The BEST Plum Sauce Substitutes To Try

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If you are like me, you love Asian cuisine. And sometimes you want to try your hand at making it at home! And if this is you, then this post will be helpful! Plum sauce has a unique flavor and sweetness that can add an amazing twist to many dishes, from appetizers to entrees. But what do you do if you don’t have plum sauce on hand or you can’t find it? Don’t despair – there are plenty of flavorful plum sauce substitutes that can easily be found at your local grocery store or even made using simple pantry staples.

In this blog post, we’ll provide all the tips and tricks necessary for finding the best substitute for plum sauce so your meals will still be packed with flavor. So keep reading if you’re ready to explore alternatives!

What Does Plum Sauce Taste Like?

Plum sauce is a sweet-and-sour condiment that is popularly used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean dishes. It is made from prunes/plums, which give the sauce a unique flavor. This flavorful combination of sweet and sour creates an appetizing balance that makes it perfect for marinating meats or as a dip for fried foods. I personally love a little plum sauce in a spring roll. I think it’s YUM.

The texture of plum sauce varies slightly depending on the ingredients used; it can be smooth, velvety, or thicker. Most versions contain garlic, salt, vinegar, fresh ginger, and sometimes citrus juice to give it an extra zing. All these flavors harmonize together to create a distinctive yet tantalizing taste. I personally LOVE dipping my spring rolls in plum sauce. It pairs so nicely with

EASY DIY Plum Sauce Recipe

You may be out of plum sauce, but you might have everything to make a batch of it from scratch. This is your best bet for getting the best replacement for plum sauce. Here is a simple recipe you can whip up at home.

Yield: 1 Cup

Easy DIY Plum Sauce

easy DIY plum sauce recipe

Create this simple plum sauce with what you have in your pantry.


  • 1 Cup Apricot or Plum Jam
  • 3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 Teaspoons of Fresh Ginger or 1 Teaspoon of dried ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 Clove of Garlic pressed or minced
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Teaspoon Salt


    1. Place all ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring the saucepan to a boil on medium-low heat. Once bubbling, reduce the heat to a simmer for about 5-7 minutes.

    2. Taste to see if you need any adjustments. Since every brand of jam is different.

Substitutes for Plum Sauce

Plum Sauce Substitutes

Below are some replacements for plum sauce. I do want to emphasize that plum sauce has a distinct flavor, and most of the alternatives below also have a distinct flavor. What you are looking for are similar characteristics, which were mentioned earlier. Also, if you need to avoid soy, please check labels and look for soy-free options.

Duck Sauce

Many people believe that plum sauce and duck sauce are the same. But I lean towards them being similar but slightly different. Duck sauce is made from sweet and tart fruits such as apricots, pineapple, or plums, mixed with vinegar and spices. It has a distinct flavor of its own and is sweeter and fruitier than plum sauce. But it pairs well with fried foods, making it a great substitute for plum sauce.

Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is a thick and savory condiment made from fermented soybeans, sugar, salt, garlic, chili pepper, and sometimes vinegar. It has a sweet and tangy taste that is similar to plum sauce. While it doesn’t have the same complexity of flavors as plum sauce, it still provides an amazing depth of flavor that works as a great replacement.

Mango Chutney

Mango chutney is a sweet and tangy condiment made from ripe mangoes, sugar, vinegar, salt, garlic, and spices. It’s an excellent substitute for plum sauce because it has a similar sweet-and-sour flavor profile. The texture of mango chutney can vary depending on how the chutney is made. But most chutney’s are a chunky yet spreadable consistency. If you happen to have mangos on hand, you could even whip up your own batch at home.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

This is probably the most common substitute for plum sauce as it is easy to find. Sweet and sour sauce is made from sugar or honey, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. Some recipes even use pineapple juice, giving their sweet and sour sauce another layer of flavor. It has a sweet-tart taste that compliments many dishes. However, it may be too tart for some people’s taste, but that can easily be adjusted by adding honey, sugar, or your favorite sweetener. If you are a huge fan of sweet and sour, then this might be the perfect replacement for plum sauce.

Garlic Teriyaki Sauce

Garlic teriyaki sauce is a mixture of garlic, soy sauce, mirin, and sake. It has a slightly sweet taste with a hint of garlic and pairs well with many dishes. It is a another replacement for plum sauce because it has a similar flavor profile.

The only downside is that teriyaki sauce has a very distinct soy sauce-forward flavor. Most plum sauces don’t contain soy sauce. So, this alternative will work in some recipes while other recipes not as well.

Ponzu Sauce

Ponzu sauce is an intensely flavorful and versatile Japanese condiment typically made from citrus juices, such as yuzu, vinegar, sake, and mirin. The bright and tart flavor of ponzu sauce pairs well with various ingredients to create delicious dishes that bring out the dynamic balance of salty and sour tastes. Its zingy flavor can amplify the savory qualities of any meal without overpowering it too much. It makes for a great marinade for grilled chicken or fish recipes as well.

plum sauce substitute infograph

My Final Thoughts On Substitutes For Plum Sauce

Plum sauce is one of those condiments that truly add a unique flavor to any dish. If you don’t have it on hand or can’t find it, don’t worry as there are plenty of tasty substitutes that you can use in its place.

From duck sauce and hoisin sauce to mango chutney and sweet and sour sauce, there are plenty of alternatives that you can use to make your meals tasty. Feel free to experiment with different flavors until you find just the right one for your dish. Happy Cooking!

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