14 Best Plum Sauce Substitutes That You Should Try

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Let me make an obvious guess; you have clicked on this article to learn about the best plum sauce substitutes. That tells me that you relish in various types of sauces. That also signals that you have a bottle of plum sauce in your pantry. (Look who is feeling like a clairvoyant!)

Plum Sauce

What happens when you are out of it or are too lazy to get it from a store? You need a bunch of substitutes to get the job done. Believe it or not, there are a lot of things that can simulate the flavor of plum sauce. Do you know them? Well, let me help you with that. 

Some of the best plum sauce substitutes are hoisin sauce, duck sauce, garlic teriyaki sauce, sweet and sour sauce, ponzu, and soy sauce.

Plum Sauce is an essential condiment in Chinese cuisine. Its versatility and authentic flavor have perked up its demand and popularity to the extent that now it is used in various cuisines and recipes.

Plum sauce is made from sweetened plums or peaches with added seasonings. It is an excellent sauce for stir-fries, spring rolls, and dips.

That said, the knowledge of the alternatives to plum sauce will come in handy. Whenever you have an urge to cook noodles or pasta, you can use any substitute instead of plum sauce.

Let us read about the best plum sauce substitutes but only after diving into a quick know-how session on plum sauce.

Quick Peek: Plum Sauce

Plum Sauce

The following scribbles tell you what plum sauce is, its flavor, texture, culinary uses, and health benefits.

What Is Plum Sauce?

Plum sauce is prepared by reducing plums and adding vinegar and spices. As a variation, sometimes peaches or apricots are also used.

Authentic Chinese plum sauce excludes such variations and is made using only plums. Plum sauce retains a significant place in Chinese cuisine and is used in various Chinese recipes. 

Describing Plum Sauce: Flavor and Texture

Plum sauce has a light brown color with a sweet and mildly sour taste. It is thick in consistency with a smooth texture. Some may deem it to be hot due to the addition of spices, but it is actually not that spicy. 

Uses of Plum Sauce

Plum sauce enriches your recipes with its sweet and sour combo of flavors. It is used to accompany stir-fries, noodles, pasta, fried rice, etc. It can be used as a dip for spring rolls and roasted meat or veggies.

The plum sauce is efficient as a marinade due to its flavor and texture. You can even perk up the taste of your salads by adding plum sauce to salad dressings. 

Plum Sauce On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

When it comes to health, the plum sauce doesn’t compromise as well. It is a great source of micronutrients and Omega 3. It aids digestion and improves blood circulation.

It is great for normalizing blood pressure and maintaining the immune system. Enough with the praises on the plum sauce. Let’s get to the business of finding the right substitutes for plum sauce. 

Why Should We Substitute Plum Sauce?

Plum sauce is a tasty condiment that can be easily prepared. So, why are we bothering about its substitutes? Simply because we don’t have time to sit and brew this potion for our recipes. *laugh*

Although plum sauce is an easily available food item, ill luck might hit you hard, and you may not get it. In such cases, you need a couple of substitutes to get the job done for you replacing plum sauce.

Also, if you are a buff of experimentation, you might want to try new things. By trying, I mean you aspire for the flavor of plum sauce without actually using plum sauce. This also necessitates the need for the best plum sauce substitutes.

So, shall we get into the part where we discuss the best substitutes for plum sauce?

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

14 Best Plum Sauce Substitutes 

Now that you know everything you need to know about plum sauce let us discuss the fourteen best substitutes for plum sauce.

1. Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is a reddish-brown, thick, aromatic sauce with a sweet and salty flavor. It is a popular condiment in Chinese cuisine and arguably the closest substitute for plum sauce.

It is made using soybean, chili, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and fennel. Hoisin sauce shares similar characteristics with plum sauce when it comes to the flavor profile, and thus it can be readily used as a best plum sauce substitute.

2. Duck Sauce

Duck Sauce

Don’t let the name befool you. It isn’t made of ducks. Duck sauce was initially served with roasted duck, hence the name (Way to go with appropriate naming, huh!).

Duck sauce essentially comprises the ingredients of plum sauce. It has plums, sugar, vinegar, ginger, and chili peppers. It looks orange with a jelly-like consistency and has a sweet and sour taste. 

