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Easy Sweet and Sour Sauce

Easy sweet and sour sauce is made in minutes and much more flavorful than the packaged stuff. Enjoy that signature glossy, sweet and sour taste that makes everything from cream cheese wontons to chicken nuggets even better!

sweet and sour sauce in glass bowl
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An All-In-One Sauce, Glaze, and Dip!

In my house sweet and sour sauce is synonymous with Chinese food especially for dipping homemade egg rolls. According to my kids, the “red sauce” is a must! I do have to admit, once I figured out the perfect homemade sweet and sour sauce recipe there really was no turning back to the takeout version. It has better flavor, is cheaper, and I have more control over what I put in it.

I love that it’s a super easy recipe and just a matter of simmering ingredients together until that signature, glossy, sweet and sour sticky sauce is done. You can customize it to to your tastes and add a little more sweet than sour, or a little more sour than sweet, and maybe even a little heat.

spoonful sweet and sour sauce

How to Make Sweet and Sour Sauce

  1. Combine all ingredients into the saucepan on the stovetop.
  2. Simmer the mixture over medium heat. No need to bring to a full boil.
  3. Pour in your cornstarch slurry to help thicken it up.
  4. Remove from the heat and pour into a small dish or bowl.
  5. Cool and serve.

Tips & Variations

  • Use arrowroot flour or potato starch in place of cornstarch.
  • The red food coloring is optional. Without it, the sauce won’t be as vibrant, but it will still taste great.
  • Add a few red pepper flakes for a sweet chili heat.
  • If you don’t have rice vinegar, swap with regular white vinegar.
  • Use canned or bottled pineapple juice, not fresh. The sugary juice is part of what gives it sweetness.

Storing Suggestions

This delicious sauce has a pretty long shelf life of 2 weeks when stored properly in an airtight container in the fridge.

spoonful of sweet and sour sauce

Favorite Ways to Use It:

This sauce can be used as a glaze, a marinade, or for dipping, and not just for Chinese takeout. The following is just a jumping off point on all the ways you can enjoy this sauce.

spoonful of sweet and sour sauce

Easy Sweet and Sour Sauce

5 from 3 votes
Easy sweet and sour sauce is made in minutes and much more flavorful than the packaged stuff. Enjoy that signature glossy, sweet and sour taste that makes everything from cream cheese wontons to chicken nuggets even better!
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar , packed
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tablesoons ketchup
  • 1/2 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • dash ground ginger
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • red food coloring

Instructions

  • Add the pineapple juice, brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, salt and ginger to a small pot. Add a couple drops of red food coloring if desired. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring well.
    pineapple juice in pot
  • Mix together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and then mix into the sauce. Whisk until it is mixed well and let simmer until thickened.
    pouring roux in pot
  • Remove from heat and pour into a small container. Allow to cool and then serve.
    sweet and sour sauce in glass bowl

Notes

Storage: Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 
Pineapple Juice: Use canned or bottled, not fresh pineapple juice.

Calories: 50kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 138mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Asian
Author: Jamielyn Nye

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