Making Your Own Sweet and Sour Sauce
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated November 10, 2021)
Have you ever noticed just how often sweet and sour sauce is used in Chinese cooking? If you are thinking of having wontons, pot stickers, egg rolls, or even certain kinds of main dishes, you really need to know how to make sweet and sour sauce. To help illustrate how easy of a task it is, here are two different methods you can use to make your own.
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar (white can be used, but rice is better)
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 4 teaspoons water
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- Mix base. In a small pot, add the brown sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce. Turn the heat to medium high, and mix everything together as the mixture heats up.
- Boil. Continue to stir the mixture while it is heating up, allowing the mixture to come to a gentle boil.
- Add remaining ingredients. Once you have brought the mixture to a gentle boil, add the remaining ingredients. Do not change the heat level, and do not stop stirring.
- Stir till thickened. Continue to stir the mixture until you have reached your desired thickness. Serve while still warm. If you want a thicker sauce, you can increase the amount of cornstarch used to a maximum of four teaspoons.
- 16 ounces barbecue sauce (your favorite brand)
- 4 ounces grape jelly (your favorite brand)
- Heat barbecue sauce. Pour your barbecue sauce into a medium sized pot, and set the heat to medium high.
- Add jelly. While the barbecue sauce is heating up, add the jelly. Depending on how sweet you want the sauce to be, add between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup (roughly four ounces).
- Heat and stir. While the sauce is heating up, continually stir it. This will help ensure that the mixture does not burn or scorch. Continue to heat and stir the mixture until it reaches a low boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the mixture, and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes, being sure to stir every couple of minutes to prevent burning.
- Taste and adjust. After the time has elapsed, taste the sauce. Adjust as necessary to your taste by either adding some more barbecue sauce for the sour, or even a bit of pineapple juice for some sweetness.
Regardless of the method you use for making your sweet and sour sauce, you should serve it while it is still warm. If you are using it for dipping, pour some of the sauce into small bowls (typically one for each person eating. On the other hand, if you are using it as a garnish for sweet and sour pork (or chicken, shrimp, etc.) then drizzle it over the meat.