Mcdonald’s Sweet ‘N Sour Sauce

This delicious dip will make you lick your lips!

Claire Onidi By
Claire Onidi
Passionate about food and pastries since always, Claire spends most of her time in the kitchen to develop new recipes. She is French but lived many years abroad.
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Updated August 19, 2022
Medically reviewed by
Kirsten Mae Magbanua
Kirsten Mae Magbanua

Medically reviewed by

Kirsten Mae Magbanua

Kirsten Mae Magbanua is a graduating student with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from University of the Philippines Los Baños. She is set to graduate as magna cum laude this coming August 2022. Kirsten has been a consistent honor student throughout her college years and has been a member of an academic organization.
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For a tangy treat, make McDonald’s sweet And sour sauce at home! This copycat condiment will soon become one of your favorite sauces and dips.

McDonald's sweet And sour sauce

The idea of sweet and sour sauce comes from the Chinese province of Hunan, where people dip meat, fish, or veggies in it. From there, this sauce spread to the rest of the world and has become a staple in American-Chinese restaurants and beyond.

Even McDonald’s has their own version, but they use it as a dip for chicken nuggets. It’s a popular pairing because of the balanced flavors and zesty taste.

My sweet and sour sauce recipe saves you time because you don’t have to go out, and you can make a big batch for sharing or eating later. And it uses most of the same ingredients that McDonald’s does, so it tastes just as delicious.

The base of this sauce is apricot and peach jam, with some vinegar for tanginess. Then, you add soy sauce, garlic, and mustard for even more flavor.

So, whether you’re making sweet and sour pork, Asian pan-fried dumplings, or just a pack of frozen chicken tenders, this delicious dipping sauce will add zing to your meal.

All About the McDonald’s Sweet and Sour Sauce Ingredients

Peach and Apricot Preserves

Because both of these fruits are sweet and sour on their own, they are what give the most flavor to the sauce.

And while most sweet and sour sauces use pineapple, McDonald’s doesn’t. Their sauce uses peach and apricot, so these preserves will make your sauce taste the same.

Light Corn Syrup

Rather than sugar, I like to use corn syrup in my sauce. This adds sweetness, but it also helps the texture of the dip.

Sugar, like the sweetener in the preserves, tends to crystalize, but corn syrup doesn’t. This keeps the sweet and sour sauce nice and smooth.

Also, I use light corn syrup because it doesn’t change the color of the sauce. While other versions will be fine for sweetening the sauce, they will make the dip a little darker.

White Vinegar

In addition to the fruits, white vinegar adds tanginess. This acid gives you the characteristic sour taste in the sauce.

You can substitute rice wine vinegar for white vinegar, but it will change the taste of the sweet and sour sauce – just like apple cider vinegar. Rice vinegar is sweeter than distilled white vinegar, so the sauce won’t have quite the same kick.

Soy Sauce

To counteract the sweetness, my sweet and sour sauce recipe uses soy sauce for balance. Along with the saltiness, soy sauce adds an earthy flavor that gives the tangy sauce more body.

Yellow Mustard

Yellow mustard gives you a hint of spice and adds to the vinegar taste. But the heat is much milder than adding cayenne or chile.

Garlic Powder

Garlic powder adds a lot of flavor, but it’s neither sweet nor sour. Therefore it helps give the sweet and sour sauce recipe a more complex taste.


To get the right texture in this McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce recipe, you make a slurry with water, and then add this to the other liquid ingredients. Then, when you add heat, the cornstarch will thicken the liquid.

In general, cornstarch is a great thickener for sauces that are too liquidy. As well, it tends to make sauces look shiny.

For a thicker sauce, you can add extra cornstarch. But be careful, because you don’t want it to turn into pudding.

Cold Water

To make the thickening slurry for this sweet and sour sauce, you whisk cornstarch into water. This helps the starch evenly distribute into the sauce.

However, you have to use cold water for the slurry, even though you will add it to a hot sauce (or heat the sauce afterward). If you use hot water, the cornstarch may form lumps and ruin the texture of your sauce.

McDonald's sweet And sour sauce recipe

Tips & Tricks for Making the Best McDonald’s Sweet and Sour Sauce

Make It Sweeter

If the sauce is too sour for your liking, add a teaspoon of sugar to sweeten it. And if the sauce is still too sour, add a little more until you like it.

Make It Sourer

On the other hand, you can add more vinegar if you want to increase the sourness. Start with an extra teaspoon, and add extra little by little until it tastes right.

