Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix
This homemade hot chocolate mix takes five minutes to prep, is easy to store, and makes a super-rich cup. It’s easy to gift and simple enough for little chefs to make!
READ: Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

This homemade hot chocolate mix takes five minutes to prep, is easy to store, and makes a super-rich cup. It's easy to gift and simple enough for little chefs to make!

READ: Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Blackberry Cobbler

This easy blackberry cobbler is made with fresh, juicy blackberries and is covered with a sweet and tender cake topping. Serve with vanilla ice cream for the perfect summer dessert! We have been picking A LOT of blackberries this summer. We’…

This easy blackberry cobbler is made with fresh, juicy blackberries and is covered with a sweet and tender cake topping. Serve with vanilla ice cream for the perfect summer dessert! We have been picking A LOT of blackberries this summer. We’ve made jam and are still enjoying them in smoothies, with yogurt, ice cream, etc. BUT…

The post Blackberry Cobbler appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Fresh Blueberry Pie

Fresh Blueberry Pie
Classic blueberry pie made with homemade pie crust, fresh (or frozen!) blueberries and a touch of lemon and cinnamon is the best. An easy summer recipe!
READ: Fresh Blueberry Pie

Fresh Blueberry Pie

Classic blueberry pie made with homemade pie crust, fresh (or frozen!) blueberries and a touch of lemon and cinnamon is the best. An easy summer recipe!

READ: Fresh Blueberry Pie

New Orleans Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

Old-fashioned New Orleans bread pudding layered with bourbon-soaked raisins then drizzled with bourbon sauce. A southern classic perfect for any holiday!

The post New Orleans Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

This bread pudding is absolutely phenomenal; toasted French bread cubes are soaked in a custard mixture spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and spiked with bourbon. The mixture is layered with bourbon-soaked raisins, baked, then drizzled with a bourbon cream sauce. This classic southern dessert is perfect for Christmas, Mardi Gras, or any special occasion.

Two plates of bread pudding.

I fell in love with bread pudding years ago when my husband and I went to a cozy little Italian restaurant to ring in the New Year the very first year we were dating. We were served dessert right at midnight (which now, over 10 years later, astonishes me because I can’t even fathom being up and OUT at that hour, let alone eating a meal, HA! Oh, the seasons of life…); he ordered a chocolate bread pudding, and I… can’t remember what I ordered.

He gave me a taste of his and he could tell I was totally enamored with it, so he offered to trade me desserts. I have been infatuated with all things bread pudding ever since. This is the first one that I made myself and it remains my all-time favorite version!

Bread cubes, custard, and raisins for bread pudding.

Stale Bread + Custard + Lots of Flavors!

If you’ve ever wondered how bread pudding is made, the formula is quite simple >> take stale (or intentionally dried) leftover bread and combine it with a custard mixture that usually includes milk or cream, eggs, and sugar. Elevate it to another level by adding more flavor in the way of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and liquor like bourbon, whiskey or rum, then bake it all together and wait for the magic to happen.

Bread pudding has the consistency of the middle of a huge stack of French toast – that custard-soaked, soft middle that is drenched with custard-y flavor in each and every bite. Plus, bread pudding gives you all of those wonderful crunchy edges, which is a phenomenal texture contrast to the center, and probably my favorite part ;-)

Side by side photos of bread pudding in the pan before and after baking.

Dry Bread is Key!

Don’t be tempted to use fresh bread or skip the toasting step in this recipe. If you do so, the bread will fall apart, disintegrate, and/or turn to mush in the custard mixture; using stale or dried bread allows it to soak up the custard mixture and retain its shape, which gives the dessert both a sturdy body and an ultra-creamy texture.

Note that if you assemble the bread pudding ahead of time (see success tips, below), the longer that it sits before baking, the softer and more custard-like the interior will be.

An overhead shot of a plate of bread pudding.

