Everyone knows and loves sweet and sour pork, right?
Sweet and sour pork is one of the best Chinese dishes whether it is cheap takeout, from a high-dollar Michelin starred restaurant, or part of a homemade feast. It’s tangy, sweet, crispy, crunchy, and deliciously porky. This better than takeout version is not only easier, it’s better for you too. Best of all, it uses pork chops, which are by far my favorite cut of pork because they are easy to come by, easy to cook, and taste great.
Healthy and easy sweet and sour pork
Some people don’t know that sweet and sour pork is deep fried and not at all healthy. This is an easy, healthier, just as delicious homemade version with no added oil and no deep frying. It’s just as crispy and the sauce is as authentic as you’d find in any Chinese household or restaurant. This was so good that we often make it for dinner instead of ordering in.
How to make sweet and sour pork chops
- Cube the pork chops. More surface area equals more crunch, but we don’t need to work too hard or go too far here, 1.5″ cubes are just about right.
- Coat the pork. Put the pork in a ziplock bag or a bowl with corn starch to get that crispy coating without deep frying. With the right touch, corn starch and a hot oven can make anything taste deep fried.
- Bake the pork. Bake the pork at 450ºF for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through for even browning.
- Make the sauce. While the pork is baking, make the sauce with the remaining ingredients in a nonstick skillet. While nonstick is the best choice, feel free to use whatever you have. It’s not that important, you can even microwave this sauce.
- Put it all together. Take the pork out of the oven and immediately toss it in the sauce until everything is well coated. Serve with plenty of fluffy white rice and other sides.
This is an easy pantry recipe with few ingredients, perfect for a weeknight dinner:
- Pork chops – pork chops make the best sweet and sour pork. Look for thick cut chops with good marbling. Other cuts you can use include pork shoulder/butt, loin, or even boneless ribs.
- Cornstarch – cornstarch is how you get the light crispy coating. We use it pretty much all the time in asian cooking as a sauce thickener and a coating. You can’t really sub it out, but if you have extra, it’s pretty easy to find other recipes to use it for.
- Soy sauce – you can use any soy sauce but for authenticity, try a Chinese light soy sauce brand such as Lee Kum Kee or Pearl River Bridge.
- Rice vinegar – vinegar is what gives this dish its signature tanginess. Rice vinegar is what you should use, but white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar could work in a pinch too.
- Ketchup – yes, ketchup! Not only was ketchup originally invented in China, it’s the secret ingredient to get that unique tanginess you find in truly authentic Chinese sweet and sour pork. Ketchup plays a role in many authentic Chinese and Asian dishes.
- Vegetables – don’t skip the veggies, they provide an essential crunch and brightness. This recipe specifies onions and bell peppers as the two most essential ones, but you can feel free to add whatever your heart desires. Pineapple, whether canned or fresh, is a pretty traditional addition that’s always a crowd pleaser, especially with kids.
Tips and tricks
If you want the pork crispier and you have a can of cooking spray such as pam handy, hit it with a light coat of oil before you dust with corn starch to get even more crunch.
Air fryer sweet and sour pork
If you want to airfry these instead of oven baking, you can! All you need to do is switch the oven out for an air fryer. Coat the pork with cornstarch as per the recipe, then place the pork into the air fryer basket with at least 1/4″ gap between pieces, in a single layer and set the air fryer to 375ºF for 8 minutes. Once done, coat with sauce as directed.
Serve it with
Sweet And Sour Pork Recipe
You won’t believe how easy this no fry sweet and sour pork recipe is.
- 1 lb pork chop cubed, or shoulder
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp vinegar rice vinegar preferred
- 1 tbsp soy sauce light soy sauce preferred
- 1 bell pepper roughly chopped
- 1/2 onion roughly chopped
- 1 cup pineapple optional
Serves 2 as a main or 4 with rice and other sides. Estimated nutrition is for 4 servings.
Sweet And Sour Pork Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 220
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 8.9g56%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Welcome to Dinner & Chill, a new series focusing on quick & easy weeknight dinners with easy to find ingredients, no special equipment, low prep, and low effort. Less shopping, less chopping, less mopping, more eating.