Substitutes For Plum Extract (Japanese Apricots)

bowl of fresh plums on table

Are you making a recipe that calls for plum extract but don’t have any and cannot find it at your store? No need to worry, there are great options you can use as a substitute no matter what you are making.

Plum extract is called Japanese apricots in some recipes but we are talking about the same ingredient. And each of the alternatives you’ll find below can be used for a recipe calling for Japanese apricots or plum extract.

Unfortunately, plum extract is not easy to find in all regions, including mine, so I had to learn how to improvise and I will let you know the replacements that work the best.

So what are the best substitutes for plum extract?

The top plum extract substitutes are garlic teriyaki, black bean with plums, brown sugar and bean paste, prunes and garlic, peanut butter with soy, bbq sauce and molasses, ginger with plum jam, and duck sauce.

Plum Extract Alternatives

prunes on plate

Plum extract, also known as maesil syrup, is used in all types of cuisine and is particularly popular in Korean cooking. It is produced by marinating green plums in honey and sugar for multiple months.

The resulting extract is thick and used in everything from dinners, desserts, and dipping sauces and marinades.

Plum extract offers a sweet yet tangy flavor that pairs wonderfully in so many dishes. But what do you use if you don’t have plum extract?

Read on for the top plum extract substitutes and how to use them in your recipe.

Garlic Teriyaki

fresh garlic

Because plum extract often contains garlic, garlic teriyaki makes an excellent substitute. The flavor is not exactly the same but it will pair well in sauces and savory dishes that call for plum extract.

Take some minced garlic and add in some teriyaki sauce and cooked kidney beans. Combine until it makes a paste and add it in to your recipes.

You can add a bit of sweetness by incorporating some fruit jam or add some molasses or even red wine vinegar.

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing plum extract with garlic teriyaki.

Black Beans with Plums

pile of black beans

Here is another combo that is quite similar to plum extract in flavor. It also produces a texture that works well in most recipes that call for plum extract. You can just combine these two ingredients and combine them well or add a few more ingredients for an even more robust flavor.

Some other great additions to this combo are red wine vinegar, garlic sauce and sesame oil.

When using black beans always make sure they are cooked first. Then add about one can’s worth and one plum and it makes a great 1:1 substitute for plum extract.

Brown Sugar and Bean Paste

scoop of brown sugar

This simple combination is an ideal plum extract alternative no mater what you are making. It only requires kitchen staples and is quick to whip together.

The flavor and consistency is similar to plum extract and it pairs well in almost every recipe that calls for plum extract.

One great recipe is to use bean paste and brown sugar with five spice, sesame oil and red wine vinegar.

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing plum extract with brown sugar and bean paste.

Prunes and Garlic

garlic and prunes in a bowl

If plums are out of season and you cannot find plum extract at your local grocery store, replace it with prunes and garlic!

This combo offers an excellent texture and a similar enough flavor to go in any dish that calls for plum extract.

Make sure to use pitted prunes though. Then just boil them until they are soft then mix in some soy sauce and minced garlic to taste.

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing plum extract with garlic and prunes.

Peanut Butter and Soy Sauce

jar of creamy peanut butter

I use a lot of soy sauce in my cooking and this is a great option if you have some on hand. And nearly everyone already has peanut butter in the pantry.

This combo is an easy way to achieve a similar flavor profile to plum extract. It is sweet and salty and goes well in all types of recipes.

Use enough peanut butter to achieve the amount of plum extract that is needed in your recipe and add soy sauce to taste. It should be salty and sweet.

You can even add some other sweeteners such as honey or brown sugar to achieve your desired flavor.

Use a 1:1 ratio of your peanut butter and soy sauce mixture when replacing plum extract.

Related: How to freeze peanut butter

BBQ Sauce and Molasses

jar of barbecue sauce

Here’s an interesting combo that makes a great alternative to that hard to find plum extract. It may sound a bit odd at first, but this combo is easy to make and is quite similar to plum extract in flavor and texture.

You can simply mix molasses to your barbecue sauce to taste and use as is. Or you can kick the flavor up by adding in some soy sauce, brown sugar, or your favorite spice.

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing plum extract with bbq sauce and molasses.

Ginger Root with Plum Jam

sliced ginger root

Here is a quick and easy way to get the great flavor of plum extract without making a trip to a specialty grocery store.

Plum jam is available in most areas and ginger root can be find in the produce section of most large supermarkets.

Peel and grate your ginger root and mix into your plum jam and you are ready to go! You can also spice it up with some red pepper flakes or black pepper. Garlic also goes well with this combination.

Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting plum jam and ginger for plum extract.

Duck Sauce

bowl of duck sauce

If you are looking for a quick and easy substitute for plum extract duck sauce is the way to go. This popular ingredient for Chinese dishes is quite similar in flavor to plum extract. In fact it is often called plum sauce too!

You can find it at most grocery stores or online and it provides the perfect amount of sweet and sour flavor for any recipe that calls for plum extract.

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing plum extract with duck sauce.

Plum Extract Replacement FAQ

Is Plum extract the same as plum syrup?

Yes, plum syrup is another name for plum extract. This ingredient is used in many types of recipes and can even be used to make a tea like beverage.

Can hoisin replace plum sauce?

Yes, Hoisin is a common replacement for plum extract in dips. It is spicier and less sweet than plum extract but it’s flavor is complimentary to most dishes that use plum extract.

What is the best plum extract substitute for kimchi?

The best substitute for plum extract in kimchi is another fruit extract or syrup. The most popular types are apple, pear, and apricot.

What is the best plum extract substitute for bulgogi?

The best substitutes for plum sauce in bulgogi are duck sauce, garlic and teriyaki, and prunes and garlic. These substitutes will provide you with a similar flavor to plum extract.

You will find how to use each of these plum extract alternatives above.

Written by Liv

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