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Gourmet Hacks: 5 BEST Substitutes for Plum Sauce

Ever found yourself seriously eyeballing your pantry because the plum sauce played Houdini right before you needed it? It’s a culinary pickle we’ve all been in.

The quest for the perfect tang and sweetness in our dishes doesn’t end with a missing sauce bottle. We’ve got some secret weapons up our sleeves. Yes, alternatives that will save the day.

Remember that time we thought ketchup could replace pasta sauce? Spoiler alert: It can’t. But this time, we’re on to something much better. We’re talking game-changers for your stir-fries and dips.

Ready for some kitchen wizardry? These swaps are about to become your new best friends.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Plum Sauce

Plum sauce is a flavorful condiment commonly used in Asian cuisine to add a sweet and tangy taste to dishes.

However, if you don’t have plum sauce available or are looking for alternative options, there are several substitutes that can provide similar flavors.

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsProper Ratio
Duck SauceSweet and tangy, similar flavor profileUse an equal amount of duck sauce as a substitute for plum sauce
Teriyaki SauceSweet and savory, adds depth of flavorUse an equal amount of teriyaki sauce as a substitute
Sweet and Sour SauceTangy and sweet, versatileUse an equal amount of sweet and sour sauce as a substitute
Hoisin SauceSweet and savory, rich and thick consistencyUse an equal amount of hoisin sauce as a substitute
Char Siu SauceSweet and savory, with smoky notesUse an equal amount of char siu sauce as a substitute

Now let’s dive into each substitute in more detail:

1 – Duck Sauce

duck sauce

This is the best substitute for plum sauce if you want something similar.

Duck sauce is made from similar ingredients as plum sauce, sometimes apricots, pineapples, or peaches are used in place of plums.

The earliest version of duck sauce was served with Peking duck in China.

It was called sweet bean sauce and had more spice and less sweet.

After Chinese immigrants came to America, they created the modern version.

Duck sauce goes well with poultry, of course, and noodles, rice, and rolls.

That is not the only use for it, though.

All the uses for plum sauce mentioned above can be applied to duck sauce.

Key Characteristics: Duck sauce is a sweet and tangy condiment commonly served with Chinese dishes. It has a similar flavor profile to plum sauce, making it a suitable substitute. Use an equal amount of duck sauce as a substitute for plum sauce to maintain the desired balance of flavors.

2 – Teriyaki Sauce

teriyaki sauce

Japanese cuisine uses a technique called Teriyaki, in which you grill food with a glaze of soy sauce and sake.

In North America, any dish prepared with the sauce can be called Teriyaki.

Seattle, Washington, has a significant demand for Teriyaki dishes, with over 83 restaurants having “teriyaki” in their name.

Teriyaki sauce contains brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic and honey, making it healthy and vegan.

It will go nicely with meats or salads.

Making it home is quite simple; you can make it in 10 minutes from easy-to-get ingredients.

Key Characteristics: Teriyaki sauce is a popular Japanese sauce that combines sweetness and umami flavors. It adds depth and richness to dishes, similar to plum sauce. Use an equal amount of teriyaki sauce as a substitute to ensure a sweet and savory taste in your recipes.

3 – Sweet and Sour Sauce

sweet and sour sauce

This sauce is typically made by mixing honey or sugar with soy sauce or rice vinegar; this gives it the name “sweet and sour”.

Sweet and sour sauce typically has a thinner consistency than plum sauce.

You can find this sauce at any Chinese restaurant and most stores.

However, there is nothing like making it fresh.

It is pretty simple to make this sauce at home, with various recipes to suit your taste.

You can easily substitute this sauce for plum sauce for most cooking recipes.

You can also use this sauce as a dip if you need it.

Just make the sauce thicker, and it will be perfect.

Key Characteristics: Sweet and sour sauce is a versatile condiment that combines tangy and sweet flavors. It can provide a similar tanginess to plum sauce when used as a substitute. Use an equal amount of sweet and sour sauce to create a balanced flavor profile in your dishes.

4 – Hoisin Sauce

hoisin sauce

Cantonese cooking often uses this sauce as a glaze for meat or in addition to stir-fried dishes.

While it is not as easy to find as some of the other sauces on this list, many stores will have it.

Hoisin sauce is also sometimes called Peking sauce.

If you’ve never tasted this sauce before, give it a try at a restaurant before experimenting.

Its fermented soybean base gives it a strong taste, which some may not like.

Hoisin sauce is thick, with a strong salty taste, though there are notes of sweetness in it.

You may need to reduce the amount of hoisin sauce in the recipe due to its thickness.

Key Characteristics: Hoisin sauce is a thick and savory Chinese sauce with a slightly sweet taste. While it has a different flavor profile from plum sauce, it can be used as a substitute in certain recipes. Use an equal amount of hoisin sauce to add a rich and sweet element to your dishes.

5 – Char Siu Sauce

char siu sauce

Last on this list we have another sauce from Cantonese cuisine.

The name char siu refers to barbecued pork that is often eaten with rice or put into noodle soups.

The name translates to “fork roasted,” which is how the meat is prepared.

Char siu is sometimes called Chinese barbecue sauce, but you can easily use it for other recipes.

This delicious condiment can be used on grilled vegetables, added to stir-fries, or drizzled on rice.

It is simple to make yourself, as no cooking is involved.

Key Characteristics: Char siu sauce is a flavorful Chinese sauce commonly used in barbecue dishes. It offers a combination of sweet and savory flavors with smoky undertones. While it may have a slightly different taste than plum sauce, it can work well as a substitute in certain recipes. Use an equal amount of char siu sauce to infuse your dishes with its unique sweet and savory profile.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Plum Sauce

Searching for the perfect substitutes for plum sauce? Your quest ends here! Delve into our curated list of the 5 best alternatives that seamlessly replace the rich flavors of plum sauce. Elevate your culinary creations with these exceptional alternatives for a delightful dining experience.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 4 Servings


  • Duck Sauce
  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Sweet and Sour Sauce
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Char Siu Sauce


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword substitutes for plum sauce
Did you make this recipe?Mention @AmericasRestaurant or tag #americasrestaurant!
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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