This quick and easy sweet and sour sauce recipe is the perfect Chinese dipping sauce, great with dumplings, fried foods, stir fries and so much more! Ready in 5 minutes!
We're cooking up a batch of Sweet and Sour Sauce in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen today, my friends. You're going to love this recipe.
You've likely enjoyed sweet and sour sauce from your local Chinese restaurant, or in the Chinese-American fast food restaurant, Panda Express, where it is quite popular.
It's a flavorful mix of both sour and sweet, and you can spice it up a little if you'd like to.
Did you realize that it is super easy to make at home? Yep, you can make your own homemade sweet and sour sauce with only 6 ingredients, and the cooking time is only about 5 minutes.
Even a slow cook like me can whip this sauce together is no time, even if I'm taking my time gathering up all of the ingredients!
It's a great recipe to have on hand for when you want a quick sweet and sour chicken, or as a dipping sauce for your egg rolls or crab rangoons, though it is rather versatile and has many ways to serve it.
However you serve yours, I'm sure you'll love it!
Let's talk about how to make sweet and sour sauce, shall we?
Sweet and Sour Sauce Ingredients
- Pineapple Juice.
- Light Brown Sugar. You can use white sugar for the "sweet" element, or use honey or agave nectar, or a sweetener substitute.
- Rice Vinegar. You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar as an alternative.
- Soy Sauce
- Corn Starch. For thickening.
How to Make Sweet and Sour Sauce - the Recipe Method
Add Ingredients to a Sauce Pot. Whisk the pineapple juice, brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, and soy sauce together in a small pot.
Boil, then Simmer. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute.
Thicken the Sauce. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and simmer, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes, or until the sweet and sour sauce thickens.
Use it Up. Cool and enjoy! Serving is about 1/4 cup.
Boom! Done! Your sweet and sour sauce is ready to serve. So easy to make, isn't it? Even for a slow cook like me. You're going to love this recipe. Curious how you're serving yours!
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Thicker Sauce. For a thicker sauce, swirl in another tablespoon or more of the cornstarch slurry until it thickens to your preference. Just add in a bit at a time, because if you add too much, it can get much too thick, almost gelatinous.
- Pineapple Juice. Avoid fresh pineapple juice, as it can prevent thickening. Processed pineapple juice (canned or jarred) is ideal for making sweet and sour sauce.
- Red Color. Many sweet and sour sauces are very red in color. This is often from the addition of red food coloring. I don't use any in my recipe, but if you'd prefer a more vibrant red color like some restaurants, add a few drops to the mix when you whisk together the ingredients in the pot. This has no effect on the overall flavor.
- Heat/Spice Factor. Mild. Sweet and sour sauce isn't traditionally spicy. It's flavor focuses on the sourness of the vinegar and the sweetness of the pineapple juice, though you can easily incorporate a pinch or more of spicy chili power, such as cayenne, or some spicy chili flakes. Spice it up, my friends!
Serving Sweet and Sour Sauce
What is sweet and sour sauce good with? I love to serve sweet and sour sauce with fried foods, particularly Chinese foods like egg rolls or fried crab rangoons.
Make it to serve extra with your Chinese takeout. You just never have enough, right?
Drizzle it over your next batch of fried chicken, or swirl some into your spicy fried rice for an interesting flavor kick. It's great drizzled over vegetables for an interesting twist.
It also makes a nice addition to salad dressings, or as a dipper for shrimp, scallops, crab, or other seafood.
Consider it as a glaze for grilling pork or chicken. So many ways to use it!
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this sweet and sour sauce recipe. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you, and if you decided to spice it up!
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
- General Tso Sauce
- Szechuan Sauce
- Kung Pao Sauce
- Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
- Bulgogi Sauce
- Gochujang Sauce
- Easy Hoisin Sauce
- Sambal Oelek
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe
- 1 cup canned pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar use 3/4 cup for sweeter
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons water to form a slurry - double for a thicker sweet and sour sauce
- Whisk the pineapple juice, brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, and soy sauce together in a small pot.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute.
- Stir in the cornstarch slurry and simmer, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes, or until the sweet and sour sauce thickens.
- Cool and enjoy!
Excellent but easy sweet and sour.
Served it with stir fry veggies and chicken.
Will make with pork sometime.
Mike Hultquist says
Excellent! Glad you enjoyed it, B!
Damien C. says
Another great one. Thank you. I appreciate the extra tips in the notes. Making a bit of a spicy version soon.
Mike Hultquist says
Thanks, Damien! Spice it as desired for sure!
Joanne M Muzzy says
Love your recipes and working on some of them today. Please tell us your favorite source for peppers and spices. Some I have never heard of and certainly don't find in my local grocer.
Mike Hultquist says
Thanks, Joanne. I run around to different local stores, some specialty stores, but I also order a number of things online.
jeffrey palmer says
Love your site and this recipe is good. Shouldn't red pepper flakes Be in it also?
Maybe I am getting this confused with plum chili Thai sauce
Mike Hultquist says
Jeffrey, sweet and sour sauce does not usually have pepper flakes or spices, though I do mention this very thing in the Recipe Tips & Notes section: "Heat/Spice Factor. Mild. Sweet and sour sauce isn't traditionally spicy. It's flavor focuses on the sourness of the vinegar and the sweetness of the pineapple juice, though you can easily incorporate a pinch or more of spicy chili power, such as cayenne, or some spicy chili flakes."