Classic Chinese Duck Sauce

Classic Chinese Duck Sauce

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 75 mins
Plus: 336 hrs
Total: 337 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 64 servings
Yield: 4 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
34 Calories
0g Fat
8g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 64
Amount per serving
Calories 34
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 80mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 6mg 0%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 47mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Chinese duck sauce is made with plums, apricots, sugar, and spices. It is a condiment served with duck, ​​chicken, pork, and spareribs. It is also often referred to as plum sauce.

Vegetarians will also enjoy using duck sauce (which they are likely to prefer calling plum sauce) with noodles, rice, and grilled or stir-fried vegetables. It is a great way to add something extra to take out.

This delicious sauce is quite easy to make at home, but you need to plan far ahead as it needs to sit for two weeks before being used. While there are even simpler recipes out there that use prepared preserves, you'll appreciate the difference in using your own fruit and spices.


For the Fruit Mixture:

  • 1 pound plums, halved and pitted

  • 1 pound apricots, halved and pitted

  • 1 cup cider vinegar

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

For the Brown Sugar Mixture:

  • 1 cup cider vinegar

  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

For the Spice Mixture:

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic Chinese Duck Sauce ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Place the plums, apricots, 1 cup cider vinegar, water, and balsamic vinegar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer it uncovered for 15 minutes.

    Place the plums, apricots, cider vinegar, water, and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Place 1 cup of cider vinegar, brown sugar, white sugar, and lemon juice in a separate saucepan. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat slightly, and let it bubble for 10 minutes. Let it cool for 5 minutes.

    Place cider vinegar, brown sugar, white sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Add the brown sugar mixture to the fruit mixture, along with the ginger, onion, chile, garlic, salt, mustard seeds, and cinnamon stick. Simmer for 45 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.

    sauce cooking in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Pour the mixture into a food processor and puree it until smooth. You may need to do this in batches.

    duck sauce in a food processor

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Return it to the saucepan and simmer until thickened.

    blended sauce in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Sterilize a quart-size canning jar or 2 pint-size canning jars by boiling in a water bath for 15 minutes.

    jars in a pot with water

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Place the duck sauce in the sterilized canning jar. Cap loosely and let cool to room temperature. Tighten cap and store in in the refrigerator at least two weeks before using.

    Classic Chinese Duck Sauce in a jar

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Serve your duck sauce/plum sauce as a condiment with duck, chicken, pork, and spareribs. You can use it whenever you see duck sauce called for in a recipe for noodle or rice dishes.

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