Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe [video]

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet

Sweet and Sour Sauce is a perfect blend of yin yang flavors! It is great to use on various dishes, as it balances the tanginess of the fruit juice and the sweetness of sugar!

If you are craving for some other Chinese flavors, go ahead and make some of our favorite dishes like the Hunan beef, Szechuan chicken, and Moo Goo Gai Pan along with this dip.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

Easy Sweet and Sour Sauce

Sweet and Sour Sauce is a versatile dip reminiscent of Chinese takeout! It has a fruity acidic base that is in perfect harmony with sugar. It is so versatile that you can use it in a wide array of dishes, such as chicken, pork, shrimp, or fish. You name it!

Learn how you can make this right in your kitchen for a healthier homemade version of those that are commercially available. Also, it will be much cheaper and healthier than the store-bought version.

Did you know that it only takes about 5 minutes to make this? You only need a few ingredients and then utilize this dish in a ton of other recipes. This is how efficient this recipe is!

What is sweet and sour sauce?

It is made with pineapple and orange juice sweetened with sugar, with tanginess enhanced by adding in vinegar. The soy sauce adds depth to it, while the ketchup adds that hint of Western flavor. You can also add some spices in this recipe to make it more savory.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

How to make the sweet and sour sauce?

  1. Combine the following in a saucepan: pineapple juice, orange juice, soy sauce, light brown sugar, white sugar, rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, and garlic powder.
  2. Then, let the mixture of ingredients simmer over medium heat.
  3. To thicken, add a slurry by combining water and cornstarch into the mixture. Stir well.
  4. Next, let the mixture lightly boil. Have a taste and check if anything needs adjusting according to your liking.
  5. Once the desired consistency and taste have been achieved, let it cool and then, serve.

How to make the sweet and sour sauce for chicken?

Just use the same recipe, and incorporate the chicken with it. It tastes exactly the same! 

Also, to make it for egg rolls, follow the same steps. It is a very versatile dip and can be used just about anything fried. Egg rolls go really well with this sauce. 

How to make McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce?

To make a homemade version for this, use apricot and peach preserves in place of the pineapple and orange juices. Instead of sugar, use light corn syrup. And, instead of ketchup, use yellow mustard.

Basically, follow the same procedure but with these slight changes. The expected mixture will be a bit stiff and blending might help.

How to make it without cornstarch?

Simply boil it for a longer period of time, without the cover. Simply let it thicken as the sugar caramelizes.

Or, use flour! It can have the same thickening effect as the cornstarch.

Easy Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

How many calories are in this sauce?

A cup contains up to 230 calories.

How to make a healthier sweet and sour sauce?

Just by making it at home and not relying on the store-bought version makes this healthier already. It has no preservatives and you know what goes into your dip, not some chemical compound you cannot even pronounce.

But for this recipe, you can substitute fresh garlic instead of the powder. Also, if you choose to put in the red food coloring, choose the all-natural kind – the one made from beets.

How to store it?

Once it has completely cooled, you can transfer this to an airtight container and refrigerate. Use this up within two to three weeks.

Can you freeze it?

Yes! It freezes well and can stay good for up to 3 months. When you reheat it, it might need some adjusting with the vinegar and sugar so taste it first and see what needs to be added.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

Recipe Tips

  • When using the cornstarch slurry, be sure to use the pineapple juice in the can. Freshly squeezed pineapple juice has components that may degrade the cornstarch.
  • Also, you can add some chili peppers for a spicier kick.
  • When freezing, it is best to keep it in smaller portions so that when you reheat, you will only thaw the ones you need and not the entire batch.
  • Also, you can make it red in color. The addition of ketchup turns it red, but if desired, add in a few drops of red food coloring. In addition, for a spicier kick, add some sriracha or tabasco, it will be red but spicy!

Watch recipe video:

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5 from 1 reviews
Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce
Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 8 servings of about 1/4 cup
Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Total time: 15 mins


  • 2/3 cup  pineapple juice 
  • 1/4 cup  orange juice 
  • 2 tablespoons  soy sauce 
  • 1/4 cup  packed light brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup  white sugar 
  • 1/4 cup  rice vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup  apple cider vinegar 
  • 1/3 cup  ketchup 
  • 1/4 teaspoon  garlic powder 
  • 1/4 cup  cornstarch 
  • 1/4 cup  water 
  • 1-2  drops red gel food coloring  (optional)


  1. Add all the ingredients, except food coloring to a medium saucepan and whisk to combine until the cornstarch is dissolved.
  2. Place it on the stove over medium heat.
  3. Stir or whisk well until it comes to a light boil.
  4. Keep stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Taste and adjust for sugar and tanginess. For a more pronounced red color, add a few drops of red gel food coloring.

  5. Remove the sauce from heat when it thickened and it coats the back of a spoon.
  6. Let the sauce cool before serving.
Calories: 96 Carbohydrates: 22 Protein: 0 Fat: 0 Saturated Fat: 0 Cholesterol: 0 Sodium: 345 Potassium: 96 Fiber: 0 Sugar: 17 Vitamin A: 65 Vitamin C: 6.3 Calcium: 10 Iron: 0.3
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Tara Pittman

I will be making this next time I make egg rolls. This sauce seems easy to make.


Mama to 6 Blessings

This sounds yummy! I bet this would go great over chicken and riced cauliflower!



I tried to make sweet and sour sauce once and it was a disaster. I have been wanting to try again but did not know what recipe I should attempt. I think this one looks perfect!


Kim Grabinski

I love sweet and sour sauce and this recipe looks and sounds delicious. I would put it on just about everything!


Kerrie Mendoza

This is a great sauce to have a recipe of! I like the step-by-step instructions, and the Q&A you threw in there!


Brianne Tursi Manz

I love sweet and sour sauce! This recipe looks easy and sounds delicious. I look forward to making this when I make some spring rolls!



Sweet and sour sauce if one of my favorites. I always have some in my fridge. I can't wait to make it myself. Much more cost efficient.


Stefani Tolson

I love sweet and sour sauce but I have never made my own. I think I might have to try your recipe.



This recipe sounds so good. I think I'll have to try it on some of our BBQ recipes that we have planned for this week.


Annemarie LeBlanc

I make sweet and sour sauce to pour over fried fish. It is delicious! We also use it when we make spring rolls or fried chicken wings. My recipe is a little different than yours, so I will try using your recipe the next time we would need sweet-sour sauce.



I love making sauce from scratch! I think I will be making this sweet and sour sauce soon.


Ruth I

We like sweet and sour dishes but the recipe I get are not like this. This is so much better! It looks so good!


This is hands down delicious. So very easy. I left out the food coloring,it is not needed. Sweet and sour dishes has met it's match. My new favorite.


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