This easy Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe is a popular Asian-inspired dish that can easily be recreated at home! The combination of crispy chicken, crunchy peppers, and tropical pineapple chunks smothered in a homemade sweet and tangy sauce tastes better than Chinese takeout.

If you love quick, restaurant copycat recipes, also try our homemade Orange Chicken Recipe and the iconic PF Chang’s inspired Mongolian Beef!

Sweet and sour chicken in skillet topped with greens.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Recreating this restaurant-style Sweet and Sour Chicken at home is simpler and faster than you think. The chicken is fried until crisp and juicy, then coated in a lightly sweet and tangy sauce. The onions and peppers balance the sweetness of the pineapple chunks in the dish. Skip the trip to Panda Express next time and make this healthier, homemade takeout!

Sweet and Sour Chicken VIDEO-

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe:

  • Save money. Cheaper to make at home than going out!
  • Quick to make. Comes together in 30 minutes for an easy weeknight dinner!
  • No additives. Great flavor without the additives found in traditional restaurant meals.
  • Healthier than fried. The chicken is sauteed not deep fried, making it healthier than takeout!


  • Chicken breasts- for this recipe, we use boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1” chunks. You can also use chicken thighs.
  • Eggs- whisked to help the breading adhere.
  • Seasonings- salt and pepper are all you need to season the chicken. If you are not using low-sodium soy sauce, decrease the salt here to control the sodium.
  • Cornstarch and flour- corn starch gives the chicken a light and crispy coating for the sauce to adhere to and flour adds crispiness.
  • Oil- use extra-light olive oil or canola oil to fry the chicken.
  • Garlic- helps to balance the sweetness of the sauce.
  • Bell peppers- red and green bell peppers or your favorite colored pepper.
  • Pineapple chunks- you can use fresh pineapple, canned pineapple with the juice drained, or even frozen pineapple chunks, thawed.
  • Onions- the onion helps to balance the sweetness of the pineapple.
  • Butter- adds richness to the sauce.
  • Sugar and brown sugar- sweeten the sauce.
  • White vinegar- provides the sourness for the sauce.
  • Ketchup- a sweet and sour condiment, making it the perfect sauce ingredient.
  • Soy sauce- use a low-sodium soy sauce to control the level of salt in the final dish.
  • Green onion- chopped and used as a garnish, optional.
  • Sesame seeds- toasted, for garnish, optional.
All ingredients needed to make sweet and sour chicken ready to be made.

How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken:

This classic recipe for traditional chicken sweet and sour requires little prep time and cook time, so make sure all your ingredients are prepped in advance. I like to cut the chicken, vegetables and pineapple before I start cooking.

  • Chicken into egg mixture: Beat the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat the chicken in the eggs.
  • Prep dredging: In a separate bowl, combine the cornstarch and flour.
  • Coat chicken: Dredge chicken in the mixture until well covered.
  • Cook chicken: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat to high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken in batches and cook until the chicken is cooked through on all sides. Transfer cooked chicken to a baking sheet or platter and cover to keep warm.
  • Cook vegetables: Add the butter, bell peppers, onions, and pineapples to the same skillet. Cook until the veggies are tender, or for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add garlic: Add the garlic, stir, and cook just until fragrant.
  • Prepare sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, and soy sauce.
  • Combine: Add the chicken back into the pan. Pour the sauce over the chicken and veggies and cook until it starts to bubble and thicken and the chicken reheats.
  • Garnish: Finally, top with sesame seeds or chopped green onion if desired.
  • Serve and enjoy, friends!
Expert Tip: Be sure the oil is hot before adding the chicken to saute to achieve a crispy finish.
Step by step image collages on how to make sweet and sour chicken.

Substitutions and Variations-

Asian-Inspired recipes are different everywhere you try them. Create your own version by trying some of these variations:

  • Different veggies: The American twist on Chinese sweet and sour chicken is traditionally made with bell peppers, onions, and pineapple, but you can throw in other vegetables you have. Try adding broccoli, mushrooms, chopped carrots, or peas!
  • Adjust heat: If you’d like the sauce to be spicy, add red pepper flakes or some hot sauce to the prepared sauce.
  • Use ACV: You can substitute the white vinegar for Apple Cider Vinegar if you prefer.


