|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 11g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||0%|
|Total Sugars 10g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||2%|
|*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.|
Sweet and sour is a very popular sauce in Chinese cuisine, with many different ways to make it. This recipe is the style that would be found in a Chinese (Cantonese) restaurant, with a red ketchup base. You can use it for stir-fry pork, chicken, or vegetables. You can enjoy this sauce as a dipping sauce for egg rolls or fried shrimp. With this recipe there's no reason to store sweet and sour packets anymore, you can simply make your own at home.
This sweet and sour sauce isn't just for Chinese food. It goes great with things like chicken nuggets as a dip, glazed on chicken wings, and spread on hamburgers. If you love sweet and sour sauce, you can add it to anything you want. Make a double batch of sauce—one to use right away and another for the freezer.
In addition to this typical red sauce, see a variation that adds orange juice and fresh ginger for a bright flavor with an extra kick.
Watch Now: Incredible Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauces
"I made this with big chunks of rock sugar, and it was delicious. The rock sugar melts down by the time the sauce is simmering. I also made two versions: one with potato starch and one with cornstarch and they were both very good." —Diana Rattray
1/2 tablespoon potato starch or cornstarch
7 ounces water (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
3 1/2 ounces ketchup (about 1/3 cup; or 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste)
3 1/2 ounces rice vinegar (7 tablespoons)
3 1/2 ounces rock sugar
Salt (to taste)
Gather the ingredients.
Mix the potato starch with 1 tablespoon of water (or a little more, as needed) to make a slurry.
Add all of the ingredients to a saucepan and mix evenly before you start cooking.
You must continuously stir the sauce to prevent the sauce from getting lumpy.
Bring the sauce to a boil and turn the heat to the lowest temperature and simmer until the sauce texture has turned thick and sticky. Then it’s ready.
You can stir fry some pork or chicken with vegetables and pour the sauce in.
If you have any extra sauce, you can keep it in a dry and clean container after it is cooled down and store it in the fridge. Usually, this sauce should last 7 to 10 days in the fridge.
- If you happen to have some lumps in your sauce, pour it through a fine mesh strainer.
- If the sauce is too thin for your use, Make another slurry with about 1 teaspoon of starch and a small amount of water and add it to the simmering sauce; continue to cook until thickened as desired.
- You can use about 1/2 cup of superfine sugar or demerara sugar instead of the rock sugar, but rock sugar is preferable for taste.
- You can use tomato paste instead of ketchup. Less tomato paste is used as it has a more concentrated tomato flavor and it will be diluted by the water. You can use white vinegar rather than rice vinegar.
- For an orange-ginger sweet and sour sauce, do not add the potato starch slurry at the beginning. Finely mince 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh ginger and cook it in 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in the saucepan until it is fragrant and starting to brown. Now add 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce, ketchup (or tomato paste), vinegar, sugar, water, and salt and bring this to a boil. Once boiling, you can strain it through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the minced ginger. Return the sauce to the pan and add the slurry of potato starch and water, heating it until its thickness is to your liking.
- For spicier sauce, add some crushed red pepper flakes or some sambal (chili sauce or chili garlic sauce).
- For a bright red sauce, add a few drops of red food coloring.
How To Use Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Use the sweet and sour sauce as a dip for dumplings, egg rolls, wontons, and potstickers.
- Omit the cornstarch and use it as a marinade for chicken or pork.
- Serve the sauce with chicken fingers or nuggets, savory fritters, or fried shrimp.
- Brush it over skewered shrimp, meat, or poultry.
- Brush the sauce on chicken or meat on the grill.
- Serve sweet and sour sauce with grilled shrimp.
- Brush some over pork ribs on the grill for Asian flavor.
What Is the Difference Between Rock Sugar and Other Sugars?
Rock sugar is milder in sweetness than refined sugars because it is made with a sugar and water solution. It is commonly used in East Asian cuisine. Rock sugar adds sweetness without adding flavor.
Can You Freeze Sweet and Sour Sauce?
Leftover homemade sweet and sour sauce may be frozen. Put it in a zip-close freezer bag or airtight container and freeze it for up to 3 months.