how to make plum sauce for crispy duck | Family Cuisine

This is my favorite way to make plum sauce for crispy duck. It's easy and delicious!

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How to make plum sauce for crispy duck

This is my easy method for oven roasted Peking duck with crispy skin and juicy, fall-apart meat. Served up with a spicy plum sauce. There won’t be a shred left! Overhead of Chinese crispy duck on a dark background with plum sauce and greens

Personally the duck course is usually my favourite when we go out for Chinese. We all fight over the last bits of meat and wonder why we only ordered a quarter or a half of duck between us (even though we know full well that we haven’t even got to the main course yet).

Reading: how to make plum sauce for crispy duck

So today I’m presenting my own version of Peking duck. A whole duck for a fraction of the price it costs in a Chinese restaurant, and less squabbling because we all get a nice big portion!

I had a hard time photographing this one without pinching a piece, and then another, and then another. You get the picture.

We made this recently as part of a homemade Chinese banquet for New Year (our favourite way to bring in the New Year these days is to cook up a big feast and consume it all in our PJs). Also considering making it again for Chinese New Year on the 25th of Jan!

Ingredients for the best homemade duck and spicy plum sauce:

For the sauce we need: nice ripe plums, red onion, garlic, ginger, honey, rice vinegar, soy sauce and a little oil. We’re also adding 4 tbsp of sriracha, which will mean the sauce will taste very hot when you first taste it, but the heat does mellow after an hour or so. You can reduce or leave out the sriracha if you don’t want any heat in it.

For the duck we simply need a nice juicy duck and some salt and pepper.

Ingredients for crispy duck with plum sauce

The spicy plum sauce is made by frying up red onion, garlic and ginger until the onion is soft. Then add in 8 chopped plums (we want plenty of sauce right!), honey , soy sauce, rice vinegar and sriracha.

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Simmer the mixture for 20 minutes, then blend with a stick blender (be careful it doesn’t splash) and the sauce is done! You can leave it too cool and serve it cool, or reheat later if you like.

8 image collage showing how to make plum sauce to go with crispy duck

Want to know how to get that skin so crispy?

Starting by patting the skin dry with kitchen paper.

You’ll also need a roasting tin with a wire rack above it. Placing the duck on the rack will allow the excess fat to drain off – of which there’ll be quite a lot. The trick for getting the crispy skin is to score the fat (not the flesh) lightly all over the breast-side of the bird, then just season it and put it in the oven as it is.

The duck takes 3 hours and 40 minutes to cook, and during this time, you’ll turn it over every hour. This will help to allow the juices to distribute so that all of the meat is moist and succulent. It’ll also help ensure all of the skin is cooked crisply and evenly.

In the last ten minutes, take the duck out of the oven, turn it breast-side up again and brush some of the plum-sriracha sauce on it. Then put back in the oven for a final 10 minutes. This will give the skin a lovely dark, caramelised glaze to it that tastes amazing too!

6 image collage showing how to make crispy duck at home

Rest the duck for about 10 minutes, then shred the meat with two forks and serve with pancakes, strips of spring onion (scallions), cucumber and plenty more of that spicy plum sauce.

Chinese crispy duck on a slate board with some of the meat shredded

It’s supposed to serve 6 as part of a larger meal with rice etc, but I will happily serve this to our little family of four as a main course.

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plum sauce in a bowl with shredded duck int he background

That sauce will taste pretty hot at first, but it does mellow – my 9 year old and 13 year old love it.

close up of shredded duck and plum sauce on a chinese pancake

How does this cooking method compare to traditional Peking duck?

The preparation of traditional Peking duck is a lengthy process, involving pumping air under the skin of the plucked duck to separate the skin from the flesh, then plunging in boiling water and hanging to dry. The duck is then glazed, left to dry for a day or more and then roasted. The whole process can take a few days, and that’s how the skin is so super crispy.

Of course it’s very difficult to complete many of those steps at home, so my recipe involves long slow cooking of the duck, whilst turning several times in the oven to redistribute the fat. This help to ensure lovely juicy meat and crisp skin. The duck is then glazed in my homemade plum sauce and cooked for a final 10 minutes for extra flavour that that rich dark colour.

Can I use shop bought plum or hoisin sauce instead of making my own?

Absolutely! If you don’t want to make your own sauce, you can use shop-bought (mix with a little sriracha if you like it a little spicy)

What do you serve crispy duck with?

Crispy duck wouldn’t be complete without Chinese pancakes (available at most larger supermarkets), strips of cucumber and spring onions (scallions) and the all important plum sauce!

Fancy making a Chinese banquet? How about serving your duck with these Chinese dishes:

The Video:

Check out my video of how to make this crispy duck and plum sauce recipe.

The Pulled Crispy Duck with Plum Sriracha Sauce Recipe:

This post was first published in November 2014. Updated in January 2020 with new photos, video and tips.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

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