There is no need to buy it anymore with this sweet and sour dipping sauce recipe. It’s incredibly quick and easy and tastes totally authentic.
- Sweet, rich and tangy.
- Just 10 minutes effort.
- Minimal pantry friendly ingredients.
- Perfect for dipping but great for stir fries too.
- Homemade really is better than store-bought.
With that great sweet and tangy flavour, use this chinese sweet and sour dipping sauce for spring rolls, fish cakes, meatballs, fries, ribs, crispy prawns and dumplings and so much more. You can even thicken it and make a delicious sweet and sour stir fry.
If you love this, you’ll also love this gochujang mayonnaise.
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Ingredients you’ll need
Just 6 basic, pantry friendly ingredients are all you need and means you can make your own homemade sweet and sour sauce whenever you feel like it.
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Pineapple juice: You can use pineapple juice from a carton or from a can of pineapple. You can even juice a fresh pineapple if you want.
- Ketchup: Known here in Aus as tomato sauce, ketchup is a classic condiment always used in Chinese sweet and sour sauce. While ketchup is traditional, if you don’t like it add some BBQ sauce or hoisin in it’s place. It will taste different but will still be a delicious sweet dipping sauce.
- Sugar: You can use white or brown sugar. I’ve used brown sugar which gives the sauce a darker colour. If you’d prefer a natural sweetener, you can use honey, maple syrup, agave or rice malt syrup (keep in mind the first two will add an additional flavour profile).
- Rice wine vinegar: So useful in many an Asian recipe, I always have this on hand. You can substitute apple cider vinegar too.
- Soy sauce or Tamari: Soy sauce adds just a little salt to the recipe, remembering that sweet & sour is classically sweet so not too much.
- Cornflour/cornstarch: Cornflour in Aus and cornstarch in the US. This is a very fine white powder used for thickening sauces and used a lot in Chinese dishes. Potato starch and arrowroot powder will work too.
Spice it up: You can also add a touch of spice by adding a little sriracha, sambal oelek or dried chilli flakes (red pepper flakes) to taste.
How to make sweet and sour dipping sauce
It’s almost too easy to whip this up at the last minute. Just mix together the ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once it’s thick and moves from a cloudy appearance to an almost translucent appearance, your sweet & sour sauce is ready to use.
Tips and tricks
The other bonus to the ease of this sauce is that you can adjust the flavour to your own taste.
- more tart – add more vinegar
- more sweet – add more sugar
- more salty – add more soy sauce
- thinner – add more pineapple juice
- thicker – add more cornflour mixed with water and cook a little longer
There are so many ways to use sweet and sour dipping sauce from a literal dip to a coating to a stir fry sauce.
- Dipping: spring rolls, egg rolls, fish cakes, meatballs, fries, ribs, crispy prawns, dumplings, wings, prawn toast, potatoes, chicken nuggets or chicken tenders – the list literally goes on. What would you dip in it?
- Stir fry sauce: Fry up some seasoned chicken, fish, prawns or pork and vegetables, then add this sauce. You may want to add a little more cornflour to thicken it even more.
- Coating: Bake or fry some chicken wings until crispy, then coat in this sauce. Bake or grill some pork ribs then brush over some sweet and sour sauce before broiling/grilling a few more minutes.
This sweet and sour sauce is gluten-free, providing you use gluten-free cornflour.
This sweet and sour sauce is vegan as well.
Mostly it’s the ketchup that gives it a red hue but also the brown sugar. Some store-bought and even Chinese takeout version have red colouring added to give it that vibrant, almost fluorescent red colour. I don’t add any colouring to mine.
Yield and storage
This recipe makes about 1 ½ cups of sweet and sour sauce.
The sauce (unused) can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, sealed in an airtight jar.
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Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce
- ¼ cup Water
- 1 ½ tablespoons cornflour (corn starch) (notes 1)
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- ⅓ cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons ketchup (AUS tomato sauce) (notes 1)
- 1 tablespoons soy sauce (notes 1)
- ⅓ cup white or brown sugar
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- preserving jar / mason jar for storing
- In a small saucepan, combine the water and cornflour and whisk until smooth.
- Add the pineapple juice, rice vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce and sugar.
- Place over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to boil. Let it boil for 3-4 minutes until thickened. It will thick more as it cools.
- Let it cool to room temperature before serving.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.
- Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons).
- Consistency: You can add more cornflour / cornstarch slurry and cook a little longer for a thicker consistency. For a thinner consistency add a little more pineapple juice or water.
- Colour: For a brighter red colour, use white sugar and you can also add just a little red food coloring.
- Uses: Use this sweet and sour sauce for dipping, stir fries and for coating after cooking (like wings and ribs). You can also add a little oil and use it as a marinade.
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