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!


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 39 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.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Asian
Serves 6


  • 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.


  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.


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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Recipe Rating


  1. Is it possible to do pork? I’ve tried so many sweet and sour recipes and I’m in love with sweet and sour pork but hubby hates it!

  2. 5 stars
    So delicious, made it last night! We laughed at the number of servings though.. my husband blew that out of the water. We have enough left over for one lunch and I only had one serving.. there are just two of us! My husband said it was the best he has ever had. I agree!

  3. 5 stars
    We are retired and are tired of getting boring, expensive carryout food for lunch. Saw the Sweet and sour chicken recipe and decided to try it for lunch. BETTER than carry out and less expensive. Make enough for leftovers for dinner. I used a whole can of Pineapples and made a topping out of the pineapple juice. Took the juice from the can and added 1 teaspoon of Cornstarch, heated and it jelled into a savory and tart rich topping that I added to the top of the dish. We invited neighbors over and they went crazy over it and asked for the recipe. I like spicy Asian, but this is my new dish for the grandkids too.

  4. Hello can I just double check that you need onion and onion powder? It says in step 9 add to peppers and pineapple but doesn’t say about the onions which also went in. Do you take them out? Thanks

      1. Sorry for another question but just making this now for me and hubby but want the leftovers for my girls tomorrow. Will it be ok to reheat? I haven’t added the pineapple yet, thinking it will probably reheat better without it, is that the correct assumption. Thanks for your help Christine

      2. The coating on the chicken will absorb the sauce and get softer as it sits, it still tastes good but the leftovers aren’t quite as delicious since the chicken isn’t crispy.

  5. 5 stars
    I just made this for dinner. Followed the recipe exactly, and everyone, including my picky 8 year old, loved it.
    Definitely a welcome addition to our dinner rotation. Thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    Oh, yum! This looks so good and delicious! We always order out sweet and sour chicken dish because we do not know how to cook it. lol! But I’ll try this recipe.

  7. I treat myself to this about once a month dining out. I am definitely going to treat myself more often now that I can prepare it at home. Yum!

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe actually reminds me of the sweet and sour dish we regularly order from our favorite Chinese restaurant! I will have to try and make it.

  9. 5 stars
    Sweet and sour chicken is one of my favorite dishes and seeing this photo makes my mouth watering and makes me really hungry.

  10. 5 stars
    Oh yum, sweet and sour chicken is one of my favorites! Love your tip on making the chicken super crispy . . . no one wants soggy chicken that gets all gloopy in the sauce.