Bread Pudding Success Tips

A few quick tips on substitutions, alternatives, and make-ahead instructions:

  • While a French baguette is preferred for this recipe, you can use another type of bread if you’d like, but do not use pre-sliced bread – you want to be able to get nice big chunks.
  • If you do not care for raisins, they can be omitted or substituted with another dried fruit, like cranberries or cherries. You can also add chopped nuts or chocolate chips!
  • The bourbon can be substituted with another liquor if you’d like to switch up the flavor. Some ideas would be whiskey, rum, Kahlua, amaretto, etc.
  • The bourbon can also be omitted entirely if necessary. You can plump the raisins in water and replace the remaining bourbon in the recipe with milk or cream.
  • Make-Ahead Instructions: You can prepare the bread pudding through step #5 (before baking), cover and refrigerator for up to 1 day before baking. The bourbon sauce can also be prepared up to 2 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator, then reheated before serving. Alternatively, you can bake the bread pudding, cool, cover, and refrigerator for up to 2 days, then reheat in the oven, covered at 350 degrees before serving.
  • Freezing Instructions: The bread pudding can be baked, cooled completely, refrigerated for at least 2 hours, then frozen. To freeze, cover the pan tightly with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in a 350-degree oven, covered, until warmed through, about 15 minutes.

A plate of bread pudding half-eaten.

More Pudding Recipes!

New Orleans Bourbon Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

This bread pudding starts with toasted French bread cubes soaked in a bourbon-spiked custard, then layered with bourbon-soaked raisins, baked, and drizzled with a bourbon cream sauce. This classic southern dessert is perfect for Christmas, Mardi Gras, or any special occasion.

For the Bread Pudding:

  • 1 18 to 20-inch French baguette, torn into 1-inch pieces ((10 cups))
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ¾ cup bourbon (divided)
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1½ cups light brown sugar
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon (divided)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (cubed and chilled)

For the Bourbon Sauce:

  • ¼ cup bourbon (divided)
  • 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish; set aside.
  2. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until crisp and brown, about 12 minutes, turning pieces over halfway through and rotating the baking sheet front to back. Let bread cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
  3. Meanwhile, heat raisins and ½ cup bourbon in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until bourbon begins to simmer, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the mixture, placing the bourbon and raisins in separate bowls.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, brown sugar, cream, milk, vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk in in the remaining ¼ cup bourbon plus the bourbon used to plump the raisins. Toss in the toasted bread until evenly coated. Let the mixture sit until the bread begins to absorb custard, about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. If the majority of the bread is still hard when squeezed, soak for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Pour half the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with half the raisins. Repeat with the remaining bread mixture and raisins. Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, mix the granulated sugar and remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Using your fingers, pinch 6 tablespoons butter into the sugar mixture until the crumbs are the size of small peas. Remove the foil from pudding, sprinkle with the butter mixture, and bake, uncovered, until the custard is just set, 20 to 25 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and bake until the top of the pudding forms a golden crust, about 2 minutes.
  7. Let the pudding cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours). Serve alone or with Bourbon Sauce (I strongly recommend the bourbon sauce).
  8. Make the Bourbon Sauce: In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of bourbon until well combined.

  9. Using a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.
  10. Take the pan off the heat, and stir in salt, butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons bourbon. Drizzle warm sauce over bread pudding. Leftover bread pudding can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a 350-degree oven covered with foil.

  • While a French baguette is preferred for this recipe, you can use another type of bread if you’d like.
  • If you do not care for raisins, they can be omitted or substituted with another dried fruit, like cranberries or cherries.
  • The bourbon can be substituted with another liquor if you’d like to switch up the flavor. Some ideas would be whiskey, rum, Kahlua, amaretto, etc. 
  • The bourbon can also be omitted entirely if necessary. You can plump the raisins in water and replace the remaining bourbon in the recipe with milk or cream.
  • Make-Ahead Instructions: You can prepare the bread pudding through step #5 (before baking), cover and refrigerator for up to 1 day before baking. The bourbon sauce can also be prepared up to 2 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator, then reheated before serving. Alternatively, you can bake the bread pudding, cool, cover and refrigerator for up to 2 days, then reheat in the oven, covered at 350 degrees before serving.
  • Freezing Instructions: The bread pudding can be baked, cooled completely, refrigerated for at least 2 hours, then frozen. To freeze, cover the pan tightly with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in a 350-degree oven, covered, until warmed through, about 15 minutes.

(Recipe adapted from Ezra Pound Cake)

Update Notes: Originally published in 2012, this recipe has been updated with more in-depth descriptions, new photos, and clearer instructions.

