Here’s Everything You Should Know About Duck Sauce

Parul Dube

June 30, 2022

If this is the first time you hear about duck sauce, don’t worry, it is entirely vegan. Also, the chef did not harm any ducks in the process. Well, jokes apart, duck sauce is an orange liquid with a jelly-like consistency and is made out of apples, plum, and apricots along with vinegar, ginger, and chilli pepper. The sauce has a sweet and sour taste, making it popular. People worldwide, especially in Asian restaurants, enjoy it as a dip for spring rolls, egg rolls, and many other snacks.

Apart from being a sider for the tasty snacks, there are a lot of health benefits that it has to offer. If we study closely, we will understand that duck sauce has some amount of vitamins (precisely vitamin A and vitamin E) and minerals. It also contains some proportion of magnesium and calcium.

Initially, the Chinese consumed duck sauce, part of their traditional cuisine. Originally, one served the duck sauce with a Peking duck dish. Then, the sauce was famous as the plum sauce because its main ingredient is plum. Gradually, it got another name. Finally, it is popular with a duck dish named the duck sauce. And that is the origin of the name “Duck Sauce.” Even today, both the names work interchangeably. So now we have established the connection between a duck and the sauce.

 It is just a nomenclature that grew over time. Gradually the recipe for duck sauce became popular all over America, and since then, it has taken different forms. One combines it with food in different ways. You can also enjoy the duck sauce with street food, and you don’t need to eat the duck to try the sauce.

Nutritional Properties of Duck Sauce

As per USDA, 100 grams of duck sauce holds the following nutritional values:

  • Energy: 245 kCal
  • Water: 37.4g
  • Protein: 0.36g
  • Total lipid (fat): 0.13g
  • Carbohydrates: 60.7g
  • Fibre: 0.6g
  • Calcium: 11mg
  • Iron: 0.39mg
  • Magnesium: 5mg
  • Phosphorus: 9mg
  • Potassium: 87mg
  • Sodium: 712mg

Health Benefits of Duck Sauce

Now that we know something about it let’s go into detail and learn more about the benefits. As we can see, the sauce is very high in energy, but it does give an instant high energy boost to your body. However, we must note that this energy boost is temporary and short-termed. 

Since the sauce has some amount of vitamins and minerals, it is suitable for osteoporosis (which causes a loss of bone density). Some of the minerals required to cure the disease are present in the sauce.

Some companies also claim to have added some amount of vitamin C into the sauce, but that is entirely brand specific. Apart from that, people having blood sugar can also benefit from using this sauce. Potassium can help reduce high blood pressure to a certain level.

The Best Way to Consume Duck Sauce

The sauce has a limited amount of health benefits. It might not even be considered beneficial enough for a few of you. But let us walk through the best combinations for the sauce to get the most benefit. 

As the duck sauce is high in sugar and calories, moderation is the key. Do not overdose, as it can harm your health. Instead, lightly pour the sauce into a protein-based dish to enjoy its taste and flavour. You can enjoy the duck sauce with chicken, red meat, fish, or even street food like an egg roll, spring roll, or noodles.

Traditionally, duck sauce is a well-known Chinese sauce served for hundreds of years with Peking duck. Eventually, it has evolved and made its place in American cuisine and a more general market than we know. It also has a fan following in different countries and parts of the world. 

When Not to Consume?

Duck Sauce has health benefits, but that doesn’t make it suitable for everyone. Everybody has a different body type, and according to that, we have the digestive systems that might prevent us from eating certain kinds of food. 

For starters, if you are a diabetic patient, you should avoid the use of duck sauce. It is made of sugary materials, making it very high in carbs. It might have a very adverse effect on your body. If you consume the sauce, make sure that it is a minimal amount, and you do not overload yourself. On the other hand, if you are allergic to certain food materials, aim to read the food label before purchasing or consuming it.

Alternative to Duck sauce

Are you among those who can not eat duck sauce because of any health issue? Here is the best alternate opinion for you.

