So addictive! Whenever I eat this, I can’t just stop at a few pieces!

Sweet & Sour Pork Spare Ribs

Sweet & Sour Pork Spare Ribs is a classic dish with its roots in the Cantonese culinary tradition. Often associated with American-Chinese restaurants where it has become a popular staple, this dish harmoniously blends the bright tanginess of vinegar and the comforting sweetness of sugar. As winter’s chill lingers, Sweet & Sour Pork Spare Ribs offer a hearty and warming meal that sparks a festival of flavors on the palate—satisfying for both family dinners and when entertaining guests. The allure lies in the complexity of flavors achieved with simple, accessible ingredients. Sweet & Sour Pork Spare Ribs can be a delightful way to explore traditional Chinese cooking techniques while adding a touch of global flair to your repertoire.

Sweet & Sour Pork Spare Ribs are often enjoyed with a helping of fluffy steamed rice that soaks up the delicious sauce splendidly. For a healthier twist, you could opt for brown rice. To balance the richness of the ribs, consider a side of lightly sautéed or stir-fried greens such as bok choy, green beans, or snap peas. A refreshing cucumber salad dressed in a light rice vinegar dressing can add a crisp contrast to the dish as well.


  • – 2 pounds pork spare ribs, cut into individual ribs
  • – Salt and pepper, to taste
  • – 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • – 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • – 1/2 cup water
  • – 1/2 cup sugar
  • – 1/4 cup tomato ketchup
  • – 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • – 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • – 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • – 1 small onion, chopped (optional)
  • – 1 bell pepper, cut into squares (optional)
  • – 1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water
  • – Optional: green onions and sesame seeds for garnish


  • 1. Begin by seasoning the ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat and brown the ribs on all sides, transferring them to a plate once done.
  • 2. In the same skillet, add vinegar, water, sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
  • 3. Return the ribs to the skillet. Add minced garlic and ginger. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer for about 1 hour, until the ribs are tender.
  • 4. Add in the chopped onion and bell pepper, and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the vegetables are just getting soft but still have a bit of a bite to them.
  • 5. Stir the cornstarch mixture and then add it to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.
  • 6. Remove from heat, garnish with green onions and sesame seeds if desired, and serve hot.

Variations & Tips

  • – For those who like a bit of heat, adding a teaspoon of chili sauce or a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes into the sauce can kick things up a notch.
  • – Pineapple chunks make a great addition to this dish, offering a fruity note to the sweet and sour flavors. Simply add them in when you introduce the bell peppers.
  • – To maintain the vibrant colors of the vegetables, don’t overcook them. They should be added near the end and cooked just until they are tender-crisp.
  • – For a glossier sauce, you can double the cornstarch slurry, but remember to balance the flavor as you go since it can dilute the intensity of the sweet and sour elements.
  • – If you prefer, the spare ribs can be pre-cooked in a pressure cooker to reduce the simmering time. This tenderizes the meat faster while locking in the flavors.

With these simple ingredients and directions, you’re well on your way to creating a delightful Sweet & Sour Pork Spare Ribs that pays homage to its rich cultural heritage. Enjoy the perfect blend of sweetness, tanginess, and savoriness with every bite!