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
4.70 from 209 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

Equipment

Ingredients  

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

*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.
4.70 from 209 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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Comments

  1. I made this and it is soooo delicious! I tripled the recipe but on the third recipe, I substituted BBQ sauce and sriracha because I ran out of ketchup. It still came out beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. Been searching high and low for the perfect sweet and sour recipe and this is it!!!!5 stars

  2. Easy and good, what can be any better? I did increase the water by another 1/4 cup. Guess I could have followed advice and used less ACV to start, but the end result was perfect. Thank you!5 stars

  3. Can this sweet and sour sauce be canned in a pressure canner? If so, would 10# pressure for 15 minutes be sufficient? I always trust your recipes and do a lot of canning.

    1. I am not familiar with canning so I can’t say for sure Carol. Maybe another reader can offer some insights.

  4. I cut the vinegar in half and used the other half with pineapple juice, worked out amazing. love this recipe5 stars

  5. Oh my days! This sauce is fabulous and so easy to make.
    I made it as the original recipe but was too tangy so i added a spoon of honey and it was perfect.
    I have some breaded chicken strips in my freezer which i will cook and serve over rice with this sauce drizzled ( or maybe poured ) over it!!!
    Thank you, this is amazing.5 stars

  6. I tried this recipe last it was delicious my family and I loved it. I’m not one to comment on nothing but this was delicious.5 stars

  7. Great recipe! I am so grateful that you provided the instructions on using salt and Vinegar to tweak the taste. I didn’t need them for this recipe but that taught me something how to deal with similar issues on other recipes. My husband is kinda picky snd when I suggested making his favorite, Sweet & Sour Pork homemade he looked a little scared and said we could easily carry that home. Well… I took the challenge and you helped me succeed. He loves my cooking, but it usually takes me a couple of times to be successful on a recipe.

    Thank you, Thank you!

    Also- we have gone to Kobe Japanese Rest in Addison Texas for 30+ years. They closed due to pandemic. They had a Ginger sauce that was for dipping vegetables but we used it for everything. My kids grew up on it and we all miss it. It does not taste the same anywhere else and we have been searching. They gave me a recipe 30 years ago but i cannot find it. It contained the following but I do not recall the portions: fresh Ginger, soy sauce, white onion, white sugar and water. Any chance you have a recipe? My family and I would be so grateful.5 stars

  8. Really good, easy better then sure bought. I didn’t have ACV only red wine and regular vinegars, so I used mostly red wine with a healthy splash of regular. I was worried it would taste off, but it was perfect. A successful experiment! Thank you for the recipe!5 stars

  9. My goodness. Don’t people know that you make adjustments if you find it too tangy / not tangy enough etc etc… I always taste my sauce and make my adjustments where needed. Fact remains, this is a good recipe and I always land up on your site, Nagi. Thanks for another great recipe.

  10. As written it was waaaaaaay too vinegary for us- and that was with me cutting it by a quarter since the note suggested that. I added ketchup and brown sugar as some suggested and it got better, but I probably won’t make it again.3 stars

    1. Nothing like what sweet and sour? Out of a jar? From a takeaway? This is closer to the real thing than either of those.

  11. 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

  12. 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