Amazingly tasty Sweet and Sour Chicken combines crispy, fried chunks of breaded chicken with pineapple, bell peppers, and onion for a classic Chinese food takeout meal at home! It's so easy to make and can be on the table ready to enjoy in just 25 minutes!
Quick, easy, and incredibly tasty homemade sweet and sour chicken!
Tired of Chinese takeout? Make your own! With this quick and delicious recipe, you can turn your kitchen into your favorite restaurant. The best part? There's absolutely no special equipment required!
I never get tired of the smell of garlic and onions cooking with bell peppers. Combined with pineapple and topped with sweet and sour sauce, this savory breaded chicken is as good on the first day as it is leftover.
If you’ve never tried making your own sweet and sour sauce, try my recipe! While you can also use store bought if you’re in a rush, you definitely won’t regret the extra few steps needed to whip up your own.
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
It’s fast! You can throw this better-than-takeout meal together in just twenty-five minutes!
It is full of flavor! If you love Asian-inspired flavors, you’ll love this dinner too! It's easy to see (and taste) why sweet and sour entrees are so popular!
It makes great leftovers! We all know Chinese food is best the next morning. Go ahead - indulge!
This sweet and sour chicken is an inspired balance of flavors and textures from the crispy, savory fried chicken to the soft, sweet pineapple. Sweet and sour sauce adds that special something that really takes this dish to the next level!
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs) - Cut these into bite-sized pieces for best results. Breasts or thighs are both excellent in this recipe!
- Cornstarch - This will give your chicken a nice crunch and brown color when fried.
- Eggs - Whip these up to help the batter stick to the chicken.
- Flour - Flour does really well with prolonged heat needed to cook fried chicken and creates an even coat.
- Oil for frying - A variety of different oils would work here as long as they have a high smoke point. I typically use coconut oil for frying.
- White onion - You can also use yellow onions for a sweeter flavor. Take your pick!
- Minced garlic - There’s nothing better than the smell of sauteed garlic to make everyone in your house hungry! Fresh garlic or pre-minced garlic in a jar are both fine.
- Red, yellow, and orange bell peppers - These add color and a bit of a nutrition boost. Plus, the crunch is amazing! Green bell peppers are also a great option.
- Pineapple chunks - Pineapple in savory dishes are unique and delicious.
- Sweet and sour sauce - Buy your favorite brand or try making your own with my easy sweet and sour sauce recipe.
💭 Tips & Recipe Notes
Serve over a bed of your favorite rice to stretch the dish. Though sticky rice may be traditional, any kind would work here.
The rice soaks up the sweet and sour sauce and lightens it up a bit.
There are several ways to know when the oil is hot enough to begin frying your chicken.
If you don’t have a thermometer, an easy and safe way is to dip the end of a wooden spoon in the oil and watch the bubbles. There should be many floating up without bubbling too hard. It typically takes about five to ten minutes to reach this temperature.
You can also use a meat thermometer, measuring from the center of the pan. It should be between 350℉ (177℃) and 400℉ (205℃). It’s important to be in this range, because if it’s too hot, the chicken will burn on the outside before the center is cooked. If it’s not hot enough, the food will absorb the oil, leaving you with soggy, greasy chicken (and no one wants that!).
Using paper towels to soak up some of the oil after cooking?
Make sure you don’t leave the chicken sitting directly on them, or you will once again risk soggy chicken. For best results, put the cooked chicken on a wire rack with a paper towel lined baking sheet underneath to catch the extra grease.
To cut the sweetness of the sweet and sour entree, I suggest using white onion (rather than the sweeter yellow onion).
Additionally, while my husband loves to treat me to the sweeter red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, green bell peppers are best for cutting down the sweetness of your sweet and sour sauce.
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
Shake things up with this delicious, weeknight meal. Your taste buds will thank you, and so will the people that get the other three servings of your homemade sweet and sour chicken!
Prepare the Vegetables & Chicken
- Cut up vegetables and pineapple. Cut one white or yellow onion, 1 ½ bell peppers of any color (or mixed), and one cup of pineapple (canned, fresh, or frozen) into chunks. Onions and bell peppers can also be sliced and cut into strips, if you prefer. Shape doesn’t make a difference as long as the pieces are about the same size for even cooking, so have fun with it!
- Mince the garlic. Crush or chop one tablespoon of garlic (about 3 cloves) into tiny pieces and set aside.
- Prepare the chicken. Cut one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast (or thighs) into one-inch pieces and put it into a plastic ziploc storage bag. Add ½ cup of cornstarch, seal, and shake until the chicken is fully coated. Remove your coated chicken from the bag and set aside until ready to fry. *You can opt to add seasoning to your cornstarch coating, including ground ginger, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, for more flavor.
- Set up your dredging station. In a small bowl, thoroughly whisk two eggs. In another small bowl, dump in ¼ cup of all purpose flour.
