Exotic Polynesian Sauce Recipe In 10 Minutes Or Less

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Experience the vibrant flavors of the Pacific with this homemade Polynesian Sauce Recipe . It’s a perfect blend of sweet and tangy, featuring ripe pineapples, zesty ginger, and a hint of soy for depth. This sought-after sauce is excellent for enhancing grilled meats or as a dip. It’s simple to prepare and will transport your taste buds to tropical shores, making it a top pick for any gathering.

Embarking on a culinary journey across the globe, I discovered the magic of Polynesian Sauce Recipe during my travels through Middle-Eastern and European countries. Its unique blend of sweet and tangy flavors brings back memories of bustling marketplaces and exotic eateries.

Polynesian Sauce Recipe

 But, finding a sauce that truly captures the essence of this diverse taste can be challenging. Enter this homemade Polynesian sauce recipe. Inspired by the vibrant flavors experienced abroad, I crafted this sauce to bring the same zest to my family’s table. 

Ideal for those seeking to replicate the authentic taste found in world-renowned restaurants, this recipe offers a solution to the often mundane dinner routine. It’s a simple yet transformative addition to any meal, elevating it from ordinary to extraordinary.

What Is Polynesian Sauce?

Polynesian sauce is a sweet and tangy condiment with origins in American fast-food cuisine. It’s commonly associated with the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain. 

This sauce typically includes ingredients like pineapple juice, honey, mustard, and vinegar, resulting in a flavorful and slightly fruity taste. Polynesian sauce is a dipping sauce for chicken nuggets, tenders, and other fried or grilled chicken dishes.

History Of Polynesian Sauce Recipe

The history of Polynesian sauce is intertwined with the fusion of Asian and American cuisines. While its exact origin is unclear, it’s believed to have been invented in the United States and influenced by the sweet and sour flavors in Polynesian and Asian cooking

This sauce gained popularity as a unique blend of East and West culinary traditions, becoming a staple in American Chinese restaurants and later in fast-food chains. 

It epitomizes the cultural melting pot, representing a harmonious blend of diverse culinary influences. Today, it’s a sought-after condiment, symbolizing the fusion of global flavors in modern cuisine.

Interesting Facts About Polynesian Sauce Recipe

Polynesian sauce is a Chick-fil-A favorite, harmoniously combining sweet and tangy flavors. With ingredients like pineapple and honey mustard, it’s a delightful and unique condiment, adding a tropical twist to meals.

Unique Flavor Fusion

Polynesian sauce stands out for its unique blend of sweet and tangy flavors, combining ingredients like pineapple and honey mustard to create a harmonious taste experience.

Culinary Borders Blurred

The sauce is a perfect example of how culinary traditions from different parts of the world, in this case, Asian and American flavors, can come together to create something delicious and culturally diverse.

Fast-Food Favorite

Originally gaining popularity in fast-food chains, Polynesian sauce has become a beloved dipping option for many, contributing to its widespread recognition and demand.

Versatile Culinary Applications

Beyond its role as a dipping sauce, Polynesian sauce’s adaptability makes it a versatile ingredient in various culinary applications, ranging from grilling glazes to flavorful dipping sauces.

Pineapple Magic

The key to Polynesian sauce’s signature taste is the inclusion of pineapple, infusing the condiment with a distinct sweet and tangy profile that sets it apart.

Homemade Appeal

Thanks to its simple recipe, Polynesian sauce has become a popular choice for home cooks. The ease of making it at home has contributed to its widespread popularity among those who want to recreate the flavor in their own kitchens.

Perfect For Gatherings

Whether it’s a BBQ or a party, Polynesian sauce is a top pick, complementing a wide range of dishes from classic chicken nuggets to more exotic appetizers. Its versatility makes it a crowd-pleaser at social gatherings.


What Are The Regional Adaptations Of This Sauce?

  • Hawaiian Variation: In Hawaii, Polynesian sauce often includes local ingredients like Kauai honey and Maui onions, adding a unique island twist.
  • Asian-Inspired Version: In Asian adaptations, ingredients like hoisin sauce and sesame oil are added for a deeper, more umami-rich flavor.
  • Caribbean Take: The Caribbean version might incorporate mango or papaya, lending a tropical sweetness distinct from the traditional pineapple base.
  • European Fusion: Some European adaptations use less sugar and more vinegar, focusing on a tangier profile.
  • Spicy Twist: Chili flakes or hot sauce are added for a spicy kick in regions favoring heat.

What Will Make You Love This Polynesian Sauce Recipe?

