Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce (2024)

A great homemade sweet and sour sauce is an essential for every recipe collection!

Sweet and sour sauce is a delicious mix of tangy vinegar, sweet sugar, and umami flavors. Once you try this easy version, you’ll never go back to store-bought!

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Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

  • Six ingredients and one step are all it takes to make this sauce.
  • Uses just simple pantry ingredients.
  • Less than 10 minutes to make!
  • A good homemade sauce makes for the perfect dipping sauce.
  • Make this multi-purpose sweet and sour sauce and use it for everything from pork stir-fry to shish-kabobs or as a glaze over grilled pineapple!

Ingredients and Variations

All of these ingredients can be switched up to create a signature recipe based on how you plan to use it!

Ketchup – Tomato is at the base of the sweet and sour sauce and ketchup is a great thickener. Tomato paste can also be used if ketchup isn’t available.

Apple Cider Vinegar – Use more or less based on how tangy you want the sweet and sour sauce to be.

Sugar – Brown sugar can be replaced with honey, maple syrup, or a brown sugar substitute like Swerve for a low-carb option.

Soy Sauce – Liquid aminos or coconut aminos can be used interchangeably with soy sauce and have the same flavor, less sodium, and more nutritive value.

Variations – Add a little sriracha, some fresh ginger or minced garlic, or even some red pepper flakes for a little heat! This recipe does not use drops of red food coloring, but you can add a couple of drops for visual aesthetics if you like. Swap corn starch for arrowroot flour.

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How to Make Sweet and Sour Sauce

  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Continue to simmer and whisk until it reaches desired consistency.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce Storage

Keep homemade sweet and sour sauce in a jar with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator and use it within a week.

Pro Tip!

Add a splash or two of apple cider vinegar after a few days to punch up the flavor, if needed.

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Ways to Use Sweet and Sour Sauce

There’s not enough room to list all the amazing ways you can use homemade sweet and sour sauce, it’s that good!

It’s amazing as a dip for egg rolls, spring rolls, crispy shrimp, dumplings, fried wontons, or a sweet and savory sauce for co*cktail meatballs.

Swirl a little into a low-carb egg roll in a bowl, use it as a glaze for sauteed Brussels sprouts, roasted asparagus, or use it as a glaze or marinade for salmon, ribs, or grilled sweet and sour chicken thighs.

Kids love dipping their chicken nuggets and tater tots into it!

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Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce (9)

4.71 from 215 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

A sweet and tangy sauce perfect for dipping, drizzling and dunking your favorite bites.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce (10)

Prep Time 3 minutes minutes

Cook Time 5 minutes minutes

Total Time 8 minutes minutes

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce (11)

Servings 16 servings

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce (12)

Author Nagi


Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce (15)


  • ½ cup cider vinegar *see note
  • ½ cup light brown sugar packed
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce


  • Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

  • Whisk to combine.

  • As it starts heating up, keep whisking constantly until it thickens into a sauce consistency. It will thicken as it cools.


*This sweet and sour sauce is tangy. If you’d prefer, start by adding ¼ cup of cider vinegar and increase to taste.

Adjust sweet with sugar, tang with vinegar, and saltiness with salt to taste.

Store for a week in an airtight container. You may need to add a touch of cider vinegar after a few days as the tanginess does fade.

Serving size: 1 tablespoon.

4.71 from 215 votes

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 34 | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 99mg | Potassium: 29mg | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 19IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce (16) Course Dip, Dressing, Sauce, Side Dish

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce (17) Cuisine Asian

© SpendWithPennies.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Please view my photo use policy here.

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About the author

Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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