substitute for plumsauce in recipes, you’ll want to be mindful of the fact that it does have significantly more salt content than regular plumsauce. To prevent food from becoming overly salty when substituting with soy sauce, adding some sweetener (such as honey or brown sugar) or reducing other ingredients’ saltiness can help balance out the overall flavor profile. Here are some tips for using soy sauce as a Plum Sauce Substitute:

Reduce the amount of soy sauce used by one third from what is called for in the recipe because it’s strong in taste and could overpower other flavors in the final dish.

For best results, pair your reduced amount of soy sauce with lightly-sweetened ingredients like applesauce, pureed dates or prunes if needed to provide sweetness to cut through any bitter notes that may arise when using only soy as a substitution for plum sauce.

7. Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce in a bowl
Source: www.thespruceeats.com

Oyster sauce is a fantastic substitute for plum sauce because of its unique flavor profile and versatility. It has a salty, sweet, and umami flavor that adds depth to dishes without overpowering them. In addition, it can be used as an all-purpose condiment for fried rice, vegetable stir fries, noodles and more.

Oyster sauce is made by combining oyster extract with sugar, salt and water to create a thick paste. The anchovy extract provides the distinct umami flavor while the sugar helps balance out the saltiness. As a result of this combination you get an intense yet smooth taste that complements many dishes.

The primary reason why people choose oyster sauce over other alternatives such as soy or hoisin sauce is due to its ability to add subtle notes without dominating other flavors in the dish. This makes it perfect for marinades and dips where you want something that will bring out certain ingredients but won’t overpower everything else on the plate. Furthermore, since oyster sauce is commonly found in supermarkets it makes finding a plum sauce substitute quite easy!

8. Sha Cha Sauce

Sha Cha sauce topped with coriander
Source: upload.wikimedia.org

Sha Cha Sauce is an increasingly popular condiment that has become a popular substitute for traditional plum sauce. This versatile Chinese-style sauce can be used to add flavor and complexity to dishes from a variety of cuisines, including Chinese, Thai, and Malaysian.

Sha Cha Sauce is made up primarily of soybean oil along with garlic, shallots, and chilies – all ingredients which provide it with a rich umami taste that you just don’t find in other sauces. Since it pairs well with savory foods like roasted meat or fish but has enough sweetness to work nicely when paired with seafood too, there are plenty more dinner recipes you can use Sha Cha in than the limited selection available to those who only rely on regular plum sauce!

Even though it’s much lighter than many other sauces out there (most versions have about half the calories per tablespoon compared to traditional plum sauce!), Sha Cha contains generous amounts of monounsaturated fats thanks to its main ingredient – soybean oil. There’s no added MSG whatsoever present in Sha Cha. This helps ensure that each spoonful will leave your mouth feeling free from sodium overload yet still completely satisfied by the taste explosion occurring on your tongue!

9. Garlic and Prunes

Garlic and prunes are both naturally sweet and savory, making them good substitutes for the often tart flavor of plum sauce. Prunes are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that provide numerous health benefits, while garlic boasts a powerful pungent flavor that can be used to enhance dishes with a little extra kick.

In addition to their culinary advantages, both prunes and garlic have a long history as traditional medicinal ingredients around the world. Prunes were considered effective treatments for constipation in ancient Egypt, while garlic has been used as an antibiotic remedy since early Greek times.

The combination of these two ingredients makes them great substitutes for traditional Chinese plum sauces because they give the same delicious sweetness but with added nutritional benefits from both natural sources. With garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties combined with prune’s powerhouse levels of fibre, vitamins and minerals – this recipe makes it a winning combination!

10. Black Beans and Plums

Black beans in a wooden bowl

Black beans and plums make an excellent substitute for plum sauce due to their similar flavor profile and texture. Black beans, which originate from South America, are known for their earthy flavor and creamy texture. Plums, meanwhile, have a sweet-tart taste that is often associated with Asian cuisine.

When used together as a replacement for plum sauce, black beans provide the savory notes while plums contribute sweetness and tartness. Additionally, both ingredients lend themselves well to thickening sauces without adding fat or sugar. This combination provides a lovely balance between depth of flavor from umami notes found in black beans while still getting sweet fruity undertones from plums.

Using black beans in place of other starches like rice also allows more nutrients to be absorbed into the dish since they contain about three times more dietary fiber than rice per serving. Plums are also an incredibly nutritious food due to their high content of essential vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium along with beneficial antioxidant compounds such as polyphenols and anthocyanins which help protect against free radical damage in the body caused by environmental stressors like pollution or smoking cigarettes.

11. Garlic with Miso and Raisins

Garlic, miso, and raisins make an excellent substitute for plum sauce due to their combination of sweet and savory flavors. Garlic is pungent in taste and adds a distinct flavor to the dish. Miso is a fermented soybean paste that adds umami (savory) flavor to many dishes, while raisins provide a much needed sweetness when combined with garlic and miso flavors. The combination of these ingredients creates an Asian-inspired condiment that can be used as a dipping sauce or added to marinades or stir-fries for additional depth of flavor.

In addition to being versatile in cooking applications this mix has potential health benefits too! Garlic contains essential minerals like potassium which is important for heart health; it helps regulate blood pressure levels by controlling sodium absorption within the body cells which helps keeps cholesterol low too! Miso provides probiotic properties that help maintain beneficial gut bacteria balance while its high protein content supports muscle tissue development– making this mixture both flavorful & nutritious all at once!

