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There are so many ways to enjoy this popular and versatile sauce. And with only 5 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep/cook time, this delicious Sweet and Sour Sauce recipe couldn’t be simpler! Plus it’s better than your favorite Chinese takeout or restaurant!

Chinese food and sweet and sour sauce go hand in hand and for that reason you’ll find it served in every Chinese restaurant and at every takeout. It’s also an essential staple to have in your kitchen. If you’ve never made your own, it’s time to get on board because not only is it incredibly easy, it tastes WAY better than store-bought and what you get at your local takeout. Plus it’s free of preservatives, chemicals and junk ingredients.

Get ready for this fast, simple, and thoroughly deeeelicious homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce recipe!

How To Use Sweet and Sour Sauce

Sweet and sour sauce is the ultimate dipping sauce for potstickers, egg rolls, wontons, chicken nuggets, fish sticks and anything else your heart desires.

You can also incorporate it into your favorite Chinese dishes like sweet and sour chicken, pork or shrimp, sweet and sour meatballs, Asian salad dressings, and as a glaze for grilled chicken, pork, seafood, kabobs, ribs, etc. It’s even delicious just drizzled over a bowl of hot steamed rice.

You can also omit the cornstarch and use this sauce as a marinade.

How To Store Sweet and Sour Sauce

Store it in an airtight jar in the fridge and it will keep for 2-3 weeks.

Do I Have To Use Red Food Coloring?

Not at all! You can make this without food coloring. One of the advantage of making homemade anything is that you don’t have to include the junk ingredients that the store-bought stuff often uses. The red food coloring is purely for aesthetics and tastes exactly the same without it. If you prefer the red color but don’t want to use chemicals in your food there are natural food coloring options and I provide a link to one option in the recipe card below.


Hoisin Sauce

Black Bean Sauce

Plum Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce

Sweet Chili Sauce

Let’s get started!

Get your five ingredients ready to go because making this sauce goes fast. Measure out your pineapple juice, vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce and ketchup. Prepare the cornstarch slurry and set it aside.

Add all of the ingredients except for the cornstarch slurry in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Stir in the cornstarch slurry and simmer for another minute until thickened.

You can stop at this point or, if you want, you can add 2-3 drops of food coloring to make your sauce look the way it does at the Chinese takeout. Check out this all-natural food coloring.

Let the sauce cool completely. Store it in an airtight jar in the fridge where it will keep for 2-3 weeks.



4.99 from 72 votes

Best Sweet and Sour Sauce

Making your own sweet and sour sauce couldn’t be any easier! Plus it’s free of junk ingredients and tastes MUCH better than store-bought! Prep Time2 mins Cook Time3 mins Total Time5 mins Course: condiment Cuisine: American, Asian, Chinese Servings: 16 servings Calories: 52kcal Author: Kimberly Killebrew


  • 1 cup canned pineapple juice ,see note
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • OR sugar-free brown sugar substitute
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar ,found in the Asian or general vinegar section of any grocery store, or you can substitute apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (GF)
  • For the Cornstarch Slurry: 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  • Optional: 2-3 drops all-natural red food coloring (the one I’ve linked to is natural, colored with beets. It’s in powdered form, simply stir some in to a couple of teaspoons of water and add it to the sauce)


  • Place all of the ingredients, except for the cornstarch slurry, in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and simmer for another minute until thickened, stirring constantly. If using red food coloring, stir it in.
  • Let the sauce cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.



* Freshly squeezed pineapple juice contains enzymes that will break down the cornstarch and prevent the sauce from remaining thick, so either use canned or bottled Calories: 52kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Sodium: 154mg | Potassium: 47mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 1.7mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.2mg 59400shares

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Sweet and Sour Sauce – homemade Chinese sauce made with 6 simple ingredients. Perfect with chicken, pork or as a dipping sauce for dumplings or spring rolls!

Forget the store-bought stuff and make this sauce from scratch! I also recommend my Homemade Teriyaki Sauce and the Hoisin Sauce.


