The Best Sweet and Sour Sauce

5 from 5 votes
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Sweet, sticky, and good with just about anything, my homemade sweet and sour sauce is quick and simple to make for cooking, dipping, or drizzling.

A spoonful of sweet and sour sauce over a small bowl

Discover a tastier twist with my special recipe – better than the usual Chinese takeout sauce. Free from food coloring and enhanced with ketchup, it has an elevated taste and a distinctive and appetizing red color. Perfect for jazzing up meats, rice, noodles, or as a dip for spring rolls and prawn toast. Once you try it, you’ll never go back to takeout sweet and sour sauce again!

Ingredients

ingredients for sweet and sour sauce
  • Pineapple Juice: The protein enzymes in the pineapple juice help with the correct consistency of the sauce (not too thick) and give it a distinct flavor. Canned pineapple juice works best.
  • Sugar: White or brown sugar work best.
  • Soy Sauce
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Ketchup: It adds a tangy sweetness and enhances the color of sweet and sour sauce.
  • Cornstarch
  • Water

How to make sweet and sour sauce

Prepare a Cornstarch Slurry: In a small bowl, add the cornstarch and a few teaspoons of water until a thin, white liquid has formed. Set aside.

steps to make slurry for sweet and sour sauce

Simmer and Thicken: In a saucepan, add all of the ingredients – except the cornstarch slurry. Bring the sauce mixture to a boil on medium-low heat, then add the slurry. Continue to heat for another minute or two until the sauce thickens. Stir it continuously – this will help the thickening.

Allow the sauce to cool completely before transferring to an airtight jar or container. It’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

steps to make sweet and sour sauce

How to use sweet and sour sauce

  • As a Dipping Sauce: Serve in small bowls and use for dipping crispy appetizers or finger foods like chicken tenders, egg rolls, mozzarella sticks, veggie sticks, spring rolls, or fried wontons.
  • As a Seasoning: Swap out tomato-based sauces for this sauce in a mixture for dumplings or as a base in tacos or burritos.
  • As a Marinade: The pineapple juice in this sauce is a great way to tenderize meat and add flavor, so use it for pork, beef, or chicken dishes.
  • As a Pan Sauce: Pour in with stir-fried dishes for an added boost of flavor, tossing with cooked ingredients just before serving. It pairs best with vegetable, chicken, or shrimp-based stir-fries.
  • As a Glaze: Brush the sticky sauce over filets of meat or fish in the last few minutes of cooking – it works especially well with chicken, salmon, or tofu.
  • As a Drizzle: Add a boost of sweet and sour flavor by drizzling over things like rice, noodles or even slices of pizza.

How long does sweet and sour sauce last

In the fridge: When stored properly in the fridge, it can last up to 3 weeks. Make sure to keep it in an airtight container to stop any bacteria from getting in.

In the freezer: Once it’s cooled, transfer the sauce into airtight containers (don’t overfill as the liquid will expand upon freezing), and label with the date. For easy thawing, freeze in smaller portions. It’ll keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before gently reheating when ready to use.

A spoonful of sweet and sour sauce over a saucepan

More homemade sauces

If you try this sweet and sour sauce recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

The Best Sweet and Sour Sauce

5 from 5 votes
By: Samira
Sweet, sticky, and good with just about anything, my homemade sweet and sour sauce is quick and simple to make for cooking, dipping, or drizzling.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp water

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, add the cornstarch and a few teaspoons of water until a thin, white liquid has formed. Set aside.
  • In a saucepan, add all of the ingredients – except the cornstarch slurry. Bring the sauce mixture to a boil over medium-low heat.
  • Add the cornstarch mix. Continue to heat for another minute or two until the sauce thickens. Stir it continuously – this will help the thickening.
  • Allow the sauce to cool completely before transferring to an airtight jar or container.

Video

Notes

To store in the fridge: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. 
To freeze: Once it’s cooled, transfer the sauce into airtight containers (don’t overfill as the liquid will expand upon freezing) and label with the date. For easy thawing, freeze in smaller portions. It’ll keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before gently reheating when ready to use.
Check the blog post for serving suggestions!
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Asian
Freezer friendly: 3 Months
Shelf life: 3 Weeks

Nutrition

Serving: 2Tbsp, Calories: 53kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 0.3g, Fat: 0.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.002g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.003g, Sodium: 109mg, Potassium: 37mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 14IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 4mg, Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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