This super easy Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce is made in just minutes! Perfectly smooth and flavorful, it’s ready to serve for dipping or when making a quick sweet and sour chicken for dinner.
Easy Sweet and Sour Sauce
Next time you need an easy sweet and sour sauce for a recipe, dinner, or sauce for dipping, there’s no need to open a bottle because it’s incredibly quick to make it yourself. We dipped egg rolls in the sauce and it made the snack absolutely perfect! We even liked it better than Chinese takeout.
Are you looking for more Asian-inspired recipes? Here are some of our favorites: Easy Chicken Fried Rice | Asian Meatballs | Air Fryer Sweet Asian Chili Wings | Instant Pot Cauliflower Fries Rice | Bourbon Chicken | Asian Chicken Noodle Soup.
What is Sweet and Sour Sauce?
Sweet and sour sauce is a condiment made with sugar, vinegar, and other ingredients. It is used as a dipping sauce, cooking sauce, or condiment. It is usually has a red color or reddish-brown color and is thick in consistency. The flavor of sweet and sour sauce can vary depending on the recipe. Some recipes are more sour, while others are sweeter. This recipe is right in between.
Here’s what you’ll need to make the best sweet and sour sauce recipe (the exact measurements and full recipe instructions are below in the easy-to-print recipe card):
Pineapple juice – be sure to use 100% pineapple juice and not a juice blend.
Brown sugar – we used light brown sugar, but dark would work as well.
Ketchup – any brand of ketchup you like should do well in this recipe.
Soy sauce – to lower the salt in the sauce, you can use reduced-sodium soy sauce.
White vinegar – the vinegar adds just the right acidity to the flavor of the sauce.
Corn starch – you will make a cornstarch slurry and this will thicken the sauce to the right consistency.
Water – we used tap water to mix with the corn starch before adding it to the sauce.
How to Make Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Combine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a light boil.
- Simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
- Combine the cornstarch and water. Slowly pour in cornstarch and water mixture into the sauce and cook until thickened using a whisk.
- Remove from the heat and serve hot.
A More Classic Chinese Sweet and Sour Recipe
This is a more classic recipe if that is what you are looking for. However, we think the main recipe we have listed is the easiest and most “doable” with amazing results using ingredients most people already have on hand. Give them a try and let us know which one is your favorite!
- 8 oz. crushed pineapple (about ¾ cup, no need to drain juice)
- 1/4 cup Maraschino cherries (with a splash of cherry juice, stems removed)
- 2 Tbsp grape jelly
- 1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 Tbsp Chinese 5 spice powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp red food coloring (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
In a blender, add the crushed pineapple, maraschino cherries with the splash of juice, grape jelly, hoisin sauce, Chinese 5 spice powder, salt, and red food coloring. Blend until well combined.In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and apple cider vinegar and cook until sugar is dissolved, stirring often.
Add the blender mixture into the saucepan with the vinegar and simmer over low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cornstarch and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved (this will help thicken the sauce). Let simmer for another 2-3 more minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Sauce will thicken more as it cools.
Serving Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce:
This sauce can be serve hot or cold. It is great over hot entrees like chicken and rice. it also works at room temperature or cold as a dip with things like wontons or egg rolls.
- Marinade – cool the sauce and then use as a marinade for chicken or shrimp.
- Dipping sauce – serve warm for dipping egg rolls, spring rolls, shrimp, veggies, and more.
- Sweet and Sour Chicken or Shrimp – toss fried chicken (we use frozen chicken nuggets), shrimp (or any other protein) in the sauce and serve over steamed rice. We also love this over ribs.
How to Store Sweet and Sour Sauce
Keep the sauce in an airtight container or a jar with a lid. Refrigerate for up to one week.
More Homemade Sauce Recipes You’ll Enjoy
Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce
- In a large saucepan, combine the pineapple juice, brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, and white vinegar.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved.
- In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water. Slowly pour the mixture into the sauce, whisking constantly until fully incorporated.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce for 1-3 minutes until thickened, whisking often.
- Remove from the heat and serve hot.