  • Tropical Taste Adventure: The delightful blend of sweet pineapple with tangy notes transports your palate to tropical paradises.
  • Versatility: Perfect as a dip, glaze, or marinade, it suits various dishes from grilled meats to appetizers.
  • Easy to Make: With simple, readily available ingredients, it’s a breeze to whip up at home.
  • Customizable Heat: You can adjust the spiciness to your liking, making it a hit for all tastes.
  • Kid-Friendly: Its sweet profile is often a favorite among children, making family meals more enjoyable.
  • Healthier Option: Homemade versions allow control over sugar and salt levels, offering a healthier alternative to store-bought sauces.
  • Culinary Creativity: It inspires experimentation in the kitchen, blending well with various cuisines and ingredients.
  • Perfect Party Pick: Its crowd-pleasing flavor makes it a top choice for gatherings and barbecues.
  • Long Shelf Life: When stored properly, it can last for a while, making it a convenient staple in your fridge.
  • Memory Maker: The unique flavor can create memorable dining experiences, whether it’s a cozy family dinner or a special occasion.
Bowl and Spoon

Ingredients List

Catalina Dressing1 cup
Apple Cider Vinegar2 tablespoons
Honey3 tablespoons
Brown Sugar1 tablespoon
Smoked Paprika1/4 teaspoon
Dried Mustard1/4 teaspoon

Ingredient Tips 

  • Catalina Dressing Quality: Choose a high-quality Catalina dressing for the base; the sauce’s flavor largely depends on it.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Opt for organic apple cider vinegar for a more robust and natural tang.
  • Honey Varieties: Experiment with different types of honey, like clover or manuka, for subtle flavor variations.
  • Brown Sugar: Use fresh, soft brown sugar for a smooth blend and richer taste.
  • Smoked Paprika: Ensure it is fresh for the best flavor; it loses potency over time.
  • Dried Mustard: Ground mustard can be used as an alternative, adjusting the quantity to taste.
  • Allergy Adjustments: For allergies, consider honey substitutes or gluten-free Catalina dressing.
  • Sweetness Balance: Adjust the honey and brown sugar ratio depending on your preferred sweetness level.
  • Storage and Freshness: Store the dry ingredients in airtight containers to maintain their flavor.
  • Experimentation: Feel free to tweak the proportions or add additional spices like garlic powder or ginger for a personalized touch.

What Are The Variations Of Polynesian Sauce Recipe?

  • Spicy Polynesian Sauce: Incorporates red chili flakes or hot sauce for a fiery twist.
  • Pineapple-Mango Blend: Adds mango for a more complex, tropical fruit flavor.
  • Ginger-Infused Version: Fresh ginger is added for a zesty, aromatic kick.
  • Low-Sugar Alternative: Uses sugar substitutes or reduces sweetener quantities for a healthier version.
  • Soy-Free Adaptation: Replace soy sauce with coconut aminos for those with soy allergies.
  • Barbecue Polynesian Sauce: Integrates barbecue sauce for a smokier, richer depth.
  • Citrus Zest Edition: Lemon or lime zest is added for a refreshing citrus note.
  • Vegan Polynesian Sauce: Ensures all ingredients, especially the Catalina dressing, are vegan-friendly.
  • Extra Garlic Variation: Loads up on garlic for a more pungent, savory flavor.
  • Creamy Polynesian Sauce: Blend it in mayonnaise or yogurt for a smoother texture.

Recipe Directions

  • Mix Ingredients: In a medium bowl, add 1 cup of Catalina dressing, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon of dried mustard.
  • Whisk Together: Using a whisk, mix the ingredients thoroughly until they are fully incorporated. Ensure the honey and brown sugar are completely dissolved for a smooth texture.
  • Taste and Adjust: Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, add a little more honey or brown sugar. For more tang, a bit more vinegar can be added.
  • Serve or Store: The sauce can be used immediately or stored for later use. If not used immediately, proceed to the next step.
  • Storage: Pour the sauce into an air-tight container. Seal the container tightly to maintain freshness.
  • Refrigerate: Place the container in the refrigerator. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Experience the fun of cooking with a Polynesian Sauce recipe, where you’ll enjoy delicious flavors every time.

Scaling The Recipe

  • Double Batch: Use 2 cups of Catalina dressing, 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 6 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon of dried mustard. This yields servings for 16.
  • Half Batch: Use 1/2 cup of Catalina dressing, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey, 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar, 1/8 teaspoon of smoked paprika, and 1/8 teaspoon of dried mustard. This is suitable for 4 servings.
Polynesian Sauce Recipe

Can This Sauce Be Used As A Marinade, Dipping Sauce, Or Dressing For Salads?

