Have you ever ordered takeout and then dipped everything in duck sauce? You’re not by yourself.
Some claim that this mouthwateringly sweet and sour umami condiment is addictive. But one thing is certain: duck sauce is essential to the ultimate takeout experience.
Store-bought versions aren’t nearly as satisfying as the small packets that come with takeout. Even if there is no duck sauce nearby, you must devise viable alternatives.
Duck sauce is commonly found in Chinese takeout restaurants along the East Coast and the Midwest. These small packets of orange sauce are served with your meal and provide a sweet and tangy dipping sauce.
You may be unable to obtain any if you live in other parts of the United States or abroad (excuse the pun)
We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of duck sauce substitutes for every occasion and meal to assist you. And if that isn’t enough, we will assist you in making them just as addictive.
What is Duck Sauce?
Duck sauce is not a centuries-old traditional Chinese recipe, and it’s more like an American-Chinese fusion gastronomy creation.
Nonetheless, it’s delectable. However, when people think of duck sauce, they think of two condiments. The traditional orange-apricot, slightly spicy jelly is one option, and the other is a spicy, fruity, plum-flavored soy sauce.
Both are sweet and savory, with just the right amount of saltiness. Let’s look for some even better duck sauce substitutes!
What can you Use in Place of Duck Sauce?
Oyster sauce has a flavor profile similar to duck sauce in that it is thick and rich. However, the overall flavor left on your palate varies greatly.
As a result, you should only substitute duck sauce for the oyster sauce in seafood or beef dishes. This condiment requires bold, spicy ingredients all around.
Apart from the distinct flavor, it is significantly less sweet. To better replicate duck sauce, purchase sweet oyster sauce and combine it with honey, orange zest, and ginger.
It’s also excellent for stir-frying beef, pad Thai, and heavy seafood dishes.
Hoisin sauce, instead of oyster sauce, has more sweetness and a spectacular glaze, and it also complements the flavor of the duck sauce much better.
You’ve probably seen Hoisin on Peking ducks, gleaming like a diamond in food stock photos.
Despite being less sweet, it works well as a substitute for duck sauce. You can also slightly thicken them to make a dipping sauce.
Add some potato starch when thickening to make a dipping sauce similar to duck sauce. Combine them with beef, chicken, or any vegetables, as well as dumplings or spring rolls.
In a nutshell, we can use it for anything, especially Asian dishes.
The following one is less surprising but oh-so-adaptable.
Despite how boring it may sound, soy sauce is an excellent substitute for duck sauce, particularly sweet soy sauce.
Rice wine and sugar are added to sweeten the soy sauce, which complements rice dishes and can be used to spruce up any mild chicken, fish, or shrimp dish.
Sweet soy is more watery than duck sauce, despite their similar flavors. It can, however, be thickened with arrowroot powder or cornstarch and used to spruce up richer sauces with tart fruits.
Following the obvious options, the next duck sauce substitute is for connoisseurs.
Dates are popular in vegan and vegetarian cooking. However, it is not a good substitute for duck sauce. So, how exactly do you do it?
It takes some mixing and shimmering, but it might become your new favorite substitute for takeout duck sauce packets.
You need sticky fruits, a few ingredients, and 30 minutes. Date pastes, whether dried, fresh, or pre-made, are all appropriate.
Toss together smashed dates, soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, orange peels, ginger, salt, and arrowroot powder in a saucepan. Shimmer for 30 minutes, and you’re ready to go!
You may no longer need those duck sauces now that you have a dip or marinade that goes well with vegetables, pasta, or rice.
The following is a wild card. You either like it or despise it.
We have an ambivalent relationship with fish sauce, and it can stink up the place but adds some of the best depth of flavor to certain dishes.
So, how do we avoid this?
Buy the best quality you can afford.
They not only smell but taste better, with a less fishy undertone. But how do they make a substitute for duck sauce?
One tablespoon of fish sauce, tart pineapples, chilies, brown sugar, lime zest, and Chinese black vinegar
This unique dip will outperform any duck sauce!
Ponzu Sauce (Sweet Ponzu Sauce)
Which of these sauces comes closest to the original? Sweet Ponzu Sauce, on the other hand, comes very close.
It has all the sweet, dark, acidic, and tangy flavors that duck sauce lacks. The only difference is that the texture is more like soy sauce than jam.
We can use it to supplement any meal you prepare, which is lighter, more delicate, and refreshing.
If you thicken it with grapefruit or orange juice, the resemblance to duck sauce will be uncanny.
Continue reading if you’re still looking for your favorite substitute.
Molasses is only used as a base for the sauce, and they can complement even the most elegant courses.
This pomegranate-molasses version tastes like an elevated duck sauce while staying true to the original flavor profile.
Reduce the pomegranate juice to make this duck sauce substitute. Combine the star anise, cinnamon, coriander seeds, ginger, soy sauce, white vinegar, honey, cayenne pepper, and salt in a mixing bowl.
If you dislike this fruit, substitute tangerines or oranges. Whatever you prefer, a few spoonfuls of this intense sauce will impress even the most skeptical food critics.
After the distinct fruit–bomb of the molasses sauce, let’s try something completely different. This one lacks a fruity undertone.
Char Siu has the flavor of a spicy, meaty barbecue with sweet and tangy undertones. Overall, it’s a long way from the original duck sauce.
It can, however, be transformed into a fantastic duck sauce substitute with some cooking skills, fresh orange or tangerine peels, and rice vinegar.
How do you pair it after you’ve made it?
