Looking for a homemade sweet and sour sauce recipe that tastes so much better than Chinese take-out and McDonald’s? This recipe is the easiest and best way to enjoy the traditional sweet and sour sauce without the expensive and unhealthy take-out!
I think that with some meals, the dipping sauce makes all the difference.
That’s one reason why this sweet and sour sauce recipe has been in our meal plan rotation for the past few months. Even though it’s my JOB to come up with cheap and healthy meals, sometimes I can get in a rut.
And sometimes, amidst the busyness of life, I need to hit the quick and easy button for dinner.
Not only is this sweet and sour recipe quick and easy, it’s also:
- Versatile. Use it with chicken, pork & shrimp, or even veggie eggrolls
- Much healthier than McDonald’s or takeout
- Perfect for the whole family! Enjoy with Eggroll in a bowl, or as a dipping sauce with homemade chicken nuggets!
- pineapple juice
- apple cider vinegar
- soy sauce
- brown sugar
- corn starch
Notes on Ingredients
You may not have pineapple juice in the pantry, but I promise that it’s worth it in this recipe. You CAN substitute orange juice, but really, pineapple juice made this sweet and sour sauce taste so much more authentic.
I highly recommend apple cider vinegar for this sweet and sour sauce recipe. Apple cider vinegar has the right amount of tang that you need and it’s super affordable – especially when you make your own using apple peels and cores!
You’re only using 3 tablespoons, so you don’t want to use a weak vinegar like rice vinegar.
Use whatever soy sauce you have in the pantry.
- I made this once using coconut aminos (leftover from our Whole30 as a family experiment) and then again using liquid aminos and both were delicious.
- Use tamari (which is wheat-free) and you have an easy gluten-free sweet and sour sauce!
Okay… my family and I have been quitting sugar for a LONG time, and I generally shy away from adding processed sugar to dinner recipes. In fact, I don’t add it to my Thai peanut sauce or restaurant-style salsa and we don’t even notice the difference!
- But here’s the thing: Sweet and sour sauce is partially SWEET, so you need something to do that. We’re using sugar so you can control just how sweet you want this sauce to be.
- As written, you can taste the sweetness in the recipe. It shouldn’t be too much, but it’s there. Feel free to start with less and add more to taste.
Note: I have not tested this recipe with honey. If you do, please let us know how it turns out!
Cornstarch and Water
We’ll make a cornstarch slurry with this to thicken the sauce over medium-high heat, but you can use arrowroot powder if you can’t do cornstarch.
Step 1. Combine the pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce and brown sugar in a small saucepan.
Step 2. Bring JUST to a low boil, whisking the ingredients every few minutes so the sugar dissolves thoroughly.
Step 3. In a mug, make a slurry with the corn starch and water. Add the slurry to the sauce while whisking quickly. Cook for one minute and then reduce the heat to low.
Step 4. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for later.
- Personally, I would put light and fluffy dinner rolls on the menu the same week since it uses pineapple juice too. That way you won’t be left without a plan for leftovers.
- If you DO have some juice left, add it to a basic green smoothie, or any of the smoothies in my e-book High Protein No Powder!
Yes! In fact, this recipe as written makes more than my family needs for one meal, so I often freeze the leftovers for an easy meal later on.
Tip: Here’s how you can freeze in glass jars without breaking them!
Sweet and sour sauce is best stored in the refrigerator, where it will be good for several days. To prevent food waste, always use the smell test before throwing something away.
This version is not, but if you want to add a little kick, add some crushed red pepper flakes!
How to enjoy Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Sweet and Sour Chicken, Pork, or Shrimp
- Homemade Chicken Nuggets
- Maple Glazed Pork Chops
- Instead of BBQ Sauce for Ribs
- Marinade and glaze for Chicken Wings
Looking for other sauces to jazz up your dinner?
You can’t go wrong any of these favorites:
30 Minute Dinners Sample Meal PlanSign up to get instant access to my 30 Minute Dinners Sample Meal Plan, complete with recipes and step-by-step instructions!
Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce
Homemade sweet and sour sauce recipe tastes traditional and better than Chinese and McDonald’s! Use pineapple or orange juice, perfect for pork or chicken!
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 15 mins
- Yield: 1 cup 1x
- Category: Sauces/Condiments
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: Asian
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp corn starch
- 1 ½ Tbsp water
- Combine the pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce and brown sugar in a small saucepan.
- Bring JUST to a low boil, whisking the ingredients every few minutes so the sugar dissolves thoroughly.
- In a mug, make a slurry with the corn starch and water. Add the slurry to the sauce while whisking quickly. Cook for one minute and then reduce the heat to low.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate for later.
- Calories: 52
Keywords: Sweet and sour sauce