Sweet and Sour Sauce Without Pineapple

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If you’ve wanted to create your own Asian-inspired sauces to go with stir-fries and other delicious dishes, you’ve got to try this Sweet and Sour Sauce without pineapple!

Make your own from-scratch sweet n sour sauce recipe with this very easy tutorial! #homemade #recipe #makeyourown #sweetandsoursauce #homemadesweetandsour

Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe Without Pineapple

Asian food has to be one of my favorite types of cuisine. I love the balance that good Asian food has. When I first started learning to make Asian sauces (instead of just pouring them out of a jar), my mom taught me to pay attention to the balance of five basic tastes: savory, sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.

Trying to balance these five tastes equally will ensure you can create delicious sauces every time. Most sweet and sour recipes that try to do this will use pineapple juice or pineapple chunks in their recipe, but this one is much easier and much more frugal!

After experimenting with several variations, I have found a super easy but delicious sweet and sour sauce recipe. It might be worth mentioning that you can create this sweet-and-sour sauce recipe in only 5 minutes! There is no red food coloring in this sauce and the flavor is so much better than store-bought. You are going to love it!

Orange Chicken

How to Use Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

This sauce would be perfect as a dipping sauce for chicken, chicken nuggets, shrimp, or homemade egg rolls. You could also use it as a drizzle over your favorite stir fry recipe or a glaze over a ham.

If you use this sauce to top dried chicken pieces over some stir-fried vegetables, you will have a delicious sweet and sour chicken with a flavor rivaling your favorite Chinese restaurants!


Ingredients in Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe 

  • Cornstarch. You can use another starch (arrowroot, potato starch, tapioca starch) if you don’t want to use cornstarch.
  • Water.
  • Rice Vinegar. This can be replaced with apple cider vinegar if you don’t have any rice vinegar.
  • Brown Sugar. Can be replaced with honey or maple syrup if you don’t want to use cane sugar. The flavor is a little different but still good!
  • Ketchup. If you don’t want to use ketchup from the store, try homemade ketchup!
  • Soy Sauce. Some substitutions for soy sauce are coconut aminos or tamari sauce. You could also use Homemade Soy Sauce.
  • Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe with red pepper flakes

Instructions for Making Sweet and Sour Sauce without Pineapple

Mix together cornstarch and water in a small bowl, and set aside. Add the remaining ingredients to a small sauce pan, and bring to a boil.

Add in the cornstarch slurry (as a thickening agent) and mix thoroughly. Continue cooking for an extra minute or two until the sauce is thick. Remove from heat and enjoy!

Sweet N Sour Sauce Recipe

You can also add in 1/2 cup diced fresh pineapples, chopped onions or chopped bell peppers for a chunkier sauce. But all of those ingredients are optional. If you are looking for a simple sauce, you can stick with it as written.

My picky-eating toddler loves this sauce so much I can actually get her to eat a couple of bites of chicken and vegetables if she has this sauce to dip it in. And since I can make it so quickly, with ingredients I generally have on hand, it’s a perfect recipe for hectic weeknights.

Need to print this Sweet and Sour Sauce recipe for your Recipe Binder? Grab it below!

Sweet and Sour Sauce without pineapple

Sweet N Sour Sauce Recipe
3.86 from 7 votes

Sweet and Sour Sauce Without Pineapple

How to make your own sweet and sour sauce without using pineapple in the recipe.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 meal
Calories 517 kcal
Creator Merissa


  • 1 tbsp cornstarch or another starch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2/3 cup rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tsp soy sauce or coconut aminos


  1. Mix together cornstarch and water in a small bowl, and set aside. Add remaining ingredients to a small saucepan, and bring to a boil.
  2. Add in cornstarch mixture (as a thickening agent) and mix thoroughly. Continue cooking an extra minute or two, until sauce is thick. Remove from heat and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts
Sweet and Sour Sauce Without Pineapple
Amount Per Serving
Calories 517
% Daily Value*
Fat 0.04g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.02g
Sodium 979mg43%
Potassium 260mg7%
Carbohydrates 124g41%
Fiber 0.3g1%
Sugar 113g126%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 154IU3%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 109mg11%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Storing Sweet and Sour Sauce


If you plan to make homemade sauces, you need some glass bottles. They fit perfectly in your fridge doors and work great for pouring sauces. They even come with the little “dropper” top (that is removable), so you don’t pour out way too much at once!

Orange Sauce

More Homemade Sauces

Have you ever made your own sweet and sour sauce (without pineapple) recipe? What is your favorite food to dip in sweet and sour sauce?

Did you make this recipe and enjoy it? Leave a star rating on the recipe card and be sure to share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and through Email using the sharing buttons below!

Me and KadyMerissa has been blogging about and living the simple life since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to the 100-acre farm and ministry on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from the Contact Page.


This recipe for Sweet and Sour Sauce without pineapple was originally published on Little House Living in March 2014. It has been updated as of March 2023.

homemade sweet and sour sauce

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Recipe Rating


  1. This looks delicious, Andrea. I wonder if this is meant as just a dipping sauce or would you sauté chicken, for example, and then add it to the pan that way, like a stir fry sauce? What is the best way to use it or could you use it both ways? It looks like it might be poured over the chicken in the picture???