If you visited my blog before, you may know that I like to make my own condiments whenever possible. Especially when it comes to Asian cuisine sauces. I almost always have my teriyaki sauce in my fridge, ready to go. It’s very convenient and made from ingredients I know. I add it to cooked chicken or pork and serve over rice. You can serve it with crispy spring rolls or fried potstickers.

Sweet and Sour Sauce Ingredients:

  • sesame oil
  • low-sodium soy sauce
  • brown sugar
  • white sugar
  • ketchup
  • apple cider vinegar
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • cornstarch
  • water

How to make Sweet and Sour Sauce?

  • Combine all ingredients (except cornstarch, water and crushed pepper flakes) in a saucepan and bring to simmer.
  • Make cornstarch slurry and add to sauce. Cook until thickens.
  • Store in a jar or use right away.

What does it taste like?

This sauce is tangy, not overly sweet and has a little heat from the crushed pepper flakes. You can adjust it to your liking by adding more sugar or vinegar. Skip the pepper flakes if you don’t want it to be spicy.

How to use this sauce:

  • with chicken
  • with pork
  • for dipping dumplings, potstickers, spring rolls, etc.

How long does it last?

This homemade sauce will last for up to 2 weeks.

How to store this sauce?

I like to make a batch of this sauce and store it in a jar with lid, right in my fridge. Add it to cooked chicken or pork and heat up in a skillet.

More Asian Recipes:

  • Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry
  • Chicken Chow Mein
  • 10-Minute Teriyaki Shrimp
  • Firecracker Chicken

For more recipes like this one, feel free to browse our Asian Category.

If you like this recipe and make it, snap a photo and share it on INSTAGRAM! Tag me @crunchycreamysweet so I can check it out and leave a comment! 😀

5 from 3 votes Sweet and Sour Sauce Prep Time 5 mins Cook Time 10 mins Total Time 15 mins

Sweet and Sour Sauce – homemade Chinese sauce made with 7 simple ingredients. Perfect with chicken, pork or as a dipping sauce for dumplings or spring rolls!

Course: Dinner Cuisine: Asian Keyword: sweet and sour sauce Servings: 15 servings Calories: 49 kcal Author: Anna Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, soy sauce, oil, ketchup, brown sugar, white sugar and whisk well.

  2. Bring the mixture to simmer.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water (cold, tap).
  4. Add cornstarch mixture to the sauce and whisk well. Simmer until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat.
  5. Add pepper flakes.
  6. Cool the sauce completely. It will thicken even more.
  7. Use the sauce right away or pour into a jar with lid.

Recipe Notes

  1. Please note, that the nutrition value can vary depending on what product you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use calorie counter you are familiar with.
  2. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, use white vinegar.

Nutrition Facts Sweet and Sour Sauce Amount Per Serving Calories 49 Calories from Fat 9 % Daily Value* Fat 1g2% Saturated Fat 1g6% Sodium 183mg8% Potassium 38mg1% Carbohydrates 12g4% Fiber 1g4% Sugar 10g11% Protein 1g2% Vitamin A 60IU1% Vitamin C 1mg1% Calcium 7mg1% Iron 1mg6% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A delicious blend of flavors and ingredients come together to create the BEST EVER Sweet and Sour Sauce. This recipe is perfect to lather, coat or dip your food in!

I LOVE grilling season! We grill at least once a week at my house. I love the quick clean up, the no hassle recipes and that we don’t have to heat up our house!

I have been on the hunt for a good sweet and sour recipe for a while now, but none were making the cut. This recipe took some practicing to get just right and I am proud to announce that it is exactly that… just right!

We lathered our grilled chicken with this sauce and highly recommend it to others. I have tried many sweet and sour sauce recipes over the course of my life and can honestly say this is the best I have tried!

It has a perfect texture and the flavor is sweet and our of this world!

This sauce would make an excellent sauce for coating, lathering and/or dipping.

