Sweet and Sour Pork

6 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Sweet and Sour Pork with crispy pork, pineapple, bell peppers and onions just like your favorite Chinese takeout.

We love Chinese recipes in our house and on the blog including our favorites, Chicken Lo MeinEasy Mongolian BeefPanda Express Orange Chicken (Copycat) and Crab Rangoon.

Chinese Sweet and Sour Pork  Sweet and Sour Pork recipe

Crispy Sweet and Sour Pork is an easy classic Chinese recipe that always looks more intimidating than it is. With an easy batter and quick sauce, this recipe is delicious and crispy.

One of the most frustrating things about ordering Chinese food from your local takeout place is the steam factor. You know, the second that food is packed in a to-go container it immediately starts STEAMING.

Make this Sweet and Sour Pork and avoid the mushy steamed fried pork bites that super glue to each other! Homemade crispy battered Sweet and Sour Pork (or chicken, shrimp, tofu or beef) is the next best thing to going out to eat at your favorite Chinese restaurant.

How do you make Sweet and Sour Sauce?

Sweet and Sour Sauce is as easy as bringing a few ingredients including pineapple juice, brown sugar, mirin and soy sauce to a boil before adding a cornstarch slurry to the mixture to thicken it. The classic red color from sweet and sour sauce comes from red food coloring (which is completely optional).

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork Vegetables:

Picking the vegetables for Sweet and Sour Pork is not hard, a good mixture of green, red and sometimes yellow bell pepper chunks with onion and pineapple mixed in. With vegetables some refer to this recipe as a Sweet and Sour Pork Stir-Fry, so go ahead and add any vegetables you’d like.

  • If you want all sweet flavors skip the green bell pepper chunks which can be bitter.
  • If you want the onion to not be as strong, soak the chunks in ice water for 20 minutes before adding to the pan.
  • Use ripe pineapple chunks. If you worry about the acidity, cook the chunks for 2-3 minutes longer.

Sweet and Sour Pork with pineapple chunks and juice make this recipe a huge hit in our house. I use fresh pineapple chunks in the skillet and canned pineapple juice for the sauce.

If you have a particularly juicy pineapple you could of course juice the rest of it yourself but I prefer to snack on the rest of the pineapple while cooking.

Crispy Sweet and Sour Pork

Tools used in this Sweet and Sour Pork recipe:
Wok: Great for high heat, quick cooking. This wok is a great addition to your kitchen if you love cooking Chinese food or stir fries in general.
Large Frying Pan: I use this Cuisinart for most of my non cast iron cooking unless I am going with a stainless steel option, then I choose my All Clad.
Frying Spider Strainer: This frying spider strainer is the quickest and easiest way to scoop out items that are fried without wasting too much time or getting too much oil out of the pan. You won’t have pieces burning like you would with a smaller strainer, plus it is SO inexpensive. I use it for almost all of my small fried items.

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Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork with crispy pork, pineapple, bell peppers and onions just like your favorite Chinese takeout.
Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 drops red food coloring (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 pounds pork butt cut into 3/4" chunks
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • canola oil for frying
  • 1 red bell pepper (cut into 1” chunks)
  • 1 green bell pepper (cut into 1” chunks)
  • 1/2 yellow onion (cut into 1” chunks)
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks


  • To make the sauce, whisk together the pineapple juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, food coloring (if using) and cornstarch.
  • Heat three inches of cooking oil on medium high heat until a piece of pork would immediately start bubbling when added.
  • Coat the pork in the cornstarch, then dip in the egg and into the flour before dropping into the hot oil one piece at a time.
  • Cook the pork for 2-3 minutes, until cooked through and crispy.
  • Cook in batches until done, removing to cookie sheet.
  • To a large skillet on medium high heat add 2 tablespoons canola oil, the bell peppers, onion and pineapple and cook for 2 minutes, until crisp-tender.
  • Add in the sauce and let thicken, then add in the pork and toss just before serving.


Calories: 415kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 287mg | Potassium: 721mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 885IU | Vitamin C: 55.2mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 2.7mg
Keyword: Asian Food, chinese, pineapple, pork, Sweet and sour pork, takeout

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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    1. Freezing and defrosting could cause the breading on the pork to get soggy, though the flavors should still work well.

  1. Awesome recipe, thank you! I used potato starch instead of flour and the pork fried up sooo nice, I also added a little extra rice wine vinegar (personal preference). Tasted just like a restaurant. Will make again!

  2. This was delicious! Thanx Sabrina, can’t wait to try more of these recipes now that I have found this site!

  3. I’ve been cooking this since I was 9, (66 years), and this recipe comes the closest to what I know. I’ve never used catsup, that was added after red “food” coloring was banned. If I’m feeding folks who will compare it to “restaurant red” Sweet & Sour, I add food safe red coloring. Just a drop or two will do it. I love the fact that your sweet vs. sour is a 50-50 ratio! That’s what makes it! I also confess, I use more onion, “Asian” cut. I never met an onion I didn’t like!

  4. Hello Sabrina
    I wondered if I could cook the pork in an air fryer?! What do you recommend?
    I really enjoy your recipes and messages and suggestions!!

    1. I’ve not tested it before but my guess is that it can be done. I would suggest finding a recipe online using one that has similar ingredients and following that as a guideline.

  5. I can’t wait to make this Sabrina. You mention that you use mirin in the sauce, but I don’t see any mention of the amount you use.
    p.s. I’ve made your chocolate lava cake and it’s A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!
    I love the way you explain your recipes and the photos showing us what it should look like.

  6. My second favorite of your recipes! My favorite is Easy Mongolian Beef. I make both the same way (almost) as you. It took me several tried many years ago to get the same recipe as you! I needed you 35 years ago. Ha ha.

    I use an entire onion in this recipe because I don’t like saving raw onion. And if I only have a red pepper I put just a few green peas for color when I add the beef back to the pan. Not as good as green pepper, but sometimes I need to punt.

  7. Recipe does not say what to do with the soy sauce. I added it to sauce ingredients and it came out fine.

  8. Amazing. I substituted crushed tomatoes for the ketchup to reduce the sugar. Otherwise followed it to a “t”. Perfect!