When it comes to dipping savory Asian rolls and finger foods, the traditional sweet and sour sauce is a top tier dip. And speaking of sweet and sour sauce, Panda Express’ version is one of the most popular ones and all for a good reason.
In this post, we will get to know everything about the sweet and sour sauce of Panda Express. Also featured here is a recipe for this wondrous sauce that you can recreate.
What is Panda Express sweet and sour sauce?
The sweet and sour sauce of Panda Express is a takeout dipping sauce distinct for its orange to red color, and its sweet, acidic taste. It goes along with Panda Express appetizers such as fried wontons and egg rolls. You could also taste it in sweet and sour pork and chicken.
Ingredients & substitute
The traditional sweet and sour dip recipe of Panda Express contains the following:
- White vinegar
- A dash of rice wine
- Red food coloring
These ingredients are easy to source and could be found anywhere. But as far as substitutes are concerned, you can use stevia or honey or maple syrup in place for sugar and arrowroot for cornstarch.
Panda Express sweet and sour sauce calories & nutrition
As per Panda Express website, sweet and sour sauce contains 70kcal per serving. It also contains 115mg of sodium, 21g of carbohydrates, 20g of sugar.
Tools used in the recipe
To recreate the Panda Express sweet and sour sauce, you only need the following tools:
- Mixing bowl
- Mixing spoon/spatula
- Measuring cups
How to make Panda Express sweet and sour sauce
This simple sauce is a two-step dip. First, you must prepare the ingredients. They are all commonly found in Asian stores so this should not be hard. Second, whisk them all in a saucepan, leave to boil for a few minutes, and then simmer until it thickens.
More Panda Express copycat recipes
- Panda Express Teriyaki Chicken
- Panda Express kung pao chicken
- Panda Express super greens
- Panda Express broccoli beef
- Panda Express black pepper chicken
- Panda Express Mushroom Chicken
- Panda Express cream cheese Rangoon
- Panda Express string bean chicken breast
- Panda Express eggplant tofu
- Panda Express Beijing beef
- Panda Express orange chicken
- Panda Express fried rice
- Panda Express chow mein
- Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken
- Panda Express honey walnut shrimp
- Panda Express sweet and sour sauce (you’re here)
Variations on Panda Express sweet and sour sauce
If you want to notch up your sweet and sour sauce a bit, here are some variations which you can incorporate:
- Sweetness: if you do not want that much sugar due to health reasons, you can go for stevia, honey, or maple syrup.
- Sourness: in place for white vinegar, you can use lemon juice, or malt vinegar. For a healthier choice, you can go for apple cider vinegar.
- Other variations: for an improved taste, you can also incorporate ketchup, soy sauce or pineapple juice
How to store Panda Express sweet and sour sauce
The vinegar content of the sweet and sour sauce adds to its shelf life. Just store it in an airtight container and then put it in the fridge. At best, it could last for a week.
Can you freeze Panda Express sweet and sour sauce?
Yes, totally. If you cannot get enough of the sweet and sour sauce and felt like hoarding lots from Panda Express, you can store them in the freezer. Sweet and sour sauce can remain frozen for up to 3 months.
Still worried you’ll forget when your tempura sauce is made? Want to share a portion with your friends? Putting a cheap custom die-cut stickers to remind yourself and your friends of the date and its shelf life is certainly a peace of mind and love.
What does Panda Express sweet and sour sauce taste like?
Overall, sweet and sour sauce is like tasting pineapple juice, ketchup, and vinegar in one. It also tastes gingery at times. The blandness of the cornstarch seems to balance everything off.
What to serve with Panda Express sweet and sour sauce?
Here are some of the best dishes that should be dipped in sweet and sour sauce:
- Egg rolls
- Crab Rangoon
- Fried wontons
- Spring rolls
- Chicken nuggets
It can also be used for slathering slabs of meat, poured in sweet and sour chicken and pork, to be used for basting or even for marinade.
Is Panda Express sweet and sour sauce healthy?
Well, it is not the healthiest dip out there because it has a lot of calories and sugar. As such, it is not good for those with glucose problems and for pregnant women who are at risk of gestational diabetes. But then again, you can always switch to stevia and make your own sweet and sour sauce.
Is Panda Express sweet and sour sauce keto friendly?
The sweet and sour sauce contains 21g of carbs which is just 2g away from exceeding the allowed carb intake for those on dirty keto. It also has lots of sugar at 20g so, no, it is not keto friendly. If you are on strict keto, it is recommended that you just make your own keto version of this sauce.
Is Panda Express sweet and sour sauce gluten-free?
Fortunately, Panda Express sweet and sour sauce is listed in the roster of gluten-free dips in their menu. It is listed as wheat free along with plum sauce, hot mustard, and chili sauce.
Although most cornstarch is gluten-free (cornstarch is the thickening agent of the sauce), you can always be surer by using arrowroot.
Is Panda Express sweet and sour sauce dairy-free?
Sweet and sour sauce is dairy-free and is also completely vegan. All its ingredients are plant-based. As such, it can be enjoyed by lactose intolerant people and those with dairy allergens.
Additional recipe tips
- You can use flour instead of cornstarch, but you will need more flour to replace it with.
- Aside from lemon juice, you can also use orange juice or pineapple juice.
- You can also use finely diced onions and fine pineapple tidbits to give it crunch and texture.
- You can use brown sugar too but in a greater volume compared to white granulated sugar.
Making the Panda Express sweet and sour sauce is one of the most uncomplicated things in the world. You can use it as dip for lots of finger food and can also be used in entrée meals like sweet and sour pork, shrimp, or chicken.
While it is high in sugar and calories, you can always switch to healthier substitute ingredients so that you would not miss this insanely good dip.
- 1 ¼ cups of water
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 cup sugar
- Red food coloring
- Prepare the saucepan and heat it up. Whisk in water, sugar, and white vinegar in the pan and bring to a boil.
- As it boils, dissolve the cornstarch in water in a small mixing bowl. Stir well until no cornstarch lumps are visible.
- Now add the cornstarch-water mixture in the pan. Whisk everything together until you achieve a thick sauce.
- As it thickens, reduce to simmer for 5-7mins. Add a few drops of red food coloring to achieve the Panda Express dip look.
- Serve with finger food
If you feel like the tanginess is not enough, you can always gradually add apple cider vinegar every now and then
Nutrition InformationServing Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 114Sodium 2mgCarbohydrates 28gSugar 24g