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

Serve this sweet and sour chicken with some Fried Rice, Chow Mein and Egg Rolls for a homemade takeout experience!

Sweet and sour chicken recipe on plate with chopsticks.


A Dish We Love!

This sweet and sour chicken recipe is SUPER easy and delicious and we are ALL about easy Asian dinner recipes, especially on busy weeknights!

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!

Reasons we love it:

  • Flavor. It has the best flavor and tastes so much better than Chinese takeout.
  • Quick. It’s on the table in 40 minutes for a delicious weeknight dinner!
  • Easy. You’ll be surprised how simple it is to make at home.
Close up of cut up chunks of chicken.

Ingredients

  • canola oil or oils with a high smoking point like vegetable oil or peanut oil. Fry with an oil temperature of 350-375°F.
  • cornstarch
  • chicken breasts – or boneless skinless chicken thighs. Partially freeze. Once the chicken is a little more solid use a sharp knife to cut the chicken. 
  • large eggs 
  • all-purpose flour 
  • red bell pepper 
  • green bell pepper 
  • pineapple chunks use fresh or frozen chunks, just remember the pineapple juice for the sauce.
  • water
  • pineapple juice
  • vinegar
  • soy sauce regular or low sodium soy sauce
  • ketchup
  • granulated sugar
  • brown sugar
  • salt

How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken

  1. SAUCE. In a medium pot combine water, pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, both sugars, and salt over low heat (bringing to a simmer). Cook, stirring occasionally, while frying chicken.
  2. COAT CHICKEN. Heat 1–1½ inches of oil in a large frying pan or wok 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.
  3. COOK. 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.
  4. SEASON. Meanwhile, finish the sauce by adding cornstarch-water slurry. Mix (or whisk) and bring to a low boil, then cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until thickened.
    • Pour the sauce in with the pineapple and peppers. Add the chicken and stir to coat.
    • Cook until mixture is bubbling, 4–5 minutes more.

Frying Tip!

Use metal tongs to flip and remove the chicken pieces. A spider strainer is a great way to remove all the chicken at once.

Fried chicken pieces for Homemade sweet and sour chicken.

Recipe Tips

  • Breading tip. Keep the breading crisp and light. This can be made without cornstarch, but you won’t get quite the same result. Try substituting tapioca flour/starch.
  • Healthier. Skip the coating and put the cubed chicken directly into the pan to fry.
  • Too salty. 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.
    • Add vegetables to your Chinese sweet and sour chicken or swap out the bell peppers with shredded carrots, broccoli florets, or mushrooms.
    • Add heat with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
    • Garnish with some green onion or sesame seeds.
  • Serving suggestions. Try pairing it with Homemade Fried Rice, Asian Coleslaw, Cauliflower Rice, Asian Noodle Salad, or Asian Ramen Salad.
Bell peppers and pineapple in sweet and sour chicken sauce.

Make a Freezer Meal

  • Make ahead of time. Prepare sweet & sour chicken the day before and keep it covered in the fridge until ready to use. Heat it in a slow cooker, oven, or on the stovetop before serving. 
  • Make a freezer meal. With a few adjustments, turn this recipe into a freezer meal. Double or triple the recipe and prepare 2-3 separate meals to have in the freezer. For each meal:
    • Cube the chicken and place it in a freezer Ziploc.
    • Add the water, pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, sugars, and salt in a separate Ziploc bag.
    • Chop the bell peppers and place them, along with pineapple chunks, in another Ziploc bag.
    • Place the three bags together in a larger freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
    • Thaw the chicken and sauce. Coat and cook the chicken, and prepare the sauce according to the recipe.
Sweet and sour chicken recipe with white rice on a white and grey plate.

For More Asian Chicken Recipes:

Teriyaki Chicken

25 mins

Recipe Video

5 from 32 votes

Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
No need for take-out when you've got this yummy sweet and sour chicken recipe for simple and flavorful Chinese at home!
Servings: 6
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes

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.
Make ahead of time. Prepare sweet & sour chicken the day before and keep it covered in the fridge until ready to use. Heat it in a slow cooker, oven, or on the stovetop before serving. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup, Calories: 638kcal, Carbohydrates: 58g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g, Monounsaturated Fat: 19g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 127mg, Sodium: 1049mg, Potassium: 670mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 37g, Vitamin A: 896IU, Vitamin C: 48mg, Calcium: 41mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Making this recipe? Tag us!
Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #lilluna, so we can see what you’re creating in the kitchen!


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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Recipe Rating




34 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I altered the recipe since I’m not fond of peppers. I added snap peas and broccoli and it still turned out fantastic!

  2. 5 stars
    I didn’t fry my chicken but used leftover turkey breast that I cut up and added at the end of cooking veggies before adding the sauce. This was so easy to make and was so delicious. I’ll make this again and again!!

  3. 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.