[photos by Ari of Well Seasoned]

The post New Orleans Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

1-Bowl Snickerdoodle Cookies (Vegan + GF)

Do these cookies look like little pillows of cinnamon-spiked goodness coated in magical crystal dust? Oh, that’s weird, because that’s exactly what they are.
Say hello to our new favorite holiday cookie: 1-Bowl Snickerdoodle Cookies that ar…

1-Bowl Snickerdoodle Cookies (Vegan + GF)

Do these cookies look like little pillows of cinnamon-spiked goodness coated in magical crystal dust? Oh, that’s weird, because that’s exactly what they are.

Say hello to our new favorite holiday cookie: 1-Bowl Snickerdoodle Cookies that are vegan, gluten-free, and naturally-sweetened. Let’s bake!

The base of these 1-bowl cookies — like most sugar cookies — is butter and sugar. However, we did some extensive testing with this recipe and discovered several things:

  1. Both vegan and dairy butter work well, with dairy butter yielding slightly fluffier results.

1-Bowl Snickerdoodle Cookies (Vegan + GF) from Minimalist Baker →

Goat Milk Ice Cream with Goat Milk Caramel Swirl

A friend recently sent me a link to an ice cream recipe that used cornstarch, rather than eggs, as a binder and thickener. That prompted me to think (and write him back) about an ice cream-making technique I learned about when writing The Perfect Scoop. Talking to Faith Willinger, an expert on Italian cuisine, she told me that some Italian ice creams (namely in Sicily)…

A friend recently sent me a link to an ice cream recipe that used cornstarch, rather than eggs, as a binder and thickener. That prompted me to think (and write him back) about an ice cream-making technique I learned about when writing The Perfect Scoop. Talking to Faith Willinger, an expert on Italian cuisine, she told me that some Italian ice creams (namely in Sicily) are thickened with starch rather than eggs, because it was so hot in the summer, that people in the south of Italy didn’t want to the richness of egg yolks in their gelato.

Continue Reading Goat Milk Ice Cream with Goat Milk Caramel Swirl...

Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce

One of my biggest pet peeves is having a million half-used condiments in my fridge. So if I can quickly whip up a homemade sauce with pantry staples, I’m going to do that before buying another bottle! This Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce is the perfect example. At its most basic, a sweet and sour […]

The post Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

One of my biggest pet peeves is having a million half-used condiments in my fridge. So if I can quickly whip up a homemade sauce with pantry staples, I’m going to do that before buying another bottle! This Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce is the perfect example. At its most basic, a sweet and sour sauce is just sugar and vinegar, flavored with a splash of soy sauce and ketchup. But there are also plenty of ways you can jazz it up and make it your own, so I’ll also include those below!

A dumpling being dipped into a bowl of Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce on a colorful plate.

Small Batch For The Win

I like to make my homemade sauces in small batches so there are no leftovers because having a million half-used homemade sauces in your fridge is just as annoying as having a million half-used bottled sauces in your fridge. The recipe below makes about 1/2 cup of sauce, but can easily be doubled or tripled if needed. Simply adjust the number of servings in the servings box in the recipe card and all of the ingredient quantities will adjust for you. There will be no change to the cooking method.

How to Use Sweet and Sour Sauce

Sweet and sour sauce is amazing as a dip, glaze for meat, or sauce for stir fry. I show it being used as a dipping sauce for gyoza above, but it’s also great for dipping egg rolls, fried wontons, shrimp, or chicken nuggets. The sweet and tangy flavor pairs perfectly with pork and can be used on pork chops (See Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables), as a glaze for ham, or a sauce for meatballs. It also makes a quick pour-on sauce for any stir fry.

A bowl of Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce on a colorful plate with dumplings, chopsticks on the side.

Customize Your Sweet and Sour Sauce

The recipe listed below is a very basic, simple sweet and sour sauce. If you want to change up your sauce and do something a little more interesting, here are a few options:

  • Zingy – Add 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Spicy – Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, or a small squirt of sriracha
  • Pineapple – Replace the water with pineapple juice and reduce the brown sugar by 1 Tbsp

How Long Does Sweet and Sour Sauce Keep?

This sauce is best when used the same day, but since it doesn’t have any “fresh” ingredients in it, it will keep for quite a while in your fridge. You can keep the homemade sweet and sour sauce in an air-tight container in your refrigerator for about a week, but it may begin to seep water if kept much longer. 

 

Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce

This Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce can be whipped up in minutes with only a few pantry staples, so you don't have to keep another condiment in your fridge! 

