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Easy Thai Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe

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This easy Thai sweet and sour pork recipe is perfect for a quick meal during busy weekdays. With lots of fresh vegetables, pineapple chunks, and a tasty stir-fry sauce, it’s a much healthier choice than takeout. It’s ready in less than 20 minutes and best served with steaming jasmine rice.

Close-up of Thai sweet and sour pork with pineapple, coated in stir-fry sauce, served in a patterned dish.

This Thai pork recipe is super easy to make and perfect for home cooks or those new to the world of Thai cuisine. Some other easy Thai stir-fry recipes that are absolute hits on this Thai food blog are the spicy pad kra pao and the savory pork with oyster sauce stir-fry.

What’s great about this sour and sweet recipe is that you can simply swap the pork for any type of meat or seafood. You can make it with chicken, as in my pad priew wan recipe, but also with beef, or even shrimp for weekend days with a nice glass of wine.

Before we go through the ingredients and instructions, I’ll tell you a bit more about Thai sweet and sour pork and why you really must try this easy pork recipe!

What is sweet and sour pork

Sweet and sour pork is an easy-to-make stir-fry that originated in Chinese cuisine. Key ingredients include pineapple and ketchup, which create a sweet and sour stir-fry sauce that can be cooked with meat or seafood.

Easy sweet and sour pork with pineapple

As mentioned before, this is a healthy homemade Thai sweet and sour pork. In my Thai version, we steer clear of the traditional Chinese method, which typically involves deep-frying and using cornstarch. These extra steps not only add to the cooking and cleanup time but also make the dish less healthy.

I ate a lot, but still didn’t feel heavy like you would with deep-fried food. In this easy recipe, we opt for a simpler approach that focuses on quick, healthy cooking methods. It’s practically a dish you could make or eat any day of the week!

Top-view of sweet and sour pork served in a patterned dish, with steamed jasmine rice, chili, cucumber, and garlic on the side.

A key ingredient in this recipe is fresh pineapple. It provides a natural sweet and sometimes sour taste, depending on the ripeness of your fruit. Every pineapple is different, and that’s why I strongly recommend tasting your dish before serving to ensure it’s sweet enough.

By the way, this is something you should do with every Thai dish! It’s also important to take online recipes as a guideline and taste as you go to adjust the flavors of the stir-fry sauce to how you like it best.

Seated Thai woman cooking in a large wok over charcoal.

The most important thing when cooking Thai is finding the perfect balance of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty flavors, and this balance is different for everyone.


Besides pineapple, I’ve also added tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and onions. Tomatoes are a must because they also contribute to the sweet and sour sauce. Feel free to change up the other vegetables to your liking or even add your favorite stir-fry vegetables like carrots.

In this sweet and sour pork recipe with pineapple, you won’t find ingredients like white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. This is an element of traditional Chinese cuisine, and I’ve learned to make Thai sweet and sour pork without vinegar.

If you’re eager to try more Thai dishes with Chinese influence, be sure to try my recipes for beef pad see ew and lad na.

I also don’t use food coloring or tomato paste and instead use real tomatoes and tomato ketchup to get a beautifully colored, healthy, and tasty sweet and sour sauce.

What pork to use for sweet and sour

For the best texture, flavor, and tenderness, it’s important to choose a cut of pork with the right balance of fat and meat. For a stir-fry dish like sweet and sour pork, which typically cooks quickly at high heat, the most suitable cuts should be tender enough to cook fast without becoming tough or dry.

  • Pork shoulder and butt: These are your best options. Their fat content renders down and keeps the meat tender and flavorful even with quick cooking.
  • Pork tenderloin: This is a leaner cut but can be a good choice if sliced thinly. It’s a healthier choice and optionally can be marinated to keep it tender.
  • Pork belly: Thai people love fatty meat, so pork belly can be used for those who don’t mind a bit more fat. You can also fry it first, as in my Thai fried pork belly recipe, and then add it to the pan.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Ingredients for sweet and sour pork labeled: pineapple, vegetables, garlic, pork, light soy sauce, white sugar, water, oyster sauce, and tomato ketchup.
  • Pork – Pork shoulder and pork butt are great cuts for stir-frying. Make sure to slice your pork cut into thin slices that cook quickly.
  • Pineapple, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, onion – Fresh pineapple and tomatoes are a must. Feel free to customize the remaining vegetables.
  • Garlic
  • Tomato ketchup – Tomato ketchup brings a sweet and tangy taste that helps create the perfect sweet and sour balance.
  • Light soy sauceLight soy sauce, a staple in Thai food, gives a salty flavor.
  • Oyster sauceOyster sauce is a thick, savory sauce with a hint of sweet.
  • White sugar – White sugar is key for adding sweetness, which contrasts nicely with the sour and savory flavors. It’s important to adjust the amount of sugar to taste, depending on the natural sweetness of your pineapple.
  • Water – Water is used to adjust the sauce’s consistency, ensuring it’s not too thick but clings nicely to the ingredients.
  • Oil – Use a neutral oil suited for stir-frying, like canola oil or vegetable oil.