12. Caramelized Onion Chutney

Caramelized onion chutney is an excellent alternative to a plum sauce because it offers many of the same flavors without being as overly sweet. In comparison to typical store-bought plum sauces, caramelized onion chutney has more complex flavor notes like smokiness, depth of sweetness and slight acidity from balsamic vinegar. In addition, many versions also contain hints of garlic and ginger.

Caramelizing onions brings out its natural sweetness which helps impart a deep flavoring that can’t be achieved with just plain chopped onions. It’s also incredibly easy to make your own caramelized onions in no time simply slice the desired amount of onions into thin rings, heat some olive oil or butter in a pan on medium heat, then add the sliced onions and slowly cook until they turn golden and soft.

The addition of spices or herbs like rosemary are perfect for adding another layer of flavoring but is totally optional depending on the level of intensity you prefer for your chutney. So, if looking for an alternative to traditional Chinese plum sauce recipes during dinner parties at home – try making some delicious caramelized onion chutney instead! Not only will you avoid any added preservatives but it’ll definitely be more interesting than usual sauces found in stores.

How Do You Make Plum Sauce From Scratch?

Making plum sauce from scratch is easier than you might think! The key to making a great plum sauce is in the ingredients. Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to make your own homemade Plum Sauce:


  • 2 cups of plums, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root
  • Pinch of sea salt and ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed to thin out the sauce if desired


  1. Begin by adding all your ingredients – plums, white wine vinegar, honey, ginger, salt and pepper – into a medium size non-stick pot on medium heat and stirring occasionally until it comes to a boil (around five minutes). Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the fruit has softened completely; stirring frequently so that nothing sticks or burns on the bottom of your pot.
  2. Once fully cooked through, take off the heat and set aside until cool enough to handle with immersion blender (or regular blender). Puree fully until smooth before straining away any solids using either cheesecloth or fine sieve; return strained puree back into the same pot over low heat with additional liquid if necessary to thin it out some more (water works well here). Allow this mixture cook for another 5 minutes before taking off heat one final time; whisking in extra raw honey or sea salt if desired before pouring into airtight container where it will keep up several weeks stored in fridge when not in use (up two months even!). Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What does Korean plum sauce taste like?

Korean plum sauce, also known as maesil sauce, is a blend of sweet and sour with a hint of tartness that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. The flavor is complex, with subtle spicy undertones, making it a unique addition to your condiment collection.

Q: What are the plum sauce substitutes that should be avoided?

One such substitute to avoid is cherry sauce. While it may seem like a suitable alternative, cherry sauce lacks the distinctive tanginess and complexity of plum sauce. Another substitute to avoid is pomegranate molasses. While this syrupy condiment may have a similar sweetness to plum sauce, it lacks the fruitiness that is so crucial to the flavor of a traditional plum sauce.

Q: Is hoisin and plum sauce the same?

Despite their similarities, they are not the same thing. Plum sauce is made from plums, sugar, and vinegar, while hoisin sauce is made from soybeans, sugar, and various spices like garlic and sesame oil. Hoisin sauce has a more complex and savory flavor profile, while plum sauce is known for its fruity and tangy taste.

Q: Where to buy plum sauce?

Many major supermarkets carry plum sauce in their Asian food section, offering a variety of brands and flavors to choose from. If you prefer to shop from the comfort of your own home, online marketplaces such as Amazon and Walmart also offer a convenient selection of plum sauces for purchase.

Bottom Line:

Now we know more about what plum sauce is, how and where we can use it, and the best alternatives for it if needed. Plum sauce is a great condiment to give dishes an added hint of sweetness that can really take them to the next level. We want you to feel confident and prepared when selecting a substitute for your chosen dish as well, so before making a decision be sure to keep in mind the flavors of the dish you’re preparing as well as any potential chili spice additions. What may work for one dish may not necessarily work for all, which is why hoisin sauce, duck sauce, garlic teriyaki sauce, sweet and sour sauce, or various other options available will help make sure that you find the right blend of flavor combinations no matter your creative meal ideas.

Make sure to try out these plum sauce substitutes next time you’re looking for something unique and different in your next kitchen adventure!

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  • Alisha Knight

    Hoisin sauce is my go-to substitute for plum sauce. It’s got a similar sweet and tangy flavor.

  • Tilly Chambers

    Hoisin sauce is my go-to substitute for plum sauce. It’s got a similar sweet and tangy flavor.

  • Isobel Lane

    Never thought of using duck sauce as a substitute for plum sauce. Interesting!

  • Millie Farmer

    Hoisin sauce? Yum! 😋

  • Morgan Griffiths

    Sweet and sour sauce instead of plum sauce? Not sure about that… 🤔

  • Summer Saunders

    I found the suggestions in this article really helpful. I wasn’t sure what to use when I ran out of plum sauce last week, but now I have so many options! The idea of a homemade plum sauce is appealing, and it’s great to know I can also use something like teriyaki or hoisin sauce. Even the unconventional substitutes like garlic and prunes sound intriguing. Definitely going to keep this guide handy!

  • Jasmine Edwards

    Who knew there were so many substitutes for plum sauce? This is a game-changer!

  • Anna Ryan

    Soy sauce as a substitute for plum sauce? That wouldn’t give the same sweet flavor at all. Bad advice!

  • Melissa O'Connor

    Going to try the homemade version. Sounds fun!

  • Courtney Rice

    This article suggests honey as a substitute, but wouldn’t that be too sweet? I can’t see it working well in savory dishes.

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