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A small spoonful of homemade Chinese sweet and sour sauce
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5 from 8 votes

Easy Chinese Sweet and Sour Sauce

A quick and easy, homemade Chinese sweet and sour sauce recipe that tastes just like the ones at your Chinese takeout restaurants and is made without ketchup, pineapple, or food coloring.
Prep Time0 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 776kcal
Author: Joyce Lee


Optional Ingredients for Extra Flavor

  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and smashed, but kept whole)
  • ¼ teaspoon worchestershire sauce



  • In a small bowl, mix the tablespoons of corn starch with ½ cup of cold water and mix well until it is combined. Then mix in ½ cup of white vinegar, ½ cup of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and mix well.
    Make sure not to mix the oil and tomato paste into this.
  • (Optional) If you are using garlic for flavor, peel it and use the side of a knife to smash it open but keep the clove whole so you can remove it easier at the end.

Making the Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • Set a small pot over medium-low heat.
  • Add in 2 tablespoons of oil, garlic clove (optional), and 4 tablespoons of tomato paste, and cook it for approximately 5 minutes until the oil turns to an orange color and the tomato pastes turn a slightly darker red.
  • Stir the bowl with the rest of the ingredients with a utensil to re-mix the corn starch with the sauce (starch usually settles on the bottom), and pour it into the pot with the tomato paste and keep stirring quickly until the sauce turns thick for about 5 minutes.
    **Make sure you keep stirring quickly during this step to prevent clumps in your sauce
  • If you used a garlic clove, fish it out with a spoon and remove it.
  • If you like the sauce thinner, add an additional 1-3 tablespoons of water to it.
  • (Optional) Add ¼ teaspoon of Worchestershire sauce to it if you want some additional flavor


  • This simple homemade Chinese sweet and sour sauce recipe will be more of a hong kong style sweet and sour sauce with a balance of sweet and tang and it will be less sweet than the American version. If you like it sweeter, reduce the vinegar by 1-2 tablespoons.
  • Although it is not a traditional ingredient, I will occasionally add ¼ teaspoon of Worchestershire sauce for additional flavor. It's an optional ingredient.
  • Make sure you don't use any seasoned or cast iron pans for this recipe. The vinegar will strip and remove the seasoning from the pans.
  • If you want to make it a spicy sweet and sour sauce, try adding some chili flakes, sambal oelek, or sriracha to it.


Calories: 776kcal | Carbohydrates: 125g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Sodium: 1669mg | Potassium: 779mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 108g | Vitamin A: 976IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 3mg