Sweet and Sour Chicken

No need for take-out when you’ve got this yummy recipe for simple and flavorful homemade sweet and sour chicken!

Sweet and sour chicken is one of the most classic Chinese recipes! Serve it with some fried rice and egg rolls for a homemade takeout experience!

Sweet and sour chicken recipe on plate with chopsticks

A Go-to Chinese Dish!

This homemade sweet and sour chicken is SUPER easy and delicious and we are ALL about easy meals, especially on busy weeknights!

Sweet and sour chicken is one of my go-to Chinese dishes. It tastes so much better than take-out and you’ll be surprised how simple it is to make in your own kitchen.

This version of sweet and sour chicken requires breading and frying, but if you prefer to skip the hot oil bath, we have a great baked version as well!

When we make this dish at home, I love to serve it over white rice (which I prefer to make in the crock pot). I’ve listed some of our best rice recipes in the paragraphs below so don’t forget to check those out! You can’t go wrong with any side choices for this delicious dinner recipe.

Chicken breast pieces dredged in flour

How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken

SAUCE. Start by preparing the sweet and sour sauce. In a medium pot, add the pineapple juice, water, vinegar, sugars, salt, soy sauce and ketchup. Bring everything to a boil. Add 1-1 ½ inches of oil to a frying pan. Set the temperature to low-medium heat.

CHICKEN. Use a large Ziploc bag and add the cornstarch, then the chicken pieces. Shake until all the pieces are evenly coated. Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the flour into a separate bowl. Dip each piece of chicken into the egg, then into the flour. Once coated add to the hot oil. 

**TIP** Keep the breading crisp and light. You don’t want any of the coatings to be too thick. You can make this without cornstarch, but you won’t get quite the same result. If you’re looking for a substitute try using tapioca flour/starch.

Cook the chicken for 2-3 minutes flipping until cooked through and crispy. Once they are crisp, place them on an unprepared cookie sheet.

PEPPERS & PINEAPPLE. Once all the pieces have been cooked and are resting on the baking sheet, heat up 2 tablespoons oil in a separate frying pan. Add the bell peppers and pineapple and cook for 1-2 minutes, until tender and crisp.

SAUCE. While peppers and pineapple cook, finish making the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the water. Pour this into the boiling mixture and simmer for about 3-5 minutes.

COOK. Add the sauce to the pineapple and peppers. Cook for about 30 seconds before adding the chicken pieces. Cook all the ingredients until the sauce is bubbling and thickening.

Frying chicken pieces to make sweet and sour chicken recipe

Recipe Tips + Variations

Just a few tips to help make your sweet and sour chicken AMAZING:

  • Oil: Fry with an oil temp of 350-375°F.
  • Pan: A wok or a large skillet will work for this recipe.
  • Tongs: Use metal tongs to help flip and remove the chicken pieces. A spider strainer is another great way to remove all the chicken at once.
  • Chicken Cut: Boneless chicken thighs are a great alternative to chicken breast.
  • Healthier: Make this a little healthier and skip the coating and put the cubed chicken directly into the pan to fry.
  • Pineapple: Fresh or frozen chunks work great, just remember the pineapple juice for the sauce.
  • Too Salty: Use low sodium soy sauce or reduce the amount of added salt. If you have already made the dish try adding a spritz of lemon juice. The acidity in the juice will help neutralize the saltiness.

Variations: try adding some additional vegetables to your sweet and sour chicken or swapping out the bell peppers for any of the following…

  • Onions
  • Shredded carrots
  • Broccoli florets
  • Mushrooms 
Bell peppers and pineapple in sweet and sour chicken sauce

FAQ

What to serve with Sweet and Sour Chicken? Here are some of our go-to’s:

How to store? Store leftover sweet and sour chicken within two hours of making it. Be sure to use airtight, freezer safe, if applicable, containers. It’ll last up to 5 days in the fridge.

How to freeze? You can place leftover chicken in a freezer-safe bag in the freezer for 3-4 months. 

How to reheat? I suggest using a hot skillet with a bit of oil. If you are in a hurry you can use the microwave to reheat.

Sweet and sour chicken with white rice on a white and grey plate

For more Asian chicken recipes, check out:

Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

5 from 24 votes
No need for take-out when you've got this yummy recipe for simple and flavorful homemade sweet and sour chicken!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 638 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

  • ¾-1 cup canola oil for frying
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 3-4 chicken breasts or chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour plus more if needed
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • ¾ cup water
  • cup pineapple juice
  • cup vinegar
  • cup soy sauce
  • cup ketchup
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup water

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the sauce: In a medium pot combine water, pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, both sugars and salt over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, while frying chicken.
  • For the chicken, heat 1–1½ inches of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  • Place cornstarch in a large resealable plastic bag, then add chicken pieces. Shake until all the pieces are evenly coated.
  • Beat eggs in a small bowl. Place flour in a separate bowl. Dip each piece of chicken into egg, then into flour. Once coated, add to the hot oil.
  • Cook chicken for 2–3 minutes, flipping with metal tongs, until cooked through and crispy. Once crisp, place chicken on a paper towel–lined plate. Once all the pieces have been cooked, discard all but a few tablespoons of oil.
  • Add bell peppers and pineapple to the frying pan and cook for 1–2 minutes, or until peppers are crisp-tender.
  • Meanwhile, finish the sauce by adding cornstarch-water slurry. Mix and bring to a low boil, then cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until thickened.
  • Add the sauce to the pineapple and peppers. Add the chicken and stir to coat.
  • Cook until sauce is bubbling, 4–5 minutes more.

Video

Notes

Variations: Try adding some additional vegetables to your sweet and sour chicken or swapping out the bell peppers for onions, shredded carrots, broccoli florets or mushrooms.

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    This is a meal that is in our dinner rotation at least twice a month. It’s always a welcomed sight and I never seem to make enough of it.

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