If you have some grilling planned for this summer, definitely try out this recipe- it is sure to be a huge hit will all who try it!

5.0 from 2 reviews Best Ever Sweet and Sour Sauce A delicious blend of flavors and ingredients come together to create the BEST EVER Sweet and Sour Sauce. This recipe is perfect to lather, coat or dip your food in! Author: Nikki Recipe type: Sauce Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch dissolved in 2 Tablespoons of cold water


  1. Add brown sugar, ketchup, water, salt, vinegar, and soy sauce in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  3. Stir in cornstarch mixture and reduce heat to medium low and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly.



Sweet and sour sauce is a quick and easy homemade version of your favorite takeout condiment! This silky smooth sauce comes together in a matter of minutes using on-hand pantry ingredients!

Sweet and sour sauce is a quick and easy homemade version of your favorite takeout condiment! This silky smooth sauce comes together in a matter of minutes using on-hand pantry ingredients and is perfect for a weeknight dinner fix! I especially love dipping crab rangoon in this easy sweet and sour sauce, it’s the perfect pairing!

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Today I’m happy to share with you a sweet and sour sauce recipe that is so easy to make you’ll wonder why you’ve never made it yourself!

First, let me just clarify that this homemade sweet and sour sauce is not an authentic Asian recipe for sweet and sour sauce. It’s the Westernized version of sweet and sour sauce that we are used to here in the States. Just so we’re clear. It’s super quick and easy to make this sweet and sour sauce at home — we’re talking 5 ingredients and 5 minutes folks!

How to make sweet and sour sauce

  1. Add ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Add cornstarch slurry, stir to combine, and cook until thickened.
  3. Serve immediately or store for later.

It’s made with easy to find ingredients that you probably already have, and of course, a homemade sauce like this is going to be WAY healthier than anything you’re getting pre-made in a bottle. All said, we’re talking a total win in my book and reason enough to put down the takeout menu.

Oh, and if you want this to look even more like what you see at restaurants or with take-out, you can add a few drops of red food coloring to get that bright red color. (They also make natural versions of food coloring. The one for red is made from beets, if you can find it.)

What is Sweet and Sour Sauce?

Sweet and sour sauce is a term that is frequently used to describe many different sauces, typically found in Asian cuisine. It’s very popular in North America and parts of Europe.

Is Sweet and Sour Sauce Gluten-Free?

My recipe for sweet and sour sauce is gluten-free. There are no wheat proteins in this recipe.

How to Make Sweet and Sour Sauce

Start by adding ingredients into a saucepan and bring up to a boil. Next, add the cornstarch slurry and stir to thicken. You can serve immediately or store to serve later.

I generally use this sauce with a stir fry of chicken and veggies and serve it all over some steamed brown rice. Talk about a delicious dinner you can feel good about serving to your family! You could also use this as a dipping sauce or pair it with another protein or as part of a grain bowl if you want to change things up.

Regardless, I hope you give this homemade sauce a try and see how easy and completely delicious it is!

If you enjoy quick and easy Asian inspired recipes, you should also try my 15-minute honey garlic chicken and my 20-minute coconut chicken curry recipes for other weeknight dinner winners!

Love amazing sauce for your food? These are my favorites!

  • Fry Sauce
  • Yum Yum Sauce
  • Pourable Nacho Cheese Sauce
  • Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce
  • Honey Sriracha Dipping Sauce
  • More appetizer recipes…

Tools used to make this Sweet and Sour Sauce recipes

Small Saucepan: While I use bigger saucepans for everyday cooking, having a small saucepan lets me make syrups, toppings, and sauce add-ins without taking over the stovetop.

Glass Prep Bowl: These little bowls are great for serving condiments and dipping sauces with any dish.

Mason Jar: Mason jars are great for storing everything from salad dressing and coffee creamers to overnight oats and all kinds of delicious make-ahead dishes!