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar ($0.16)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar ($0.48)
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup ($0.10)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce ($0.04)
  • 2 Tbsp water ($0.00)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch ($0.01)
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small pot and whisk until the sugar and cornstarch have dissolved. The sauce will have a slightly milky brown appearance.

  2. Heat the sauce over medium, while whisking, until it begins to simmer. Once it begins to simmer the cornstarch will thicken the sauce and it will turn from cloudy to shiny in appearance. Serve immediately.

  3. Serve the sweet and sour sauce immediately or refrigerate for up to one week.

What is your favorite food to eat with sweet and sour sauce? Let me know in the comments below!

Close up of a dumpling being dipped into a bowl of Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce

Step by Step Photos

Whisk Sweet and Sour Sauce Ingredients in a pot

Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp ketchup, 1 tsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp water, and 1 tsp cornstarch in a small pot. Whisk the ingredients together until the sugar and cornstarch dissolve.

Shiny cooked sweet and sour sauce in the pot, being scooped with a spoon.

Heat the sauce over medium, whisking continuously, until it begins to simmer. Once it reaches a simmer the cornstarch will thicken the sauce and it will go from looking cloudy to more of a glossy glaze.

A dumpling sitting in a bowl of sweet and sour sauce, on a plate full of dumplings.

Serve the sauce immediately, or refrigerate up to one week. If kept longer than that, water may begin to seep out and separate from the sauce.

The post Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

The Marvelous Rum Cake Recipe That Will Make Every Occasion Fabulous

This rum cake is made completely from scratch, has the most tender, moist crumb, and is drenched in rum flavor without being overpowering. Perfection!

The post The Marvelous Rum Cake Recipe That Will Make Every Occasion Fabulous appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

This rum cake recipe is made from scratch, has the most tender, moist crumb, and is drenched in rum flavor without being overpowering. A fantastic dessert that’s equally suitable for weekly family dinners, fancy dinner parties, or holiday celebrations. 

Sliced rum cake with a serving knife and cup of coffee.

Rum cake. A dessert that is nostalgic and old-school, and one for which just about everyone has a family recipe.

Rum cake was one of a small rotation of desserts that showed up at my grandma’s house on Sunday afternoons. You could usually count on one of the following: rum cake, icebox cake, angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream, or poor man’s cookies. There were some weeks that we made do with Klondike bars from the freezer, but for the most part, we got to indulge in one of those four desserts. My great aunt made a killer rum cake that I could appreciate even as a kid.

I remember it being so thick and moist, and of course, packed with rum. The problem I ran into is that my aunt always used a box cake mix, and all of the recipes I found online were the same, and I wanted a homemade cake. I finally found a recipe that I tweaked to rum-soaked perfection.

A Bundt-style rum cake shot overhead.

A couple of years ago, my husband requested rum cake for his birthday dinner dessert. He had talked before about the rum cake that his grandma used to make and how amazing it was, but it had been so long since I made this recipe that he had never tried it! I was hoping that it would live up to his expectations, and he LOVED it.

He said that sometimes the rum flavor can be way too much, but that this was absolutely perfect. Tons of flavor but not overpowering, and the cake itself is so incredibly moist and flavorful.

Side by side photos of a Bundt pan with chopped walnuts and rum cake batter.

The key to the cake is twofold. First, make sure that you aren’t shy when it comes to poking holes all over the cake when it’s time for the rum syrup. The more holes the better, as the rum syrup will have more places to hide in the cake, which means that it will soak into the cake more evenly, and won’t pool on the bottom of the serving plate.

Secondly, when you drizzle the rum syrup over the top of the cake, you want to go verrrrry slowly so it has a chance to seep into all of those wonderful holes. In this instance, you want to be the tortoise, and not the hare.

Side by side photos of a rum cake with holes poked all over and a rum syrup being poured over top.

As you’d imagine, this gets better the longer you let it sit and soak, so you can absolutely make this cake a day ahead of time. Then behold all of the 100% homemade, no box mix, rum-soaked cake goodness!

Some Quick Notes!

A few suggestions and recommendations for making this cake the best rum cake ever:

  • You can use whatever rum you like the most for this cake; I typically use Myers dark rum.
  • You can omit the nuts if you don’t care for them or need to make a nut-free dessert.
  • This cake utilizes pudding mix to make it ultra-moist; use store-bought or make your own!
  • Rum cake can be frozen, wrapped twice in plastic wrap then aluminum foil and placed in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, or at room temperature. Do not unwrap until completely thawed.

