Sweet and Sour Pork in a frying pan with a bowl of rice, slices of pineapple and a blue and white dish towel
Main Course Pork Quick Dinners Recipes

Sweet and Sour Pork – Better Than Take Out!

Sweet and Sour Pork made healthier and even tastier then takeout! Crispy and tender pork stir fried with peppers, onions and pineapple in an irresistible tangy sauce.

Sweet and Sour Pork in a frying pan with a bowl of rice, slices of pineapple and a blue and white dish towel

Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe

Sweet and sour pork has always been one of my absolute favorite Chinese takeout dishes! There is something special about the sweet and sour sauce paired with crispy pork and tender stir fried veggies… and we can’t forget the sweet crunch added from the pineapple!

This crispy and tender sweet and sour pork is tastier and healthier than takeout! It is a classic Chinese stir-fry dish made with juicy pieces of pork tenderloin, bell peppers, onion, and pineapple.

In my healthier recipe, the pork is Air Fried, as opposed to deep fried, which is a healthier cooking method. Often the tangy sweet and sour sauce is made with ketchup which is filled with preservatives and a high amount of sugar. The swap in this recipe is using a combination of tomato paste and honey. You can definitely skip the takeout and make this classic and healthier version at home!

Sweet and Sour Pork in a frying pan

My recipe for the sweet and sour sauce uses simple pantry ingredients and comes together in a snap. Nearly all recipes use ketchup and sugar, but this recipe gives you a healthier and tastier version. It’s a must try!

The pork is coated in a combination of cornstarch and flour. This gives the pork and extra crispy crunch but it also thickens the sauce. Once the veggies are stir fried and the sauce is simmering the pork is tossed into the stir fry and the cornstarch gives the sauce a rich glossy appearance. The thickened sauce then sticks and clings to the pieces of pork. It’s simply delicious!

Sweet and Sour Pork in a frying pan with a bowl of rice, slices of pineapple and a blue and white dish towel

Stir Fry Veggies

Onions, bell peppers, and pineapple are the tasty additions to this famous dish. The fresh produce adds a nice bit of color and flavor. I love how the fruit compliments the tangy sauce, I like to stir fry the ingredients just to the point of keeping them crisp. You can also substituted the bell peppers or added in additional vegetables that you have on hand such as carrots, cauliflower and even broccoli to sneak in some more veggies!

What is in Sweet and Sour Pork?

bowls with ingredients for sweet and sour pork (peppers and onions, pork, ginger, garlic, scallion, cornstarch, flour, honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, tomato paste, pineapple, oil, chili flakes, salt, pepper

Pork Marinade and Crispy Coating Ingredients

  • Pork Tenderloin – once fried the pork in this recipe is tender and crispy. To ensure a tender and moist pork my cut of choice is pork tenderloin. However, you can use boneless pork shoulder with the fat trimmed or boneless pork chops cut into bite sized pieces.

  • Garlic and Ginger – two of my favorite aromatics.
    • Tip – keep ginger frozen in a freezer safe container, Ziploc bag or wrap in plastic wrap. Whenever you need fresh ginger in a recipe just grab it out of the freezer and grate on a mini grater or shredder

  • Soy Sauce – I always have a large bottle of soy sauce on hand in the kitchen as it is the addition to marinating meats.
  • Sesame Oil, optional – a secret ingredient in Asian cooking. Sesame oil adds a deep flavor into dishes. Be careful not to add to much or it will overpower your dish.
  • Chili Flakes, Salt, Pepper – pantry staple herbs and spices for the marinade
Sweet and Sour Pork in a frying pan with a bowl of rice, slices of pineapple and a blue and white dish towel

Stir Fry Ingredients

  • Bell Peppers – a mix of red, green and yellow (or orange) bell peppers add a color to this dish as well as a mix of flavors. You can use any combination of bell peppers you like.
  • Pineapple – adds a hint of sweetness to the dish. You can use fresh sliced pineapple, canned or even frozen pineapple.
  • Garlic and Ginger – two of my favorite aromatics are stir fried into the sauce

  • Rice Vinegar – commonly used in Asian cooking and as a seasoning for sushi rice, rice vinegar is sweeter than regular white vinegar. However, you can substitute white vinegar in this recipe. The vinegar adds the sour to sweet and sour pork with the perfect amount of tang!
  • Soy Sauce – I like cooking with a low sodium soy sauce as salt is usually added into cooking so this helps control a dish from becoming overly salty.

  • Tomato Paste – most recipes for sweet and sour pork use ketchup instead of tomato paste. I prefer using tomato paste as it does not has any additives or added sugars like ketchup and it brings a deep rich red color to the sauce.
  • Honey – a more natural sweetener with no added refined sugars is used in this recipe to pair with the tomato sauce as a replacement for ketchup which already has sugar added in.
Sweet and Sour Pork in a frying pan with a bowl of rice, slices of pineapple and a blue and white dish towel

How to Make Sweet and Sour Pork

Full Printable Recipe at Bottom of Page

Prepare the Pork

1 In a large bowl add the pork and all of the marinade ingredients (salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, chili flakes (optional) and sesame oil (optional)). Set aside and let marinade for at least 30 minutes.

