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Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

Sweet and Sour Sauce is so versatile and easy to make with only a few ingredients. It’s perfect for livening up recipes and using as a dipping sauce. It also happens to be vegan, oil-free, and gluten-free.

colorful blue and white plate filled with fried tofu with white bowl of sweet and sour sauce in middle with white spoon for serving

If you’ve never made your own Chinese sweet and sour sauce, it’s time to change that! It’s super easy to make, and I’m betting you will find a lot of different uses for it. One great idea is as a dipping sauce for Air Fryer Crispy Tofu which is pictured above.

The best part is that it is much healthier than store-bought options that are loaded with sugar and preservatives.

chopsticks holding crispy tofu over a bowl of sweet and sour sauce

Uses for Chinese sweet and sour sauce

The uses for sweet and sour sauce are only limited by your imagination. It’s perfect as a dipping sauce for Veggie Pot Stickers and even Crispy Baked Onion Rings.

Drizzle it over Lettuce Wraps and Veggie Wraps to add a sweet and tangy flavor. Or, saute some veggies and make a quick and easy dinner like this Sweet and Sour Stir-Fry.

My family loves to make Veggie Bowls which are loaded with steamed rice and fresh or cooked vegetables. This sauce is fabulous when drizzled over the top of them.

white bowl half filled with rice and other half stir fry

The cornstarch or thickener can be left out so the sauce can be used as a marinade for Veggie Kabobs and other foods.

Ingredients needed

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

There are only a few ingredients needed to make this recipe, and they include the following items.

  • Pineapple- You’ll want to use crushed pineapple packed in juice and not syrup.
  • Tomatoes- Fire-roasted tomatoes found in a can are perfect for this recipe and add more flavor than just plain tomatoes.
  • Apple juice- This should be apple juice concentrate from the grocery freezer section which adds delicious sweetness.
  • Vinegar- Seasoned rice vinegar is my vinegar of choice for this.
  • Soy sauce- For those who are gluten-free, tamari will be a GF great substitute.
  • Thickener- Cornstarch or arrowroot powder will act as a thickener.

How to make sweet & sour sauce

There are a few variations in making this sauce which will depend on how you plan to use it.

sweet and sour sauce ingredients in clear bowl with whisk

For stir-fries

  1. To make this sauce, simply add all of the ingredients to a medium-size bowl and whisk together well and set it to the side while you cook the veggies for your stir-fry.
  2. Add the sauce to the hot pan of cooked mixed vegetables. It will begin to thicken as soon as it is heated. Be sure to try it in my Sweet and Sour Veggie Stir-Fry recipe.
close up of sweet and sour vegan stir fry in wok with spoon
Sweet and Sour Veggie Stir-Fry

For dipping or drizzling

The sauce will have small pieces of crushed pineapple and fire-roasted tomatoes which is perfect for stir-fries but, if you are planning to use it as a dipping sauce, you’ll probably want to thin it out.

  1. Simply add all of the ingredients to your blender and process until smooth.
  2. If you have a high-powdered blender like my Vitamix 5200 that actually heats and cooks food as it processes, the cornstarch will be activated by the heat and thicken up the sauce automatically.
  3. If your blender is lower powered, pour the sauce into a microwave bowl and cook for about 1-minute in the microwave to thicken it. It can also be heated on the stovetop until the desired consistency is achieved.
white spoon filled with chinese sweet and sour sauce in blue bowl and Asian plate with sweet and sour sauce

For marinating

  1. Marinades need to be thinner so they can soak into foods like tempeh, tofu, and veggies, so you’ll need to blend up the ingredients using the same steps for dipping above.
  2. To use this sauce as a marinade, simply leave out the cornstarch so that it will not be thickened. Use it to marinate in dishes like Air Fryer Crispy Tofu and Veggie Kabobs.

Storing sweet and sour sauce

This sauce does need to be refrigerated. It will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days. It also freezes well for up to 3-months and probably a little longer.

colorful blue and white plate filled with fried tofu with white bowl of sweet and sour sauce in middle

More Asian and Chinese Sauces

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colorful blue and white plate filled with fried tofu with white bowl of sweet and sour sauce in middle with white spoon for serving

Sweet & Sour Sauce

Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Sweet and Sour Sauce is so versatile and easy to make with only a few ingredients. It’s perfect for livening up recipes and using as a dipping sauce. It also happens to be vegan, oil-free, and gluten-free.

Ingredients

Instructions

There are a few variations in making this sauce which will depend on how you plan to use it.

For stir-fries

  1. To make this sauce, simply add all of the ingredients to a medium-size bowl and whisk together well and set it to the side while you cook the veggies for your stir-fry.
  2. Add the sauce to the hot pan of cooked mixed vegetables. It will begin to thicken as soon as it is heated. Remove from heat when consistency is achieved.
  3. If left on the heat, it will continue to thicken.
  4. Be sure to try it in my Sweet and Sour Veggie Stir-Fry recipe.


For dipping or drizzling

The sauce will have small pieces of crushed pineapple and fire-roasted tomatoes which is perfect for stir-fries but, if you are planning to use it as a dipping sauce, you’ll probably want to thin it out.

  1. Simply add all of the ingredients to a blender and process until smooth.
  2. If you have a high-powdered blender like my Vitamix 5200 that actually heats and cooks food as it processes, the cornstarch will be activated by the heat and thicken up the sauce automatically. Process for about 1-2 minutes until thickened.
  3. For lower-powered blenders, pour the sauce into a microwave bowl and cook for about 1-minute in the microwave to thicken it. It can also be heated on the stovetop until the desired consistency is achieved.


For marinating

  1. Marinades need to be thinner so they can soak into foods like tempeh, tofu, and veggies, so you'll need to blend up the ingredients using the same steps for dipping above.
  2. To use this sauce as a marinade, simply leave out the cornstarch so that it will not be thickened. Use it to marinate in dishes like Air Fryer Crispy Tofu and Veggie Kabobs.

Notes

Uses for Chinese sweet and sour sauce

The uses for sweet and sour sauce are only limited by your imagination. It’s perfect as a dipping sauce for Veggie Pot Stickers and even Crispy Baked Onion Rings.

Drizzle it over Lettuce Wraps and Veggie Wraps to add a sweet and tangy flavor. Or, saute some veggies and make a quick and easy dinner like this Sweet and Sour Stir-Fry.

My family loves to make Veggie Bowls which are loaded with steamed rice and fresh or cooked vegetables. This sauce is fabulous when drizzled over the top of them.

Storing

This sauce does need to be refrigerated. It will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days. It also freezes well for up to 3-months and probably a little longer.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 3 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 72Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 217mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 2g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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