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Chinese sweet and sour sauce served in a clear glass bowl alongside crispy wonton strips.

Sweet and Sour Sauce


This Chinese sweet and sour sauce recipe takes only 8 minutes to make! Enjoy this delicious Asian condiment as a dipping sauce or glaze. It’s a family favorite!


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 3 drops red food coloring


  1. Add sugar, corn starch and salt to a small pot. Whisk to combine and remove lumps. Add water, rice vinegar, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and red food coloring to the pot. Whisk until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Place pot over medium heat. Continuously whisk until mixture comes to a boil. The sauce should be thick, smooth and clear. Remove from heat. If the desired consistency has not yet been reached, continue to stir the mixture in the hot pan after the heat has been turned off. If the thickened sauce is boiled for too long, it will break (lose its ability to emulsify) and become thin!
  3. Immediately transfer sweet and sour sauce from the hot pot to a small bowl.


EXPERT TIPS: Are you missing an ingredient for Sweet and Sour Sauce? Before running to the market, check your pantry for some easy ingredient swaps!

  • BEST SUBSTITUTE FOR GRANULATED SUGAR: An equal amount of light brown sugar.
  • BEST SWAPS FOR CORN STARCH: Arrowroot, potato starch or tapioca starch. Do not use flour for this recipe.
  • BEST SUBSTITUTES FOR RICE VINEGAR: White vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
  • BEST SUBSTITUTE FOR SHAOXING WINE: Pale dry sherry, or cooking sake (Japanese rice wine).
  • BEST SUBSTITUTE FOR SOY SAUCE: Worcestershire sauce.
  • HOW LONG WILL SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE LAST? When refrigerated in an airtight jar, flavor quality can last for 2-3 weeks. When cold the texture will become thicker, like Jello. Thin it back out again by gently whisking with a bit of Shaoxing wine, rice vinegar or water.
  • Prep Time: 3 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 Minutes
  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Chinese, Asian

Keywords: Sweet and Sour Sauce, Sweet & Sour