Sweet and tangy, this homemade sweet and sour sauce is ready in less than 10 minutes.
Just add the 6 ingredients to the pan, stir and simmer for a few minutes and you’re done.
A fantastic dipping and drizzling sauce for prawn toast, coconut prawns and fried rice.

Spoonful of sweet and sour sauce being poured into a small white bowl of sweet and sour sauce
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A handy sauce to have on standby in the fridge or freezer, this easy sweet and sour sauce is quick to prepare using minimal ingredients.

  • Like it spicy?
  • Want it extra sweet?
  • Want a double batch?

No problem, I’ve got answers to all these questions and more in the recipe card.

πŸ“‹ What do we need?

Ingredients for sweet and sour sauce on a wooden table
  • Sugar – use light brown or dark brown sugar (I use light brown most of the time). Dark brown sugar is slightly more acidic, so if you like it really tangy, go with that one.
  • Vinegar – I find malt vinegar give the best tangy for sweet and sour sauce. However, if you’re making this for someone who can’t have malt vinegar (i.e ceoliac) you can replace with white wine vinegar.
  • Garlic and ginger – use fresh minced garlic or ginger, or you can replace with the minced garlic and ginger that comes in a jar. Both work equally well.
  • Ketchup – I use good old Heinz as it’s well seasoned and pretty inexpensive. No need to waste your gourmet ketchup on this sauce!
  • Pineapple juice – use fresh, from-concentrate-cartons (I have been known to raid the kids juice cartons) or even the juice from a tin of pineapple in juice. Fresh bottled stuff has the most flavour, but there’s more than enough flavour to compensate in the other ingredients if you use the cartons or tinned juice. I alternate between all three, and no-one ever notices the difference.

πŸ”ͺ How to make sweet and sour sauce

  1. One of the simplest recipes on our site! Just add all the ingredients to the pan (full ingredient quantities in the recipe card at the bottom of this post), bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes until slightly thickened.
  2. Turn off the heat and serve!
  3. How about serving it up with coconut shrimp?πŸ‘‡
Coconut prawn being lifted out of a small bowl of sweet and sour sauce with chopsticks

πŸ‘©β€πŸ³PRO TIP You may be able to see some little flecks of ginger and garlic in the sauce. If you don’t want to see them in your sauce, you can strain the sauce into a jug over a fine-mesh sieve.

Small white bowl filled with sweet and sour sauce on a place with coconut prawns

🍽️ What to serve it with

πŸ“Ί Watch how to make it

🍲 More fantastic sauces and dips

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5 from 4 votes

Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

Sweet and tangy, this homemade sweet and sour sauce is ready in less than 10 minutes. Just 6 ingredients – add to the pan and simmer. Done!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Course: Dips, Sauces, side dish
Cuisine: Chinese


  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 150 ml (2/3 cup) tomato ketchup
  • 6 tbsp light brown muscavado sugar
  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) pineapple juice fresh, from a carton or from a tin of pineapple in juice
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  • Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan and stir together.
    2 garlic cloves, 1 tsp minced ginger, 2 tbsp malt vinegar, 150 ml (2/3 cup) tomato ketchup, 6 tbsp light brown muscavado sugar, 180 ml (3/4 cup) pineapple juice
  • Heat over a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes until slightly thickened.
  • Turn off the heat and pour into a serving bowl. Serve hot, warm or cold.



Can I make it ahead?
Yes – make the sauce, cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Serve cold or warm through in a saucepan before serving.
Can I freeze it?
Yes – make the sauce, cool, cover and freeze. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and heat until piping hot in a saucepan before serving. You can also reheat from frozen in a saucepan, or in the microwave, stirring a few times during reheating.
Ingredient swaps
More heat:
If you like a bit of heat, add in 1 tablespoon of sriracha OR 1/2 tsp chilli flakes OR a finely chopped fresh chilli with all of the other ingredients before simmering.
More sweetness:
Add an extra 2-3 tablespoons of light brown or caster (superfine) sugar.Β 
You can make the sauce, then taste and add more sugar to taste.
Added texture:
Add fresh or tinned pineapple chunks for added texture.
How to scale up this recipe
You can double or even triple this recipe. You will need to simmer for an extra 5-7 minutes, until the thickness is to your liking if you’re making a bigger batch.
Nutritional information is per serving.
This recipes makes approx 360ml (1 1/2 cups) – which i’ve counted as 6 servings.


Calories: 93kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 231mg | Potassium: 138mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 130IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. Lisa says:

    5 stars
    Thank you for this! I made it on Friday night with some chicken and pineapple over rice as a quick dinner. Very tasty!

  2. Jasmine says:

    5 stars
    Looks good. I wonder if it would be good with these crispy chicken goujons??

  3. Lisette Callis says:

    I make it with chopped capsicums, mushrooms, carrot, and pineapple pieces onion and garlic, star anise etc.. My deep fry batter is mix veg pineapple and onions or cauliflower florets instead of pork. I put chickpea flour in the batter or eggs and milk for extra protein πŸ™‚

  4. RONNIE GRAY says:

    5 stars
    Quick easy to prepare and makeas good as bought stuff

  5. Christine says:

    5 stars
    Love this homemade version, used it as a dipping sauce instead of bbq sauce this weekend, such a fab changeπŸ˜‹