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This Sweet and Sour Chicken is the answer to your Chinese food cravings! This authentic recipe features chunks of crispy fried chicken with onion, bell pepper and pineapple in a sticky homemade sauce. So skip the takeout and make your own today!

A closeup of sweet and sour chicken with bell peppers, onions and pineapple all coated a sticky sauce

When it comes to comfort food, I often dream of sweet and sour chicken. The crisp battered chicken, tangy sauce, colorful veggies and juicy pineapple… Our readers have been calling this the best they’ve ever had for years!

You can serve it with some steamed rice or noodles for a delectable weeknight dinner the whole family will love (or try meal prepping it for lunches on the go).

With this restaurant-quality recipe, you won’t need to settle for soggy takeout any longer. So, let’s get started!

Recipe Ingredients

Chicken and Vegetables

  • Chicken – use boneless skinless chicken thighs for the best flavor, or chicken breasts for a lighter option.
  • Bell peppers – you can use red bell peppers or a combination of red, yellow and green
  • Onion – yellow or white onions round out the flavor combination
  • Pineapple – fresh pineapple chunks are best, but canned or frozen will work too in a pinch
Crispy chicken pieces with colorful bell peppers, onion and pineapple in a skillet


These are the ingredients for the batter used on the chicken:

  • Cornstarch – this is the thickener that makes for a crispy batter
  • Flour – all-purpose flour is ideal
  • Egg – this acts as a binder to make the batter stick to the chicken
  • Vegetable oil – for frying the chicken pieces

Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • Sugar – granulated white sugar creates the sweet flavor
  • Vinegar – rice vinegar or white vinegar creates the sour flavor
  • Soy sauce – a splash adds some complexity
  • Garlic – freshly minced adds the best flavor, but garlic powder will work in a pinch
  • Ketchup – to add flavor while creating a red color naturally
  • Cornstarch – to thicken the sauce so it develops the desired stickiness
Crispy outside and tender on the inside, this Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe also features the most luxurious sweet and sour sauce that’s so irresistible. It’s one of my favorite Chinese chicken recipes

Recipe Tips

There are my top-5 tips to get the best results on this recipe:

  1. Make a thick enough batter – It should have the consistency of pancake batter in order to stick to the chicken pieces. Adjust the flour or water slightly as needed.
  2. Marinate the chicken – Letting the chicken marinate in the batter for 15 minutes to an hour will work wonders and produce extra-tender chicken. You can prepare the rest of the ingredients during this time.
  3. Fry the chicken in batches – If you dump is all in at once, the chicken will be soggy and stuck together. I recommend frying up to a dozen pieces of chicken at once for 3 to 5 minutes until crispy.
  4. Keep your oil HOT – Did you know the oil temperature drops when you add the chicken? It’s important to use a thermometer or deep fryer to keep the oil temp at 350˚F / 180˚C for crispy chicken.
  5. Remove fried chicken to a wire rack – The air circulation from the rack will help keep it crispy.

For serving ideas, this dish goes well with steamed rice and fried rice. To make it into a more substantial meal, you can pair with other dishes like Honey Garlic Shrimp, Mongolian Beef or Singapore Chow Mei Fun and more!

If you have leftovers, remember to consume within 3 to 4 days at the most.

Chinese stir fried chicken garnished with sesame seeds and served in a rice bowl

Recipe Variations

Chicken Breasts: If you prefer not to use chicken thighs, you can absolutely use chicken breasts. They’re easier to work with in some ways, but can become chewy if overcooked. I recommend marinating the chicken breasts meat in the batter and monitoring carefully during deep-frying to avoid overdoing it.

Baked Variation: If you want fewer calories, you can always use the oven instead of the deep fryer. The results will be less crispy but still delicious. Preheat the oven to 350˚F / 180˚C and set the oven rack to the upper middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment and fit with a large wire rack. Batter the chicken pieces and place on the rack. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until golden. Follow the the rest of the recipe as usual.

Stovetop Variation: If you don’t want to heat up the oven, why not cook the chicken on the stovetop? Using a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, fry the battered chicken pieces until tender and brown. This will take 3 to 4 minutes and you should use tongs to turn the pieces at least once. Avoid crowding the pan to ensure even browning.

Spicy Variation: If you want to add some fiery heat to this dish, simply add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes with the garlic to the stir fry.

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Sweet and Sour Chicken has the most delicious crispy chicken with chunks of onion, bell pepper and pineapple in a homemade sweet and sour sauce.
4.51 from 91 votes

Crispy Sweet and Sour Chicken

Crispy battered chicken stir-fried with bell peppers, onion and pineapple before being coated in a sticky sauce!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings



  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces, or chicken breasts
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1/2  cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2  cups flour
  • egg, beaten
  • tablespoon oil, canola oil or similar
  • 1 ¼  cups water
  • vegetable oil, for frying


  • 1 red bell pepper , cut into 1″ pieces
  • green bell pepper , cut into 1″ pieces
  • medium yellow onion , cut into 1″ pieces
  • tablespoon oil, canola oil or similar
  • cup pineapple chunks, fresh, or canned/frozen

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • ¼  cup rice vinegar , or white vinegar
  • teaspoon garlic, minced, or garlic powder
  • tablespoons soy sauce , low sodium recommended
  • 1/4  cup ketchup
  • tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water
  • sesame seeds, optional garnish


  • In a large bowl, mix together the cornstarch, flour and salt. Add the egg, 1 tablespoon oil and water, whisking until smooth. (The consistency should be thick like pancake batter.)
  • Add the cubed chicken pieces to the batter and coat thoroughly. Let it marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature or up to one hour in the fridge (see note).
  • Add one inch of oil to a medium saucepan or deep fryer and heat to 350˚F. Set aside a wire rack and slotted spoon or mesh strainer.
  • Add the chicken to the hot oil in batches, frying for 3-4 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove to the rack with a slotted spoon and repeat for remaining chicken.
  • Place a skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the 1 tablespoon oil, onion and bell peppers and sauté for 2-4 minutes until slightly softened.
  • Add the pineapple to the pan followed by the sauce ingredients: garlic, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and ketchup. Bring to a simmer and give it a taste test, adding sugar and vinegar to get the balance to your liking.
  • Mix the cornstarch and water together in a cup. Then slowly stir it into the pan. Reduce heat slightly and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the vegetables.
  • Add the cooked chicken back to the pan and stir to coat evenly. Remove the skillet from heat (the sauce will thicken further and become sticky).
  • Garnish with optional sesame seeds and serve immediately.


  • Marinating: Longer marinating makes the chicken more tender, but it should be stored in the fridge and removed 15 minutes before cooking to prevent the oil temperature from dropping.
  • Lighter variations: Omit the batter and stir fry the cubed chicken in a skillet in 1 tablespoon oil. Alternatively, you can bake the breaded chicken on a baking sheet for 15 minutes at 350°F.
  • Make ahead: You can store this dish for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge (the flavor will improve but it will lose its crispiness). You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
Nutrition Facts
Crispy Sweet and Sour Chicken
Serving Size
4 oz
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Net Carbs
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Please read our nutrition disclaimer.

Author: TipBuzz
Course: dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: chinese sweet and sour chicken, sweet and sour chicken, sweet n sour chicken, sweet sour chicken
Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment below!

Sweet and Sour Chicken has crispy chicken with chunks of onion, bell pepper and pineapple in a homemade sweet and sour sauce. Serve it on top of rice for a delicious weeknight dinner.