The sweet and sour chicken may easily be made up to one day in advance. Be sure to keep the different ingredients in a separate bowl until ready to serve.
1. Cube chicken and add to egg and seasoning mixture. Cover and refrigerate.
2. Cut the vegetables and pineapple and keep them refrigerated.
3. Combine ingredients in the sauce and keep in the fridge.
4. Before serving, finish the recipe per instructions and enjoy.

Sweet and sour chicken recipe topped on top of rice in serving plate.

Serving Suggestions:

Since this recipe already has protein, it’s satisfying on its own. If you want to add something to the side, you can try these options:

  • Grains: Serve over a bed of White Rice, brown rice, or quinoa for a healthier option.
  • Egg rolls: Pair with your favorite egg rolls, either frozen or homemade!
  • Fried Rice: Serve over Fried Rice (omit the chicken) for extra flavor.
  • Noodles: This chicken would pair well with your favorite noodles!

frequently asked questions?

Is sweet and sour chicken the same as General Tso’s?

The two dishes are similar, but General Tso’s has more ginger and spice, while sweet and sour chicken has more sweet elements from the sugar and ketchup.

Can I air-fry the chicken?

Yes! Add the breaded chicken to a lightly oiled air fryer basket and lightly spray the chicken with cooking oil spray. Cook at 400°F for 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through for an even crisp on the coating.

Can I thicken the sauce?

If you prefer a thicker sauce, make a cornstarch slurry by mixing 2 tablespoons of cold water with a tablespoon of cornstarch. Add to the sauce to thicken.

Up close picture of sweet and sour chicken recipe inside dutch oven.

Store & Reheat:

  • STORE: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You may want to store pineapple separately as it could break down the chicken and make it mushy.
  • FREEZE: We do not recommend freezing this recipe.
  • REHEAT: Reheat in a pan over low-medium heat. Keep in mind that leftovers will be less crisp than when the meal is fresh.

More Asian-Inspired Recipes:

If you enjoyed this sweet and sour chicken recipe, be sure to try our other popular chicken recipes:

Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

Author: Valentina
Chicken bites with bell vegetable and sauce in a skillet topped with green onion and sesame seeds.
5 from 5 votes
This sweet and sour chicken recipe will be your new favorite Asain-inspired recipe! Chicken with vegetables and pineapple in a homemade sauce ready in under 30-minutes.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into 1" chunks
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp extra-light olive oil, for sauteing
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2" to 1" chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2" to 1" chunks
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 sweet onion cut, cut into 1/2" to 1" chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic minced


  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • sesame seeds, optional (for garnish)
  • green onion, optional (for garnish)


  • In a bowl, whisk eggs and season with the salt and pepper. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat in egg mixture.
  • In a different mixing bowl, add the cornstarch and flour and combine.
  • Coat the chicken with the cornstarch/flour mixture on all sides.
  • Heat the oil over medium-high to high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add chicken in batches and cook until all of the chicken is cooked. Transfer cooked chicken to a baking sheet.
  • In the same skillet, add the butter, bell peppers, pineapples and onion and cook until tender 3-4 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the ingredients for the sauce: the sugar, brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup and soy sauce until combined.
  • Add the chicken to the vegetables, pour in the sauce and cook until it starts to bubble and thickens and the chicken is reheated.
  • Serve with sesame seeds or green onion to garnish, totally optional.


Storage: Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container. 
Make-ahead: This is a great recipe for meal planning.  Make up to two days in advance and keep refrigerated, reheat over low heat, or in the microwave to enjoy.
Vegetable: Easily substitute with your favorite veggies with great results. 


677kcal Calories75g Carbs42g Protein23g Fat7g Saturated Fat3g Polyunsaturated Fat11g Monounsaturated Fat0.3g Trans Fat206mg Cholesterol1188mg Sodium982mg Potassium2g Fiber49g Sugar1054IU Vitamin A53mg Vitamin C69mg Calcium2mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 677 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Trans Fat 0.3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 206mg69%
Sodium 1188mg52%
Potassium 982mg28%
Carbohydrates 75g25%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 49g54%
Protein 42g84%
Vitamin A 1054IU21%
Vitamin C 53mg64%
Calcium 69mg7%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
(The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)