Half a bundt-style rum cake on a serving platter.

Two years ago: Chewy, Chunky Blondies
Three years ago: Nectarine and Honey Slab Pie
Six years ago: Blueberry Buttermilk Sherbet
Seven years ago: Blackberry Gin Fizz Float

Watch How to Make This Phenomenal Rum Cake Recipe

Rum Cake Recipe

This rum cake recipe is made completely from scratch, has the most tender, moist crumb, and is drenched in rum flavor without being overpowering. Perfection!

For the Cake:

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons + ½ cup canola oil, divided
  • ⅔ cup DIY instant vanilla pudding mix (or one 3.4-ounce package of instant vanilla pudding)
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup dark rum
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Rum Syrup:

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup dark rum
  1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a standard Bundt pan (12-cup capacity). Sprinkle the chopped walnuts around the bottom; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture and the 3 tablespoons of canola oil, and mix on medium-low speed for 1 to 2 minutes – the mixture should look like wet sand. Add the pudding mix and mix again on medium-low speed until combined.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, rum, remaining ½ cup canola oil, and vanilla extract. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and beat on medium speed until thoroughly combined, about 2 to 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. (The batter will be quite thin – this is good! It will be nice and moist!)
  5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Make the Rum Syrup: When the cake has about 10 minutes left to bake, start the rum syrup. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Once it is melted, stir in the sugar and the water. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and stir in the rum. Once it is mixed in, return the pan to medium heat for about 30 seconds.
  7. When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately pour about one-third of the rum syrup (approximately 2/3 cup) over the bottom of the cake. Pour slowly so it has time to seep into the cake. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  8. Invert the cake onto a serving platter. Using a fork or a skewer, poke holes all over the cake – the top, sides, and around the inside. Don’t be shy – all of the holes ensure that the rum syrup seeps into the cake evenly. Sloooooowly pour the remaining rum syrup over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. You want to do this step very slowly (it took me almost 15 minutes) so that the syrup actually seeps into the cake and doesn’t just pool on the bottom of the serving dish.
  9. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before serving. Leftovers can be kept, tightly wrapped, at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  • You can use whatever rum you like the most for this cake; I typically use Myers dark rum.
  • You can omit the nuts if you don’t care for them or need to make a nut-free dessert.
  • This cake utilizes pudding mix to make it ultra-moist; use store-bought or make your own!
  • Rum cake can be frozen, wrapped twice in plastic wrap then aluminum foil and placed in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, or at room temperature. Do not unwrap until completely thawed.

Nutritional values are based on one serving

This recipe was originally published in April 2012, updated in February 2017 with new photos, then refreshed in August 2019 with improved photos, a video, and better recipe instructions.

[photos by Ari of Well Seasoned]

The post The Marvelous Rum Cake Recipe That Will Make Every Occasion Fabulous appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables

Easy dinners are my jam! I love these Sweet and Sour Pork Chops because they’re a super fast alternative to take out, they require NO chopping, you need only a few pantry staples to make the sauce, and it meal preps well. What else could I want? Avoid Hockey Puck Pork Chops If you’ve avoided […]

The post Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy dinners are my jam! I love these Sweet and Sour Pork Chops because they’re a super fast alternative to take out, they require NO chopping, you need only a few pantry staples to make the sauce, and it meal preps well. What else could I want?

Close up view from the front of Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables in the skillet

Avoid Hockey Puck Pork Chops

If you’ve avoided making pork chops in the past because they turn out dry and tough, you’ve got to give this method a try. Giving them a quick sear in a hot skillet then finishing them off later in the sauce allows the the outside to brown and heats them through before the pork chops have a chance to dry out.

If you’re new to cooking meat or pork in particular, I always suggest investing in an instant read thermometer so you know as soon as your meat has reached a safe temperature. Cooking meat beyond that point is how you usually end up with a dry, tough hockey puck. For pork chops, the safe internal temperature is 145ºF. I use this Digital Instant Read Thermometer, which retails for under $15, but is absolutely priceless in the kitchen.

Can I Reduce The Sugar in the Sweet and Sour Pork Chops?

Sweet and sour sauce is a sugar based sauce, by nature. You might be able to get away with reducing it by a tablespoon or two, depending on your taste buds (the sauce will be a lot more tangy that way), but this just isn’t a recipe to make if you’re living a low-sugar lifestyle. Unfortunately I don’t cook with sugar substitutes, so I’m not sure how they would perform here.