How to make sweet and sour pork

Golden brown sautéed garlic in a wok.

Step 1: Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté garlic until golden and fragrant.

Stir-fried pork with garlic in a wok.

Step 2: Add sliced pork to the pan and cook until halfway done.

Close-up of stir-fried pork with pineapple and tomato.

Step 3: Add pineapple, tomato, onions, and water. Cook until vegetables slightly soften and the natural pineapple juice releases.

Sweet and sour pork stir-fry in a wok.

Step 4: Stir in light soy sauce, oyster sauce, tomato ketchup, and white sugar. Add cucumber and bell peppers. Mix well and continue cooking until the vegetables reach the desired level of softness, keeping the cucumber slightly crunchy. Have a taste and add more sugar for more sweetness if needed. Serve with rice and enjoy!

Kitchenware

Here’s what you’ll need to make sweet and sour pork stir-fry:

  1. Measuring cups and spoons
  2. Cutting board and a sharp knife
  3. Wok or large skillet
  4. Spatula or stirring spoon

What to serve with sour and sweet pork

Serve your sweet and sour pork over rice. Steamed jasmine rice is great with the sweet tangy sauce and tender pork. Add a side like Thai vegetables stir-fry or steamed broccoli for a complete meal. A delicious Thai salad like som tum Thai can also add a spicy kick.

How to reheat and store

Storing: To store your leftovers, let them cool to room temperature before transferring them to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Reheating: Reheat the sweet and sour pork in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring until warm.

Frequently asked questions

How many calories are in sweet and sour pork?

A typical serving of sweet and sour pork contains around 300–400 calories. However, this can vary depending on the ingredients used and portion size.

What does sweet and sour pork taste like?

Sweet and sour pork has a balanced flavor profile of tangy and sweet. The sauce is usually made with vinegar, sugar, and ketchup, giving it a slightly tangy taste, while the pork is tender and savory.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

No, light soy sauce contains gluten.

Can I make this in advance?

While you can prepare this recipe in advance, I recommend making everything fresh. However, you can cut the vegetables and meat ahead of time to save time when you cook.

Authentic Thai pork recipes

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Thai Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe

Close-up of Thai sweet and sour pork with pineapple, coated in stir-fry sauce, served in a patterned dish.
This easy Thai sweet and sour pork recipe is perfect for a quick dinner with healthy vegetables and tasty stir-fry sauce.
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsps oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic crushed and chopped
  • 200 g pork thinly sliced
  • 100 g pineapple sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tomato sliced
  • 1/2 onion sliced
  • 4 tbsps water
  • 100 g bell peppers sliced
  • 100 g cucumbers sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsps oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp white sugar (see notes)

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté garlic until golden and fragrant.
    2 tbsps oil, 3 cloves of garlic
  • Add sliced pork to the pan and cook until halfway done.
    200 g pork
  • Add pineapple, tomato, onions, and water. Cook until vegetables slightly soften and the natural pineapple juice releases.
    100 g pineapple, 1 tomato, 1/2 onion, 4 tbsps water
  • Stir in light soy sauce, oyster sauce, tomato ketchup, and white sugar. Add cucumber and bell peppers. Mix well and continue cooking until the vegetables reach the desired level of softness, keeping the cucumber slightly crunchy. Have a taste and add more sugar for more sweetness if needed. Serve with rice and enjoy!
    100 g bell peppers, 100 g cucumbers, 1 tbsp tomato ketchup, 1.5 tbsp light soy sauce, 2 tbsps oyster sauce, 1 tbsp white sugar

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • White sugar – It’s important to adjust the amount of sugar to taste, depending on the natural sweetness of your pineapple.

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