No need for Chinese takeout when you have the best homemade sweet and sour sauce recipe. The flavor combines both sweetness from the sugar and tanginess from the vinegar. One thing I love is that you can easily adjust the measurements to taste exactly how you want it.
Most people don’t think about this condiment until it’s in your takeout bag, but it’s actually really versatile and can be used in a ton of different dishes. The homemade version tastes way better in my opinion and you don’t have to worry about extra preservatives and unnatural ingredients that are found in store-bought sauces.
Can you believe that some put drops of red food coloring into the sweet and sour sauce just for aesthetics? Yuck. No dyes are needed in this recipe. The sauce gets its beautiful color from the ketchup.
What Ingredients do I Need for the Sweet and Sour Sauce recipe?
- Pineapple juice
- Apple cider vinegar – The vinegar adds that great tang – apple cider vinegar is perfect in this recipe, but you can also use rice vinegar or white vinegar.
- Soy sauce
- Light brown sugar – you can substitute granulated sugar if needed.
How to Make Homemade Chinese Sweet and Sour Sauce
Whisk together the pineapple juice, ketchup, soy, vinegar, and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until it’s simmering and the ingredients are combined.
Stir together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl to make the slurry, then pour it into the sauce. Whisk while the sauce continues cooking and thickening.
The cornstarch slurry thickens up the sauce to a great dipping consistency. Whisk in additional cornstarch slurry while simmering for a thicker sauce.
This sauce usually comes as a condiment from a Chinese restaurant with sweet and sour chicken but it’s so delicious we want you to experiment! Some other ways to use this sauce are – on pork dishes, as a dipping sauce for egg rolls, spring rolls, or wontons, drizzle over rice, vegetables, or noodles, with chicken nuggets (your kids may like that!), as a glaze on meatballs or ribs, in a stir fry, for a marinade, etc.
Usually, cornstarch is gluten-free as long as it’s 100% natural, so be sure to check the label. You can swap the soy sauce for coconut aminos to make the recipe gluten-free.
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 6 oz. can pineapple juice
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- In a small saucepan, whisk together pineapple juice, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, and light brown sugar.
- Heat sauce over medium heat until it comes to a simmer and all of the ingredients are combined.
- Stir together the cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Pour the slurry into the simmering sweet and sour sauce, whisking until the sauce thickens.
- Remove from heat.