This Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken is made up of tender bites of chicken sautéed with bell pepper and onion and tossed in a sweet, tangy sauce.
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This Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe is a new favorite dinner. It’s based off of my classic Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe, but designed for one of my favorite kitchen appliances: the instant pot!
This recipe takes just 10 minutes to prep, is packed with juicy chicken and veggies tossed in a homemade sweet and sour sauce.
We love to serve it over Instant Pot Jasmine Rice or with Roasted Red Potatoes and a side of Air Fryer Broccoli for a hearty, wholesome meal.
Looking for a crockpot version? Check out my Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken instead!
Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Oil: use canola oil or another neutral flavored oil to brown the chicken.
- Chicken Breasts: you’ll need 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1″ pieces. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs work great as well!
- Salt and Pepper: adds just enough flavor to the chicken before cooking.
- Veggies: we’re using a classic combination of red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and onion. Feel free to experiment and use some of your favorites!
- Pineapple Chunks: I like to use canned pineapple and then use the juice for the sauce.
- Aromatics: a combination of minced garlic and minced ginger adds so much flavor to the sautéed veggies and chicken.
- Seasonings: we’re taking it up a notch with some extra salt and a kick of heat from red pepper flakes.
Sweet and Sour Chicken Sauce
- Pineapple Juice: use unsweetened or reduced sugar so your sauce isn’t too sweet. I like to use the juice reserved from the canned pineapple.
- Brown Sugar: the “sweet” to our sweet and sour.
- Ketchup: ties in both the vinegar and brown sugar with its sweet, tangy flavor.
- White Vinegar: the “sour” to our sweet and sour.
- Cornstarch and Water or Pineapple Juice: whisked together to form a slurry which helps thicken the sauce.
How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken in the Instant Pot
This one pot meal is ready with just 10 minutes of prep!
- Brown the chicken: Heat the oil in the instant pot, then season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken pieces into the instant pot and cook until no longer pink.
- Add the veggies: Add in the peppers and onion, pineapple, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute, then add in the sauce.
- Pressure cook: Cover (make sure the valve is set to sealing) and cook on manual or pressure cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the slurry: In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Add that into the sauce, cook for a couple of minutes until thickened, then serve.
Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken FAQs
Normally, you would cook chicken in the instant pot for more than a couple of minutes. However, since we’re cutting the chicken up into 1″ chunks, it cooks super quickly. Two minutes per side during the browning process, two minutes of pressure cooking, and a couple of minutes while the sauce is thickening. That’s it!
In theory, yes. However, it is quite difficult to overcook the chicken in the instant pot. The moist environment creates tender, juicy bites of chicken. If you follow the instructions, your chicken should be just fine!
Leftover Sweet and Sour Chicken will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months. To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen, then warm on the stove or in the microwave until heated through.
- Swap the chicken: You can swap the chicken breasts out for boneless skinless chicken thighs or even cubes of pork tenderloin.
- Play with flavor: Prefer a more salty/savory chicken? Add a tablespoon of soy sauce! Like it sweeter? Add more sugar!
- Brown sugar: You can swap the brown sugar out for granulated sugar or another sweetener of your choice. Keep in mind that any and all swaps will affect the flavor of the sauce.
This Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken is perfect over a pile of white or brown rice and with a simple side dish. I love to pair it with Roasted Green Beans, Air Fryer Broccoli, or steamed mixed veggies.
More Instant Pot Chicken Dinners You’ll Love
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Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken
Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1″ pieces)
- salt and pepper
- 1 red bell pepper cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 green bell pepper cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 onion cut into 1″ pieces
- 1½ cups pineapple chunks
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Sweet and Sour Chicken sauce
- 1 cup pineapple juice unsweetened or reduce sugar slightly – can be reserved from canned pineapple
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 2 tablespoons water or pineapple juice
- Turn Instant Pot to saute, wait until it reads "hot" and then add oil. Let the oil heat for a minute or two.
- Season the chicken well with salt and pepper and add to the Instant Pot (it may be easier to do this in two batches). Cook for about 2 minutes per side, just until no longer pink.
- Add red pepper, green pepper, onion, pineapple, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper flakes and cook 1 minute.
- Whisk together the 1 cup pineapple juice, brown sugar, ketchup and vinegar. Pour over chicken and stir.
- Put the lid on, turn the valve to sealing, and select Manual or Pressure Cook for a cook time of 2 minutes.
- When the cook time is up, open the valve slowly to release the pressure.
- Whisk together the corn starch and water.
- Turn the Instant Pot to saute and stir in the corn starch slurry. Cook for 1-2 minutes until thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste. Serve.
- You can swap boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the breasts, or use frozen meatballs or 1″ chunks of pork tenderloin.
- Like a more salty/savory chicken? Feel free to stir in 1 tablespoon of soy sauce before serving.
- Ketchup: I don’t recommend swapping the ketchup because it adds sweetness, acidity, spices and just great flavor all around!
- Brown sugar: you can swap for granulated sugar or another sweetener of your choice. Keep in mind that all swaps will affect the flavor of the sauce.
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Fantastic recipe. Quick and easy. I used chicken thighs (about 1.5 lb) skin on and bone in. Browned them first. Then pressure cooked for 4 minutes in Instant Pot. Served with rice and blanched broccoli . Only had 3/4 cup pineapple juice which made no difference to the recipe. Put in about a tablespoon of ginger and 2 teaspoons of garlic and added 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. I want to try the sauce with fish such as tilapia or basa. A very flexible and forgiving recipe; recipe is open to experimentation.
The Recipe Rebel says
Hi Geraldine! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
Do delicious, quick and easy! Loved the meal! The flavor is fantastic
The Recipe Rebel says
Hi! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
I used cubed pork & the stovetop. All ingredients as listed but I added a LOT more fresh ginger. Fantastic! I’ve been making s&s chicken/pork for decades in various ways & THIS is now the family favourite… thank you for sharing
The Recipe Rebel says
Hi Conni! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!