21 Savory and Sweet Plum Recipes

From jams to dumplings, this fruit is quite versatile

Cut plum cake

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

One of the joys of summer and early fall is the arrival of delicious plums. There are many varieties to choose from throughout the season, all with thick skin and juicy flesh, ranging slightly in sweetness. Plums work well in both sweet and savory dishes; when cooked, plums will increase in acidity making them perfect with more fatty meats like pork and duck. But, without a doubt, plums are best known for their starring roles in pies, crumbles, cakes, and tarts, as well as Eastern European dumplings. When you have a bushel of ripe plums on hand, try a classic recipe like a traditional jam, as well as something new, such as barbecue sauce. Whichever way you choose to use them, plums add a unique flavor to a recipe.

  • 01 of 21

    Plum and Ginger Jam

    Plum and ginger jam in clear canning jars

    The Spruce / Elaine Lemm

    When plums are in season, one of the best ways to preserve them is in a jam or a chutney. This easy plum and ginger jam recipe borrows a favorite ingredient often found in chutney—ginger—which works beautifully with the plums, creating a jam with a little bit of a kick. The kernels from inside the pits are added to the jam at the end before preserving, adding a pleasant, nutty taste.

  • 02 of 21

    Hungarian Plum Dumplings (Szilvás Gombóc)

    Hungarian plum dumpling, a bowl of halved plums, and whipped cream
    Gillian Vann / Getty Images

    These Hungarian plum dumplings are made with a mashed potato dough—as is the case with many Eastern European sweet and savory dumplings—but instead of being formed by hand, the dough is rolled out and cut into squares. Pitted plums are placed in the center, and the dumplings are sealed and boiled before being coated with buttered breadcrumbs. A sprinkling of cinnamon sugar is the finishing touch before being served as a side dish or dessert.

  • 03 of 21

    Stovetop Stewed Plums With Cinnamon

    Stewed plum on a cutting board with a spoon

    Brett Stevens / Cultura / Getty Images

    These tender plums in a warm, cinnamon syrup are quite versatile; they can be part of breakfast, served alongside roasted pork, or spooned over ice cream for dessert. Sugar, water, lemon juice, and cinnamon boil together to make the syrup before the plums are added, allowing the fruit to hold its shape while taking on the flavors.

  • 04 of 21

    Ginger Plum Smoothie

    Ginger plum smoothie in a glass along with a bowl of plums and an apple
    tjasam / Getty Images

    This plum and ginger smoothie is so sophisticated in flavor, you may forget it is actually good for you. The plums are pureed along with orange juice, plain yogurt, and ginger, resulting in a richly colored beverage. Fresh plums will work fine, but using frozen plums will give you the best consistency, so if you can, plan ahead.

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  • 05 of 21

    Plum Barbecue Sauce

    Sliced plums simmering in plum juice
    Junophoto / Getty Images

    Change up your barbecue sauce with this simple recipe featuring fresh plums. All of the ingredients, including onion, garlic, sugar, rice wine vinegar, and a cinnamon stick, along with a little bit of premade barbecue sauce to give it a boost, simmer together until the plums are soft. It's delicious with chicken or pork.

  • 06 of 21

    Plum Jam With Pectin

    Fresh yellow plums and a jar of plum jam

    Marylise Doctrinal / Getty Images

    Preserve your plums with this basic jam recipe calling for lemon juice, sugar, and pectin. The fruit is cooked in acidulated water until soft, and the sugar and pectin are added and boiled for a bit. Once canned, the jam can be stored and enjoyed on toast, or serve in place of maple syrup with a batch of pancakes.

  • 07 of 21

    Plum Cake

    A slice of plum cake with fresh fruit

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Whether for dessert or to serve with a cup of coffee, this plum (or pluot) cake is a sweet and satisfying treat. Thinly sliced plums are gently tossed with a little sugar and then layered over an easy-to-make batter. Sprinkle with a brown sugar-cinnamon streusel topping, if you like, and bake the cake until puffed up and beginning to turn golden.

  • 08 of 21

    Polish Plum Nalewka (Vodka Cordial)

    Fresh ripe blue plums on plate
    Ekaterina Smirnova / Getty Images

    Also called śliwówka, this Polish plum-flavored liqueur is traditionally made with damson plums. The plums are added to a good-quality vodka that has been warmed with cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and sugar; more vodka is poured over, and the mixture is left to macerate for three months—just in time for Christmas.

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  • 09 of 21

    German Plum Dumplings (Zwetschgenknoedel)

    Sugar-coated plum dumplings
    Schfer, Chris / Getty Images

    In this version of a plum dumpling, the dough is made with yogurt cheese (or quark), and the dumplings are formed by hand. A bit of lemon zest adds tang to the dough, and a sugar cube takes the place of the pit in the plum. The dumplings are simmered, rolled in crushed zwieback (crispy sweet bread), and dusted with cinnamon-sugar or powdered sugar. Like other plum dumplings, they are served with savory dishes or as dessert.

  • 10 of 21

    Austrian Plum Butter (Powidl)

    Plum relish in a cup with cinnamon sticks and fresh fruit

    Getty Images

    This traditional Austrian plum butter is often used as a filling for desserts and calls for just Italian plums, cloves, and a cinnamon stick. The ingredients boil gently, the skins of the plums and the spices are removed, and the plum mixture is returned to the stove to cook down until it reaches the desired consistency.