2 In a shallow dish combine the flour and cornstarch.

3 In batches, toss the cubed pork in the flour and cornstarch.

4 Preheat your air fryer to 400°F.

5 Generously spray each piece of pork with cooking spray or drizzle with oil and place in the air fryer. Cook at 400°F for approximately 5 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy.

6 Cook in batches until all the pork is cooked and set aside.

Prepare the Stir Fry

7 Add oil to a large frying pan or pot on medium-high heat and add in stir fry ingredients (onion peppers, and pineapple) for 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute.

8 Reduce the heat to medium and add in the tomato paste and cook for another minute.

9 Add in the vinegar, soy sauce, and honey, stirring to combine for another minute or until the vegetable are just beginning to soften.

10 Bring the sauce to a simmer.

11 Add in the cooked pork into the pan and stir until all pieces are coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Note: the coating on the pork will thicken the sauce as it is stirred in and simmered.

12 Top with sliced green onions and sesame seeds (optional).

Sweet and Sour Pork in a frying pan

Serve

Serve your sweet and sour pork family style with jasmine rice and enjoy! I like pairing this sweet and sour pork with my easy Wonton Soup for an Asian inspired dinner at home.

This recipe is great for a get together as you can prep the pork and stir fry veggies in advance. When it comes time for serving just add in the cooked pork to your stir fry veggies and sauce!

Sweet and Sour Pork in a frying pan with a bowl of rice, slices of pineapple

Looking for More Easy Stir Fry Dinners?

Try some of my most popular stir fries!

  • Spicy Crispy Chicken – is one of my favorite dishes! Crispy chicken tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce. This flavor packed dish is better than take out and soon to be one of your favorite dishes too!
  • Crispy Honey Garlic Beef – better than takeout! You have to try this simple and delicious recipe.
  • Teriyaki Chicken with Vegetables – perfectly seasoned tender chicken served over stir fried vegetables in a sweet and savory teriyaki sauce. This quick dinner has become one of my families most requested meals.

Enjoy!

– Sab

Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission.

Sweet and Sour Pork in a frying pan with a bowl of rice, slices of pineapple and a blue and white dish towel

Sweet and Sour Pork – Healthier!

Sweet and sour pork has always been one of my absolute favorite Chinese takeout dishes! This crispy and tender sweet and sour pork is tastier and healthier than classic takeout. It is a classic Chinese stir-fry dish made with juicy pieces of pork tenderloin, bell peppers, onion, and pineapple. In my recipe the pork gets air fried, as opposed to deep fried. It is then tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce. You can definitely skip the takeout and make this classic and healthier version at home!
4.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Servings 6
Calories 396 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 
 

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • cup cornstarch
  • cooking spray, or cooking oil of choice

Pork Marinade

  • 1 ½ pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chili flakes, optional
  • ½ tsp sesame oil, optional

Stir Fry

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 cup onion, ¾-inch sized pieces
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, ¾-inch sized pieces
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, ¾-inch sized pieces
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks, ¾-inch sized pieces
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 6 tbsp rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • ½ cup honey

Garnish

  • 2 tbsp green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl add the pork and all of the marinade ingredients (salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, chili flakes (optional) and sesame oil (optional)). Set aside and let marinade for at least 30 minutes.
  • In a shallow dish combine the flour and cornstarch.
  • In batches, toss the cubed pork in the flour and cornstarch.
  • Preheat your air fryer to 400°F.
  • Generously spray each piece of pork with cooking spray or drizzle with oil and place in the air fryer. Cook at 400°F for approximately 5 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy.
  • Cook in batches until all the pork is cooked and set aside.
  • Add oil to a large frying pan or pot on medium-high heat and add in stir fry ingredients (onion peppers, and pineapple) for 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add in the tomato paste and cook for another minute.
  • Add in the vinegar, soy sauce, and honey, stirring to combine for another minute or until the vegetable are just beginning to soften.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer.
  • Add in the cooked pork into the pan and stir until all pieces are coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Note: the coating on the pork will thicken the sauce as it is stirred in and simmered.
  • Top with sliced green onions and sesame seeds (optional). Enjoy!
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NUTRITION

Calories: 396kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 27gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 719mgPotassium: 780mgFiber: 3gSugar: 33gVitamin A: 1134IUVitamin C: 60mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 3mg
This nutrition information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. See our full nutrition disclosure here.

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3 Comments

    1. Thank you! Yes, you can pan fry the pork in batches in a skillet or deep pot. Add enough oil to the pot to be 2″ deep. It will take about 3-5 minutes to fry the pork stove top, or until golden brown. Remove the pork from the oil and drain on a paper towel lined plated or wire rack.

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