Yes, Polynesian sauce is incredibly versatile and can be used as a marinade, dipping sauce, or salad dressing. As a marinade, it imparts a sweet and tangy flavor to meats like chicken, pork, or seafood, enhancing their taste and tenderness. 

When used as a dipping sauce, it complements a wide range of foods, from fried appetizers to grilled vegetables, adding a delightful flavor boost. 

Additionally, it serves as an excellent salad dressing, lending a unique, vibrant taste to greens and vegetable salads. Its multifaceted use makes it a sought-after recipe, perfect for various culinary applications.

What Are The Best Dishes To Accompany Polynesian Sauce Recipe?

Grilled Chicken Skewers

The sauce adds a sweet, tangy glaze to these succulent skewers.

Pork Ribs

Brushed over ribs, the sauce caramelizes beautifully, offering a delightful flavor.

Fried Calamari

As a dipping sauce, it brings a tropical twist to this seafood favorite.

Spring Rolls

Its sweetness complements the savory fillings of vegetable or meat spring rolls.

Vegetable Stir-Fry

Drizzled over enhances the dish’s unique flavor profile.

Shrimp Tacos

Adds a delightful zing to each bite of these refreshing tacos.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

The sauce pairs well with the earthiness of roasted vegetables.

Hawaiian Pizza

A great addition for an extra flavor kick.

Rice Bowls

It’s a flavorful topping for rice bowls with chicken, beef, or tofu.

Baked Salmon

Offers a sweet and tangy contrast to the richness of salmon.

Polynesian Sauce Recipe

What Are Some Classic Dishes That Feature Polynesian Sauce Recipe?

  • Polynesian Chicken Wings: Coated in the sauce for a sticky, sweet, and tangy finish.
  • Polynesian Meatballs: Glazed with the sauce, adding a tropical twist to this classic appetizer.
  • Sweet and Sour Pork or Chicken: The sauce is a base for this iconic dish, balancing sweetness and acidity.
  • Polynesian Shrimp Stir-Fry: Infused with the sauce for a quick, flavorful meal.
  • Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza: Drizzled over pizza for a fusion of flavors.
  • Polynesian Glazed Ham: The sauce adds a unique flavor to the traditional holiday ham.
  • Teriyaki-Polynesian Burgers: Used as a glaze or topping for a sweet and savory burger experience.

What Are The Key Flavor Profiles And Taste Sensations That Polynesian Sauce Recipe Offers?

  • Sweetness: Primarily from honey and brown sugar, offering a rich, sugary taste.
  • Tanginess: Apple cider vinegar brings a sharp, acidic zing.
  • Umami: Catalina dressing and soy elements contribute a savory depth.
  • Smokiness: A hint of smoked paprika adds a subtle, aromatic warmth.
  • Slight Spice: Dried mustard provides a mild, earthy heat.
  • Fruity Undertones: Pineapple or other fruit bases infuse a tropical sweetness.
  • Richness: The combination of ingredients creates a full-bodied, satisfying sensation.
  • Balance: Sweet, tangy, and savory notes create a harmonious flavor profile.
Jar and Spoon

Can This Sauce Be Stored And Preserved For Future Use? What Is Its Shelf Life?

Yes, Polynesian sauce can be stored and preserved for future use. It can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks when kept in an air-tight container.

The key to extending its shelf life is ensuring the container is sealed correctly to prevent exposure to air and moisture, which can lead to spoilage.

To avoid contamination, using clean utensils when serving the sauce is essential. If you notice any changes in color, smell, or taste, it’s better to discard the sauce.

Some individuals freeze the sauce for longer preservation, though this may slightly alter its texture upon thawing.

What Are The Substitutes For Polynesian Sauce Recipe?

  • Sweet and Sour Sauce: Offers a similar balance of sweetness and tanginess, commonly available and easy to make.
  • Honey Mustard Sauce: Combines the sweetness of honey with the tang of mustard, a suitable dip alternative.
  • Barbecue Sauce: For a smokier flavor profile with varying sweetness and tanginess.
  • Teriyaki Sauce: Provides a sweet and savory taste, ideal for marinades and glazes.
  • Duck Sauce: A fruity, sweet option commonly used in Asian cuisine.
  • Orange Glaze: Combines orange juice, zest, and sugar for a citrusy, sweet touch.
  • Apricot Preserves: Diluted with a bit of vinegar, it makes an excellent sweet and tangy substitute.
  • Hoisin Sauce: Offers a thicker, savory alternative with a hint of sweetness.
  • Pineapple Jam: Mixed with a bit of vinegar and spices, it can mimic the fruity sweetness of Polynesian sauce.
  • Chili Sauce: For those who prefer a spicier kick with their sweetness.
Polynesian Sauce Recipe

How To Adjust The Consistency Of The Sauce?

