Easy Sweet and Sour Sauce + Video
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This Easy Sweet and Sour Sauce has more flavor than you can possibly wrap your mouth around. Make a batch tonight in less than 15 minutes!
Often referred to as “liquid gold” in my house, this easy sweet and sour sauce has an incredible depth of flavor that most others miss out on.
The secret is the combination of brown sugar and pineapple which adds extra layers and dimension to every bite.
If you enjoy this sweet and sour recipe, you’ll love my tangy pineapple barbecue as well. Plus, I’ve got plenty more homemade sauces to choose from no matter what you’re craving!
How To Make Sweet and Sour Sauce
First, whisk together equal parts water and cornstarch to create a slurry and set aside. This combination helps to thicken the sauce at the end.
Next, combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan on the stove. Boil for about 1 minute, then stir in the slurry and simmer for another 5 minutes until thick and shiny.
Keep a close eye on the mixture and stir frequently so it doesn’t scald along the bottom of the pan.
We like to pair this most often with meatballs or crispy pork, but you can use this sweet and sour recipe for whatever strikes your fancy!
Mix it into a simple stir fry or brush it over grilled chops or shrimp skewers. It’s especially delicious with crab rangoons, potstickers, or my chicken spring rolls.
In fact, you can keep a jar in the refrigerator and spoon some over a bowl of fried rice for a quick and easy snack.
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FAQ – Common Recipe Questions
How long does sweet and sour sauce last in the refrigerator?
When kept in a sealed jar or other airtight container, it should stay fresh for 2 to 3 weeks.
You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Be sure to leave some space at the top of the container in case it expands.
Do I need to reheat it?
That is entirely up to you, though it is perfectly safe to use cold.
To reheat it by itself, microwave in bursts or pop it back on the stove until warmed through. Otherwise, combine it with your food and warm everything all at the same time.
Can I double this sweet and sour recipe?
Absolutely! Simply multiply the listed amounts according to how much you will need, whether it is double or even quadruple.
You will need to use a larger pan or pot for extra big batches, and I recommend storing in several smaller containers instead of one large one.
Not only is it better from a food safety standpoint, but you can toss extras in the freezer if you won’t be able to use them before they go bad.
With love from our simple kitchen to yours.
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Watch the video below to see how easy it is to make this recipe!
Easy Sweet and Sour Sauce + Video
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
- 6 ounces pineapple juice
- 6 ounces water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- To a small bowl, add 1/4 cup corn starch and 1/4 cup water. Whisk until combined and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, whisk to combine remaining ingredients. Bring sauce to a boil, cook for one minute, then whisk in cornstarch mixture. Cook until sauce is thick and shiny, about 5 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and set aside until ready to serve, or cool and refrigerate for later use.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published October 2012, updated and republished June 2021
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I am so going to make this sauce. It is just the matter of my memory, whether i remember to buy pineapple juice next time I am in the store.
I used orange juice. worked just as well. very Yummy.
I'm thinking this would be great with grilled chicken!
Also yummy to use (can)mandarin oranges (juice for liquid)& fruit for topping~combo btween sweet sour sauce & orange sauce
That sounds amazing. I will try that next time I make the sauce. Thanks for the tip! XOXO Donna
Sooooo, after tasting this about 25 times, I decided to freeze some before I ” tasted” it to the last drop. Found another use for my silicone muffin liners. Froze silicone lined muffin tins filled with sauce. So easy to peel off and put in freezer bags.
The exact same recipe taught to me in California, by a friend's wife, who was Philippino, and when I made it for her, she said it was better than her mothers. This has been my "go to" sweet and sour for 30 years, and my family and extended family, all love it and beg me to make it.
I made this tonight & put it over meatballs. My husband cleaned his plate & grabbed a piece of bread to get every drop. He said this sauce is better than his favorite Chinese restaurant's. I made a double batch so he has some for tomorrow. Thanks!
I tried this tonight and it was delicious. I stir fryed some chicken and veggies then topped with this sauce. My question is can you, or have you tried to freeze? It really makes a lot and would like to save for another use.
We have family allergy to pineapple so sweet and sour sauces are hard to do…is there a sub to this you suggest for the pineapple juice??
I am not sure, but I would think even tho it would be a somewhat different taste overall. I would try using mango juice for the replacement of pineapple.
I use Schwan's Pineapple Orange drink concentrate-it has no pineapple in it.
try maraschino cherry juice
u can freeze homemade sauce for long periods (i have and it comes out fine).. u can substitute any fruit juice if ur allergie.. be creative.. use orange juice or peach, apricot or maybe apple or cranberry.. i've never tried this recipe.. sounds like a lot of cider to use! i usually use about 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar.. your main ingredients are sugar, water, vinegar, fruit juice of some kind, soy sauce, then corn starch as a thickening agent and some recipes use ketchup or not.. try grinding up chopped onions, pineapples and green pepper in it for variety too.
Made this. Would not use apple cider vinegar again. it overpowers the taste. I might try it with rice vinegar and cut down on the amount to 2 – 3 tablespoons. Also add canned pineapple chunks, fresh green pepper and sliced carrots. Do not overcook the peppers and carrots. Steam until crisp.
I love this sauce and I do not find the apple cider vinegar overpowering at all, I guess it's just a matter of personal taste. I also add some cut up red, yellow & orange sweet peppers mainly for color and I use pineapple chunks when I have them, I love pineapple. I am usually only cooking 2 so I have a nice amount left over 🙂 Today I used it with pork chunks and later this week I'll use it with chicken 🙂
Can you do in slow cooker?
My husband and I absolutely love this sauce. It will be my "go to" sweet & sour sauce from now on. I have used it on chicken, pork tenderloin, made sweet & soup pork chunks etc. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!
Donna, this sauce was "cray-cray" good. I, like Norma…put an array of sweet peppers in and it just adds some eye candy when serving guests. Everyone loves this sauce and comments are over the top !!!
Has anyone tried canning this sauce? With that amount of sugar and vinegar it should work fine I would think.
can I use pineapple juice out of canned pineapples? Chunk or sliced?
This sauce turned out great, and the kids love using it too. Definitely keeping this one to use more often.
I tried this recipe and for my liking it was a little too sweet for me and the apple cider vinegar was a bit strong. I really just tasted sweet pineapple and apple cider vinegar so to add a kick I added some sriracha sauce and it came out just fine.