How to Make Sweet and Sour Pork: A Comprehensive Guide

Sweet and sour pork is a beloved dish that tantalizes taste buds with its crispy exterior, tender interior, and tangy sauce. While it may seem like a daunting dish to prepare at home, this guide will break down the process into simple steps, empowering you to create restaurant-quality sweet and sour pork in your own kitchen.


For the Pork:

  • 1.5 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the Sauce:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the Stir-Fry:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro


Step 1: Prepare the Pork

  • In a large bowl, combine the pork cubes, cornstarch, flour, baking soda, salt, pepper, and egg. Mix well until the pork is evenly coated.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight. This step allows the marinade to tenderize the pork.

Step 2: Make the Sauce

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, pineapple juice, cornstarch, and water. Set aside.

Step 3: Fry the Pork

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
  • Remove the pork from the marinade and shake off any excess.
  • Fry the pork in batches until golden brown and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  • Remove the pork from the skillet and drain on paper towels.

Step 4: Stir-Fry the Vegetables

  • Wipe out the skillet and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
  • Add the onion, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper to the skillet and stir-fry until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the pineapple chunks and stir-fry for an additional minute.

Step 5: Combine the Pork and Sauce

  • Add the fried pork back to the skillet with the vegetables.
  • Pour the sauce over the pork and vegetables and stir to combine.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.

Step 6: Serve

  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve immediately over rice or noodles.


  • For extra crispy pork, double-fry the pork. After the initial fry, remove the pork from the skillet and let it cool slightly. Then, fry the pork again until golden brown and crispy.
  • If you don’t have baking soda, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
  • To make the dish vegetarian, substitute tofu for the pork.
  • Sweet and sour pork can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


  • Add other vegetables to the stir-fry, such as carrots, celery, or snow peas.
  • Use different fruits in the sauce, such as peaches, apricots, or mangoes.
  • Add a touch of heat to the sauce with red pepper flakes or Sriracha.

Making sweet and sour pork at home is a rewarding experience that yields a delicious and satisfying dish. By following these steps and incorporating the tips and variations, you can create a restaurant-quality sweet and sour pork that will impress your family and friends. So, gather your ingredients, fire up the stove, and embark on a culinary adventure that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.

How to Make Sweet and Sour Pork with Jet Tila | Ready Jet Cook | Food Network


How is sweet and sour pork created?

The dish consists of deep fried pork in bite sized pieces, and subsequently stir-fried in a more customized version of sweet and sour sauce made of sugar, ketchup, white vinegar, and soy sauce, and additional ingredients including pineapple, green pepper (capsicum), and onion.

What is sweet and sour sauce made of?

While sweet and sour can be found in diverse forms in China, the American version builds upon the simple mixture of sugar, vinegar, and spices with the addition of fruit juice—most commonly pineapple—and ketchup, giving the sauce both its red hue and uniquely Western flavor.

How do Chinese tenderize pork?

How do you tenderise pork for stir fry? Velveting is a Chinese technique that helps keep meat tender during stir frying. Adding cornstarch and bicarb to your meat during the marinating process helps to coat your meat, giving it a velvety feel that makes the meat feel extra soft.

What is the Chinese characters for sweet and sour pork?

Sweet and sour pork (咕噜肉) sits among some of the most well-known Chinese dishes outside of China. It’s widely believed to be a Cantonese dish, known colloquially as gú lóuh yuhk, which roughly translates to “ancient pork.”

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