Plum Sauce Recipe Using Dried Plums

Bowl of prunes
imagenavi / Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Canning Time: 10 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 24 servings

Using dried plums rather than fresh fruit gives this variation of Chinese plum sauce an especially rich flavor.

Plum sauce has a combination of sweet, sour, and savory flavors. It is traditionally served with egg rolls, duck and other rich foods, but it is equally good as a glaze for tofu or vegetables.

This version of plum sauce can also be used as a replacement for Hoisin sauce.


  • 1 1/2 cups prunes
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup red onion (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 3 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (fresh grated)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chile pepper
  • 1 small pinch star anise (or cloves; less than 1/8 teaspoon)

Steps to Make It

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium size pot. Start out with the smaller (1/2 cup) amount of water. Bring the ingredients to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

  2. Add additional water only if the sauce starts to stick to the bottom of the pot. Dried plums that were dehydrated at home tend to be drier than their commercial cousins and may require the extra water.

  3. Turn off the heat and let the ingredients cool for 10 minutes. Transfer them to a blender or food processor and puree the sauce until smooth. (Alternatively, leave the sauce in the pot and, after the cooling off period, puree it with an immersion blender.)

  4. At this stage you have a choice: you can store the plum sauce in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, or you can process it in a boiling water bath so that you can store it in sealed jars at room temperature for a year or more.

  5. To can the plum sauce, return it to the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat and spoon the sauce into clean quarter or half-pint canning jars. It is not necessary to sterilize the jars for this recipe. Leave 1/2-inch of headspace between the surface of the food and the rims of the jars.

  6. Press down on the center of the sauce with the back of a spoon to release any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars clean with a moist paper or cloth towel (any sauce stuck there could prevent the lids from sealing.) Process the jars of plum sauce in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (adjust the canning time if you live at a high altitude.)

    Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients

    Steam expands quickly in a blender, and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.