Adjusting the consistency of the Polynesian sauce is straightforward. Suppose you find the sauce too thick; thin it by adding water, apple cider vinegar, or pineapple juice. 

Start with a teaspoon and gradually add until you reach the desired consistency. For a thicker sauce, you can simmer it on low heat to reduce and concentrate the flavors or add a small amount of cornstarch slurry (a mixture of cornstarch and water). 

Should We Serve The Sauce Cold Or Warm?

The serving temperature of Polynesian sauce depends on its intended use. Generally, it is served cold or at room temperature, especially as a dipping sauce for appetizers or a salad dressing

This allows the flavors to remain fresh and vibrant. However, warming the sauce can help it adhere better to the food and enhance its flavor if it’s being used as a glaze or marinade for grilled or baked dishes. 

In such cases, gently warm the sauce over low heat or in the microwave. Avoid overheating, as this can alter the taste and texture of the sauce.

Polynesian Sauce Recipe

Nutritional Values

This homemade Polynesian sauce offers balanced sweet and tangy flavors with a moderate calorie count. Each serving primarily contains carbohydrates from sugar and honey, with minimal fat from the Catalina dressing. It’s low in protein and fiber, and the sodium content varies based on the dressing used.

What Are The Total Calories In Polynesian Sauce Recipe?

Each serving would contain approximately 87.5 to 100 calories. The exact value will be calculated by having the exact amount of ingredients. 

Polynesian Sauce Recipe

Experience the joy of cooking with Polynesian sauce recipe, where every bite is a mouthwatering delight.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Polynesian Sauce Recipe

  • Gluten: Some Catalina dressings may contain gluten, so those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease should be cautious.
  • Soy Allergies: The sauce often includes ingredients like soy sauce; a soy-free alternative should be used for soy allergies.
  • Vegan Concerns: Non-vegan ingredients might be present in the dressing; a vegan-specific dressing is needed for strict vegans.
  • Sugar Content: High sugar content can be an issue for people with diabetes or those on low-sugar diets.
  • Calories: It’s relatively high in calories, which might concern those on calorie-restricted diets.
  • Honey: Not suitable for children under one year due to the presence of honey.

Nutrition Table

Nutrition Table

What Are The Common Mistakes While Making This Sauce?

  • Over Sweetening: Adding too much honey or brown sugar, resulting in an overly sweet sauce.
  • Incorrect Balance of Flavors: Not properly balancing the tangy and sweet elements can overpower the subtler flavors.
  • Using Stale Spices: Old or stale spices, like smoked paprika or dried mustard, can diminish the sauce’s flavor.
  • Inconsistent Whisking: Failing to whisk the ingredients thoroughly leads to an unevenly mixed sauce.
  • Improper Storage: Not storing the sauce in an air-tight container can affect its freshness and shelf life.
  • Rushing the Process: Not allowing the flavors to meld together if used immediately; sometimes, the sauce benefits from resting a bit before serving.
  • Not Adjusting to Taste: Neglecting to taste and adjusting the seasonings according to personal preference.
  • Overheating: Overheating the sauce can change its taste and consistency if warmed.
  • Cross Contamination: Using utensils that are not clean potentially contaminates the sauce and affects its flavor and safety.

What Are Some Creative Uses Of Leftover Sauce?

  • Salad Dressing: Mix with a bit of olive oil to dress a tropical-themed salad.
  • Marinade for Meats: Great for marinating chicken, pork, or seafood for a sweet and tangy flavor.
  • Stir-Fry Sauce: Add to a vegetable or protein stir-fry for a quick, flavorful meal.
  • Sandwich Spread: Use as a spread on sandwiches or burgers for an extra zing.
  • Pizza Base Sauce: Swap out traditional pizza sauce for a unique twist.
  • Dipping Sauce for Snacks: Perfect for dipping chips, fries, or vegetable sticks.
  • Glaze for Grilled Vegetables: Brush on vegetables before grilling for a caramelized finish.
  • Rice Dish Flavoring: Stir into rice or quinoa dishes for sweetness and tang.
  • Base for a Sweet and Sour Soup: Use as a base for an inventive sweet and sour soup.
  • Breakfast Topping: Drizzle over pancakes or waffles for a unique breakfast treat.
Polynesian Sauce Recipe

