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!

I love to recreate my family’s favorite Chinese food dishes at home including Szechuan chicken, beef and broccoli stir fry and this amazingly delicious sweet and sour pork.

Sweet and sour pork with pineapple and bell peppers in a skillet.

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.

If you are having a big Chinese dinner, try serving this pork with some satisfying pork fried rice, spam fried rice or sesame noodles. There are so many dishes that are delicious with this crispy pork.

Sweet and Sour Pork Ingredients

When you make sweet and sour pork you will need pork, eggs, flour, cornstarch, vegetable oil, onion, bell peppers, pineapple chunks, salt and pepper. For the sauce you will also need sugar, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, ketchup and cornstarch.

Cubes of pork tenderloin, a bowl of flour and a bowl of eggs.

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, sauté 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!

Breaded and fried pork pieces.

Tips For The Perfect Pork

  • 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.
  • I prefer to use freshly cut pineapple in this dish, but canned pineapple will also work just fine.
  • This dish 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.

Quick Tip

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.

Pineapple, bell peppers and onions in a pan.

Recipe FAQs

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.

Why is it called sweet and sour pork?

Sweet and sour comes from the tangy and sweet red sauce on the pork which is sweetened with sugar and ketchup and has a sour flavor from vinegar.

What does sweet and sour pork taste like?

Sweet and sour pork tastes like crispy pork bites together with cooked bell pepper and onion with sweet pineapple chunks all in a sweet and tangy red sauce. It is delicious!

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Sweet and sour pork served over rice.

Flavor Variations

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. For a different meat, you can also try my sweet and sour chicken or my sweet and sour 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.
  • Flavorings: For a sweeter sauce you can add a tablespoon of pineapple juice. You can use the juices from canned pineapple or put a little fresh pineapple in a juicer or blender. If you want a sauce with a little more bite you can add some minced ginger.
  • Sauce: If you are looking for a version of the sauce just for dipping appetizers like eggrolls or wontons, try my luscious sweet and sour sauce.

Skip the take out and make your own pork at home tonight, you won’t regret it!

More Asian Food Favorites

Sweet and Sour Pork Video

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4.97 from 33 votes

Sweet and Sour Pork

AuthorSara Welch
Sweet and sour pork with pineapple and bell peppers in a skillet.
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!
Time
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Asian
Serves 6

Ingredients 

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

Instructions 

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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. I prefer to use freshly cut pineapple in this dish, but canned pineapple will also work just fine.
  3. This dish is best when served immediately, as the coating on the pork will start to soften as it soaks up the sauce.
  4. 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 162mg | Sodium: 582mg | Potassium: 557mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 905IU | Vitamin C: 49.5mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2.3mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious!! Absolutely delicious!!
    Perfect flavors in the sweet and sour sauce, perfect portions of the peppers, onions and pineapple. Pork came out perfect! Can’t wait to make this again!
    Thank you

  2. 5 stars
    I wanted to have sweet and sour vegetables with the pork chops I was warming over.
    I started looking for a recipe using the ingredients I had on hand. This recipe was quick and delicious. I will be making this again and again.

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe is fantastic!!!! The sauce is perfect. I didn’t bread the pork as I don’t eat gluten, but it was still SO GOOD!!!!! My family and I will DEFINITELY be making this again.

  4. 5 stars
    My family love this! I did double the sauce because my family loves extra to put on the rice. Thank you for a great recipe πŸ˜€

  5. 5 stars
    It came out delicious. My family loves Chinese food.I also added a few drops of the pineapple juice in the sauce. Definitely making this dish again

  6. 5 stars
    This is the best sweet and sour pork recipe we’ve tried so far. Way better than a takeaway and so much tastier and healthier. Thank you for the awesome recipe.

  7. Best, just like our favorite Chinese restaurant makes it. Kids loved it and husband too which makes it a major win. Thanks for the great dinner idea!