Quick Sweet & Sour Stir Fry

Frozen vegetables have their pros and cons. They’re quick, convenient, and they can be quite cost effective (can be), but they are always limp upon reheating.

For that reason I really don’t like to use frozen vegetables for stir fry. But you know what? Some nights having something to eat in 15 minutes is way more of a priority than having crisp vegetables. I know you’ve been there. So on nights like that this is a quick way to spruce them up for just a few pennies more. It’s every bit as good as those frozen veggies that come already in sauce, but half the price.

The main reason I wanted to share this recipe is because I wanted to demonstrate how easy a basic sweet and sour sauce is. You can use this same sauce on any type of stir fry – chicken, pork, tofu, eggplant, whatever. Sweet and sour sauce only requires a few basic ingredients and literally takes seconds to mix together. Plus, you can customize it with spices like red pepper flakes, ginger (as I did here), or even black pepper. So put that jar of sweet and sour sauce back on the grocery store shelf. You don’t need it.

I served this along side my Thai Turkey Meatloaf and it was PERFECT.

Quick Sweet & Sour Stir Fry

Quick Sweet & Sour Stir Fry

4.86 from 7 votes

quick sweet & sour stir fry

This simple sweet & sour stir fry is a quick answer side dish to any Asian meal.

Total Cost $2.33 recipe / $0.58 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 lb frozen stir fry vegetables $1.98
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.04
  • 1 clove garlic $0.08
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.03
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup $0.03
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce $0.06
  • 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar $0.06
  • 1/4 cup water $0.00
  • 1.5 tsp corn starch $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger (optional) $0.02


  1. Make the sweet and sour sauce first. In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, corn starch, and ginger (if using). Stir until combined.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Mince the garlic, add it to the skillet and saute for 1-2 minutes or just until it is slightly softened.
  3. Add the frozen vegetables to the skillet or wok and saute just until warmed through (1-3 minutes depending on whether the vegetables were thawed or frozen).
  4. Give the sweet and sour sauce a quick stir to re-suspend the cornstarch and then pour it into the skillet. Allow the mixture to come up to a simmer. As soon as it simmers it will thicken. Make sure everything is heated through and then serve.

Recipe Notes

Serve over cooked rice, noodles, or on its own.

Quick Sweet & Sour Stir Fry

Step By Step Photos

frozen vegetables
Frozen vegetables… sometimes I love ’em, sometimes I hate ’em, sometimes they’re an absolute life saver.

sweet and sour sauce
If you want time to taste and adjust, mix together the sweet and sour sauce before you begin. Just stir together the brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, cornstarch and ginger (if using). Taste the mixture and adjust it to your preference. If you want it saltier, add more soy sauce. If you want more of a tang, add more vinegar. If you like it sweeter, add a little more brown sugar. You can make it your own.

thaw vegetables
When I have time, I like to allow the vegetables to thaw before I use them so the excess moisture drains away. But, I’ve also thrown them in frozen when I’m in a pinch. It just takes longer to cook them from the frozen state and they may soften even more.

garlic oil
When you’re ready to begin, mince the garlic and saute it in the vegetable oil over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes.

saute vegetables
Add the vegetables and saute just until they are heated through. You want to cook them as little as possible since they are already going to be soft upon thawing.

add sauce
Give the sauce a quick stir to re-suspend the corn starch and pour it in. Allow the mixture to come up to a simmer (1-2 minutes) and it will instantly thicken.

thickened sweet n sour sauce
See how nice and thick the sauce is? That’s the magic of corn starch. It won’t thicken until it simmers, so if you don’t see it bubbling, it won’t thicken. Now it’s ready to eat!

quick sweet n sour stir fry
You can serve this over rice, noodles, or even just by itself.