You can call duck sauce the American version of plum sauce but sweeter. Plum sauce can be swapped with duck sauce and used with deep-fried or roasted meat or dips.

3. Garlic Teriyaki Sauce

Coming from Japan, garlic teriyaki sauce is made with soy sauce, sake, ginger, sugar, and garlic. It has a sweet, tangy flavor, and the presence of spices makes it a good option in savory dishes.

It is usually used as a cooking sauce and paired with seafood. Once reduced, you get a glossy appearance of Teriyaki sauce, which makes garlic teriyaki sauce perfect for replacing plum sauce as a glaze or in dips.

4. Sweet and Sour Sauce

Sweet and Sour Sauce

The name gives it away. The sweet and sour sauce is a blend of sweetness and sourness. It is made using rice vinegar and sugar. Sometimes, pineapples and pears are added as well.

Sweet and sour sauce is a good alternative to the plum sauce, considering the sweet, umami flavors it adds to the dishes. You can use this sauce to marinate meat or veggies, as a stir-fry sauce, or even as a dipping sauce.

5. Ponzu


Ponzu is a Japanese sauce prepared using soy sauce, citrus juice, vinegar, and rice wine. Talk about a great sauce variety which is a blend of sweet, sour, and tang flavors!

It has a mild, citrusy flavor, unlike plum sauce which has a more sweetened flavor. Nevertheless, it makes a great substitute for plum sauce. It can be used as a marinade or a dipping sauce for your dumplings or grilled chicken.  

6. Soy Sauce

Soy Sauce

It is easily understandable that soy sauce with a uniform flavor profile comprising sweet, umami, and bitter notes is a worthy substitute for plum sauce.

This brown-colored liquid is one of the widely used sauces among Asian people. It also guises as a dipping sauce and can be used to stir-fry vegetables.

Light soy sauce is usually used in most recipes to replace plum sauce, considering that dark soy sauce may alter the color of your dishes. If you don’t want a color change, opt for white soy sauce.

7. Oyster Sauce

Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is obtained using oyster juices, salt, and sugar. Some variations include the addition of soy sauce and cornstarch. It has both sweet and umami flavors; less sweet and stronger umami flavor than plum sauce.

Thus the umami flavor of oyster sauce helps replace plum sauce alongside roasted veggies, grilled meat, spring rolls, or dumplings, and it is an option worth trying.

8. XO Sauce

Coming to us from Hong Kong, XO sauce is a spicy seafood sauce (well, it isn’t a sauce per se, it is more of a tasty condiment) made using dried scallops and shrimps, red chili pepper, Jinhua ham, garlic, and canola oil. 

So what is the deal with XO? XO simply stands for high quality and luxury, not to mention it also tastes luxurious! XO sauce is extremely flavorful due to the intense flavor of seafood. It has a rich umami flavor with subtle hints of sweetness and saltiness as well. 

The rich, spicy flavor of xo sauce makes it a considerable plum sauce substitute that can be used in any type of recipe.

9. Sha Cha Sauce

Sha Cha Sauce

Have you heard of Chinese barbecue sauce? It is also known as sha cha sauce. This sauce is made of soybean oil, garlic, shallots, chilies, Chinese brill, and dried shrimp.

Sha cha sauce is intensely flavorful. It is a play of flavors – sweetness, saltiness, and spiciness! Precisely due to its flavor, sha cha sauce becomes a good substitute for plum sauce as a dipping sauce, soup base, or spread.

10. Garlic and Prunes

Now, let us talk about some combinations that work as substitutes for plum sauce. Let us start with garlic and prunes.

You need no introduction to either garlic or prunes. Garlic is one of the best seasoning agents out there, and prune is basically a dried plum. So, how does this combination work?

Boil prunes in water until they turn soft and mushy. Once done, mix prunes with garlic, soy sauce, and sherry. The blend of garlic, prunes with soy sauce, and additional spices can work as a considerable alternative for plum sauce.

11. Black Beans and Plums

Black beans are edible legumes with a mild, creamy flavor. How can black beans work in tandem with plums and work as a substitute for plum sauce? Let us see.

Boil the mixture of plums, brown sugar, and water until it turns soft. At this juncture, add plums, garlic, spices, soy sauce, and oil. The resultant mix is a worthy alternative for plum sauce.

