Panda Express Sweet and Sour Sauce (Copycat)

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Panda Express Sweet and Sour Sauce – a homemade sweet and sour sauce that tastes just like the classic Chinese takeout dipping sauce you know that is bright red in color, sweet, and acidic.

Egg roll dipped in Sweet and Sour Sauce

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Panda Express Sweet and Sour Sauce is a quick recipe you’ll want to keep on hand for your favorite Chinese appetizers or even for a quick awesome appetizer on its own (block of cream cheese, sweet and sour sauce and wonton strips for dipping…you’ll thank me later).

How to Use Your Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

Today’s recipe is just a quick one, I’m still enjoying the mini vacation from my amazing Mother’s Day weekend. But even though this easy sweet and sour sauce recipe is short and quick, it is still totally versatile!

  • The appetizer recipe above makes for a fun option. I sometimes will fry wonton wrappers I’ve cut in half into triangles so they’re a bit bigger and able to scoop more of the cream cheese (which needs to be softened before serving).
  • Add a bit of soy sauce (2 tablespoons) and sesame oil (2 teaspoons) and use in a stir-fry.
  • Use for Sweet and Sour Chicken or Pork.
  • Make it spicy with a bit of Chili Sauce.

Other Panda Express copycat recipes on the blog

fried wonton dipped in homemade sweet and sour sauce



Panda Express Sweet and Sour Sauce (Copycat)

5 from 16 votes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Course: Sauce
  • Cuisine: Chinese
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
Panda Express Sweet and Sour Sauce is the perfect classic Chinese takeout dipping sauce that is bright red in color, sweet and acidic. The perfect dipping sauce for egg rolls, wontons and crispy wonton strips.


  • 1 1/4 cups water , divided
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • red food coloring (optional, but for authentic color I had to add a few drops)


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Add 1 cup water, white vinegar and sugar to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the cornstarch to the remaining 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl and whisk until the cornstarch is dissolved.
  3. Add the cornstarch slurry to the saucepan and whisk it all together.
  4. Reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 5-7 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 8 servings, Amount per serving: 114 calories, Calories: 114g, Carbohydrates: 28g, Sodium: 2mg, Sugar: 24g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keywords: Panda Express recipes, Panda Express Sweet and Sour Sauce (Copycat)


Panda Express Sweet and Sour Sauce is the perfect classic Chinese takeout dipping sauce that is bright red in color, sweet and acidic. The perfect dipping sauce for egg rolls, wontons and crispy wonton strips.
Panda Express Sweet and Sour Sauce is the perfect classic Chinese takeout dipping sauce that is bright red in color, sweet and acidic. The perfect dipping sauce for egg rolls, wontons and crispy wonton strips.

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  1. Made it. Came out great! However, I turned the pot on the lowest setting and didn’t think it was simmering because of the lack of steam and movement in the pot. I went to stir and noticed it was thinkened, didn’t burn! Thank you Jesus! Not use to using cornstarch! Lol.

    I added about a tablespoon and a half of ketchup and a sprinkle of salt. The ketchup help turn the color and I just wanted a pinch of salt. The recipe was great thank you!

  2. Made as directed but halved the recipe. I added a dash of garlic powder for flavor and a squirt of ketchup for coloring . I usually make the pineapple version but didn’t feel like opening a can and so I found this recipe! Had it with homemade egg rolls and homemade cream cheese wontons! So easy and good, thank you.

  3. Just made this and it was entirely too sweet for my family and I. I guess we prefer sour & sweet chicken. ?
    We tried adding more vinegar and that helped cut the sweet, but it was still too sweet for us.

    1. Loved this comment to much! I made this for Halloween and made it green. Paired with some skinny shrimp egg roll witch fingers(little almonds as the nail haha) and battered chicken breast as well…anything you want. I said ogars stones, but anything goes! Super yummy!