Make It Spicier

For a fun variation, make your dipping sauce spicy! You can either add a pinch of red pepper flakes, a dash of cayenne powder, or a teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce.

If you want to be really fancy, you can pulverize dried chili peppers in your blender or coffee grinder. That way, you can choose whatever chile varieties you want!

How to Make Mcdonald’s Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • Prep Time5 min
  • Cook Time5 min
  • Total Time10 min
  • Servings2
  • Yield2

Level: Easy


For the sauce:

For the slurry:



  1. Blend the Ingredients

    First, put all of the sauce ingredients in your blender. Pulse or run your blender until everything is well-combined.

    Then, pour the sauce from the blender into the saucepan.

  2. Make the Slurry

    In the small bowl, add the cornstarch and water. Whisk the mixture with a fork until the starch has dissolved.

  3. Boil the Sauce

    Turn the stove to medium heat and let the sauce boil. Make sure you stir it a couple of times as it heats so the bottom of the pot doesn’t burn.

  4. Thicken the Sauce

    Once the pot boils, drizzle the cornstarch slurry into the sauce while whisking.

    (If you’ve let the slurry sit for a few minutes, mix it up with the fork again before pouring it in. The starch settles to the bottom of the bowl very quickly.)

  5. Simmer the Sauce

    Finally, turn the heat down so the sauce simmers. Continue cooking until it has a texture you like.

    Remember that the sauce will be slightly thicker when cool, so you may want to let some cool on the back of a spoon to test when it’s ready.

  6. Cool and Enjoy!

    When the sauce is the texture you want, turn off the heat and let it cool down. Then serve this perfect dipping sauce with all of your favorite foods!

McDonald's sweet And sour sauce serve

What to Serve With McDonald’s Sweet and Sour Sauce

Chicken Nuggets

This is the original way to eat McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce! Crispy, salty chicken nuggets are the perfect thing to dip in this tangy sauce for a burst of incredible flavors.


Since sweet and sour sauce originated in China, why not serve it with Chinese dishes? For instance, it’s a great dipping sauce for pan-fried pork dumplings.

Crab Rangoons

Another delicious Chinese appetizer that works well with sweet and sour sauce is crab rangoon. These crispy bites are popular in American Chinese restaurants, and the creamy center is a perfect complement to this flavorful sauce.

Storage Instructions

Whether you buy McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce or make your own, you should always refrigerate it once it’s open. On the counter, your sauce will last for about a month; in the refrigerator, it’ll last for 9 months.

If you leave your sauce at room temperature for a while before refrigerating it, it won’t last as long. So, it’s a good idea to refrigerate it immediately.

But regardless of where you store it, keep checking your sauce for mold or a sour smell. These are signs that your McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce has gone bad.

Wherever you store your sauce, make sure it’s in an airtight container. That will help it stay good for longer, and prevent it from absorbing any unpleasant tastes.

Also, keep in mind that your McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce might thicken up when it’s refrigerated. This is actually perfect if you’re using it for a dip!

But if you don’t like that, don’t worry. The sauce will thin again once it gets back to room temperature.

Finally, I don’t recommend freezing the sauce because it can negatively affect the texture.

Nutrition Advice

Since people normally consume small quantities of sauces, we don’t consider them part of a daily calorie count. However, there are certain features we should keep in mind.

This sauce contains quite a lot of sugar due to the corn syrup and fruit preserves. Therefore, if you are watching your sugar intake, you should eat this sauce in moderation.

In a 100-gram serving, apricot preserves have approximately 43 grams of added sugar. And peach preserves have even more, at 65 grams.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that added sugar consumption should be less than 10% of your daily calorie intake. And, in general, less added sugar is better because sugar can increase your risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

For example, if you eat a standard 2000 kcal every day, you should only consume 200 kcal of added sugar. This is around 12 teaspoons.

To reduce the sugars in this recipe, you can substitute peach puree concentrate for the jam. However, you may need to adjust the amount of cornstarch to maintain the correct texture. – Kirsten Mae Magbanua, RND

Mcdonald_s Sweet _N Sour Sauce - Pinterest

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
  • 269Calories
  • 0.2gFat
  • 68.8gCarbs
  • 0.8gProtein
Show Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: Per serving (½ recipe)
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat0.2g0%
Saturated Fat0g0%
Total Carbohydrate68.8g25%
Dietary Fiber0.7g3%
Total Sugars42.1g
Vitamin C0mcg0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.
Sources and References
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