Sweet And Sour Sauce

Sweet and sour sauce originated in the Hunan province of China. While stereotypically used in Chinese cuisine, sweet and sour sauce has found a home in the cooking of many nations across the world. This makes it one of the most versatile sauces that can be made or purchased.

Making sweet and source sauce from scratch can make a good impression on guests, as well as ease concerns over the chemicals that tend to be added to Chinese made products. When you make sweet and sour sauce, you will want to make certain you have all of the ingredients on hand prior to beginning to cook.


Brown Sugar

Corn Starch

Pineapple Chunks

White Vinegar

Soy Sauce

Granulated Sugar

Lemon Juice



Like many sauces, there are many varieties of sweet and sour. The above ingredients are what you can expect to use. You may not use all of the above ingredients, and you may add ingredients of your own to make a unique flavor.


In recipes that use cornstarch, cornstarch should be added to cold water and set aside until used. Ingredients should be chopped and put to the side, ready for use. Once started, the process of making Sweet and Sour sauce progresses quickly.

Cook Time: 15 to 30 Minutes (recipe dependent)

Cook time is varied depending on the type of ingredients used. Ketchup based sauces take less time to prepare as they are inherently thicker. Cornstarch and similar based recipes will take longer to thicken. Cooking temperature also affects cook times.


Sweet and Sour sauce can be used as either a dipping sauce, marinade or as a part of the cooking process. Asian cultures tend to use sweet and sour sauce as a dipping sauce, with few recipes cooking the sauce in the wok prior to serving. Marinades and as a part of the cooking process is primarily a part of European and Western cultures. Due to how flexible this sauce is, it has evolved to being able to fit many purposes.

Sweet and Sour sauce is commonly used for lighter meats such as seafood and chicken. Variations of sweet and sour can be used for beef and dark meats, though these sauces tend to be richer than the standard varieties.


It is unknown when Sweet and Sour sauce was invented, though the first known example of a similar sauce is the soy and sugar sauce from the Hunan province. This sauce is little like the sweet and sour sauces of modern times. Cantonese sweet and sour is believed to be the ancestor of the modern sauces used in Western cultures, though it is younger than the Hunan variety.