This Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe is a homemade version of a classic Chinese takeout dinner. This 30-minute dinner is made up of tender chicken smothered in homemade sweet and sour sauce!
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I love my crockpot sweet and sour chicken recipe and this Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken when I need something hands off. But they do require me to plan ahead a little bit. Which I don’t always do. 😉
This stovetop Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe is perfect for when you’re craving Chinese takeout but also craving a home cooked meal.
Why? Because it’s ready in about the same amount of time as it would take to order and pick up your food. It’s win-win!
This Sweet and Sour Chicken is ready in 30 minutes and packed with tender chicken, veggies, and pineapple all covered in a delicious homemade sweet and sour sauce.
Serve it over a bed of rice and dinner is served!
Got pork? Try this Sweet and Sour Pork instead!
Sweet and Sour Chicken Ingredients:
This simple recipe is packed with basic pantry staples!
- Pineapple Juice, Brown Sugar, Ketchup, White Vinegar, and Cornstarch: makes up a simple and delicious homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce recipe!
- Canola Oil: used to sauté the veggies. You can substitute with any neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point.
- Veggies: I use a blend of red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and onion. Feel free to add in other veggies like sliced carrots, zucchini, snap peas or broccoli (keep in mind that you’ll want to add softer veggies at the end)
- Chicken Breast: you’ll need 1 pound of boneless and skinless chicken breasts cut into 1″ chunks. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs also work great!
- Cornstarch: absorbs moisture from the chicken as it cooks for a crispier exterior.
- Seasonings: salt and black pepper to season the chicken
- Minced Garlic and Ginger: use fresh for the best flavor. Powdered or jarred can be used in a pinch!
- Pineapple Chunks: I use canned pineapple so I can save the juice and use it in the sweet and sour sauce. Canned pineapple is less acidic than fresh and will create a more stable sauce.
How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken
This classic Chinese takeout dinner is ready in a total of 30 minutes!
- Make the sauce: In a bowl, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients. Set aside.
- Cook the veggies: Heat oil in a skillet, then add in the peppers and onion. Cook until softened, then remove from the pan. If you prefer your veggies very crisp, you can skip this step and add them with the pineapple.
- Brown the chicken: In a ziplock bag, combine cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Add in the chicken pieces and coat. In the same skillet, cook the chicken until browned, then add in garlic and ginger. Continue cooking until fragrant but don’t burn!
- Combine: Add the pineapple and cooked veggies to the pan with the chicken, the pour in the sauce mixture. Cook until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked through.
Sweet and Sour Chicken FAQs
While this recipe is super quick to throw together, you can save even more time by prepping the components in advance.
The sweet and sour sauce can be prepped ahead of time and stored for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. You can also dice the chicken and slice the veggies ahead of time and store them separately in the fridge up to 2 days in advance.
Leftover sweet and sour chicken will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge if frozen then warm on low on the stove until heated through.
Keep in mind that peppers, once frozen and thawed, are quite soft, so you may want to skip the freezer if you like firmer veggies.
Absolutely! To make crockpot sweet and sour chicken, simply combine everything in your slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high for 1.5-2 hours. For more detailed instructions, check out my Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe!
Mix it up:
- Add more veggies. If you want to kick the nutrition up even more, feel free to cook more veggies along with the peppers and onion. Try broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, etc.
- Use another meat. You can totally use the sweet and sour sauce to flavor another meat. Try it with pork, shrimp, or try my Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe or my Sweet and Sour Slow Cooker Smokies Recipe.
- Spice it up. Take the heat up a notch by adding red pepper flakes or a drizzle of Sriracha.
- Swap the vinegar. My preference is white vinegar for the sweet and sour sauce, but apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar will both work as well.
I recommend serving Sweet and Sour Chicken right away for the best flavor and texture.
If you want to add to your meal, serve it next a couple of classic Chinese takeout side dishes such as edamame, egg rolls, or egg drop soup!
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Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
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
Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 red bell pepper (cut into 1" pieces)
- 1 green bell pepper (cut into 1" pieces)
- 1 onion (cut into 1" pieces)
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1" pieces)
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1½ cups pineapple chunks
- In a medium bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients (pineapple juice, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar and corn starch). Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add peppers and onions to skillet and cook until peppers are slightly softened and onions are almost translucent (you can leave them with more crunch if you prefer). Remove from skillet.
- Meanwhile, combine corn starch, salt and pepper in a large bowl or zip-top storage bag. Add chicken pieces and coat well.
- When peppers and onions are removed from skillet, cook the chicken on each side just until slightly browned (adding more oil if needed). Add the garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute.
- Add the peppers, onions, sauce mixture and pineapple to the pan and cook until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened (about 3-4 minutes — the best way to know is to check the internal temperature of the chicken pieces with a meat thermometer to ensure they are at least 165 degrees F, but chicken will be nearly cooked even before you add the sauce).
- Serve over rice or as desired.
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