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!

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce in the pot

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.

Sweet and sour sauce in a pot with a whisk

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.

Sweet and sour sauce with a meatball in a white bowl

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 cocktail 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!

More Flavorful Sauces

Sweet and sour sauce in a pot with a spoon
4.71 from 213 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.
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Author Nagi



  • 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 213 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.

Course Dip, Dressing, Sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine Asian
close up of Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce on a spoon with pot full and a title
Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce on a meatball with a title
dipping meatball in Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce with writing
Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce in the pot and on a meatball with a title



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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. It was so easy & tasty. It saved me from having to run to the store before dinner. I seriously will be making this from this point on
    Thank you!

    1. You’re welcome Joanna! Glad to hear that you were able to make it with what you had on hand!

  2. Classic Sweet and Sour Sauce. We found that 6 Tbsp. of vinegar was about right. I did substitute chili sauce for the ketchup because we like the slight horseradish kick.4 stars

  3. Came together easy. With all of the star-ratings, I thought I’d be safe to just go blindly with the recipe. I wish I had read the reviews, first.
    This was way too vinegary, and no amount of additional brown sugar or pineapple juice could make it edible.
    Down the drain it went. 1 star

  4. Hi Nagi,

    Thank you for sharing your Sweet and Sour Sauce recipe. I will follow it to the letter when I make it for the first time. Afterwards and if needed, I will adjust the ingredients to suit my taste as you had noted.

    Some of the comments made me laugh.

    If one does not like the taste of molasses from brown sugar then use white sugar.

    If it is too sour then use less vinegar.

    If it is too thick then try using more water or less corn starch.

    If the recipe calls for more ketchup than you would like then use less or not at all.

    Some people are such donkeys!!!

    Ja5 stars

  5. It’s okay. Not a fan of the molasses flavor of the brown sugar and it’s a bit thick for my taste, even before simmering.3 stars

  6. Quick to make. Tastes great. Very easy to tweak the sweet/sour to my taste. Served it with homemade meatballs and everyone loved it.5 stars

  7. This sauce is excellent. I added a liberal spoonful of sambal for some spice and used it on turkey meatballs. Best I’ve made with the only exception being a sauce for General Tso’s Chicken I made. The flavors meld together if you let the sauce sit for a while. The vinegar doesn’t overwhelm and you can’t even tell there is ketchup in it.5 stars

  8. Yes, there’s too much vinegar, but what I really can’t get past is the ketchup. It just doesn’t belong here, at least in anything close to this quantity, and it’s overpowering everything. I won’t be making this again, or at least not without some major changes.

  9. This had too much vinegar for my taste and what I’m used to in a store bought sauce. The consistency was right, but too intense. I tried to save it with some lime juice and sugar – not sure that helped. I couldn’t think of what else would cut down the vinegar taste.

  10. I am confused about the copy right. I don’t have my own tablet. I borrowed my grandsons. Am I allowed to write down the recipe to keep In my own kitchen or must I look it up each time so you have a record of how many uses it gets. I just don’t want to break the rules. Thank you. It is a great recipe and very easy.

    1. You are more than welcome to use the recipe for personal use as much as you’d like! You can write it or use the print button located at the top of each recipe. Enjoy the recipe.

  11. This sweet and sour sauce is excellent just the way it is. Just made it first time and what flavor!! So good I sent recipe to my daughter. Yum!!

  12. For those saying the vinegar was too strong- I have found that different brands of ACV are stronger than others. I use Bragg’s ACV and I start with half of the called-for amount in any recipe and adjust after that. Apparently it’s a stronger flavor than others.

    Also, for those wondering, doubling this sauce will make a pot of sweet and sour meatballs for a family of 5.

    And to the author- my husband LOVES this sauce! It’s so great to have a few good sauces in your back pocket for hectic nights.

  13. Very vinegary. My husband didn’t mind it, but it was a little too much for me. I would definitely cut the vinegar in half!3 stars

    1. I made this for my boyfriend as a dipping sauce for spring rolls and he loved it so much he wants me to make sweet and sour chicken with the leftover sauce! I used Trader Joe’s AVC.. Thanks so much for the great recipe!5 stars

      1. You’re welcome Joelle! So happy to hear how much you love this sauce!