Hoisin sauce

Hoisin is a dark sauce with a thick consistency and sweet and tangy flavours. For a dish dressing or as a side dipping sauce, you can easily replace the use of duck sauce. Hoisin does not contain plum, so you can easily try this sauce if you are allergic to that. This sauce includes soya sauce and a lot of different spices and mixtures. It is equally irresistible in taste and complements the protein component of the dish or street food. In China, Hoisin goes with the Peking duck dish. In this dish, the hoisin sauce has been equally poured over the entire dish to give it a delicious taste.

Nutritional Properties of Hoisin Sauce

As per Nutritionix, 100 grams of hoisin sauce has the following nutritional values:

  • Energy: 220.5 kCal
  • Protein: 3.3g
  • Total fat: 3.4g
  • Carbohydrates: 44.7g
  • Iron: 5.7mg
  • Potassium: 119.7mg
  • Sodium: 1625.4mg

Duck Sauce: Easy Recipe to Make it at Home

Many of us usually do not go for packed products. Also, no matter how healthy it is, it generally comes with many preservatives if it has a shelf life. So if you are someone who avoids eating packed food, there is a straightforward solution: make your own at home.

Yes, it sounds all fancy. But don’t worry, you can easily make it at home. Follow the given recipe to make your own handmade, preservative-free duck sauce successfully.


  • Salted pickled plum: 2
  • Plum puree: ½ cup
  • Chopped Apple: ½ cup
  • All-natural apricot jam: ¾ cup
  • Rice vinegar: 4 tbsp
  • Low sodium soy sauce: ½ tsp
  • Fresh garlic cloves (minced): 2 medium
  • Fresh ginger (minced): 1 tsp 
  • Chilli powder: ½ tsp
  • Cayenne powder (according to taste)
  • Brown Sugar: 2 tbsp
  • Salt: as per taste


  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk until smooth.
  2. Let it sit for 5 minutes and mix again.
  3. Before serving, please place it in the refrigerator for a few hours. It will help the flavours to blend correctly. 
  4. Let the sauce stand at room temperature for almost 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.
  5. Store in an airtight glass container in the back of the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

If you like tartness, you can increase the quantity of the vinegar. Similarly, if you want something sweet, you can increase the amount of the apricot jam. You can pickle the plum at home and use the liquid to enhance the taste. Serve it with seafood and veggies wrapped in lettuce or any other leaf of your choice. Kids love the sweet and tangy taste too. You can cut carrots, tofu, or chicken and cucumber strips and serve them with homemade duck sauce. You get a healthy snack while mimicking the taste of your favourite street food like spring rolls, fried noodles, wantons, and duck sauce. 

Homemade Recipe for Hoisin Sauce

Now that you know how to make duck sauce, let’s look for an alternative to duck sauce. First, you have to put all the ingredients together according to the procedure, and you can have your preservative-free hoisin sauce.


  • Dark brown sugar – ⅓ cup
  • Water – 2 tbsp
  • Homemade/In-store Chinese black bean sauce – 3 tbsp
  • Soy sauce – 2 tbsp
  • Rice vinegar – 1 tbsp
  • Prunes – 4
  • Sesame oil – ½ tsp
  • Homemade/In-store Chinese Five Spice Powder – ½ tsp
  • Red chillies or sriracha (as per your taste)


  1. Combine all the ingredients. 
  2. Make a smooth puree in a blender. 
  3. Store it in the fridge, in a non-reactive airtight container. 
  4. Let it cool overnight or preferably 24 hours before using. 
  5. It will be good to eat if stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


The duck sauce is a jelly-like sauce of apples, plums, apricots, vinegar, ginger, and chilli pepper. There are many nutrient benefits to consuming duck sauce. It is high in sugar and carbs, so take extra care not to go overboard. This sauce is helpful for high blood pressure patients and those having bone density loss. It is also a good source of instant energy as it increases the body’s glucose level. However, we should understand that the increase in energy is only temporary and short-termed.

