Bring the taste of Chinese takeout to your dinner table in just 35 minutes with this easy Sweet and Sour Pork recipe! Bursting with vibrant, sweet, and tangy flavors, it features crispy succulent pork, fresh bell peppers, and sweet pineapple in an irresistibly delicious sauce that will tantalize your taste buds!
Easy Sweet And Sour Pork Recipe
Sweet and sour pork is a delectable Chinese-American dish that’s all about striking the perfect balance between flavors and textures. It combines the satisfying crunch of chunks of tender, crispy pork with sautéed bell peppers and juicy pineapple chunks, all tossed together in a zingy, sweet, and tangy sauce! It’s an interplay of flavors that will tantalize your senses.
But what’s even better about sweet and sour pork is that you can recreate this flavor-packed experience right in your own kitchen. The recipe was designed with simplicity in mind, using everyday ingredients that you probably already have on hand. So, if you’re seeking an easy Asian dish that’s both simple and flavorful, this sweet and sour pork recipe is the perfect choice!
Why You’ll Love This Sweet And Sour Pork Recipe
- Quick and Easy! No need to spend hours in the kitchen. This recipe uses basic ingredients and is ready in just 35 minutes. It’s a great option for a busy weeknight meal.
- Flavor Explosion! Each bite is a burst of contrasting flavors! The savory, crispy pork pairs beautifully with the sweet and tangy sauce, while the colorful veggies add a touch of freshness.
- Versatile Dish! Feel free to personalize the dish by adding more veggies for an extra crunch, adjust the sweetness or tanginess to your liking, or even swap out the pork for chicken, shrimp, or tofu.
Ingredients You’ll Need
For The Pork
- Pork Loin: I used tender pork loin cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Cornstarch: Used to coat the pork, cornstarch creates a crispy texture and is responsible for the yummy crunch.
- Salt and Pepper: These seasonings enhance the natural flavor of the pork.
- Vegetable Oil: Used for frying the pork. You can use any type of flavorless vegetable oil you like.
For The Sauce
- Ketchup: This sweet and tangy tomato condiment forms the base of the sauce.
- Rice Vinegar: Adds a touch of acid that complements the sweetness. You can also use apple cider vinegar.
- Brown Sugar: Provides sweetness as well as depth that helps to balance out the flavors.
- Soy Sauce: Contributes a touch of umami that enhances the overall taste.
- Garlic Powder: Adds a subtle hint of aromatic garlic flavor.
For The Vegetables
- Bell Pepper: Provides freshness and crunch. You can use green bell pepper, red bell pepper, or any color you have on hand.
- Onion: Perfectly complements the savory pork and tangy sauce.
- Pineapple Chunks: Add both sweetness and texture to the dish. You’ll also use some of the pineapple juice in the sauce.
How To Make Sweet And Sour Pork
This dish is not just reserved for restaurant menus! Making homemade sweet and sour pork is incredibly easy. In just 35 minutes, you can have a flavorful, family-friendly meal that’s sure to impress.
Coat The Pork
To begin, season the pork with salt and pepper for added flavor. Then fully coat the chunks of meat with cornstarch. This important step not only adds a satisfying crunch but also helps the sauce adhere to the pork later on.
Make The Sauce
You need to make the sweet and sour sauce so it’s ready to go! Whisk the tomato ketchup, rice vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic powder, and 2 tablespoons of reserved pineapple juice together in a small bowl. Then set the mixture aside for a later step.
Fry The Pork
After you’ve made the sauce, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Then add the chunks of pork and fry them for 5 to 7 minutes or until they turn golden brown and crispy. Then remove the cooked pork from the pan and set it aside.
Stir Fry The Veggies
Next, in the same pan stir fry the bell pepper and onion for about 3 to 5 minutes until tender.
Finish The Dish
Now, let’s put everything together! First, return the pork to the skillet, and then add the pineapple chunks. Then pour the sweet and sour sauce over the top and toss everything together. Finally, reduce the heat and simmer the dish for about 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
Serve And Enjoy
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s easy to customize sweet and sour pork to your taste. You can add various ingredients, such as different vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, or snap peas. You can also experiment with other proteins. For example, use chicken to make sweet and sour chicken. Feel free to get creative.
This can happen for a few different reasons. Firstly, the pork pieces must be fully coated in cornstarch before frying. Also, overcrowding the pan can result in steaming rather than frying. Lastly, you must maintain a high heat while stir-frying to achieve a crispy exterior while keeping the inside tender.
This dish takes inspiration from Chinese cuisine, especially from Guangdong, but Western Chinese restaurants have adapted it to cater to Western tastes, turning it into a unique Chinese-American classic.
- Prep the pork properly. When cutting the pork, aim for uniformity in size. This ensures even cooking and prevents some pieces from becoming overcooked while others remain undercooked. You must also fully coat the pork with cornstarch to achieve a crispy texture.
- Maintain a hot wok or skillet. When stir-frying, it’s crucial to maintain the high heat to achieve the desired sear on the pork and keep the vegetables crisp. Also, make sure your pan is hot before adding the ingredients, and work quickly to avoid overcooking.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook the pork in batches if necessary to give each piece enough space to fry to crispy perfection and evenly cook.
- Make it spicy. You can easily add a kick to the dish by adding some red chili flakes or dried red chilies. Another option is to incorporate some sriracha into the sauce.
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply cover and microwave on medium power for about 4 minutes or heat it on the stovetop in a skillet. If frozen, you need to let the sweet and sour pork defrost overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Craving More? Follow Along:
Sweet And Sour Pork
- 1 pound pork loin cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ cup cornstarch
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
For The Sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
For The Vegetables
- 1 medium bell pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 medium onion cut into 1 inch pieces
- 8 ounces pineapple chunks 1 can, drained, juice reserved
- Season the pork pieces with salt and pepper, then toss with cornstarch until well-coated.
- In a bowl, whisk together the ketchup, rice vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic powder, and 2 tablespoons of the reserved pineapple juice. Set aside.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the pork and fry until golden and crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the pork from the skillet and set aside.
- In the same skillet, add the bell pepper and onion. Stir-fry until the vegetables are tender, about 3-5 minutes.
- Return the pork to the skillet. Add the pineapple chunks and pour the sauce over top. Stir to combine everything well. Reduce the heat to low and let the dish simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Serve your Sweet and Sour Pork hot with steamed rice.
Tips & Notes:
- Cornstarch Coating: Make sure the pork is well-coated with cornstarch for that essential crispy texture.
- Sauce Consistency: If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can add a cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water) during the simmering stage.
- Vegetable Variations: Feel free to add or substitute other veggies like carrots or baby corn for a different texture and flavor.
- Pineapple Juice: Don’t discard the juice from the canned pineapple; use it in the sauce or as part of a marinade for another dish.
- Serving Suggestion: This dish pairs wonderfully with steamed white rice or noodles.