This Sweet and Sour Chicken is tender and crispy with bell peppers and pineapple in an irresistible sweet and sour sauce. It’s ready in just 20 minutes and makes a quick weeknight dinner that’s so much better than takeout from Chinese restaurants!
It’s no secret that I LOVE sweet and sour chicken! It’s some of my favorite Chinese food along with General Tso’s Chicken and Orange Chicken. We make this at least once a month, and there’s nothing left over. And kids love it too!
Sweet and sour chicken was invented in China and became a mainstay of the Chinese food scene stateside. Fear not if you’ve been turned off by syrupy sweet, bright red dishes in Chinese restaurants. This homemade sweet and sour chicken is so much tastier and healthier!
Try it for a quick weeknight dinner, or serve it for a party when you’re entertaining. Sweet and sour chicken is a total crowd-pleaser with the colorful bell peppers, onions and pineapple. Just pair it with some rice and you’ll be good to go!
Tips and Secrets for Making Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Pineapple is one of the secret ingredients, even though this is a chicken dish. While you can use canned pineapple in a pinch, try to get some chunks of fresh pineapple from the grocery store for the best flavor.
- Shake off the excess flour before frying
- For a lighter variation, stir fry using 2 tbsp of oil instead of 2 cups. Alternatively, you can also bake the breaded chicken on a baking sheet at 350°F for 15 minutes instead of frying.
- Do not crowd the pan when frying the chicken. The chicken pieces should fit comfortably into a single layer with some room in between.
- Test doneness by pressing a piece of chicken lightly with your finger, and see if it springs back. It’s overcooked if it’s hard, and undercooked if it squishes.
Equipment to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken
- A large skillet is helpful for frying, or you can use a deep fryer like this
- An oil thermometer is helpful in getting the oil to the right temperature, and you can use it for meat and candy as well.
- A stainless steel mesh strainer is perfect for easily removing food from deep frying.
- A wire rack is ideal for holding the chicken pieces after frying.
20 Minute Sweet and Sour Chicken
This Sweet and Sour Chicken is tender and crispy with bell peppers and pineapple in an irresistible sweet and sour sauce. It's ready in just 20 minutes and makes a quick weeknight dinner that's so much better than takeout from Chinese restaurants!
- 1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cubed
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 red bell pepper cut into 1" pieces
- 1 green bell pepper cut into 1" pieces
- 1 medium onion cut into 1" pieces
- 1 cup pineapple chunks
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar or honey
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 tbsp soy sauce low sodium recommended
- 1/4 cup water
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, ketchup, soy sauce and water. Set aside.
Place cornstarch in a ziplock bag. Add chicken and shake to coat evenly.
In a small bowl, add the beaten egg. In another bowl, add the flour. Set aside along with a wire cooling rack.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat to 350˚F until almost smoking.
Dip 6-8 pieces of chicken into the egg, and then the flour. Shake off excess and add to the oil.
Fry 2-3 minutes until golden and crispy, and remove to the rack with a slotted spoon. Repeat for the remaining chicken pieces.
- Remove and drain oil. Set aside.
Add onion, bell peppers and pineapple to the pan. Sauté for about 2 minutes until slightly softened.
Add the reserved sauce mixture and bring to boil.
Add in the cooked chicken pieces and stir to coat evenly with the sauce. Serve and enjoy!
Looking for more Chinese recipes?
- General Tso’s Chicken
- Lemon Chicken
- Orange Chicken
- Moo Goo Gai Pan
- Mongolian Beef
- Garlic Beef Lo Mein
- Shrimp Lo Mein
- Bang Bang Shrimp
- Honey Garlic Chicken Stir Fry
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