    1. Hi Teresa, and thanks!

      It can be used as a dipping sauce, or poured over meat or veggies that have been cooked. If you’re sauteing meat or veggies, just pour the sauce over them, about a minute before they’re done cooking. That way the sauce will be nice and warm!

  2. Wow this looks amazing and so easy! I had never considered making my own but now I will. Just like you this is ingredients I always have on hand.
    And I can make it with my gluten free soy sauce so I can actually eat it! I’ve been missing out. Thank you for this!

  3. While in high school I waited tables at our local Chinese restaurant. I watched the owner make his awesome sweet and sour sauce & tried to figure out the proportions & ingredients. Well, I did so until he realized what I was doing & sent me out of the kitchen :-). Your ingredients look pretty similar, I’ll have to try it.

  4. This looks so much easier than other recipes I’ve tried. It looks like it’d be great on sweet ‘n sour meatballs!

  5. I am certainly enjoying your website. I admire the way you look at life. Not thinking of what you DON’T have, but appreciating what you DO have. I live in the Southwest of British Columbia, Canada. You are certainly an inspiration to me and many others. Thank you.

  6. I can’t wait to try this sauce for my grand blessings!(grandchildren) I wonder if you could make it in larger batches, maybe with the pineapple and bell peppers and can it? I would want to can it in jelly jar sizes, but that way we would always have some on hand. I have some health issues and it would sure be easier to make a large batch and can it. What is your opinion? Thank you so much for your blog and the things you share!

    1. Yes you should be able to can this recipe, just make sure to leave out the cornstarch (you could add pectin or clear gel instead or just have a thinner sauce. And since it has adding vinegar you should be able just to do a hot water bath for 30 minutes.

  7. You have such interesting recipes for things I would never think of making myself. The other night we ordered Chinese food and discovered when we got home that they had left out the duck sauce. If I had this recipe, I definitely would have tried it as a substitute dipping sauce. I will try this soon. By the way, I recently made your recipe for Catalina dressing – delicious!!

    1. Too vinegary for you? Use less vinegar and fill to required amount with water. Start with 1/2 cup vinegar and fill to 2/3rd with water. Experiment with what pleases your taste buds! Please don’t add more sugar!!!

  8. This Sweet & Sour turned out really well. I was out of rice wine vinegar so I used regular vinegar. It still turned out fine. I did add 1T of cherry juice to try out bc I had seen it in another recipe. Yum

  9. Just made this, delicious. I did add 4 extra tablespoons of sugar, just right. Dipped chicken egg rolls in the sauce.

  10. I made this sauce tonight to have with our dinner,the only change I made is I added about 10 red pepper flakes.my husband and children just loved it. Thank you for sharing it.

  11. Thank you for sharing. I am a professional Chef. Some times my brain just forgets things. The wife asked me to make a sweet and sour without the pineapple. I drew a blank after working 14 hours that day . For the people who complain that recipe’s don’t taste good. These are just recipes their are going to be things that you don’t like and things you do. Make it how you like it , if not sweet enough add sweetener if bland add salt. They are basic so you can make them your way. That’s why at a restaurant there is salt and pepper on the table. Good job .

  12. I made this last nite ,Cooked boneless skinless chicken thighs and doubled the sauce
    It was excellent.don’t know why anyone is saying how horrible it is ,I fact my sister is making it for dinner tonight

  13. I wonder if I could use those coke bottles I’ve had kicking around for years to store the sweet and sour sauce in. They wouldn’t have a drip topper, but for thick sauce like sweet and sour, I might be able to repurpose those. Looks like a good recipe, I’ll give it a try.

  14. 1 star
    Oh no! This was not good. Far too vinegary for our liking. Like the simple recipe but I cannot eat it. Sorry.

  15. 5 stars
    Love this recipe as does my Hawaiian husband. Some people just aren’t into rice vinegar and that might be why they didn’t like it

  16. Like another Chef said , make it to your taste, adjust the sweetness or salt to your liking. Why all the fuss , you must taste your recipe and then adjust for your liking!!
    Wa la , reading some comments about one’s recipe is tasting horrible, well , that’s just not nice.. All chefs taste their sauces and then make adjustments if needed, practice makes perfect 💕

  17. I am so happy you printed this recipe! I became allergic to tree nuts as an adult, and the allergist told me avoid most Asian restaurants because nuts are so widely used. Up till now, The only Asian food I’ve attempted to master on my own is a basic stir fry. I am planning on adding the pineapple to re-create a pineapple chicken dish I had in Philadelphia years ago.

  18. 2 stars
    I made this, I used apple cider vinegar. It was far too vinegary it burnt my throat even after I added extra water and sugar to cut down the acid level. I’d try less vinegar and adjust to your liking. Rice vinegar May be much more mild, I’m not sure, I’ve never used it.

  19. 5 stars
    Just made a double batch, cut back on vinegar by 1/3, added a splash each of hoisin, mirin and oyster sauce. Sprinkled with Aleppo pepper (they’re about half heat of crushed red pepper with a slight sweetness). Used with air fried fish sticks and nuggets on top of wild rice. Ended up being incredible.

  20. 4 stars
    Too much vinegar flavor. Used rice vinegar and had to add 1/2 tsp of maple syrup to counter the tartness!
    Otherwise it’s quick to make and tastes good. Followed the recipe