This Sweet and Sour sauce adds sweetness with an enticing tanginess to your pork, fish, and poultry dishes. Use it as a dip for fried or grilled foods as well. This homemade recipe is delicious, free of preservatives, easy to make, and ready within minutes!
What is Sweet and Sour Sauce?
Sweet and sour sauce is a versatile condiment that has a sweet flavor with a vinegary undertone. It is used in dishes like Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Sweet and Sour Fish, and Sweet and Sour Pork. It is also great as a dipping sauce for fried dishes such as Lumpiang Shanghai, Camaron Rebosado, and Dynamite Lumpia.
Sweet and sour is one of the most popular sauces in Asia, but it is commonly associated with Chinese cooking, where it is traditionally made by mixing sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and some spices. It has since been modified by the addition of various components to provide a variety of flavor profiles.
Why make it?
Very simple. The best thing about this homemade sweet and sour sauce is the ease of cooking and preparation. It only takes a few minutes to make with very few ingredients.
Budget-friendly. Making this at home will save you much more than buying it commercially.
Healthier. No preservatives are added in making this sweet and sour sauce.
- Pineapple juice - adds a fruity flavor to the sauce. If you don't have pineapple juice on hand, you can substitute it with water.
- Tomato ketchup - boosts the sweetness and tanginess of the sauce and gives its signature red color.
- Soy Sauce -gives an umami flavor and adds depth to the sauce. It also balances the flavors in the sauce. You may use tamari sauce as an alternative.
- Sugar - This recipe calls for brown sugar. You may also use honey or cane sugar as alternatives. Granulated white sugar may also be used in a pinch.
- Salt - balances the sweetness and enhances the flavors in the sauce.
- Vinegar - adds an acidic, tart flavor to the sauce that contrasts beautifully with its sweetness. White vinegar is the most easiest and convenient one to use. Rice vinegar and apple cider vinegar can be used in place of white vinegar.
- Cornstarch + water - thickening agent used to reach the desired consistency of the sauce.
Other Delicious Dips and Sauces
Tips for making the best Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Avoid stirring the sauce immediately after adding the vinegar to simmer off the acidic tang or sharpness.
- Make sure that you thoroughly mix the slurry before adding it to the sauce as the cornstarch tends to settle on the bottom.
- Stir the sauce constantly as you add the slurry to avoid lumps and burning at the bottom of the pan.
- You can modify the soy sauce amount according to your taste to give the sauce a richer color and more umami flavor.
- You can add pineapple bits, carrots, red and green bell pepper, onion, and other aromatics to your sauce.
- Add cayenne pepper or chili flakes to your sauce if you like a little bit of a kick.
- You can add more slurry to achieve a thicker consistency.
- If you're serving a large group, this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
Serving and Storing Notes
Sweet and Sour sauce is an excellent dipping sauce for appetizers and finger foods. You can also add it to various stir-fries or as a glaze to some of your favorite dishes.
Keep the sauce in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks. You can also freeze it for up to three months.
If frozen, simply thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch, 3 tablespoon waterMake the cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Set aside.
- 1 cup pineapple juice, ½ cup tomato ketchup, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, ½ cup brown sugar, ½ teaspoon saltPour the pineapple juice into a saucepan. Add the brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, and salt.
- Turn heat on to medium-low and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
- ¼ cup vinegarAdd the vinegar and let it simmer for a minute without stirring.
- Give the cornstarch slurry a quick stir then add it to the saucepan. Stir constantly until it thickens into a dipping sauce consistency.
Not at all. You can add some if you want a vibrant red color to your sauce but the ketchup in itself will give you the signature hue of a sweet and sour sauce.
Yes, you can just cook the sauce without the slurry to make a sweet and sour marinade for your meat