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Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

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This homemade sweet and sour sauce is an easy recipe to make and uses pantry ingredients you already have on hand!

I love creating homemade Chinese takeout and Asian cuisine from home. It is so much cheaper than visiting my local Chinese restaurant and the taste is something you just wouldn't believe.

Before now, anytime I made Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken, I always bought my sauce from the grocery store because I thought it was hard to make. The other night, I made a homemade sweet and sour sauce recipe for my chicken that is TO DIE FOR.

If you make this delicious dipping sauce, you will never go back to store-bought again. It is such a versatile sauce that goes with so many dishes. It's one of those pantry staples you will want to keep on hand for all your dishes.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

Making homemade Chinese takeout meals has become one of my favorite things to do. My family gets so excited because I go all out with Chinese food. I make my famous Beef and Broccoli and everyone wants my Sweet Biscuits and Cream Cheese Wontons or Crab Rangoons. I have even been known to make Sweet and Sour Pork and it is a hit with this sauce.

Making my favorite Chinese cuisine dishes seem like they would be hard, but after playing around with flavors, I've discovered that this good homemade sauce is not hard at all to make.

How to Make This Sweet and Sour Recipe

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

This sauce is super sweet thanks to the brown sugar I used and very tangy thanks to the white vinegar. You can also use apple cider vinegar if you want a milder tang.

For this recipe you will need —

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar – you can use light or dark brown sugar (or you can use white sugar)
  • 4 Tablespoons or 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce (or Coconut Aminos)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has darkened in color. You can add some red pepper flakes to this dish if you would like to kick the heat up in it.

This recipe creates a beautiful sweet and sour sauce and is the perfect consistency. The sauce should thicken up fine, but if you want it thicker, just make a simple cornstarch slurry to get it super thick. Mix one tablespoon of cold water with a tablespoon of cornstarch. Mix well, then pour into your Sweet and sour sauce and mix until combined. It will thicken the sauce.

If you want a bright red sauce, you can add a little bit of red food coloring (a couple of drops), but I like the natural red color it turns because of the ketchup. Pour it into a small bowl and serve with your favorite Chinese meal!

This sauce is also great for dipping chicken nuggets, pork chops, or other favorite lunch items. Store the leftover sauce in an airtight container or a mason jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

We started making our own Chinese dishes when the kids were little because we could not afford to go out and eat them all the time. Our budget was tight and we knew we had to get a little creative to provide our kids with amazing meals.

Use These Fun Ideas for Chinese Takeout at Home

If you want to get creative, you can always serve your Chinese dishes in these authentic takeout boxes to give it a more real feeling. Add in some fun homemade egg rolls or spring rolls for the perfect Chinese meal.

Next time you want Chinese, don't order out. Make your own and LOVE the fact that you know what is in the sauce and food that you are feeding your family! I think I am up for trying to make Duck Sauce next!

Check Out These Other Homemade Sauces

Yield: 6

Homemade Sweet N Sour Sauce

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

With this homemade sweet and sour sauce, you will never have to buy store bought again.

Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes


  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan on the stove and heat on medium high heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Continue cooking on this temperature until the sauce has reduced a bit and reached a thicker consistency. 
  3. Once the desired thickness has been reached, remove from the stove and allow it to cool. As it cools it will thicken a bit more.
  4. Use with your favorite Chinese dishes and then store in the refrigerator for 3 weeks in between uses.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 103Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 514mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 0gSugar: 24gProtein: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

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Janey Price

Friday 5th of February 2021

Going to use this recipe for our Super Bowl wings sauce. Looks like it will be the perfect sauce for them.


Wednesday 13th of January 2021

Thank you for a great collection of recipes. I am converting some of them for my family, which includes a child with celiac disease (no gluten) and one person allergic to most forms of sugar. You have done some great work in creating these recipes.

Jennifer Sikora

Wednesday 13th of January 2021

You are very welcome.

Jennifer Beard

Sunday 21st of June 2020

I just made this. It is excellent. The only thing I changed was I took out two tablespoons of vinegar. Then added a few squeezes of lemon and lime juice. I was going to use orange or pineapple and found I was out of that. So you do what with what you have. Thanks so much will make many more times I am sure.

Jennifer Sikora

Sunday 21st of June 2020

That sounds like a great change! Thanks for sharing and letting me know what you thought of the recipe :)

Alicia gumke

Monday 10th of February 2020

I made this and my family says it’s to vinegarie I also tripled the recipe Other than that it’s good

Jennifer Sikora

Tuesday 11th of February 2020

If you don't like it with as much vinegar in it, you can reduce the vinegar. The vinegar gives it the sour taste since it is sweet and sour. When poured over chicken, you don't really taste the vinegar that much. Glad you liked it otherwise.


Wednesday 19th of June 2019

Looks like a stellar recipe. Can't wait to give it a try!

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