This easy homemade Sweet and Sour Pork recipe is made with onions, bell peppers, pineapple chunks, garlic, ginger, crispy pork, and a delicious sweet and sour sauce! This dish is a flavor bomb with every bite, it is so irresistible!
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I love this easy sweet and sour pork recipe because it is super quick and so delicious! It’s perfect for a busy weeknight meal, served with rice and extra veggies.
Whenever we go to Chinese restaurants, I always eye their sweet and sour section.
I love the contrasting flavors of sweet peppers and pineapples, with acidic tomato, spicy ginger, and delicious garlic!
With this recipe, I can enjoy an amazing sweet and sour pork dish from the comfort of my own home, and it only takes 30 minutes to make.
- Pork: you’ll want a tenderloin cut that you can cut into 1-inch cubes. You can use pre-diced pork if you wish, but it’s easy to save money by slicing your own.
- Oil: for sautéeing the vegetables use canola oil, vegetable oil, or another neutral-flavored oil.
- Yellow Onion, Red & Green Bell Peppers: these vegetables all have a great savory flavor, that goes a bit sweet once they have been sautéed, as they caramelize slightly.
- Salt & Black Pepper: to enhance the flavors, use them to season to taste. The amount needed may depend on the sweetness of the pineapples that you have used.
- Ginger & Garlic: minced ginger and garlic pack a flavorful punch in this dish. They enhance the flavors of the vegetables and blend so well with the pineapple too.
- Cornstarch: used for thickening the sauce and also for coating the pork pieces to make them crispy. Cornstarch works much better than flour, so don’t substitute it. This also makes the recipe gluten-free.
- Pineapple: you will need pineapple chunks for the main dish, and also pineapple juice for the sauce.
- Sugar: packed brown sugar is great for adding rich caramel flavor to the sauce.
- Ketchup: for adding tomato flavor and also thickening the sauce slightly – any brand of tomato ketchup is fine.
- White Vinegar: you can also use apple cider vinegar but you’ll need a bit more of it if you substitute it.
How to Make Sweet and Sour Pork
This homemade sweet and sour pork is quick and easy to make. Full instructions are included in the recipe card below.
- Make the sauce: Whisk together the pineapple juice, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, and cornstarch. Set aside.
- Sauté vegetables: Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté the peppers and onions. Cook until peppers are slightly soft and onions are almost translucent. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- Coat pork: Combine cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a Ziploc storage bag. Add pork cubes and shake to coat well.
- Cook pork: Once the pan is free, cook the pork on each side until slightly browned. Add garlic and ginger and stir it in with the pork.
- Combine ingredients: Add the peppers, onions, sauce mixture, and pineapple to the pan.
- Cook together: Stir and heat together until the pork is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Garnish and serve over rice, or as desired.
Sweet and Sour Pork FAQs
Sweet and sour is traditionally a Chinese stir fry using pork tenderloin, bell peppers, onion, and pineapple. The pork is battered and fried until crispy, and then served in a tangy red sweet and sour sauce.
Yes! Sweet and sour pork is actually an authentic Chinese dish that is also very popular in China. If you visit China, you will notice it in a lot of restaurants, but the way they make might vary slightly from how you’d find it in America. Other dishes we know and love in the States like Orange Chicken, Sesame Chicken and Chop Suey, aren’t authentically Chinese – but we love them anyway!
Store sweet and sour pork leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Reheat in the microwave for a couple of minutes or on the stovetop until heated through.
You can freeze sweet and sour pork for up to 1 month! Freeze the pork in a single layer in a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag. Defrost thoroughly and reheat in the microwave or in an oven-safe container with foil on top in the oven. The pork won’t be as crispy as it was before freezing it, but it will still be delicious!
Tips and Notes
- For the pineapple. If you use a can of pineapple chunks make sure it is the “No Added Sugar” variety with 100% Pineapple Juice in it (not syrup) otherwise your sauce will be too sweet. If you use a fresh pineapple you can chop it into chunks and juice the remaining pineapple for the juice to the correct amount, or add from a carton of pineapple juice.
- For crispy pork: Use cornstarch and not flour for the best crispy pork in this recipe. You can cook the pork in an air fryer, or by deep frying it, but cooking it in a pan will make it quite crispy as it is.
This Sweet and Sour Pork makes a great meal when served with White Rice, Brown Rice, or Noodles. For extra veggies on the side try my Air Fryer Broccoli, Roasted Carrots, or these Air Fryer Green Beans.
More Easy Dinner Recipes to Try
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Sweet and Sour Pork
Sweet and Sour Pork Sauce
- 1 cup pineapple juice unsweetened or reduce the sugar slightly – can be reserved from canned pineapple
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ⅓ cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Sweet and Sour Pork
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 red bell pepper cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 green bell pepper cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 onion cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 lb pork tenderloin cut into 1″ pieces
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1½ cups pineapple chunks
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, and cornstarch to make the sweet and sour sauce. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add peppers and onions to the skillet. Cook until the peppers are slightly softened and the onions are almost translucent (you can leave them with a bit more of a crunch if you prefer). Remove from the skillet and set aside – do not wash the skillet.
- While the vegetables are cooking, combine cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a large bowl or Ziploc storage bag. Add the pork pieces to the bag and shake it coat well.
- Once the skillet is free, cook the pork on each side until slightly golden brown. Add more oil if needed. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.
- Next, add the cooked peppers, onions, sauce mixture, and pineapple to the fried pork pieces, stirring it occasionally, until the pork is cooked through and the sauce has thickened (about 3-4 minutes — the best way to know is to check the internal temperature of the pork pieces with a meat thermometer to ensure they are at least 145 degrees F, but pork will be nearly cooked even before you add the sauce).
- Garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds and serve over rice, or as desired.
- Fridge: Store sweet and sour pork leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Reheat in the microwave for a couple of minutes until heated through.
- Freezer: Freeze the pork in a single layer in a freezer-safe container or Ziploc bag. Defrost thoroughly and reheat in the microwave or in an oven-safe container with foil on top in the oven.
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