Look no further for what is consistently ranked the BEST sweet and sour sauce recipe on the web! 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 popular sauce couldn’t be simpler to make!
What is Sweet and Sour Sauce?
Sweet and sour sauce is a popular condiment made, just as its name suggests, by combining sweet and sour flavor components (a sugar and a vinegar) with a thickener to make a sauce that is used for dipping, drizzling, and incorporated into dishes. 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. 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.
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 a non-reactive airtight container (I prefer glass) in the fridge where it will keep for up to 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.
BEST Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe
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.
For more phenomenal homemade Asian sauces be sure to try our:
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Yum Yum Sauce
- Hoisin Sauce
- Black Bean Sauce
- Plum Sauce
- Kecap Manis
- Sweet Chili Sauce
- Ponzu Sauce
- Char Siu Sauce
- Ginger Sauce
BEST Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 1 cup canned pineapple juice , see note
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- OR brown sugar alternative (for low sugar option)
- 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.
To much catsup, maybe 1-1 1/2 tbs.
And full packed cup of brown sugar
How do you make cornstarch slurry?
Kimberly Killebrew says
Hi Debbie, you just dissolve a little bit of cornstarch in a little bit of water.
I made this and the flavor is superb.. 5 stars. I did want a true “Deep Red” S&S sauce. I just love experimenting. I took beets, cooked, skin on WELL rinsed, Strained the liquid, still not the color I wanted. Sooo took 2 beets, well cooked, pureed them, mixed with 1T catsup and 2T beet puree, I had the deepest red S&S sauce I have ever seen. It worked great. I was afraid I would taste the beets but No, did not taste them. This was the only change I made and I had a comparison table with 2 different S & S sauces and the (beet recipe) won.
Definitely a keeper. Thank You for a great S&S recipe.
Kimberly Killebrew says
That’s awesome, Martha, I’m so glad you enjoyed it and thank you for you the info and feedback about the beets!