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I promise this stir fried pork is better than take out!

What makes this sweet and sour pork so amazing — besides tender bites of pork, crunchy veggies, and sweet pineapple — is adding fresh pineapple juice to the sauce!

With more authentic sweet and sour recipes the pork is battered and deep fried before combining it with the rest of the dish. That’s not the case here, but don’t worry we’re keeping it simple without sacrificing flavor!

How? Chunks of lean pork get tossed with creole seasoning and then stir fried until golden. No messy batter, fewer calories, tender and delicious — all that and dinner is on the table in just 30 minutes — BAM!

Love making stir fry meals? Try my shrimp and broccoli stir fry or my spicy sriracha chicken stir fry with brussels sprouts. I also have a super easy orange chicken recipe and this pepper steak stir fry that’s my hubby’s favorite.

Key ingredients for Sweet and Sour Pork

  • Pork — Tenderloin, boneless pork shoulder roast or thick boneless loin chops all work. Substitute boneless chicken breasts for sweet and sour chicken.
  • Creole seasoning — This spice blend is similar to cajun seasoning except it also has paprika, oregano, and thyme.
  • Pineapple — I usually buy a cored pineapple and pour off the juice to use in the sauce.
  • Bell peppers and onion — Use any color of peppers, green, red, or orange.
  • Garlic and fresh ginger — Stir fry in a little oil to build a flavor base for the rest of the sauce.
  • Vinegar — Use apple cider vinegar and sherry vinegar to give the sauce a little zing! If you don’t have sherry vinegar, replace with more apple cider vinegar.
  • Soy sauce — Substitute tamari or coconut aminos, especially as a gluten free alternative.
  • Ketchup and brown sugar — Both are used in the sauce. I haven’t tried it myself, but I think you could substitute honey for the brown sugar with good results.

tip

  • Don’t have creole seasoning in your pantry? Make your own by blending together other common spices. For this recipe, you’ll need ¾ teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon each salt and garlic powder, plus ¼ teaspoon each black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, and thyme.

How to make sweet and sour pork without batter?

STEP 1 | Prep the ingredients

Because the food cooks so fast, getting ingredients ready before you start cooking is the key to stir fry success.

  • Cut the bell peppers and onion into 1 1/2-inch chunks and place in a bowl. Peel a large carrot, slice diagonally, and add to the bowl with the peppers and onion.
  • Drain the pineapple juice from the cored pineapple into a small bowl. Add ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, water, soy sauce, and sesame oil and whisk until combined.
  • Cut the pineapple into chunks and place in a separate bowl.
  • Last, remove the pork from the packaging and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into cubes and place in another bowl.

STEP 2 | Make the sauce

In a medium saucepan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Add minced fresh garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant. Stir in the pineapple mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer a couple of minutes.

Make a slurry of cornstarch and sherry vinegar. Add to the sauce and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

tip

  • Want to kick it up a notch? Add a teaspoon (or 2 if you’re feeling really brave!) of crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce for spicy sweet and sour pork.

chunks of lean pork in a bowl with seasoning; stir frying pork in a wok.

STEP 3 | Cook the pork

Sprinkle the pork with 2 teaspoons creole seasoning and toss gently. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok over high heat, then add the pork and stir fry 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove the pork to a paper towel lined plate.

tip

  • Originating in China, a wok is a deep cooking vessel with a round bottom specifically designed for fast cooking, or stir-frying, at a high temperature. I love cooing in mine, but if you don’t own one, you can make this recipe in a large skillet which has a flat bottom with sloping sides instead.

stir frying vegetables in a work; pork and vegetables in a wok for sweet and sour pork.

STEP 4 | Cook the vegetables

Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok. Toss in the bell peppers and onions and cook until crisp tender, about 3 minutes.

Return the pork to the wok and stir fry for 5 more minutes, until the pork is done.

sauce in a pan for sweet and sour pork.