Cook the Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Heat the oil. Cover the bottom of a frying pan with ½ inch of oil. Vegetable oil, coconut oil, peanut oil, or canola oil are all great options for this. Turn the heat up to medium-high or high (your oil should reach 360°F (182°C) for frying).
- Batter and fry the chicken. Take the cornstarch-coated chicken, dip it in the whisked eggs, and dredge it in flour. Gently shake off any excess and carefully place in the hot oil. *It is best to place food into your oil in a way that any accidental splash from the hot oil would be directed away from your face and body!
- Cook in batches for 3-4 minutes. When all the chicken is cooked, set it aside (see tips) and drain all but a bit of oil to cook the vegetables.
- Reduce heat and cook vegetables. Turn the heat down to medium or medium-high and add your minced garlic and chopped onions. Cook until softened, about two minutes. Toss in the chopped bell peppers and pineapple chunks and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Add sauce. Pour in around one cup of sweet and sour sauce - you can add more or less to taste. Put the fried chicken pieces back in the pan and stir to coat. Let the sauce heat up for a minute or so until it starts to boil.
- Cool and serve. Shut the heat off and let everything cool slightly - only a minute or two, then serve immediately.
Your tasty sweet and sour chicken can be served for lunch or dinner over a bed of white rice, then garnished with sliced green onions for added color. Side dishes are completely optional with this fabulous meal-in-one dish!
🥡 Storing & Reheating
This dish will last three to four days if properly refrigerated in an airtight container, so you can enjoy it all week! Of course, if you know that you'll have leftovers, the sauce and vegetables are best stored separately from the fried chicken pieces.
You can absolutely put leftovers in the freezer, but you’ll want to eat them within three months for best quality. Any longer than that, and your tasty sweet and sour chicken will start losing flavor.
As with refrigeration, make sure it’s in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn. Also, it still holds true that freezing the sauce and chicken individually will yield the best reheated version.
When it comes to reheating, the oven is your best option. If using the oven, add a bit of water before cooking. Cover your dish with foil to keep moisture in and cook at 350°F (175°C) for about 15-20 minutes.
If the microwave is more your speed, cover your dish with a moist paper towel and heat for 30-60 seconds at a time until desired temperature. Stir between each of the heating increments.
The combination of flour and cornstarch is what gives fried chicken that delicious texture! Flour creates an even layer that builds up a fluffy crust while cornstarch makes it brown and extra crispy.
Smoke point is the temperature at which oil starts smoking or burning. In other words, the point at which your oil becomes inedible. You never want to deep fry or grill with an oil with a low smoke point. Extra virgin olive oil, for example, has a low smoke point and will infuse your food with a burnt flavor if used to deep fry.
Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 1 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast (or boneless skinless chicken thighs - cut into small 1 inch cubes or pieces)
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 2 large eggs (beaten)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- oil for frying the chicken (vegetable oil, canola oil, coconut oil, or peanut oil are good choices for frying)
- 1 large white onion (sliced or cut into 1" chunks, yellow can work as well)
- 1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
- ½ each, red, yellow and orange bell peppers (or 1 ½ bell peppers any color diced into chunks)
- 1 cup pineapple chunks (canned, fresh, or frozen)
- 1 cup sweet and sour sauce (or store bought - more or less to taste)
- Slice or cut onion into chunks, mince garlic, cut bell peppers into strips or chunks, and chunk up pineapple (or use canned chunks of pineapple or frozen). Then Cut up your chicken into 1 inch pieces.1 large white onion, 1 tablespoon garlic, ½ each, red, yellow and orange bell peppers, 1 cup pineapple chunks, 1 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
- Place your chicken into a plastic ziploc bag then add the corn starch, seal, and shake to coat. Remove the chicken and set aside.½ cup cornstarch
- In a small bowl whisk up 2 eggs, in another small bowl add in the flour. (This will be your dredging station.)2 large eggs, ¼ cup all-purpose flour
Cooking the sweet and sour chicken
- Add enough oil to cover the bottom of your fry pan by at least ½ inch. Heat oil to medium-high to high heat until it reaches 360°F (182°C).oil for frying the chicken
- Start by taking the chicken that has been coated in cornstarch, dip in the egg, dredge in the flour (shake off any excess flour), and then carefully put into the hot oil.1 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
- Cook the chicken in batches till completely cooked through for about 3-4 minutes, and set aside. Remove excess oil from pan, leaving a small amount to cook the veggies.1 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
- Over medium to medium high heat add in your garlic and onions and cook for a couple of minutes to soften the onions. Add in your bell peppers and pineapple. Cook until tender 3-4 minutes.1 large white onion, 1 tablespoon garlic, ½ each, red, yellow and orange bell peppers, 1 cup pineapple chunks
- Stir in the sweet and sour sauce. Add the fried chicken pieces, fold in gently to coat. Allow the sauce to cook for a minute until it starts to boil. Turn heat off.1 cup sweet and sour sauce
- Allow the sauce to cool slightly, garnish with sliced green onions if desired. Serve and enjoy!
Equipment You May Need
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!