With this quick and easy recipe you can make the best homemade Chinese sweet and sour sauce with chili! It’s naturally vegan, gluten-free, optional soy-free and tastes much better than most ready-made products like from McDonald’s! Perfect as a sauce or dip for many recipes such as Asian noodles, dumplings, cauliflower nuggets or stir-fry dishes with vegetables, rice and tofu.
The best Chinese sweet and sour sauce
While this recipe is inspired by my homemade Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, I used another method of preparation here so this sauce tastes differently. By roasting onions, garlic and peppers first, it creates wonderful aromatic flavors that make the sweet and sour sauce extra delicious!
Perfect for making ahead
The sauce can be quickly and easily prepared in advance and then stored in the refrigerator or freezer. It is perfect for many Asian-inspired dishes and is a great pantry staple that you should always have on hand!
Since you can choose the ingredients yourself, you can also choose how sweet, sour and spicy your sauce should be. You can also make the sauce soy-free if you don’t tolerate soy or have an allergy.
Ingredients for this recipe
You’ll only need a few simple natural ingredients and less than 15 minutes to make this flavorful sauce. Maybe you already have most of them at home? If not, you can easily find them in any supermarket or grocery store!
- Onion, garlic and ginger.
- Chili peppers: You can adjust the heat level as you like by using more or less hot, medium hot or mild red chili peppers. Alternatively, you can use dried chili flakes or hot paprika powder instead.
- Red bell pepper: for a fruity, mild paprika flavor.
- Tomato paste
- Sesame oil: or canola or sunflower oil.
- Rice vinegar: or white wine vinegar.
- Tamari: or soy sauce. You can also sub coconut aminos as a soy-free alternative.
- Maple syrup: or other syrup or sugar to taste.
- Cornstarch: or tapioca starch to thicken the sauce.
- Salt and pepper: to taste.
How to make sweet and sour sauce
Step 1: Sauté the vegetables
First, heat the oil in a small pan or pot and sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Next, add the garlic, ginger and chili peppers and sauté for another 1 minute. Then add the bell pepper and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes.
Step 2: Make the sauce
Meanwhile, in a small container, dissolve the cornstarch in water. Then add it into the pan along with the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for about 1-2 minutes until it thickens.
Then optionally blend in a blender or use an immersion stick blender, adding a little salt and pepper to taste if needed.
How to store and freeze sweet and sour sauce?
Pour the finished Asian sauce into a clean jar or small bottle immediately after cooking. Then seal airtight and let it cool. You can store it in the refrigerator for about 1 week or freeze it in freezer bags or freezer containers for up to 3 months.
Then, when needed, just put it out and slowly reheat in a saucepan or microwave.
This sweet and sour sauce is not only perfect for numerous Asian noodle, vegetable or stir-fry dishes, it is also very delicious with cauliflower nuggets, vegan gyoza, Chinese scallion pancakes and spring rolls. Furthermore, it also goes well with crispy tofu nuggets, Asian cabbage rolls, Japanese vegan katsu, rice with tofu, fritters, and more – basically anything you serve with a sauce or dip!
This Asia Sweet and Sour Sauce is:
- Vegan, Vegetarian
- Dairy-free (lactose-free)
- Gluten-free (when using Tamari)
- Soy-free (when using coconut aminos)
- No chemical additives or preservatives
- Easy to make
- Prepared with fresh ingredients
- Full of umami flavors
- Spicy & hearty
- Fabulously delicious!
More recipes for delicious vegan sauces to try
- The Best Peanut Sauce
- Vegan Cheese Sauce
- Cauliflower Sauce
- Sweet Potato Pasta Sauce
- Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- White Bean Sauce
- Creamy Tomato Sauce
- Avocado Sauce
- Tahini Sauce
- Chipotle Sauce
If you try this homemade sweet and sour sauce, feel free to leave a comment and a star rating on how you liked the recipe! And if you take a photo of your result and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Enjoy! 🙂
The Best Homemade Sweet and Sour SauceAuthor:
- 2 tsp sesame oil or canola or sunflower oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 tsp ginger chopped
- 2 small red chili peppers chopped (the amount and type depends on the desired spiciness, *see notes)
- ½ red bell pepper diced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1.5 tbsp tamari or soy sauce or coconut aminos, if soy-free
- 4 tbsp maple syrup or other syrup or sugar
- ½ cup (120 ml) water
- 2 tsp cornstarch or tapioca starch
- salt and pepper to taste
*Note: Check out the recipe video + step-by-step instructions above!
- Heat the oil in a small pan, skillet or pot and sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Then add the garlic, ginger, and chilies and sauté for another 1 minute. Add the bell pepper and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small container, dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Then stir into the pan along with the rest of the ingredients. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for about 1-2 minutes until it thickens.
- Then optionally blend in a blender (or use an immersion stick blender) until smooth. Season with a little salt and pepper as needed.
- Pour the sauce into a clean jar or bottle. Seal airtight, let cool and store in the refrigerator.
- Chili peppers: You can adjust the heat level as you like by using more or less hot, medium hot or mild red chili peppers or fruity red peppers. Alternatively, you can use dried chili flakes or hot paprika powder.
- More information about the recipe, including instructions for storing and freezing, are mentioned in the post above!
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