Sweet and sour sauce

Sweet and sour sauce is a quick and easy homemade version of your favorite takeout dish! This silky smooth sauce comes together in a matter of minutes using on-hand pantry ingredients – perfect for a weeknight dinner fix!
Prep Time: 2 minutes Cook Time: 3 minutes Total Time: 5 minutes Course: Sauce Cuisine: Asian Keyword: homemade sweet and sour sauce, how to make sweet and sour sauce, sweet and sour sauce recipe, sweet and sour sauce, Servings: 1 cup Calories: 248kcal Author: Kathryn Doherty

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (or substitute apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • Combine water, vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl until well mixed.
  • Once the sauce mix has come to a boil, stir in the cornstarch slurry and stir constantly, for about a minute, until the sauce has thickened.
  • Remove from heat and use immediately or store in a jar or air-tight container for up to 2 weeks. Reheat and add extra water, as needed, to get it to the right consistency.


Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 1003mg | Potassium: 197mg | Sugar: 54g | Vitamin A: 155IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 0.9mg Tried this recipe?Mention @aubrey_realhousemoms or tag #RHFood!

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How to Get Dinner on the Table…FAST

A great homemade Sweet and Sour sauce is an essential for every recipe collection!

Just a handful of pantry ingredients and 5 minutes, this tastes a million times better than store bought!

I’ve only ever tried sweet and sour sauce out of a bottle once in my life, back in my college days. Once was enough. After scrunching up my nose with distaste when I tried it, it took all of 5 minutes to find a recipe to make it myself and I still remember that feeling of victory when I realised that I had everything I needed to make it!

Sweet and Sour sauce is essential for dipping Crispy Homemade Egg Rolls or my favorite Crab Rangoon!

If you’ve never tried a homemade sweet and sour sauce, you are in for a real treat.

Homemade sauce is far less sweet, it tastes cleaner and you get to balance out the flavours to your taste if you want yours more tangy, or more sweet, or, if you like things spicy, add a dash of heat!!

It’s literally just a dump and mix job.

Place cornstarch, water, cider vinegar, sugar, ketchup and soy sauce in a saucepan, then whisk and bring to heat and it will thicken in just a few minutes.

And this is what you’ll get – a beautiful glossy, shiny homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce.

There are so many things you can use Sweet and Sour Sauce for.

Toss your favourite meatballs in them, use it as a dipping sauce for all sorts of things, chicken nuggets to spring rolls.

Slather it over ribs, chicken, pork, use it as a basting sauce, or even as a marinade.

I’ve been known to even just spoon it over a bowl of plain rice, then eat it just like that!!!

I find that the tanginess of the sauce starts fading after a few days, but other than that, homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce can be kept for even a week.

Just adjust the tanginess by stirring through more cider vinegar – go easy with this, start with just 1/4 tsp at a time!

Remember, you can always add more but you can’t undo it if you add too much! (Though if you accidentally do, just add more sugar to balance it out. 🙂 )

So tell me, what’s your favourite way with Sweet and Sour Sauce??? For dipping, for tossing, for slathering??

4.28 from 11 votes Review Recipe

Homemade Sweet & Sour Sauce

Prep Time 3 minutes Cook Time 5 minutes Total Time 8 minutes Servings 16 servings Author Nagi Course Side Dish Cuisine Asian A sweet and tangy sauce perfect for dipping, drizzling and dunking your favorite bites.

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

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  1. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Whisk to combine.
  3. As it starts heating up, keep whisking constantly until it thickens into a sauce consistency. It will thicken as it cools. Adjust sweet with sugar, tang with vinegar, saltiness with salt to taste.

Recipe Notes

Store for a week in an airtight container. You may need to add a touch of cider vinegar after a few days as the tanginess does fade. Serving size 1 tablespoon. Nutrition Information Calories: 34, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 99mg, Potassium: 29mg, Carbohydrates: 8g, Sugar: 8g, Protein: 1g, Vitamin A: 19%, Vitamin C: 1%, Calcium: 6%, Iron: 1%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword sweet & sour, sweet and sour sauce © SpendWithPennies.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Please view my photo use policy here.

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