Homemade pumpkin and orange jam in a jars on a gray concrete background.

Sweet and tangy duck sauce, also known as plum or hoisin sauce, was first popularized in Asian dishes. The delicious condiment actually contains no duck. It serves as a perfect complement to many pork, beef and chicken dishes. It is delicious, but often high in sugar content and not always readily available. There are tasty alternatives that are easy to buy or prepare yourself.


What gives duck sauce its appeal is its bright orange color and syrupy consistency. Chutney, marmalade and honey based jams have the same glistening color making these choices as visually appealing. Many store-bought brands have pectin or corn starch and therefore can be used as successfully for dipping and spreading. Hot or mild variations are up to you.

Choose Chutney

Chutney is made with ripe mango or apricots mixed with vinegar and sugar and spices, such as ginger. It is brought to a boil and heated to make a delicious reduction. Another alternative is made with prunes and dried sherry. Chutney is chunky in consistency and must be pureed in a food processor. It is sharper in flavor and stands up well as a substitute for duck sauce on lamb or beef dishes.

Make it Marmalade

Candy-like marmalade is made with citrus fruit juice and peels of oranges and lemons, sugar and water. It is sweeter than chutney and is perfect for lighter recipes that call for duck sauce, such as chicken or fish. Well-prepared or purchased marmalade should not have any of the rind, the white, pulp-like substance that covers the fruit.

How about Honey?

Honey-like spreads or butter that is spreadable on toast is another substitute for duck sauce. Add minced garlic and soy sauce, mix well and heat in the microwave and the sauce is a delicious lighter alternative. Add chili powder if you prefer a bite in your recipes. It can be drizzled on steamed vegetables or used for dunking skewers.