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!

A frying pan of sweet and sour chicken with crispy chicken, pineapple, bell peppers and onions.

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.

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.

Chicken pieces coated in egg and flour on a baking sheet.

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.

Quick Tip

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.

Fried pieces of chicken thighs on a sheet pan.

Recipe FAQs

What is the difference between General Tso’s chicken and sweet and sour chicken?

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.

What is sweet and sour sauce made of?

Sweet and sour sauce contains sugar, cider vinegar, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, ketchup and cornstarch.

Why is sweet and sour sauce red?

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!

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Fried chicken pieces in a pan with pineapple, peppers and onions.

Flavor Variations

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.
A bowl of sweet and sour chicken, served over steamed rice.

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!

More Asian Recipes You’ll Love

Sweet And Sour Chicken Video

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Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.

4.98 from 38 votes

Sweet and Sour Chicken

AuthorSara Welch
A frying pan of sweet and sour chicken with crispy chicken, pineapple, bell peppers and onions.
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.
Time
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Asian
Serves 6

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  1. Chicken breast can be used in place of chicken thighs.
  2. Be sure to use a frying thermometer to make sure that your oil is at the correct temperature.

Nutrition

Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 162mg | Sodium: 582mg | Potassium: 557mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 905IU | Vitamin C: 49.5mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2.3mg

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Comments

  1. 4 stars
    I made the recipe as written. It was pretty good. what i’ll do different next time: less sugar, by half. it’s sweet-and-sour i know, but i found it way too sweet. i’ll add some garlic, just because that’s me, and i’ll throw in something spicy – pepper flakes or a spicy pepper. Otherwise, it was definitely enjoyed, just a few tweaks to adjust for my own preferences.

  2. 5 stars
    My search has ended! This recipe is WONDERFUL! And even better than ALL of the other Sweet & Sour Chicken recipes I had tried so far — even from those sites and blogs that are either “famous” or owned/operated by Chinese chefs! It had everything — and was everything — I was looking for in a Sweet & Sour recipe. I’d give it 10 Stars if I could!

  3. 5 stars
    I’m glad I found this recipe because I lost the one I had. I kind of remember there being celery in mine. Is that a possible variation? Or would that not complement this dish? Anyway, I made this last night and my husband loved it! I added an additional 1/2 or so cup of pineapple juice because the sauce was too thick. (I may have used too much cornstarch in the sauce!) But I loved the added flavor. Thank you for your wonderful recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    Omg, this recipe is amazing, I no longer have to go to the restaurant again for sweet and sour chicken. Very simple step. I followed the instructions and it can out perfect

  5. 5 stars
    Bravo! My first time making sweet and sour chicken at home – and it was a success! Every bit as good, if not better, as what I get from my fav Chinese takeout. The video was helpful!

  6. 5 stars
    We often get sweet and sour chicken when we get Chinese takeout, but your version tasted even better than my favorite restaurant’s version!! It was super flavorful and surprisingly easy to make too!