Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

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A great homemade Sweet and Sour sauce is an essential for every recipe collection!

Just a handful of pantry ingredients and 5 minutes, this tastes a million times better than store bought!

Sweet and sour sauce in a pot with a spoon

I’ve only ever tried sweet and sour sauce out of a bottle once in my life, back in my college days. Once was enough. After scrunching up my nose with distaste when I tried it, it took all of 5 minutes to find a recipe to make it myself and I still remember that feeling of victory when I realized that I had everything I needed to make it!

Sweet and Sour sauce is essential for dipping Crispy Homemade Egg Rolls or my favorite Crab Rangoon!

If you’ve never tried a homemade sweet and sour sauce, you are in for a real treat.

That stuff you get from suburban Chinese takeout places is usually way too sweet, and bizarrely very oily. ( <— ??? I don’t get it, why is oil added to Sweet and Sour Sauce??!!!)

Homemade sauce is far less sweet, it tastes cleaner and you get to balance out the flavors to your taste if you want yours more tangy, or more sweet, or, if you like things spicy, add a dash of heat!!

Sweet and sour sauce in a pot with a whisk

It’s literally just a dump and mix job.

Place cornstarch, water, cider vinegar, sugar, ketchup and soy sauce in a saucepan, then whisk and bring to heat and it will thicken in just a few minutes.

And this is what you’ll get – a beautiful glossy, shiny homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce.

Sweet & sour sauce being poured into a mason jar

There are so many things you can use Sweet and Sour Sauce for.

Toss your favourite meatballs in them, use it as a dipping sauce for all sorts of things, chicken nuggets to spring rolls.

Slather it over ribs, chicken, pork, use it as a basting sauce, or even as a marinade.

I’ve been known to even just spoon it over a bowl of plain rice, then eat it just like that!!!


Sweet and sour sauce with a meatball in a white bowl

I find that the tanginess of the sauce starts fading after a few days, but other than that, homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce can be kept for even a week.

Just adjust the tanginess by stirring through more cider vinegar – go easy with this, start with just 1/4 tsp at a time!

Remember, you can always add more but you can’t undo it if you add too much! (Though if you accidentally do, just add more sugar to balance it out. :-) )

So tell me, what’s your favorite way with Sweet and Sour Sauce??? For dipping, for tossing, for slathering??

Sweet and sour sauce in a pot with a spoon
4.62 from 158 votes
Review Recipe

Homemade Sweet & Sour Sauce

Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Author Nagi
A sweet and tangy sauce perfect for dipping, drizzling and dunking your favorite bites.


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

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

Recipe Notes

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

Nutrition Information

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.)

Keyword sweet & sour, sweet and sour sauce
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Asian

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Homemade Sweet & Sour Sauce with writing
About the author


Nagi is the voice, cook and photographer behind RecipeTin Eats, [Australia’s top food blog]. She believes that anyone can make amazing food with everyday ingredients, even if you’re short on time and cost conscious.

Nagi walked away from a corporate career to follow her passion for food. She truly believes that great food brings family and friends together, and more smiles into your life. She also firmly believes that whoever invented cheese deserves a Nobel Prize.

More Posts by Nagi

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Recipe Rating


  1. This is so easy to make and so delicious! I usually make it for my main dish but am going to try it for meatballs.5 stars

  2. Agree with ithers who said it had too much vinegar. I added extra ketchup and brown sugar to even it out. I did about 1/2 cup total of ketchup and 3/4 cup brown sugar.3 stars