This sweet and sour pork is chunks of pork tenderloin that are breaded and fried, then tossed with pineapple and fresh vegetables in a homemade sauce. A classic stir fry that’s even better than what you would get at a restaurant!
Whenever I eat at my local Chinese restaurant, I have to order the sweet and sour pork. I just love that combination of crispy meat in a sweet and savory sauce! I’ve learned how to make this dish at home, and it’s surprisingly easy to put together.
How do you make sweet and sour pork?
Start by cutting pork tenderloin into bite sized pieces. Coat each piece of meat in egg, then dredge the pork in a blend of cornstarch and flour. Deep fry the pork until it is crispy and golden brown. While the pork is cooking, saute the peppers, onions and pineapple. Mix the sauce ingredients together, then pour it into the pan with the veggies. Add the crispy pork to the pan, and toss to coat everything with sauce. Serve immediately over steamed rice and enjoy!
Tips for the perfect meal
- You can place your pork in the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm it up. This will make the meat easier to cut into evenly sized pieces.
- It’s important to use a frying thermometer to monitor the temperature of your oil. If the oil is too hot, the outside could burn before the meat cooks through. If the oil is too cold, the coating will absorb excess oil and be heavy.
- I prefer to use freshly cut pineapple in this dish, but canned pineapple will also work just fine.
- Sweet and sour pork is best when served immediately, as the coating on the pork will start to soften as it soaks up the sauce.
- Looking to save on calories? You can pan sear the pork in 2 tablespoons of oil instead of deep frying it. The pork may not be as crispy, but will still be delicious.
Why is sweet and sour pork red?
Most restaurant style sweet and sour pork is red because they add red food coloring to the sauce. I have not used any food coloring here, but the sauce does have a natural reddish hue from the ingredients. If you prefer a bright red dish, feel free to add 1-2 drops of liquid red food coloring when you prepare the sauce.
While this dish is fabulous as-is, you can definitely customize the ingredients to make this recipe your own.
- Protein: Try pork shoulder instead of pork tenderloin. You can also use diced chicken breasts or thighs, or swap out the pork for shrimp.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add other vegetables to the mix such as water chestnuts, mushrooms, baby corn or sliced carrots.
- Toppings: Add a sprinkle of sesame seeds, a handful of sliced green onions or some crushed red chili flakes.
Skip the take out and make your own sweet and sour pork at home tonight, you won’t regret it!
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Sweet and Sour Pork Video
Sweet and Sour Pork
For the stir fry
- 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 eggs beaten
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil plus more for frying
- 1/2 cup onion cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 medium green bell pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 medium red bell pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3/4 cup pineapple chunks fresh or canned
For the sauce
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the stir fry
- Place the eggs in a bowl, add salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix the flour and cornstarch together and place in a shallow bowl or on a plate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat 3 inches of oil in a deep pot to 350 degrees F.
- Dip each piece of pork into the egg, then roll into the flour mixture. Repeat with all of the meat.
- Fry 7-8 pieces of pork at a time for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Repeat the process with all of the pork pieces.
- While the meat is cooking, heat the 2 teaspoons of oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the bell peppers and onion to the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Stir in the pineapple chunks.
For the sauce
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cider vinegar, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, ketchup and cornstarch.
- Pour the sauce into the pan with the peppers, onions and pineapple and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
- Add the fried pork to the pan with the vegetables and pineapple and toss to coat with the sauce. Serve immediately.