STEP 4 | Bring it all together

Finally, add stir in the pineapple and the sauce until all the ingredients are coated with sauce. Cook another minute until everything is warmed through and the sauce is thickened.

sweet and sour pork on a serving platter with the top of a pineapple as decoration.

Serving suggestions

When I prepare this dish on a weeknight, I simply serve my sweet and sour pork over a bed of steamed white rice or fried rice. If we have dinner guests, I also like to add these delicious vegetable egg rolls made in the air fryer!

And if you’re feeling particularly fancy, prep a whole fresh pineapple for the recipe and scoop out the inside to use as a serving bowl (like I did here for my tropical fruit salad). Or, save the green pineapple top to garnish on your serving platter.

sweet and sour pork in a white bowl with chopsticks with a bowl of rice in the background.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best way to warm up the leftovers?

To keep the sauce from evaporating, it’s best to reheat the leftovers in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the sweet and sour pork (with sauce) in a baking dish tightly sealed with aluminum foil. Heat for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the dish is nice and steamy.

Can you freeze sweet and sour pork?

Yes! Cool completely, then store leftovers in a ziploc bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and follow the directions above.

Please share!

Your shares are how this site grows and I appreciate each one. Do you know someone who would enjoy this recipe? I’d love it if you would share it on Facebook or on your favorite Pinterest board!

sweet and sour pork garnished with sesame seeds in a white bowl on a table.

Sweet and Sour Pork

What makes this sweet and sour pork so amazing — besides tender bites of pork, crunchy veggies, and sweet pineapple — is adding fresh pineapple juice to the sauce!
3.93 from 13 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 6 servings
Calories 284 kcal

Ingredients
  

Sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons sherry

Stir Fry

  • 1 pound lean pork shoulder cubed
  • 2 teaspoons creole seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large bell pepper green, red or orange, cut into strips
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot sliced
  • 2 cups cubed pineapple

Instructions
 

Sauce

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, water, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, sauté the ginger and garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil for 15 seconds. Pour in the pineapple juice mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir until the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute.
  • In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons cooking sherry. Whisk into the sauce; then reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Stir Fry

  • Add the cubed pork to a bowl and sprinkle with creole seasoning. Toss gently until evenly coated.
  • In a large wok or skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over high heat. Add the pork and stir fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the wok with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined plate.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the wok. Stir fry the bell peppers, onions, and carrots in the hot oil for 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Return the pork to the pan and stir fry another 4 – 5 minutes, until the veggies are crisp tender and the pork is finished cooking. Add the reserved sauce and pineapple. Cook and stir until the pineapple is warmed through and the sauce is thickened, about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from “New New Orleans Cooking“, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.
  • Don’t have creole seasoning in your pantry? Make your own by blending together other common spices. For this recipe, you’ll need ¾ teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon each salt and garlic powder, plus ¼ teaspoon each black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, and thyme.
  • Want to kick it up a notch? Add a teaspoon (or 2 if you’re feeling really brave!) of crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce for spicy sweet and sour pork.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingsCalories: 284kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 17gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 462mgPotassium: 555mgFiber: 1gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 3242IUVitamin C: 40mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 1mg
Keyword pork, stir fry, sweet and sour
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
sheila thigpen in her kitchen

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

5 Comments

  1. In the list of ingredients, it says, “1/2 tsp ginger.” Is this ground powdered ginger or ginger root?

    Thanks!

    1. In this recipe, it is ground ginger. However, if you have ginger root that would also be delicious.

  2. 5 stars
    I love the way you have organized this recipe. I’ve printed it and plan to use it next time I make this! I’ve made Emeril’s sweet and sour pork before and I the recipe I used called for 2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger. In my opinion, the fresh minced ginger is absolutely essential to this dish. So yummy! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  3. 3 stars
    I loved everything about this recipe exceptt the Emeril’s seasoning. I felt like it overwhelmed the flavors of the sauce abd veggies. I would make it again but without the seasoning on the pork.

    1. I marinate my pork in sesame oil, soy sauce, fresh grated ginger, minced garlic and onion powder, then I stir fry it so much better

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