12. Garlic with Miso and Raisins

You know what miso paste is. It is a classic seasoning ingredient used in Japanese cuisine. It is made using fermented soybean and has a sweet-savory flavor with a gluey texture.

Raisins work as good substitutes for plums due to the similarities in flavor profiles. Simply mix soaked raisins (in water) with garlic, miso paste, sesame oil, mustard, and ground red pepper.

The blend of garlic, raisins, miso paste, mustard, and red pepper can replace plum sauce as a tasty spread in your recipe.

13. Plum Jam with Ginger

Plum Jam and Ginger

If you can get your hands on a bottle of plum jam, you are halfway there to find one of the best plum sauce substitutes. Simply make a blend of plum jam with teriyaki sauce, garlic, ginger, and ground red pepper.

This combination of plum jam and ginger can be used in lieu of plum sauce in recipes.

14. Caramelized Onion Chutney

Behold a vegan, gluten-free alternative for plum sauce. Caramelized onion chutney is made using red onions, brown sugar, vinegar, and spices. It looks dark brown in color with a jam-like consistency.

Caramelized onion chutney has a unique, flavorful blend of both sweet and tart flavors, making it a perfect plum sauce substitute alongside grilled meat or veggies or as a dipping sauce.

DIY Recipe For Plum Sauce

Chinese Plum Sauce

DIY Plum Sauce Recipe

You can easily make this delicious and tangy plum sauce at home. Just follow the recipe.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dips and Sauces
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 35 kcal


  • Medium-Sized Saucepan
  • Food Processor
  • Wooden Spoon


  • 1 pound fresh Plums (halved)
  • ½ cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Vinegar
  • 2 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger (grated)
  • ½ teaspoon Pepper Flakes


  • In a medium-sized saucepan, add the halved plums, brown sugar, vinegar each, garlic cloves, grated ginger, and pepper flakes.
  • Simmer the mixture for half an hour.
  • Once the mixture has attained a thick consistency, remove from heat.
  • Grind the mixture in a food processor or blender and store your plum sauce in tight containers.


Calories: 35kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 102mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 0.1g
Keyword Plum Sauce, Sauce
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Short Recap

That must have been an exhaustive read on the best plum sauce substitutes, right? Let me make it easy for you to remember the details with the help of some points.

Sauce-based Substitutes: Hoisin sauce, duck sauce, garlic teriyaki sauce, sweet and sour sauce, ponzu, soy sauce, oyster sauce, XO sauce, and sha cha sauce are the best plum substitutes that are based on sauces.

Combo Substitutes: Garlic and prunes, black beans and plums, garlic and miso paste, plum jam, and ginger are some of the best combinations which work as best plum sauce substitutes.

Final Musings

Plum sauce is a great addition to your meals, but now you know even greater substitutes for plum sauce. Use them as per your preferences, and let me know what worked out for the best! I’ll see you next time with another recipe.

How To Use Plum Sauce Substitutes In A Recipe

Plum Sauce

Plum Sauce Substitutes

Plum Sauce is an essential condiment in Chinese cuisine. Plum sauce is made from sweetened plums or peaches with added seasonings. It is an excellent sauce for stir-fries, spring rolls, and dips. If you don't have any handy, try one of its substitutes!
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  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Duck Sauce
  • Garlic Teriyaki Sauce
  • Sweet and Sour Sauce
  • Ponzu
  • Soy Sauce
  • Oyster Sauce
  • XO Sauce
  • Sha Cha Sauce
  • Garlic and Prunes
  • Black Beans and Plums
  • Garlic with Miso and Raisins
  • Plum Jam with Ginger
  • Caramelized Onion Chutney


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is hoisin and plum sauce the same?

Hoisin sauce and plum sauce have similar flavors but they are different from each other. Hoisin sauce has a spicy flavor while plum sauce has a sweet flavor owing to the presence of plums. Nevertheless, they can be substituted for each other.

What are the best substitutes for plum sauce in bulgogi?

Duck sauce, garlic and teriyaki, and prunes and garlic are the best substitutes for plum sauce in bulgogi.

What is plum sauce used for?

Plum sauce is used as an accompaniment in Cantonese cuisine to fried dishes and roasted meat or veggies. 

What are the substitutes for plums in a recipe?

Some of the best substitutes for plums in a recipe are apricots, cranberries, apples, nectarines,peaches and pears. 

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