Sweet and Sour Chicken
Sweet and Sour Chicken – in this popular dish bite size chicken pieces, fresh bell pepper and sweet pineapple are sautéed and tossed together with an incredibly flavorful, easy to make sweet and tangy sauce. It’s a recipe you’ll crave time and time again!
Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
Sweet and sour chicken has always been one of my favorite Chinese take-out dishes. It just as that irresistible, bright flavor plus a great blend of textures and colors.
It calls for basic ingredients but together they create something totally crave-able.
And it doesn’t take much effort to make so it’s perfect for a busy weeknight. Plus it’s a chicken dinner everyone can agree on! Kids and adults alike.
All you have to do is pair it with white or brown rice, or cauliflower rice to complete the meal.
Then while you’re at it you may as well make extra rice and use what’s left for Chicken Fried Rice the next day! Who could complain about Chinese take-out style food two days in a row? Sounds like the perfect plan to me!
Sweet and Sour Chicken Ingredients:
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts – chicken thighs will work too. Increase cook time slightly.
- Egg white – this is used to create a coating on the chicken.
- Cornstarch – this helps the sauce stick to the chicken and also helps thicken the sauce.
- Vegetable oil – only a little is needed for sautéing, light olive oil will work well too.
- Orange juice – preferably use fresh or at least not from concentrate refrigerated.
- Ketchup – this adds flavor and a nice color to the sauce.
- Red wine vinegar – the majority of the tartness comes from the vinegar for that traditional tangy flavor.
- Honey – brown sugar or white sugar will work fine too. You’d need about 1 Tbsp more since honey is sweeter per volume.
- Soy sauce – this offers that salty umami flavor, so you shouldn’t need much salt here.
- Bell pepper – I use red but any color will work if you already have one on hand.
- Green onion – I like to cut into strips but smaller sliced will be fine too.
- Ginger – use fresh minced not dry.
- Garlic – again, use freshly minced.
- Pineapple – to save time you can use pre-cut pineapple from the store. It is more expensive so to save money cut your own. HERE is a good how-to.
How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken:
- Coat chicken with cornstarch mixture: in a medium mixing bowl whisk egg white and 2 Tbsp cornstarch until well combined and slightly frothy (about 30 seconds). Add chicken, season lightly with salt and toss to evenly coat, set aside.
- Make sauce: in a small bowl whisk together orange juice, ketchup, red wine vinegar, honey, soy sauce and remaining 2 tsp cornstarch. Set aside.
- Saute chicken, transfer: heat 1 1/2 Tbsp oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add chicken and cook about 3 minutes until golden brown on bottom then flip and continue to cook until cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.
- Transfer chicken to a plate. Heat remaining 1/2 Tbsp oil in same skillet over medium-high heat.
- Saute vegetables: add bell pepper and saute until crisp tender, about 2 – 3 minutes.
- Add in about 3/4 of the green onions, ginger and garlic and saute 30 seconds longer.
- Add sauce and cook until thickened: pour in orange juice mixture and cook and stir constantly until sauce has thickened, about 30 – 60 seconds.
- Return chicken, add pineapple: toss in chicken and pineapple and serve warm garnished with remaining green onions.
Tips for the Best Sweet and Sour Chicken:
- Cut chicken into even pieces so smaller pieces don’t end up cooking quicker and dry. Also careful not to overcook it or it will dry.
- Cook at a moderately high heat so chicken can get some color and flavor.
- Use fresh fruit and vegetables for best flavor. Skip canned pineapple if possible.
- Make it saucy. Here we are generous with the sauce.
- Don’t skip or reduce the sweetener this balances out the acidity of the vinegar. It wouldn’t be sweet and sour without it. You could even add a little extra honey to taste if preferred.
- Substitute sirloin steak in place of chicken. Cut in about 3/4-1-inch cubes. It will cook in about half the time.
- Try adding another vegetable such as snow peas.
- Add peanuts or cashews for a nice crunch.
- Use a different vinegar in place of red wine vinegar such as apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar.
- Make it spicy with red pepper flakes or a few teaspoons of sriracha.
More Chinese Recipes You’ll Love:
FOLLOW COOKING CLASSY