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What Can You Substitute for Plum Sauce? 10 Options

Plum sauce is a sweet and sour sauce frequently used in Asian cooking. It is used along with other sauces for Asian cuisines such as dumplings, roasts, and rice.

But what if you run out of plum sauce? What are the alternatives?

Well, in this article, let’s explore the 10 best plum sauce substitutes available.

What Can You Use Plum Sauce for?

Plum sauce can be used as along with wontons, rolls, dumplings or as a glazing sauce for meats.

You can use it as a basting sauce for grilling meats, poultry, and seafood, as a glaze for baked pork, and seafood, or as a sauce for stir-frying noodles.

This sauce can also be created using peaches, apricots, or even pineapple, depending on the recipe.

What Can You Substitute for Plum Sauce?

1. Hoisin Sauce

what is hoisin sauce

Hoisin sauce is a thick, reddish-brown sauce that has a sweet and sour flavor. It is a common condiment in Chinese cooking and is perhaps the most similar replacement for plum sauce.

It is prepared using soybean, fennel, chili, garlic, vinegar, and sugar. Hoisin sauce has flavor qualities that are comparable to those of plum sauce.

2. Duck Sauce

duck sauce

Do not let the name mislead you. This sauce was not produced using ducks. The sauce was known as “duck sauce” since it was frequently served with roasted duck.

Because duck sauce also contains plums, sugar, vinegar, ginger, and chili peppers, it can be used in place of plum sauce to a great extent. It has an orange appearance, a sour and sweet flavor, and a jelly-like consistency.

You could consider duck sauce to be a sweeter version of the standard Chinese plum sauce. For dipping or serving deep-fried or roasted meat, duck sauce is a great substitute for plum sauce.

3. Garlic Teriyaki Sauce

garlic teriyaki sauce

This is a Japanese sauce that is made using ginger, soy sauce, sugar, and garlic. It has a tangy, sweet flavor, and the spices make it a delicious choice for savory foods.

It frequently goes with seafood and is used as a cooking sauce.

Garlic teriyaki sauce is best for substituting plum sauce as a coating or in dips. The reason is, when condensed, this sauce takes on a silky form.

4. Sweet And Sour Sauce

sweet and sour sauce

There is no ambiguity regarding the name. Due to its well-balanced sweetness and tartness, the sweet and sour sauce can be used as a substitute.

Equal parts of sugar and rice vinegar are combined to prepare this sauce. Pears and pineapples are occasionally added as well.

This sauce can substitute plum sauce as it has a similar sweet and umami flavor profile. This sauce is usually used for marinades, dipping and for frying.

5. Oyster Sauce

what is oyster sauce

Salt, sugar, and oyster juices are the primary ingredients in oyster sauce. It has a much umami flavor and is both sweet and acidic.

Due to this, oyster sauce is a good substitute. It can be served with grilled vegetables, roasted meat, dumplings, and many other Asian dishes.

Further reading: Hoisin Sauce vs Oyster Sauce: What’s the Difference?

6. Soy Sauce

what is soy sauce

One of the most well-liked sauces in Asian cuisine is this dark liquid. It is adaptable enough to serve as both a dipping sauce and a seasoning for stir-fries.

Soy sauce can easily take the place of plum sauce because they both have a well-balanced flavor profile with notes of bitterness, umami, and sweetness.

Light soy sauce is frequently used as a replacement because black soy sauce has the potential to alter the color of your cuisine. If you’d prefer to prevent a color change, think about using white soy sauce.

7. Ponzu

ponzu shoyu sauce

Ponzu is a Japanese sauce prepared with soy sauce, rice wine, vinegar, and citrus fluid. Talk about a delicious sauce variety that combines sweet, sour, and tangy tastes!

Contrary to the plum sauce, which has a sweet taste, ponzu has a mild, lemony flavor.

You can use ponzu as a flavoring or dipping sauce for your roasted chicken or dumplings.

8. XO Sauce

xo sauce

XO sauce is a hot seafood sauce that comes from Hong Kong and is made using dehydrated shrimp, red chili, garlic, canola oil and many other ingredients.

The sauce lives up to the term XO’s connotations of opulence and supremacy in every aspect. It tastes very good because the XO sauce has a strong fishy flavor.

It has a complex flavor profile that heavily emphasizes umami with undertones of sweetness and saltiness to balance it out.

Because of its powerful, spicy flavor, XO sauce is an excellent substitution for the plum sauce in any cuisine.

9. Sha Cha Sauce

shacha sauce

Chinese brill, dehydrated shrimp, onions, garlic, and soybean oil are used to make sha cha sauce. The essence of this condiment is very strong.

The play of flavors includes sweetness, saltiness, and heat. Sha cha sauce can be used as a marinade sauce, dipping, or with any other dish which calls for the plum sauce as the flavors are comparable.

10. Garlic And Prunes Sauce

garlic and prunes sauce

You can use dried plums or prunes (a different kind of tree than a plum tree) in place of the plum sauce. Simply said, boil them in water in a skillet until they are mushy and soft.

Let them cool, and then blend them with sherry, soy sauce, and garlic. Enjoy your meal and add spices to suit your tastes.

plum sauce

Homemade Plum Sauce

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Your easiest Asian plum sauce.


  • 1.5 pounds of sliced fresh plums
  • 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes


1. Over medium heat, combine all items in a medium saucepan and boil them.

2. Cook for 25 minutes, or till the plums are tender and the mix becomes thick.

3. Take the sauce off the heat, and then transfer it into a blender. Return the pot to the blender after smoothing. (Alternatively, you can mix everything in the saucepan using an immersion blender. Hot liquids should be blended carefully!).

4. The plum sauce should be brought back to a boil before being ladled into hot, sterilized jars with 1/4-inch headspace.

5. Then, sterilize the jars in boiling water bath for around 10 minutes.

6. Fill the sterilized jars with the plum jam. Before storing, inspect the seals.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 41Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 148mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 1g


Be sure to leave a comment and rating below. I appreciate your feedback!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Hoisin And Plum Sauce The Same?

No, they are different sauces with comparable taste. Like hoisin, the plum sauce also consists of garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar, but the main ingredient of this sauce is the plums.

Hoisin and plum sauce can be used in many Asian dishes like dumplings or soups, even though the plum sauce is sweet and sour.

Can I Substitute Plum Sauce For Oyster Sauce?

Yes, the oyster sauce has the same distinctive sweet and sour flavor as the plum sauce. It tastes less sweet than plum sauce and has deeper umami undertones.

Oyster sauce and plum sauce are both Chinese food staples.

Where To Buy Plum Sauce?

You can buy plum sauce from your local grocery store or online. But it is recommended to prepare plum sauce at home which tastes best.


Plum sauce is a wonderful addition to your dishes, but when you don’t have any in hand, you can use any of the above alternates.

Use them as you see fit, and comment what works best for you!

I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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