Plum Sauce Recipe for Canning / Spicy Sweet!

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Plum trees produce abundant amounts of fruit, but there is only so much jam we can eat! This savory and sweet plum sauce recipe makes a special dinner with no extra effort. A perfect combination with chicken.

This is also called a Chinese plum sauce. With a spicy sweet taste it is a traditional condiment for Chinese food.

4 pounds of fresh plums will make about 4 pints of sweet plum sauce.

Plum Sauce Recipe: extended directions with expert tips.

The first step is to make the plum sauce.

Open containers and measuring cups of sugar and spices with a jar of vinegar on the side.


  • 4 pounds plums
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger (or mince a 1” piece of ginger)
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. mustard seed
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped green chilis
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic
Stirring the deep red plum sauce with a wooden spoon.

Pit and chop plums. Combine vinegar, sugar, spices, peppers, onion, and garlic. Bring to a boil in a sauce pan. Pour plums into brine mixture.

Simmer until the mixture is syrupy thick, 1 to 1½ hours. Stir often!

This can be done right in the saucepan you started in or you can transfer to a crockpot to cook slow and easy.

Cooking down the plum sauce in the CrockPot with various canning supplies on the counter around the crock.

You’ll want to cook your sauce down until it is syrupy in thickness. The length of time will depend on how juicy your plums are. A wider pan will give more surface space for evaporation and will shorten the time required. (Be sure to cook on low and stir often to avoid scorching.)

Lifting the canning funnel off a full jar of plum sauce.

Canning Plum Sauce Recipe

Pour your completed and still hot plum sauce into a hot jar, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rim clean, and place on seal and ring. Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars.

If you are not familiar with waterbath canning please click this link to check Water Bath Canning for all the details on how to use your waterbath, prepping and filling jars.

Process according to water bath canning instructions, adjusting for altitude using the chart below.

Wiping the rim of a jar of plum sauce with a wet paper towel.

Plum Sauce Recipe Tips & FAQs

Can this Plum Sauce Recipe be canned in half-pints?

Yes thos can also be canned in half-pints. Do not shorten the processing time for the smaller jars.

How Do You Use Sweet Plum Sauce?

This sauce is perfect for making plum chicken. Just pour some over your chicken and roast, basting a couple of times during cooking time.
Or you can pour it over a pork roast in a slow cooker. It will be a thinner consistency in the slow cooker but is so very good!
It also makes a great dipping sauce for egg roll.
Mix with some bite-sized chicken (or any poultry) pieces and some vegetables for a chicken stir fry.

What else can I do with Plums?

If you’ve just got a glut of plums and really need to get them taken care of quickly. Canning them is a great option. Here are directions on how to can plums.
And of course there is always the favorite Plum Jam Recipe

How long does homemade plum sauce last in the fridge?

If you don’t want to can this you can just skip the canning step and store it in the refrigerator. It will last a week or two.

Can you adjust the spicy flavor in the plum sauce? I’d like to make it hot.

If you like a little extra heat, you can use spicier peppers. If you want mild, use mild green peppers. 

Can I skip the Vinegar in this sauce recipe?

Do not skip the vinegar. This has lots of added ingredients to the plums, and what will keep it safe for the water bath is the added vinegar. You can substitute white vinegar if you don’t have cider vinegar. It will have a slightly different flavor.

A couple Jam recipe options too.

You might also like to check out these jams! Made with plums and a combination of other stone fruit.

Peach Nectarine Plum Jam is Otherwise known as Stone Fruit Jam, a great way to use up fruit before it goes bad!

Low Sugar Plum Jam Plum jam that actually tastes like plums!

Recipe Card

Plum Sauce Recipe

Use fresh plums to make this sweet plum sauce recipe for chicken.
Print Recipe
Stirring the deep red plum sauce with a wooden spoon.
Prep Time:2 hours
Processing Pints (adjust for altitude):20 minutes
Total Time:2 hours 20 minutes


  • 4 pounds Plums
  • 1 cup Vinegar cider
  • 2 cups Sugar brown
  • 1 cup Sugar white
  • ¼ teaspoon Ground Ginger or mince a 1” piece of ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Mustard Seed
  • 2 Tablespoons Green Chillies chopped
  • ¾ cup Onion(s) chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic


  • Start by preparing jars and getting water in the canner heating.You want the canner hot, but not boiling, when the jars are ready to be processed.
    See full water bath canning instructions here.  

How to Make Plum Sauce: Hot Pack Only

  • Pit and chop plums.
  • Combine vinegar, sugar, spices, peppers, onion, and garlic in a large pot. (or a crockpot) Bring to a boil.
  • Pour plums into brine mixture.
  • Cook on low heat until the mixture is syrupy thick, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Stir often!
  • Pour into hot jar, leaving 1/4" headspace.
  • Remove air bubbles, wipe rim clean, and place on seal and ring.
  • Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars placing them in the canner.
  • Process according to the instructions below.


Processing with a Water Bath Canner
Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars placing them in the canner.
When all the jars are filled, bring the water in the canner to a boil.  When a boil is reached that is when you’ll start your timing.   Process for the length of time on the chart below.  Adjust for your altitude.
After your time is over, turn the heat off remove the lid and allow the canner to rest for about 5 minutes. Then bring your jars up out of the water.  Allow them to rest for another 5 minutes. Then remove the jars and place them a few inches apart on a thick towel to cool completely.  Leave them alone for about 12 hours. 
When they are cooled remove the metal bands, check the seals, label the jars and store them away!
Processing Times for Water Bath Canner (Hot Pack)
Altitude – Pints
  • 0-1,000 ft – 20 minutes
  • 1,001-3,000 ft – 25 minutes
  • 3,001-6,000 ft – 30 minutes
  • 6,001-8,000 ft – 35 minutes
  • 8,001-10,000 ft – 40 minutes
Sources: Ball Blue Book, Oregon State Extension
Servings: 4 pints
Two labeled jars of plum sauce.

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Plum Sauce Recipe

Sources: Ball Blue Book, Oregon State Extension

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Kris Stringer
Kris Stringer
1 year ago

Can I use canned plums in this recipe?

2 years ago

I have “wild” plums that I juiced/pitted with some water into quarts. Can I use this, and how much, instead of the 4 lbs of plums in the plum sauce recipe?