Special Tools & Equipment Needed

  • Whisk: Essential for thoroughly mixing the ingredients and ensuring a smooth consistency.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: For accurately measuring ingredients like dressing, vinegar, honey, and spices.
  • Medium Mixing Bowl: Required for combining and whisking the sauce ingredients together.
  • Airtight Container: Necessary for storing the sauce, maintaining its freshness, and extending its shelf life.
  • Spatula: Useful for scraping out every bit of sauce from the bowl to the storage container.
  • Saucepan (Optional): If you choose to reduce or thicken the sauce, a saucepan will be needed.
  • Fine Mesh Strainer (Optional): To strain the sauce for a smoother texture, if desired.
  • Refrigerator: To store the sauce and keep it fresh.
  • Labels and Marker (Optional): For labeling the container with the date of preparation for tracking freshness.
  • Funnel (Optional): Helpful if transferring the sauce to a bottle for easier pouring or storage.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Make Polynesian Sauce Without Catalina Dressing?

Yes, you can substitute Catalina dressing with ketchup and a bit of sugar to mimic its sweet and tangy flavor.

How Long Can I Store Homemade Polynesian Sauce?

Properly stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, homemade Polynesian sauce can last up to 2 weeks.

Is Polynesian Sauce Suitable For Vegetarians Or Vegans?

The suitability depends on the ingredients of the Catalina dressing used. Check the dressing’s ingredients to ensure they align with vegetarian or vegan dietary preferences.

Can I Make This Sauce Spicy?

Absolutely! Add red chili flakes, hot sauce, or fresh minced chili to introduce a spicy kick to the sauce.

Is This Sauce Gluten-Free?

This depends on the Catalina dressing and other ingredients used. To ensure a gluten-free sauce, use gluten-free labeled dressing and verify all other ingredients are gluten-free.

Exotic Polynesian Sauce Recipe In 10 Minutes Or Less

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Recipe by Lana Rivera Course: Sauces


Prep time


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Experience the delightful fusion of sweet and tangy flavors with this homemade Polynesian Sauce. It’s a simple blend of Catalina dressing, apple cider vinegar, honey, brown sugar, smoked paprika, and dried mustard, perfect as a dip, glaze, or marinade for an exotic culinary touch.


  • 1 cup 1 Catalina Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons 2 Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons 3 Honey

  • 1 tablespoon 1 Brown Sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 Smoked Paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 Dried Mustard

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Gather Ingredients And Equipment
    Collect all the ingredients: 1 cup Catalina dressing, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon dried mustard.
    Ensure you have ready a whisk, measuring cups, spoons, a medium mixing bowl, and an airtight container.
  • Combine The Ingredients
    In the medium mixing bowl, pour 1 cup of Catalina dressing.
    Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the bowl.
    Follow with 3 tablespoons of honey.
    Add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
    Sprinkle in 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika.
    Lastly, add 1/4 teaspoon of dried mustard.
  • Whisk The Mixture
    Using the whisk, mix all the ingredients.
    Ensure you whisk thoroughly so the honey and brown sugar completely dissolve and evenly distribute throughout the mixture.
  • Adjust Flavors (Optional)
    Taste the sauce. Depending on your preference, adjust the sweetness or tanginess. Add a little more honey or brown sugar for sweetness or apple cider vinegar for tanginess.
  • Transfer To Airtight Container
    Once the sauce is well-mixed and the flavors are to your liking, use the spatula to transfer it from the bowl into the airtight container. This minimizes waste and ensures easy storage.
  • Storage
    Seal the container tightly to preserve freshness.
    Label the container with the preparation date if you’re using labels.
  • Refrigeration
    Place the sealed container in the refrigerator. This sauce should be stored chilled.
  • Serving
    Depending on its use, the sauce can be served cold or at room temperature. It’s perfect as a dip, marinade, or glaze.
  • Enjoy
    Your homemade Polynesian sauce is ready to be enjoyed with your favorite dishes!

Recipe Video


  • Flavor Balance: Adjust the sweetness or tanginess to suit your taste.
  • Ingredient Quality: Opt for high-quality Catalina dressing for the best flavor.
  • Storage: Keep refrigerated in an airtight container and use within two weeks.
  • Serving Suggestions: Ideal as a dip, marinade, or glaze for various dishes.

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