Close up overhead view of pork chops in the skillet with vegetables, covered with sweet and sour sauce.

Sauce Options:

This is a SUPER simple sauce, but if you want to spruce it up a bit you can add a little grated fresh ginger, a pinch of red pepper flakes, or even a dab of sriracha or chili garlic sauce. Another option is to use my Homemade Teriyaki Sauce in place of the sweet and sour sauce.

What Kind of Pork Chops Should I Use?

This recipe is designed for use with boneless center cut pork chops, approximately 1-inch thick. If you use thinner pork chops they will cook faster. If you use thicker pork chops or bone-in pork chops, they will take much longer to cook through. Again, an instant read meat thermometer is invaluable! 

Close up of Sweet and Sour Sauce being spooned over a pork chop in the skillet, surrounded by vegetables and sauce.

 

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables

A few pantry staples are needed for these juicy Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables, making them a quick and easy alternative to take-out.

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar ($0.32)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar ($0.96)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup ($0.20)
  • 1/4 cup water ($0.00)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce ($0.08)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch ($0.02)
  • 4 boneless, center cut pork chops, 1-inch thick (about 1.5 lbs. total) ($5.50)
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper ($0.05)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.08)
  • 12 oz. frozen stir fry vegetables ($1.65)
  1. Add the brown sugar, rice vinegar, ketchup, water, soy sauce, and cornstarch to a bowl and whisk until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Set the sauce aside.

  2. Season the pork chops with a pinch of salt and pepper on each side.

  3. Preheat a large skillet over medium, or just slightly above medium. Once the skillet is nice and hot, add the cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the pork chops and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until they are nicely browned. Remove the pork chops to a clean plate and cover with a second plate (turned upside down) to keep them warm.

  4. Add the frozen vegetables to the skillet and continue to cook and stir over medium for about two minutes, or just long enough to take some of the ice off (they may still be icy in the center). Give the sauce a brief stir in case any of the cornstarch has settled, then add it to the skillet with the vegetables. Continue to cook and stir until the sauce begins to simmer, at which point it will thicken and go from a cloudy brown to a shiny glaze.

  5. Add the cooked pork chops back to the skillet with the vegetables and sauce. Let the pork chops simmer in the sauce for 2-3 minutes more, or until the internal temperature reaches 145ºF. Serve hot, over rice or noodles.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A plate with rice and sweet and sour pork chops with vegetables, a black fork on the side of the plate.

Step by Step Photos

Sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl, unmixed.

Make the sweet and sour sauce first, so it’s ready to add to the skillet when you need it. Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup water, 2 tsp soy sauce, and 2 tsp cornstarch in a bowl. If you want to jazz this up a bit you can always add some grated fresh ginger or even some crushed red pepper.

Whisk the sweet and sour sauce ingredients

Whisk the sweet and sour sauce ingredients together until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. The uncooked sauce will have a cloudy brown appearance.

Season center cut pork chops with salt and pepper

Season four boneless center cut pork chops (about 1-inch thick, 1.5 pounds total for all four) with a pinch of salt and pepper on each side. 

Browned Pork Chops

Heat a large skillet over medium, or just slightly above medium. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp cooking oil (your preferred type) and swirl to coat the skillet. Add the pork chops and cook on each side for about 5 minutes, or until they are browned. The pork will return to the skillet later, so they don’t need to be all the way up to 145ºF at this point. Remove the pork chops to a clean plate and cover with a second plate to keep them warm.

Add frozen vegetables and sweet and sour sauce to the skillet.

Add a 12oz. bag of frozen stir fry vegetables to the skillet and continue to cook over medium for about 2 minutes, or just until they begin to thaw. Give the sweet and sour sauce a brief stir, then add it to the skillet with the vegetables.

Cooked stir fry vegetables and sweet and sour sauce in the skillet

Continue to cook the vegetables and sauce, stirring often, until the sauce begins to simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, the cornstarch will thicken the sauce and it will go from cloudy to a shiny glaze. 

Pork Chops added back to the skillet with the vegetables and sauce.

Add the pork chops back to the skillet with the sauce and vegetables, and let them simmer in the sauce for a few minutes more, or until they reach an internal temperature of 145ºF. Serve hot over rice or noodles!

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