Easy Thai Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

Satay with sweet and sour sauce
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Ratings (12)
  • Total: 21 mins
  • Prep: 6 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups sauce (6 portions)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
186 Calories
0g Fat
47g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 1/2 cups sauce (6 portions)
Amount per serving
Calories 186
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 503mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 17%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Protein 1g
Calcium 33mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for ​a sweet and sour sauce is easy and tastes so much better than store-bought mixes. It's also healthier for you (no additives or preservatives). Use this sauce to create your own sweet and sour chicken pork, tofu, and more. You'll love the tangy flavor of this sauce, and it can be made as spicy or mild as you like - great either way. Thai sweet and sour dishes are popular both in Thailand and throughout the world. Give this one a try, and you may just put away your take-out menu next time a sweet and sour craving hits. Enjoy!


  • 2 14-ounce cans/348 ml pineapple chunks (packed in juice)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce (or for vegetarians: 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1/3 teaspoon sea salt)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon (or lime juice)
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Optional: 2 drops red food coloring

Steps to Make It

  1. Pour one can of pineapple chunks (with juice) into a medium to large pot, frying pan or wok. Drain the juice from the other can into the pot, squeezing out all the juice from the fruit (save this for eating or other dishes).

  2. Add the vinegar, sugar, fish sauce (or substitutions), garlic, cayenne, lemon or lime juice and ketchup.

  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium to get a nice strong simmer for 12-15 minutes, uncovered, or until sauce reduces by one-third.

  4. Stir cornstarch into the water with a fork until dissolved and add to the sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes, or until sauce has thickened. Add coloring if using.

  5. Do a taste-test, looking for a balance of sweet and sour, plus a hint of spicy and salty flavors. It's easy to adjust these flavors to your liking: if you find it too sour, add more sugar; if too sweet or too salty, add more lemon juice. More cayenne can be added for more spice.

The sauce is now ready to use with your favorite protein source - chicken, pork, tofu, and even vegetables. Also wonderful as a dip for spring rolls and other Asian finger foods, or as a delicious marinade. 

To Use This Sauce for Sweet & Sour Chicken, see Thai Sweet & Sour Chicken Recipe.