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Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

Skip the Chinese take out and make your favorite Sweet and Sour Sauce at home. Tangy, sweet, and perfect for dipping egg rolls, Crab Rangoons, and anything else you can think of!

spoon of sweet and sour sauce in a while dish

What is Sweet and Sour Sauce?

Only the best and most versatile sauce you will ever eat. The sweet and sour flavors pair well with all your favorite Chinese restaurant favorites which is why it comes with so many dishes.

From appetizers like Gyoza and fried wonton crackers to main dishes like sweet and sour chicken, it’s a must have in your refrigerator.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Quick and easy – Less than 5 minutes to make
  • Uses pantry staples you already have
  • Better for you than store bought
  • Delicious for dipping ALL the things!
labeled picture of ingredients

Ingredients Needed

Ketchup – Use your favorite brand and you can also use a low sodium version if you prefer.

Pineapple Juice – I like to use the canned or jarred pineapple juice. I usually have some in my pantry for last minute cocktails. Fresh juice is too acidic for the sauce and it won’t thicken like it’s supposed to.

Brown Sugar – Use light brown sugar. You can use dark or plain white granulated sugar if you prefer.

Rice Wine Vinegar – This helps it have a more restaurant flavor but if you don’t have this on hand, you can substitute apple cider vinegar or plain distilled white vinegar.

Soy Sauce – I like to use the low sodium version but if you want it gluten free you can also use tamari or coconut aminos.

Red Food Coloring – I used the traditional food coloring but there are plenty of natural or dye free alternatives. The color isn’t necessary and the sauce will taste just as good if you prefer to leave it out.

Pantry Staples – Cornstarch, water.

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How to make Sweet and Sour Sauce from scratch

First: Combine the pineapple juice, ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar in a pot. Heat on the stove top over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil (gentle bubbling).

Second: In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Slowly pour into the pot, whisking as you pour.

Third: Simmer while whisking until the sweet and sour sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat.

Fourth: Stir in food coloring if desired. Cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

spoon of red sweet and sour sauce

How to store it

Keep it in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. If it lasts that long.

It will thicken and turn into a gel when stored cold. Don’t worry, just gently reheat it and it will thin out. You can also add a tablespoon of water to it if it’s still too thick.

Can I freeze it?

Sweet and sour sauce can be ahead of time and stored in the freezer. Just place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

crab rangoon dipping in sweet and sour sauce

Tapas Tips & Tricks

  • You can leave out the cornstarch slurry and use this as a marinade on your favorite meats and veggies.
  • The sweet and sour sauce will thicken as it cools, just reheat it to thin in out again.
  • Spice it up with some red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • Leaving out the red coloring will not affect the taste of the sauce.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

spoon of sauce

This sweet and sour sauce is tangy, sweet, and perfect for crab rangoon and egg rolls. Better than your local Chinese takeout and made in less than 10 minutes!

spoon of red sauce in a white bowl

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Skip the Chinese take out and make your favorite Sweet and Sour Sauce at home. Tangy, sweet, and perfect for dipping egg rolls, crab rangoons, and anything else you can think of!


  • 6 ounces pineapple juice
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water


  1. In a sauce pan over medium heat. Combine the pineapple juice, ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar. Whisk to combine.
  2. Bring to a light boil, stirring constantly.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water to make a slurry.
  4. While whisking, pour the slurry into the sauce. Continue stirring until the sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the red food coloring if desired.
  6. Let cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy.


*If you love this recipe as much as I do, please leave me a comment and rate it 5 stars. Thank you!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 13Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 66mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 0g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party. I can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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