There are homemade recipes for duck sauce—so there is no need to worry about preservatives anymore. We also come across an alternative to duck Sauce, which is hoisin. Hoisin can be used just like duck sauce. However, there is a slight variation in the taste. Duck sauce is more on the sweeter side, while hoisin is more on the tangy side. But it does replace the duck sauce perfectly. These homemade sauces can complement and uplift the taste of grilled vegetarian and non -vegetarian foods. Traditionally, the duck sauce association is always with street food. But with health being a priority, one can enjoy its richness with healthy salads, finger foods, and wraps. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is duck sauce made out of?

A. Duck sauce is made out of apples, plums, and apricots. It also contains some amount of sugar, vinegar, ginger, and chilli pepper. It is a simple recipe with nothing much to do. You can easily mix up all the ingredients and make your duck sauce without difficulty.

Q. Is hoisin sauce similar to duck sauce?

A. Technically speaking, hoisin sauce and duck sauce are not the same things. They are two different kinds of sauces. Hoisin contains soya sauce, while duck sauce includes a mix of fruits. However, they both taste sweet, and you can use them to substitute for each other. Hoisin sauce is a bit saltier than duck sauce but equally delicious.

Q. Is plum sauce and duck sauce the same?

A. Yes, the plum sauce has another name which is duck sauce. It is the same thing. The name duck sauce became popular because the plum sauce was the accompaniment of Peking duck in China. From there, the name originated.

Q. Do they eat duck sauce in China?

A. Yes, the duck sauce is famous in China. You will be able to find it in restaurants. The Chinese eat it with their traditional cuisines as well as fast food. They have been using this sauce in their dishes traditionally. However, the dish became famous worldwide. Every place brings in their version, which is all derivative of the Chinese-origin plum sauce. 

Q. What is Chinese duck sauce made from?

A. A typical Chinese duck sauce uses apricots, plums, sugar, and different local spices. It is a simple mix of these ingredients, with varying degrees of tartness and sweetness. Of course, the duck sauce has evolved, and now we can also use apples. But typically, duck sauce is simply a plum sauce.

Q. What do you eat duck sauce on?

A. There are multiple ways to eat duck sauce. You can eat it with chicken, fish or pork. You can also enjoy the sauce with typical street food like egg rolls, spring rolls, patties, rice, or noodles. It is a sweet and salty taste combination, and it lends itself brilliantly to fried foods and snack items. Also, if you go creative, you can eat it with noodles, stir-fries, and finger foods

Q. Is Peking duck sauce hoisin?

A. Yes, hoisin is made with soy sauce, garlic, chilli, and various spices and may contain sugar and vinegar. The name Peking duck sauce came from the fact that it goes in the preparation of traditional Chinese cuisine Peking duck.

Q. What is the difference between hoisin sauce and Peking duck sauce?

A. Peking duck sauce is another name for the hoisin sauce. It is a sauce made with soy sauce, garlic, chilli, and various spices. Peking duck sauce is famous as a key ingredient in the Peking duck dish made in China.

Q. What kind of duck sauce do Chinese restaurants use?

A. Duck sauce is very famous in all Chinese restaurants. Duck sauce is a translucent orange-coloured condiment with a sweet-and-sour taste and resembles runny jelly. Also, it complements duck, chicken, and fish in Chinese cuisine. It goes well with deep-fried dishes such as wontons, spring rolls, egg rolls, and rice or noodles.

Q. Does duck sauce have MSG?

A. Yes, traditionally made duck sauces contain MSG. The MSG effect is itself known as the duck sauce effect. Dr Kwok noticed symptoms complex after ingesting a Chinese meal added with Monosodium glutamate (MSG). Eventually, he coined the term Chinese Restaurant syndrome (CRS).

About the Author

Parul holds a Masters of Medical Science in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and has worked across the globe from the U.K to New Zealand (NZ) gaining her License with the Health Professionals Council (HPC, UK) and the NZ Nutrition Council. From being a Gold medalist in Clinical Nutrition to being awarded an internship with World Health Organisation (WHO, Cairo, Egypt) and Contracts with CDC Parul has had a wide spectrum of work experiences. She is very passionate about Nutrition and Fitness and holds strong to her guiding mantras ‘ Move more’ and ‘Eat Food that your grandmother can recognize’!

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