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 Mein, Easy Mongolian Beef, Panda Express Orange Chicken (Copycat) and Crab Rangoon.
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).
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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.
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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.
- 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.
I’d like to make this recipe and freeze ahead of a big family gathering. Does it freeze well?
Freezing and defrosting could cause the breading on the pork to get soggy, though the flavors should still work well.
All your recipes are simple and delicious please keep them coming
Will do! Glad you’re enjoying the site.
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!
Couldn’t you do this basically the same way but with chicken?
This was delicious! Thanx Sabrina, can’t wait to try more of these recipes now that I have found this site!
Yay!! Look forward to seeing you around the site.
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!
I’m so glad you love it so much.
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!!
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.
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.
I’m so glad you’re loving the recipes. I actually used rice vinegar for this recipe in place of using mirin.
I would recommend lowering the amount of rice vinegar and corn starch.
What type of pineapple juice would I use? Sweetened or unsweetened?
You can use whatever you prefer. I used sweetened for this recipe.
My husband has been asking for a recipe of sweet and sour pork
This one look good
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.
I’m so glad it was worth the wait, lol!
Recipe does not say what to do with the soy sauce. I added it to sauce ingredients and it came out fine.
Thanks for catching that! I edited the recipe card to include it. So glad you enjoyed it.
Amazing. I substituted crushed tomatoes for the ketchup to reduce the sugar. Otherwise followed it to a “t”. Perfect!
I’m making this right now and it’s delicious!
What a great recipe! I cannot wait to make this.
YUM this looks delicious!! Must try soon!
Hope you enjoy it Jamielyn!
That looks incredible! My family would LOVE this!
What type of food coloring brand do you use for the sauce
Here’s the link to the one I use. https ://amzn.to/2PZxEVM
This looks so flavorful and amazing!!