Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce is better than any sauce you can buy from the store with its balanced sweet and sour flavor. It’s a favorite dipping sauce for your homemade cream cheese wontons or a marinade for your chicken. The options are endless when it comes to all the flavors this sauce can bring to your recipes. For another flavorful sauce, be sure to check out my homemade Sweet Chili Sauce, too!

Spoon Stirring Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

Sweet and Sour Sauce

This Sweet and Sour Sauce is a thick and tasty sauce that is not something you could find at the grocery store. It’s easy to make any time you need a little extra kick to your favorite dishes. With this homemade sauce, you can be sure to get the right balance of flavor that you may be missing out on with mass-produced sauces. “Sweet and sour sauce is usually associated with the authentic Chinese combination of rice vinegar and sugar. The probable origin of this sweet and sour mixture is the Chinese province of Hunan, where it was originally used as a condiment or a sauce for fish, meat, and vegetables.”TasteAtlas

Pouring Hot Sweet and Sour Sauce into Cup

Ingredients & Substitutions

Granulated Sugar: The sugar provides sweetness to the sauce.

White Vinegar: Vinegar adds a tangy flavor and balances the sweetness of the sugar.

Brown sugar: Brown sugar adds a molasses-like flavor to the sauce and gives it a slightly darker color.

Ketchup: Ketchup gives the sauce a tomato-based flavor and also adds some thickness.

Slurry: This homemade sweet and sour sauce is made nice and thick by adding a cornstarch slurry to the vinegar mix. If you do not have cornstarch, you could use potato starch, tapioca, or arrowroot as substitutions. I am not sure how flour would work in this recipe, but generally, you would use double the amount of flour as cornstarch to get the same thickness.

Overhead Image of Sweet and Sour Sauce with Cream Cheese Wontons

How to Store Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

This homemade sauce should be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. It will last up to two weeks. If you use the sauce a lot and want to keep it out at room temperature, the shelf life will be closer to a week. To freeze the sauce, let it cool completely before storing it in freezer-safe containers, including freezer-safe zipped plastic bags. Remember to label and date the containers.

More Sauces

5 from 1 vote

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Make your own homemade sweet and sour sauce to use for anything you want to dip in it!



  • ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • cup (79 g) white vinegar
  • cup water
  • cup (67 g) brown sugar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons ketchup


  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, or potato starch
  • 3 tablespoons water


  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, and water. Continue whisking until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add the brown sugar and ketchup, whisking to combine, and bring it to a slow boil.
  • In a small bowl, make a slurry by mixing together the cornstarch and water. Slowly pour the slurry into the vinegar mixture, whisking constantly, until it thickens. Serve immediately.

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Reader Comments

  1. My dad is a chef and makes sweet and sour sauce/ duck sauce like the Chinese food restuarant by combining a jar of apricot jelly with white vinegar. It tastes exactly like the sauce we get from the restaurants here in Massachusetts.

  2. 5 stars
    First time making this. Easy to follow recipe. I added pineapple pieces and a little pineapple juice too. Really nice.

  3. I was really surprised how good this was. My husband and I both loved it. It made a lot and there are only two of us, so am going to freeze the rest.

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