This sweet and sour chicken is full of crispy chicken, fresh pineapple and bell peppers, all tossed in a sweet and savory sauce. A classic Chinese food dish that tastes even better than the take out version.
Sweet and sour chicken is a super popular Chinese takeout dish. The combination of crunchy chicken, sweet juicy pineapple and crisp peppers just cannot be beat. I make this dish at home at least once a month to get my Chinese food cravings satisfied. Best of all, my kids love it too. Serve it with other Asian food recipes such as Szechuan beef, Hunan chicken, chicken lo mein, veggie fried rice or a cool Asian cucumber salad for a complete Asian inspired meal!
There are always those classic dishes that seem to live on through the years because they’re just that good. Sweet and sour chicken is one of them, and I had to share my version that’s as good as a restaurant. This is an easy and pleasing dish for the entire family.
Table of Contents
Sweet And Sour Chicken Ingredients
To make this recipe, you will need chicken thighs, eggs, salt, black pepper, all purpose flour, cornstarch, vegetable oil, onion, green and red bell peppers, pineapple, sugar, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder and ketchup.
How Do You Make Sweet And Sour Chicken?
Cut the chicken thighs into bite sized pieces. Whisk eggs with some salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set the bowl aside, then combine flour and cornstarch, and put the mixture in a shallow bowl or on a plate. Place each piece of chicken in the egg, then coat it in the flour mixture. Heat 3 inches of oil in a deep pot, then fry 7-8 pieces of the coated chicken at a time, until it is golden brown. Cook the bell peppers and onions in a large skillet or wok until the veggies are tender, then add the pineapple. In another bowl, whisk together the sweet and sour sauce ingredients. Pour the sauce into the pan with the vegetables and pineapples, and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has started to thicken. Add the fried chicken pieces to the pan, toss everything together, then serve immediately.
Tips For The Perfect Dish
- I used chunks of boneless skinless chicken thighs here, but cubed chicken breasts will also work.
- Make sure you use a frying thermometer to check the temperature of your oil before you start frying, 350-375 degrees F is ideal. You want the chicken to cook evenly and for the hot oil to lock in all the juices! If the oil is too hot, the outer coating can burn before the chicken is cooked through. If the oil is too cold, the chicken will absorb extra grease and have a heavy texture.
- Feel free to use fresh or canned pineapple, they both work well in this dish.
- Leftovers will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Be aware that the chicken will soak up the sauce as it sits, which means it will lose its crispy outer coating.
- Use a neutral flavored oil that withstand high cooking temperatures. Some great options include canola oil, vegetable oil or peanut oil.
If you want your sweet and sour chicken to look like the take out version, you can add a few drops of red food coloring to the sauce.
General Tso’s chicken is spicier than sweet and sour chicken, typically contains more garlic as well as ginger, and is not as sweet. General Tso’s chicken is often served with broccoli, while sweet and sour contains pineapple, bell peppers and onions.
Sweet and sour sauce contains sugar, cider vinegar, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, ketchup and cornstarch.
Sweet and sour sauce has a naturally reddish hue from the ketchup it contains. That being said, many Chinese restaurants add red food color to enhance the color. This recipe doesn’t contain food coloring, but you can certainly add some if you prefer!
While this dish is fabulous as-is, you can customize the flavors to suit your tastes.
- Protein: You can use cubes of pork tenderloin or shrimp instead of chicken in this recipe. The shrimp will take less time to cook in the hot oil.
- Flavorings: Feel free to add a splash of pineapple juice, fresh garlic or minced ginger to the sauce. If you like spicy food, you can also add crushed red pepper flakes or some sriracha. Sensitive to salt? Try using low sodium soy sauce.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add more veggies to the mix. Some great options include water chestnuts, yellow bell pepper, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, cabbage, bamboo shoots or mushrooms.
- Toppings: While untraditional, you can add some extra flavor with garnishes to your dish such as green onions, sesame seeds or red pepper flakes.
I always get so excited making sweet and sour chicken because it’s one of my all time favorites. This dish is on our dinner rotation quite often and there are never any complaints. It’s an easy dish so it’s never a hard to make on a weeknight!
Sweet And Sour Chicken Video
Love This Recipe?
Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.
Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- oil for frying
- 1/2 cup onion cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 green bell pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3/4 cup pineapple chunks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Place the eggs in a bowl, add salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix the flour and cornstarch together and place in a shallow bowl or on a plate.
- Heat 3 inches of oil in a deep pot to 350 degrees F.
- Dip each piece of chicken into the egg, then roll into the flour mixture. Repeat with all of the chicken.
- Fry 7-8 pieces of chicken at a time for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Repeat the process with all of the chicken.
- While the chicken is cooking, heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the bell peppers and onion to the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Stir in the pineapple.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cider vinegar, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, ketchup and cornstarch.
- Pour the sauce into the pan with the peppers, onions and pineapple and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
- Add the fried chicken to the pan with the peppers and pineapple and toss to coat with the sauce. Serve immediately.
- Chicken breast can be used in place of chicken thighs.
- Be sure to use a frying thermometer to make sure that your oil is at the correct temperature.