    1. Is it the same recipe but at the end add ketchup instead of food coloring or do you cook the ketchup with the sugar, vinegar and water?

  4. Oh my gosh, this is fantastic. So easy to make and I think just as good or better the the Chinese restaurants I have had. Great job, it’s a keeper!

  5. THANK YOU!!! I will never buy sweet and sour sauce from the grocery again lol this is delicious!!! Now I just need the meat for it to go with lol seriously thank you. I’m a single mom and can’t afford many extras and now we can keep our fav sauce in our home. You’re awesome!

      1. Umm so I put it in the fridge and now it is jelled lol it’s in a sealed container and when reheated it is a thicker sauce then when I first made it. Did I do something wrong by putting it in the fridge or possibly cook it to long. I only did 5 mins. Also, how long is this sauce good for?

        1. No, you didn’t do anything wrong. It’ll get thicker in the fridge. You can just warm it up a bit before using once you take it out. If store properly, I would think it should last a week.

          1. Hello Sabrina,

            I made this recipe and the taste was absolutely amazing, however I had the super thick problem. As soon as I added the corn starch solution portion, the boiling sauce congealed and turned into a very thick jelly almost instantly. The taste was spot on, but the consistency was anything but… Perhaps too much corn starch added? Your insight would be most appreciated

          2. Oh no! Glad it still tasted great but next time, I would try adding less cornstarch. Sorry that happened to you.

    1. it tasted like jelly sugar? Im thinking you forgot to add the vinegar, its like making ketchup without the tomato’s. you shouldn’t review something if you didnt make it right :/
      i on the other hand made this and it turned out great

  6. And i forgot to mention that I also tried to add stake sauce, hp sauce, worchestire sauce but every time it ends up with a waste of time and money and big disappointment!

  7. You don’t know how much I have searched and tried to copycat the chinese takeaway sweet and sour sauce reciepe.
    I tried to add pineapple juice, plum, sweet chilly sauce, orange juice! But none of them gave me that delicious taste of the takeaway sauce!
    Ok why now I’m impressed with this simple recipe? Because I know that chinese restaurants use the most inexpensive and quick seasonings to their dishes! Will try it and get back to you soon!

  8. This was a fairly good recipe. Im from Sweden so I never had Panda Express Sweet and sour sauce. I also only had white wine vinegar though so the taste might not be accurate. Still impressed with the simplicity. Thanks and great job!

  9. Sooo good! Although next time, I think I’ll use yellow food colouring, or a combination of red and yellow. The red food colouring made it look like a neon pink dipping sauce. Tasted delicious, though! And so easy to make

      1. I am a diabetic. I made this recipe and halved the sugar. It made it a little more sour but this was fabulous on chicken, rice, and mushrooms. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  10. You forgot a piece of ginger root. As it is boiling they add a piece of ginger root. Before they serve it to there customers they reheat the sauce in the wok adding pieces of pineapple chunks and bell pepper… trust me!!!!

  11. This came out tasting like jellied sugar water. I didn’t taste any sour so I’m not sure why that is. I followed the directions exactly. Help?

    1. Oh no 🙁 Not sure what would have happened if nothing was changed but I’d be happy to trouble shoot with you to try and figure it out, if you’d like. Email me at contact @

  12. Sweet sour sauce.has apple juice.white vinegar. don’t have to add red coloring to it.when it boils add corn starch.i worked in 4 star chinese restaurant. All stuff served in American restaurants is not authentic. Half of items are left out.some have items that are not even in it..

    1. Daniel, I totally agree, but this is a copycat recipe, not the authentic version. I was recreating the color of Panda Express’s sweet and sour sauce. I do make a version that doesn’t include most of these ingredients and while that would be a more authentic recipe to most restaurants, it wouldn’t be a copycat.

    2. daniel no one is forcing you to make this. people need to stop flooding the comments with either “this recipe doesnt look right” or “i cant wait to try it!” would be nice to see comments from those who actually make the stuff.