Does Sweet and Sour Sauce Have Red Dye? (Answered)

Sweet and sour sauce is a popular condiment commonly used in Asian cuisine. It’s a versatile sauce that can be used to enhance the flavor of dishes like stir fries, fried rice, chicken nuggets, and egg rolls.

One question that often comes up when discussing sweet and sour sauce is whether it contains synthetic or man-made red dye. Synthetic red dye is a commonly used coloring that makes foods and beverages more appealing and appetizing to consumers.

However, some people may be concerned about consuming red dye due to potential health risks. This article covers the topic of if red dye is a common ingredient in sweet and sour sauce. Let’s get into the information!

Is There Red Dye in Sweet and Sour Sauce?

The answer to whether sweet and sour sauce contains red dye depends on the product. Most store-bought sweet and sour sauces are naturally colored from ingredients like tomato paste, paprika, and juices. In other words, there is no need to add synthetic red dye to them to make them appealing since the natural ingredients do the job.

However, be aware that there are some store-bought brands that do contain red and other synthetic dyes. The Lee Kum Vee brand of sweet and sour sauce is an example of a product that contains various dyes such as red 40, yellow 4, and yellow 6.

See the table below for a sampling of popular sweet and sour sauce products along with their ingredients and whether each contains red dye. As you can see, nearly all of the sauces we reviewed contained no synthetic dyes at the time of this article.

Sweet & Sour Sauce
Synthetic Red Dye (Yes or No)?Ingredients
Kikkoman Sweet & Sour SauceNo
Water, Sugar, Soy Sauce (Water, Soybeans, Wheat, Salt), Tomato Paste, Vinegar, Pineapple Juice Concentrate, Modified Corn Starch, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Dehydrated Green Bell Pepper, Xanthan Gum, Extractives Of Paprika, Spice.
La ChoyNoWater, Sugar, Distilled Vinegar, Modified Corn Starch, Less Than 2% Of: Salt, Pineapple Juice Concentrate, Dried Red Bell Peppers, Oleoresin Paprika.
Ying’sNoPineapple Juice, Water, Sugar, Lemon Juice, Tomato Paste, Corn Starch, Salt, Garlic Powder.
Minor’sNoWater, Sugar, Tomatoes (Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Citric Acid, Calcium Chloride), Pineapple, Vinegar, Modified Cornstarch, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, 2% Or Less Of Molasses, Soybean Oil, Tomato Paste, Pineapple Juice Concentrate, Salt, Dried Onions, Dried Green Pepper, Spices, Corn Syrup Solids, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Beet Powder (Color), Dried Garlic.
Ty Ling NaturalsNoSugar, Water, Apricots, Corn Starch, Vinegar, Salt, Cayenne Pepper and Spice.
P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Mango Sweet & Sour SauceNoWater, Sugar, Mango Puree, Distilled Vinegar, Corn Starch, Salt, Less Than 2% of: Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate.
Panda Express (At Home Variety)NoWater, Sugar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Distilled Vinegar, Tomato Paste, Soy Sauce (Water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt, Alcohol], Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Seasoning (Dextrose, Natural Flavor, Onion Powder), Xanthan Gum, Paprika Extract (Color).
3 Dragons Classic Sweet & Sour SauceNoWater, Sugar, Ketchup (Tomato Concentrate from Red Ripe Tomatoes, Distilled Vinegar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Salt, Spice, Onion Powder, Natural Flavoring), Pineapple (in Juice), Distilled Vinegar, Modified Corn Starch, Fresh Ginger, Vegetable Color (Paprika Extracts, Natural Flavors), Xanthan Gum.
Lee Kum VeeYesWater, Sugar, Tomato Paste, Modified Corn Starch, Contains Less than 2% of Acetic Acid, Salt, FD&C Yellow 5, FD&C Red 40, FD&C Yellow 6, Citric Acid, Reb a (Stevia Extra), Xanthan Gum, Pineapple Juice, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Natural Flavors, and Sodium Benzoate Added as a Preservative.
Maggie Gin’sNoCane Sugar, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Pineapple, Pineapple Concentrate, And Less Than 2% Salt, Spices, Dried Onion, Dried Red Bell Pepper, Xanthan Gum, Oleoresin, Paprika.
Best of ThailandNoRed Chili, Water, Garlic, Sugar, Fructose Syrup, Tapioca Starch, Salt, Vinegar (Acetic Acid), Stabilizer (Xanthan Gum), Preservative (Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate), Natural Food Coloring (Paprika Extract).
Organic Asian Fusion Tangy Sweet & Sour NoWater, Organic Sugar, Organic Cornstarch, Organic Vinegar, Organic Apricots, Sea Salt, Organic Paprika, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid.
Read the actual product label for the most accurate and up-to-date ingredients. Do not rely on the above to make buying decisions since ingredients can change at any time.

SEE ALSO>>>Does Ketchup Have Red Dye? (Answered)

If you’re concerned about consuming red dye, there are several things you can do to ensure that the sweet and sour sauce you’re consuming is synthetic dye-free.

One option is to make your own sauce at home using natural ingredients. If the recipe happens to call for food coloring, just leave it out. It is an unnecessary ingredient in terms of taste so the only thing you may miss out on is its pretty appearance.

Another option is to look for sweet and sour sauce brands that are specifically synthetic dye-free. As we have shown above, there are plenty of options available at stores. In fact, many food manufacturers are now aware of the concerns surrounding red dye and are choosing to use natural colorings instead.

Again, be sure to read the actual product label for accurate ingredient information. If a product has a synthetic dye in it, it must be listed in the ingredients under names such as Red 40, Yellow 5, and/or Yellow 6. For more information on dyes in foods, we suggest reading Michigan State University’s 101 Series on Food Dye as a starting point.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, it’s worth noting that some sweet and sour sauces might contain synthetic dyes. If you’re worried about consuming red dye, there are numerous alternatives that can guarantee a dye-free sweet and sour sauce. You have the choice to make your own sauce with natural ingredients or select brands that avoid using man-made red dye, allowing you to enjoy the sauce without any potential health concerns.