The Best Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe


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This sensational Sweet and Sour Pork is everything you want in take out, only better!  You are going to love the succulent chicken combined with the most incredible sauce!

This recipe will take your take out game to a whole new level of yumminess. Pair with Wontons, Egg Rolls and Rice for a restaurant worthy night!

A Bowl of Sweet and Sour Pork.

Skillet Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe

Hands down, this is one of my family’s favorite Chinese meals to make at home. It is the most perfect combination of sweet and sour. By using two different vinegars instead of just one you get a complex flavor that combines with the sweet of the sugar and ketchup that is divine. The soy sauce gives it that savory touch it needs to balance it all out. Then you toss the sauce with tender juicy pork, crisp tender vegetables and sweet tart pineapple that is so heavenly. This might be a bit of work, but it is totally worth it!

I love being able to make my own take out. You can control what goes in and what doesn’t go in your food. I know exactly what I’m feeding my family. You can also  customize homemade take out to your liking as well, making it absolutely perfect.  This Sweet and Sour Pork, is no exception. It is scrumptious and It won’t sit heavy in your stomach like some take out can. Give this sweet and sour a try, you will not be disappointed!

What You Need For Chinese Pork

This seems like a lot of ingredients but most you probably have on hand. They combine to make the BEST sweet and Sour Pork EVER!

  • Oil: This is the oil you will use for frying so use a high smoke oil, such as canola or peanut.
  • Pork: I used a pork tenderloin cut into one inch pieces.
  • Salt and Pepper: Add to taste
  • Cornstarch: You will use this coat the pork to help create a nice crust.
  • Red Bell Pepper: Cut the pepper into one inch pieces.
  • Green Bell Pepper: Dice the pepper into the same size as each other.
  • Onion: Cut the onion to be like the pepper so it will get done at the same time.
  • Pineapple Chunks: Use a 15 ounce can drained.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • Sugar: This provides the sweet, good old white sugar.
  • Ketchup: Ketchup also adds sweet and a bit of tang.
  • White Vinegar: White vinegar has the intense sour taste you want.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is milder in the sour taste so it isn’t over powering.
  • Soy Sauce: Classic flavor for sweet and sour, use low sodium if you wish.
  • Garlic Salt: Adds flavor and the salt helps flavor everything else out too.
  • Cornstarch: This will help thicken the sauce.
  • Sesame Seeds and Green Onions: These are optional, but I highly recommend them.

How to Make Sweet and Sour Pork

These ingredients combine in the most amazing way to create a dish your family is going to ask for again and again.

  1. Prep: In a large skillet add the oil about one inch high in the pan and heat to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat: Salt and pepper the pork and toss in the cornstarch to coat completely.
  3. Fry: Add the pork to the oil and cook until golden and crispy about 3-4 minutes. Remove and set aside on a plate.
  4. Sauté: In a large skillet add the olive oil, bell pepper and onion and sauté until tender.
  5. Sauce: In a small bowl whisk the sugar, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and cornstarch.
  6. Combine:  Add the pork and pineapple back to the skillet with the peppers and pour the sauce on top. Let simmer until heated through. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.

Cutting the pork, frying it and adding the sauce.

Tips For The Best Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and sour pork is a classic Cantonese dish that Americans have fallen in love with, and put our own little spin on. Either way this recipe hits the flavors right on!

  • Pork: I used a pork tenderloin, but you can use a pork butt or shoulder roast as well. You do not want super lean pork as it will result in tough chewy pieces of pork. You want a bit of fat for tender yummy bites of pork. Cut them evenly so they cook evenly.
  • Vegetables: I love using the red and green peppers for the different flavors and colors. You can substitute for yellow and or orange peppers as well.
  • Pineapple: I like to cut the pineapple chunks in half to make them a bit more bite size friendly and so that there are more to go around. You can use fresh pineapple too, just cook the pineapple towards the end of the peppers and onion sauté so that they can cook for 3-5 minutes. This will reduce their acidity.
  • Cornstarch: Using cornstarch instead of flour will give you a crispier crunch to your pork. Do not substitute it for flour.
  • How to know when my pork is done: Pork internal temperature should be 145 degrees. Note that pork can be 145 degrees and still have a bit of pink. It is still done.
  • Want more crisp to your pork? Double fry your pork nuggets. Fry the first time for 3-4 minutes or till cooked through and golden brown. Let drain on a wire rack. Heat the oil up to about 390 degrees and fry again for 1-1 ½ minutes or till a deep golden. This actually keeps the pork from getting greasy, it’s just extra crunchy.

How to Serve Your Pork and Some Variations

You could probably eat this sweet and sour right from the pan and it would be amazing, but I often like to serve it with a bit more.

  • Serve: The classic way to serve this is on top of a bed of white fluffy rice. You can also serve it over brown rice, quinoa, or stir fried noodles.
  • Variations:  Add more vegetables to your sweet and sour pork for extra umph. Zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli and sugar snap peas are all delicious.
  • Saucy: If you like your sweet and sour pork a bit on the saucy side, double the recipe of sauce before adding in all the extras.

How to Store Sweet and Sour Pork

This is a great make ahead meal or reheat for lunch the next day. It is the perfect family meal for all!

  • Storing: Leftovers keep in the fridge tightly sealed for up to 3 days. For best results reheat on the stove top. Microwave will work too, but the vegetables my get a tad soggy.
  • Freeze:  You can freeze leftovers too. Place cooled sweet and sour pork in a freezer safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Let them thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat on the stovetop.

A pan of sweet and sour pork with seeds ready to be served.

More Take Out Favorites

There isn’t anything better than making my favorite take out at home. Not only does it ALWAYS taste better from scratch, but I know exactly what it is in my food. No extras or things I cannot pronounce. Plus when you make your favorite takeout recipes at home you can customize them to your liking. For example you can leave something out, or add more of an ingredient, or even add extras. You can make your take out your own. Here are some tried and true recipes to get you started.

Sweet and Sour Pork

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 30 minutes

Author Alyssa Rivers

Servings 4 people


This sensational Sweet and Sour Pork is everything you want in take out, only better!  You are going to love the succulent chicken combined with the most incredible sauce!



  • oil for frying
  • 1
    pound
    pork tenderloin
    cut into one inch pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2
    cup
    cornstarch
  • 1
    red bell pepper
    cut into one inch pieces
  • 1
    green bell pepper
    cut into one inch pieces
  • 1
    small
    onion
    cut into one inch pieces
  • 1
    15 ounce can
    pineapple chunks, drained

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 2/3
    cup
    granulated sugar
  • 4
    tablespoons
    ketchup
  • 1/4
    cup
    white vinegar
  • 1/4
    cup
    apple cider vinegar
  • 1
    tablespoon
    low sodium soy sauce
  • 1
    teaspoon
    garlic salt
  • 1
    Tablespoon
    Cornstarch
  • sesame seeds and chopped green onions for garnish.



Serves: 4

Calories381kcal (19%)Carbohydrates59g (20%)Protein25g (50%)Fat4g (6%)Saturated Fat1g (5%)Trans Fat1gCholesterol74mg (25%)Sodium916mg (38%)Potassium653mg (19%)Fiber2g (8%)Sugar39g (43%)Vitamin A1121IU (22%)Vitamin C64mg (78%)Calcium22mg (2%)Iron2mg (11%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.



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