Toss all the vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, or roasted carrots, in this twisted, duck-sauce-copycat Char Siu.
Don’t be put off by demi-glace; it’s just a fancier version of the standard sauce.
Another one for the foodies out there!
Begin with port wine, a fruity white wine, or high-end Chinese rose wine. After the alcohol evaporates, add the white wine vinegar, duck or veal stock, soy sauce, ginger, and tamarind zest.
Berries and cherries are also tasty additions to consider. We can make a wine demi-glace by simmering it until smooth and shiny.
This fruity, tangy sauce tastes similar to traditional duck sauce.
How are we going to top this? With a wicked twist on old-school Sriracha.
Sriracha, a twisted duck sauce substitute, is unlike anything else. Sticky, spicy, and complex in flavor.
It’s even better than regular duck sauce, in our opinion.
Mix a generous amount of Sriracha with a tablespoon of fish sauce, brown sugar, lime zest, hot chili flakes, honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, minced garlic, and soy sauce, and mashed pineapples.
This can be used as a marinade or dipping sauce for egg rolls, wontons, and other dishes.
It’s a fiery, heavy sauce that can stand for even the best duck sauce.
Extremely popular teriyaki sauce has a similar acidity but far less fruitiness than duck sauces.
To match the flavor profile of duck sauce, add pineapple juice, honey, ginger, garlic, and orange peels to this cross-cultural condiment.
Teriyaki can withstand many changes, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Glisten it on red meats, barbecues, wontons, egg rolls, and hearty meals.
What if you want something a little lighter? We also have an excellent replacement for you!
For lighter dishes, substitute applesauce for duck sauce. This homemade sauce is full of aroma and flavor despite its fluffiness.
It is more subtle, refined, and goes well with white meats and fish. After all, not everyone enjoys spicy foods.
Because apples have a high pectin content, you won’t need as many thickening agents. Use a lot of citrus zest, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, and honey.
Thicken the sauce with white rice vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic powder over low heat.
This combination tastes uncannily like traditional duck sauce. Add some chili flakes to twist it.
Aside from the obvious chicken and spring rolls, pork complements this apple sauce beautifully.
Chutney, which has a similar lightness to apple sauce, is an obvious replacement for traditional duck sauce.
Sweetness, tanginess, acidity, and a savory undertone are all present. It is also possible to add heat, and chutney should not be just any ordinary, uninteresting jam with a fancy name.
Use apricot, peach, or mango as the main ingredient and chili or peppers to make the perfect duck sauce impression.
For a smoother texture in chunky chutneys, use a food processor, and we can improve them with some dry sherry and rice vinegar.
Chutneys can directly substitute duck sauce in lamb, rich beef, and fried dishes.
But how about a sauce that goes with everything? We saved the best substitutes for last.
Sweet and Sour Sauce
Although the taste and texture of the sweet and sour sauce and duck sauce are not the same, they are strikingly similar.
Both are sweet, sticky, and thick, with ginger, garlic, and light chili. The only difference is that duck sauce has a more complex and fruity flavor.
Add some fruits and acids to the sweet and sour sauce to achieve a similar punchy flavor. This recipe calls for rice wine vinegar and apricots.
This consistency is ideal for dipping and marinating, and creating flavorful stews. A little soy sauce or broth can help darken the flavor of your barbecues and hamburgers.
Don’t start cooking yet, because the best is yet to come.
Honey and Ginger Sauce
The honey-ginger combination can be more than just a soothing winter tea.
You can make the ultimate duck sauce substitute with this flavor combination and a few more additions.
Whatever the dish, this delectable, refreshing, savory, and tangy sauce is indistinguishable from the real thing and far superior.
We should combine honey, ginger, pineapple sauce, sesame oil, Chinese black vinegar, garlic, five-spice, salt, pepper, rice wine, soy sauce, orange peels, and chili powder.
You can adjust the thickness with water or cornstarch to your liking. It needs to be heated in a saucepan for a few minutes until it bubbles.
Pour over salads, meats, or noodles. It can be used as a spread, marinade, or finishing sauce.
This is the best one so far for using as a substitute for duck sauce in any dish.
Is Hoisin Sauce Similar to Duck Sauce?
Duck sauce differs from region to region but is not the same as hoisin sauce. Hoisin sauce is a thick, dark sauce that is sweet, tangy, and salty. It is made with soy sauce, soybeans, and vinegar, and it’s saltier and savory than duck sauce because it’s made with soy sauce.
Why doesn’t California have Duck Sauce?
Many food supply companies that produce duck sauce are based in New York but lack the clout to bring the sauce west. As a result, if you go to Chinatown in San Francisco, you will find different sauces than if you go to Chinatown in New York City or Washington DC.
Is Duck Sauce the Same as Plum Sauce?
Plum Sauce is yet another well-known culinary tribute to plums. Alternatively, Duck Sauce. The terms are interchangeable and refer to a popular, tasty, and versatile Chinese condiment found in any Chinese takeout or restaurant.
A poor thickening technique can ruin even the best duck sauce substitutes. However, we understand how difficult it is to determine the best thickening agents for sticky sauces.
For true Asian cuisine fans, the YouTube channel Chinese Cooking Demystified can provide authentic recipes and ingredient recommendations.
Traditional thickening agents for sauces, according to them, include potato or tapioca starch or arrowroot powder. Simultaneously, corn starch is used primarily for its low cost rather than its quality.
Overall, sauces and spices are the heart and soul of Asian cuisine. Be gracious to them. Also, stock up on a few key ingredients for your next late-night snack.