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 dish, because that 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, and my kids love it too. Serve it with fried rice or cucumber salad for a complete meal!

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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 those recipes for me and I had to share my version that’s just as good as any restaurant. An easy and pleasing dish for the entire family.


The first step is to fry up your chicken. The chicken breast pieces are coated in a mixture of egg and cornstarch to get that ultra crispy coating.

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

I used chicken thighs here, but cubed chicken breast will also work. Make sure you use a thermometer to check the temperature of your oil before you start frying, 350-375 degrees F is ideal.

Fried pieces of chicken breast for Chinese lemon chicken.

You can use fresh or canned pineapple, whichever you prefer. Looking for a healthier sweet and sour chicken? Skip the breading and deep frying and simply saute the chicken in a little vegetable oil. Fried chicken pieces in a pan with pineapple, peppers and onions.


You want to make sure your oil is the right temperature, because if the oil is too hot, the outside may be done before the inside is cooked through. If the oil is too cold, the food will need to spend longer in the oil until it’s cooked through which means more oil will be absorbed into the food.


I love adding vegetables to my sweet and sour chicken. Traditional sweet and sour chicken contains onions, bell peppers and pineapple. You could also try adding sliced carrots or even mushrooms into the mix!

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!


Sweet and Sour Chicken Video

5 from 26 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.


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

        1. 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.