  • 11 of 21

    Classic Plum and Almond Tart

    A plum and almond tart topped with sliced plums

    The Spruce / Elaine Lemm

    When plums are baked along with almonds, something magical happens. In this classic tart made with shortcrust pastry, the plums are arranged over a homemade frangipane (almond cream), making for a beautiful presentation as well as a delicious combination of flavors.

  • 12 of 21

    Chinese Plum Sauce Made With Dried Plums

    A bowl of prunes
    imagenavi / Getty Images

    Plums have been a part of Chinese cooking for centuries, but Chinese plum sauce is a more recent addition to the cuisine. This sweet and spicy condiment is served with a variety of dishes, including egg rolls and moo shu, and is a wonderful glaze for rich meats like duck. This recipe calls for dried plums (prunes), which impart a deeper flavor to the sauce.

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  • 13 of 21

    Chilled Jewish Plum Soup

    Chilled Jewish plum soup in a glass with a dollop of sour cream

    Jennie Schacht / Fork & Swoon blog

    If your plums are approaching overripeness, this chilled plum soup recipe is the perfect way to use them. This refreshing, beautifully colored soup can be enjoyed as a starter or dessert and is thought to have originated in Jewish kitchens in Eastern Europe. A sprig of lemon verbena adds a wonderful hint of freshness to the dish, and a dollop of sour cream is the perfect finishing touch.

  • 14 of 21

    Polish Plum Cake (Placek z Sliwkami)

    Polish plum cake dusted with powdered sugar and cut into 12 squares

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    A clove-scented streusel topping makes this Polish plum cake stand out. A simple batter is the base for halved and pitted plums, which are sprinkled with the streusel before being baked. The juice from the plums will moisten the cake as it cools. Cut into squares and serve as a breakfast treat or for dessert.

  • 15 of 21

    Low-Sugar Spiced Plum Jam

    Ready to gift spiced plum jam in a canning jar with a green bow

    Ann@74 / Flickr

    Allspice berries, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, and cloves are what give this plum jam its spicy kick. The spices are simmered in water and then removed, leaving an intense-tasting liquid to add to the jam. The pectin keeps the sugar content low, and lemon juice and butter add another layer of flavor. This recipe doesn't require any canning, saving some time and effort.

  • 16 of 21

    Fresh Plum Crumble With Cinnamon Crumb Topping

    Plum crumb tart in a pan with fresh fruit
    voltan1 / Getty Images

    Sweet, juicy plums are topped with a cinnamon-scented crumble, making for a comforting dessert to enjoy during plum season. The plums are tossed in brown sugar, a flour and egg mixture sweetened with sugar and cinnamon is crumbled over the top, and the dessert is baked until golden and bubbling. Feel free to add other fruits, such as pears or apricots.

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  • 17 of 21

    Plum Chutney

    Traditional plum chutney in a canning jar with a side of fresh fruit

    The Spruce / Elaine Lemm

    Originating in India, chutney is a wonderful way to enjoy the fruits of the season as a savory condiment. This recipe combines plums with dates and apples as well as aromatics like onion, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, and ginger—both ground and fresh. Everything is simmered until thickened and dark brown in color. Store in jars in a cool, dark spot to enjoy all year long.

  • 18 of 21

    Croatian Plum Dumplings (Knedle s Sljivama)

    Croatian plum dumplings topped with buttered breadcrumbs, sugar, and cinnamon
    HomeMaker / Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

    Combining features of both the German and Hungarian versions, these Croatian plum dumplings call for a mashed potato dough, a sugar cube in the center of the plum, and forming the dumplings by hand. After boiling, the plum dumplings are topped with buttered breadcrumbs and a dusting of confectioners' sugar and cinnamon.

  • 19 of 21

    Fresh Plum Pie

    Plum pie with leafy decorated crust and fresh fruit

    David Murray and Jules Selmes / Getty Images

    This fresh plum pie may look and taste like you spent all day making it, but it only takes a few minutes to put together. A premade double crust makes for quick assembly, and the remaining ingredients—tapioca, sugar, cinnamon, and plums—are simply mixed together and then poured over the pie dough. Use the extra time and energy to make the top crust look pretty.

  • 20 of 21

    Plum Pierogi Filling

    Bowls of fresh plums
    Verdina Anna / Getty Images

    Although savory pierogis may seem more popular, sweet versions served for dessert are actually quite common. This filling is simple, calling for just plums and sugar, and requires no cooking. Small plums are halved, pitted, and then the cavities are filled with a little bit of sugar. The fruit is wrapped in the dough and cooked as usual, and finished with melted butter and a dusting of sugar.

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  • 21 of 21

    Polish Plum Butter (Powidla Sliwkowe)

    Polish plum butter in canning jars

    Dogeared / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    This simple plum butter can do a lot more than just top a piece of toast. Plum butter is used in sauces, to fill pastries, and sometimes as an ingredient in hunter's stew, Poland's national dish. Plums are cooked down, sugar is added to taste, and the mixture is cooked until thick. The plum butter is then canned to enjoy any time.