Copycat Panda Express sweet and sour sauce recipe is here! Use as a chicken nugget dipping sauce or on tofu like we did here. Homemade mild or spicy how you like it.
This homemade Panda Express sweet and sour sauce is great for a dip or smothered on your favorite dish. Just 4 ingredients with a little thickener and done! Make fresh or bottle it and use it over and over again. One of our favorite dipping sauce for chicken recipes for sure. (affiliate links present)
Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce
You can see one thing we made with this above. Baked tofu with veggies and this to die for sauce. We’ve used it to make Instant Pot sweet and sour chicken too. If you love copycat Panda Express recipes, this will be one of your favorites.
Sauces are an easy way to transform an otherwise normal, average piece of protein into something amazing. It is a great way to change things up to. You could cook frozen chicken 3 nights in a row and not have anyone at home really realize what was happening.
Kikkoman Sweet and Sour Sauce
I think these taste amazingly similar. The biggest difference is store bought bottled variety doesn’t have as much kick or isn’t as spicy as the fast food restaurant version does. That only means one has more red pepper flakes than the other and that is easy to adjust.
Yes you can buy a few brands online or at the store. Biggest negative to those is they are loaded with preservatives and ingredients you cannot pronounce. If you really want to know what you’re putting into your bodies, and on your meat, it’s best to make it at home.
You just need a small saucepan to throw this together over medium heat and get it bubbling. A bit of thickener is added at the end to get the consistency you’re used to, but is optional. Instead of cornstarch slurry you could use xanthan gum if you needed a gluten free version.
The main ingredients for homemade sweet and sour sauce you likely have at home already. It’s really just ketchup, sugar, white rice vinegar and soy sauce. Beyond that you can adjust the heat with all sorts of things but red pepper flakes is what Panda uses.
Those are the little red flecks you see at their store. If you wanted a really spicy chicken sauce you’d just taste and add more until it is just right for your taste buds. Alternatively you could opt for a Tbsp or so of Sriracha though. Chili powder is a final choice.
How to Thicken a Sauce
Let’s talk about this for a minute. Whether you use a bit of flour, cornstarch or xantan gum you’ll want to get it smooth first with a bit of water.
- This steps is very important or the consistency will be super weird. You don’t need much more than 1:2 ratio of thickener to water. Use a fork to get it smooth first.
Then wait until your mixture on the stove is hot and bubbling well. Then pour it in and stir consistently until it is right, then remove from the heat and let it cool. Remember that as it cools it will continue to get thicker so don’t keep adding more and more. Be patient.
Sweet and Sour Sauce with Pineapple
If you wanted to add more island sweetness you could replace this water with pineapple juice and add this can of crushed or some tidbits into the mix too. Small itty bitty pieces are better than chunks. Now instead of Chinese takeout you can make it yourself now!
- Heat a pot on the stovetop over medium high heat. Add white vinegar and all other ingredients EXCEPT the corn starch and water.
- Once you bring to a boil, in a small dish whisk the water into a cornstarch mixture. Whisk together until it is a smooth white mixture. Pour this into the pot and stir for a few minutes so it thickens.
- Remove from heat and pour on top of one of our quick and easy chicken recipes, tofu, or beef.
Allow it to cool if you want to save some for later. Store in a jar with a tight lid for a week, or you could can your homemade sweet and sour sauce recipe to last much longer.
Here you have it. Taste, adjust heat, and make note of the amounts you added for your next go around. You can print recipe below or keep coming back time and time again because we love to “see” you.
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Panda Express Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 1 pot
- 1 Spoon
- Heat a pot on the stovetop over medium high heat. Add all ingredients EXCEPT the cornstarch and water.
- Once this starts to bubble, in a small dish whisk the cornstarch and water together until it is a smooth white mixture, pour this into the pot and stir for a few minutes so it thickens.
- Remove from heat and pour on top of chicken, tofu, beef, or cool and store in jars for later.