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McDonald’s Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

We don’t speak for everyone, but chicken nuggets with fries and special McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce are one of our absolute favorite things ever.

This combo is hard to beat, same as it is almost impossible not to become addicted to this savory condiment.

That being said, you just have to try making this iconic McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce at home.

You’d be surprised how easy it is to whip up with only 6 ingredients in under 15 minutes of your time.

And of course, you’ll be pairing it with everything and anything once you make it.

Believe us, it’s been tested!

How to Make McDonald’s Sweet and Sour Sauce


Unfortunately, McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce is not exactly healthy, considering it contains a good bit of sugar.

The good news?

Your copycat version is going to be not only cheaper and tastier, but healthier as well, with no extra effort!

Just a few minutes of simmering on the stove and you’re got a perfect sweet and sour sauce just like McDonald’s. 

However, the secret is not really in the process, but rather in the ingredients that make it so special.

A good apricot jam, high-quality vinegar, medium mustard, garlic powder, and one secret ingredient you’ll never expect in a McDonald’s sauce. 

Don’t forget about the proportions though.

So, let’s sum things up.


(1 cup) 

  • ½ cup apricot jam
  • 5 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey mustard
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp water


Although McDonald’s never lets its secrets slip away, making this sweet and sour sauce just couldn’t be easier.

Besides, it requires no prep, so you spend about 15 minutes making 1 cup of this tangy goodness.

If you decide to double or triple the recipe, it will only take a only an extra minute to yield enough for an entire week.

Let’s go through the process step by step.

Step 1: 

Add the apricot jam, soy sauce, honey mustard, vinegar, garlic powder, and water to a medium-sized bowl and stir until the ingredients are well combined

Note: if you want it spicier, you can add any spicy condiment like hot sauce during this step.

Step 2:

Transfer the mixed ingredients into a saucepan. Then bring it to medium heat

Simmer your sweet and sour sauce for about 10 minutes until it thickens up to the same consistency as McDonald’s. 

Stir your sauce occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning.

Step 3: 

Let the sauce cool to room temperature and transfer it to an airtight container or squeeze bottle.

Alternatively, you can use it immediately on any of your favorite dishes.

Ingredient Substitution

McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce ingredients make this condiment so unique and addictive.

That being said, we don’t recommend altering the ingredients list unless you have to, due to dietary requirements or preference. 

If you simply don’t have all of the ingredients on hand but crave sweet and sour dipping sauce for fries or chicken tenders, we’ve got you covered.

Check these substitutes to make the swap unnoticeable

Peach jam

Since peach has a similar flavor and appearance to apricot, the peach jam will be an ideal substitute for apricot jam.

The flavor is slightly different and the consistency is typically thicker than that of the apricot jam. 

But is still worth a try if you don’t want to change the recipe too much.

Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a fermented sauce that usually contains a blend of malt vinegar, spices, anchovies, sugar, onions, garlic, molasses, and tamarind extract.

It offers you the same umami flavors as the soy sauce, but no soy or gluten and less sodium. 

Lemon juice or lime juice

White vinegar is typically used for this sweet ‘n sour sauce.

If you don’t have any on hand you can use any other kind of vinegar you’ve got. 

If that’s not an option either, use lemon or lime juice for your acid.

If the recipe calls for 5 tablespoons of white vinegar, use 4 tablespoons of lemon juice instead for the same results.

Some even argue that lemon juice tastes much better.

Fresh garlic

Although fresh garlic might seem like an obvious solution when you’ve run out of garlic powder, the swap is not as easy as it seems.

This substitution will require some effort since the garlic cloves need to be peeled and minced which is difficult when you don’t have a garlic press.

Besides, the result will be heavier in flavor with the fresh garlic.

And you’ll need more of it than the recipe calls for, as the powder is more concentrated than the fresh counterpart.

What to Serve with McDonald’s Sweet and Sour Sauce

Don’t consider homemade McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce a good fit for chicken nuggets and fries only.

It has great potential with multiple other dishes like egg rolls, shrimp, and cutlets. 

It even works great as a glaze for sticky pork shop and chicken. The possibilities are endless!

We’ve also got some ideas in mind.

Eggplant Tofu

Eggplant tofu is a great way to use the sweet and sour sauce to bring in new flavors to the stir fry.

Start by sautéing the eggplant chunks, along with the red bell peppers, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and your McDonald’s sweet and sour condiment.

Serve over rice and enjoy!

Steak and Shrimp

Even though it is not traditional, Hibachi steak and shrimp is a perfect way to use your leftover sweet and sour sauce.

Just add more mustard and some ketchup to the mix for extra flavor and serve alongside the savory meat and juicy shrimp. 

You can even eat it straight from the bowl 一 we won’t judge!

We’ll do the same since this compo is insane.

Turkey Sandwich

We’d bet you never tried using the sweet and sour sauce on sandwiches before.

You’re missing out if not!

This sauce gives sandwiches a nice tangy flavor that makes your mouth water. 

A turkey sandwich, in particular, could use some sweet-sour combo.

Just spread it onto the Focaccia, add the smoked turkey ham, and top with crispy lettuce. 

You could also add red onion and tomatoes for extra crunchiness and substitute regular mayo for sriracha.

How to Store McDonald’s Sweet and Sour Sauce

Once you make this famous McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce, you’d like to enjoy it for longer.

However, unfortunately, it does expire, especially if you make it with whole ingredients as we did in this recipe.

Store McDonald’s Sweet and Sour Sauce in the Fridge

The best way to store McDonalds sweet and sour sauce is in the fridge.

Since this condiment has vinegar, it will preserve well, but no longer than 2 weeks

To store the sweet and sour sauce in the fridge, transfer it to an airtight container or glass jar and store it at the back.

Try to finish it before it goes bad.

Store McDonald’s Sweet and Sour Sauce in the Freezer

Storing your sweet and sour sauce in the fridge is also an option in case you’ve made a large batch you can’t finish in 2 weeks.

Simply pour the leftovers into the freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. 

We also recommend labeling it or freezing it in portions.

Then you can heat it in the microwave in 30-second intervals or in a pot over low heat.


McDonald's Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

McDonalds sweet and sour sauce copycat recipe will win your heart. It is<b> super easy to make</b> and only takes under 15 minutes. You should try it with shrimp, chicken and other meat dishes.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Calories 52 kcal
  • bowl
  • saucepan
  • 1/2 cup Apricot jam
  • 5 tbsp Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Honey mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp Water
Calories: 52kcalCarbohydrates: 13g

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Passionate chef, in love with everything related to food and cooking it to perfection!
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