When plum season rolls around, this is the only dessert recipe you need on hand. It’s simple, yet incredibly elegant, and ready in just 10 minutes. It’s unique and unexpected and is sure to wow your guests, or your special someone for a romantic date-night-in.

sauteed plums in bowl with ice cream and spoon

BTW, yes, you and you alone are enough reason to make this dessert and treat yourself!

Quick backstory, because it’s worth it. Several summers ago, my mom and I traveled around France (and it was everything I could have ever dreamed of). During our wine tour in Avignon our guide, François, casually mentioned an easy summer dessert he makes.

He used Côtes du Rhone wine, not a surprise considering that we were in the Rhone Valley region, figs, butter, and sugar. So easy, so simple, and he talked it up in his charming accent, so I knew I had to give it a try once I was back home.

As you see, I went another route and used plums, and while I’m sure figs would be amazing too, their season seems to last about .02 seconds here in Minnesota. And there’s just something about this reduced buttery, caramelly wine sauce that pairs ridiculously well with plums.

So let’s make it!

bowl of sauteed fresh plum dessert with ice cream and wine sauce with spoon

5 Ingredient Plum Dessert

Not only is this recipe easy to make, but it consists of simple ingredients that come together and make one spectacular dessert. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fresh Plums: take advantage of plum season and use fresh plums. Plums are small stone fruits that are sweet with smooth, thin skin. Red and black plums are easily found in grocery stores, but feel free to adjust as needed.
  • Butter: salted or unsalted will work because a pinch of salt can be a nice touch to this sweet dessert.
  • Brown Sugar: the base of our caramel-y wine sauce.
  • Red Wine: as with any dessert or savory recipe with wine, it’s important to use a wine you like to drink because the flavor will shine through.
  • Vanilla Ice Cream: this is one of those desserts where ice cream is basically a requirement (like apple crisp, you know?). It would also be amazing with cinnamon ice cream or even butter pecan. If you’re looking for another contrasting flavor and texture, try mascarpone dip drizzled across the top.
  • Shortbread Cookie: crumbling a few shortbread cookies on top of this dessert is actually mind-blowing. It adds texture and contrast and is oh so yummy, but if you don’t have them you can skip it.

Gluten-free?! Yep, either omit the cookies or make sure you’re using a GF variety. How about dairy-free? Oat milk ice cream is perfect!

What Kind of Wine Should I Use?

A lovely full Côtes du Rhone red is recommended to make the sauce.

Côtes du Rhône red wine is commonly a blend of Grenache and Syrah wines, but can be made with several varieties.

If you have another drier, fruit-forward red wine on hand, use it! I’ve also used pinot noir and merlot. You really cannot go wrong, as long as you love drinking it.

That being said, a red wine that has rich, dark, fruit-forward flavors will enhance the flavor of the sauce and compliments the plums because they have complimentary flavor notes.

overhead bowls of sauteed plums with ice cream, shortbread cookies, and wine sauce

How to Saute Plums in Red Wine Sauce

In just 10 minutes this elegant dessert is ready to enjoy. It’s all made in one pan, too. So easy, peasy!

First, melt butter in a skillet and let it bubble until many of the milk solids (white bits) start to disappear. It may slightly brown too, which is ok, just be sure those milk solids don’t actually burn.

Then, whisk in the brown sugar until combined, allowing the mixture to come back to a low simmer. Place the sliced and pitted plum halves cut side down into the skillet. Allow the liquid to simmer for several minutes as the plums soften.

The bottoms of the plums will become beautifully caramelized, but if you’re worried about the plums sticking, scoot them around a bit halfway through the cooking time.

Remove the plums and either transfer them to a plate or put them in individual serving bowls. Then it’s time to finish the wine sauce!

Reduce heat, and deglaze the pan with red wine. This is a fun way to say pour the wine in and as it begins to heat immediately, scrape up any bits on the pan (caramelized sugar) and continue to whisk together until combined.

Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes until its reduced down, resulting in a thicker, luxurious texture. As it cools, it will also continue to thicken, although it’s more important to allow it to cook to reduce because you won’t want to wait!

Assembly Time!

With everything ready, all that’s left to do is assemble the desserts. On top of the plums in individual bowls, add the scoops of ice cream and pour on the red wine sauce. Crumble on shortbread cookies and immediately dig in and enjoy this irresistible combination.

Rich butter, brown sugar, red wine, warm caramelized sauteed plums, and cold, creamy ice cream – it’s all a match made in food heaven.

pouring wine sauce on ice cream with plums

Don’t forget to pour yourself a glass of wine to enjoy along side your new favorite dessert! Bon appetite!

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!

Sauteed plums in bowl with ice cream and spoon.
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Get the Recipe Sautéed Plums in Wine Sauce with Ice Cream

This elegant, fresh plum dessert is incredibly easy to make: sauté plums in a rich butter and brown sugar caramelized sauce, and deglaze with red wine to create a luxurious sauce. Served with ice cream, it's an irresistible combination.


  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 red or black plums, sliced in half and pitted
  • ¼ cup Côtes du Rhone red wine, or red wine of choice
  • Pinch salt, optional
  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Shortbread cookies, crumbled, optional


  • Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add butter and let it melt, bubbling for a minute as the foam begins to disappear, and slightly brown. Whisk in brown sugar until combined and bring to a low simmer.
  • Add plums to the pan, cut side down, evenly spaced. Reduce heat if needed to keep a low simmer. Cook for 4-6 minutes, until the plums are slightly softened (you can move the plums around a bit in the pan, if needed, to prevent sticking). Remove the plums from the pan and set them aside on a plate or in individual serving bowls.
  • Reduce pan to low-medium heat and slowly pour in the red wine while continuing to whisk until combined. Let the sauce slowly simmer for 2-4 minutes until reduced slightly. Remove from heat. The sauce will thicken slightly the longer it rests.
  • Add plums to individual bowls if you haven't already. Top the plums with your desired amount of ice cream (I like at least 2 scoops per bowl!). Pour the red wine sauce on top of each bowl, distributing evenly. Garnish with crushed shortbread cookies, and enjoy!
Calories: 289kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 52mg, Sodium: 57mg, Potassium: 269mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 29g, Vitamin A: 768IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 100mg, Iron: 0.3mg
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!

This recipe is part of our Date Night Recipes to Love roundup. Check it out!