Sweet and Sour Chicken. What’s not to love about this popular Chinese takeout dish. In this version, chicken is lightly coated in flour mixture, panfried (slightly healthier than deep fried ones) and then tossed in a sauce that is tangy, sweet and sour (well duh, thus the name).
To round it up, we also throw in some veggies to give it the crunch and balance out some of that sour flavor. All I can say is this – OMG IT IS YUMMY. Prepare to say buh-bye to takeout! Because this is SO MUCH better!
Tips for Panfrying Chicken
As mentioned earlier, the chicken in Sweet and Sour Chicken is usually deep fried. Most of us will probably not heat up a pot full of hot oil and deep fry chicken at home very often. Also, let’s be honest, it’s a lot of oil and a whole lot more unhealthy.
This dish tastes just as good, or even better, when you pan fry the chicken. What I do is I coat the chicken in an egg mixture, then a corn starch/flour/salt mixture, and then panfry them on a skillet.
When panfrying, make sure the oil is hot and bubbly before adding the chicken. Also, do not overcrowd the chicken, and make this in two batches if necessary. I like to find my biggest skillet possible and make it on there because it will go faster, and less batches are needed.
When cooking the chicken, I typically like to start with medium heat and then cover the skillet so that chicken will be cooked through on the inside before it gets burned on the outside. Also, warning: Because these chicken pieces are cut into small 1-inch sizes, they fry quickly! Don’t overcook chicken because overcook chicken is spongy and not yummy!
Pro tip: use a pair of tongs to pick up chicken pieces. It is much easier than using a spatula.
How to make Sweet and Sour Sauce
Are you one of those people who knows exactly what you want? I am totally that way when it comes to food. Not everything else. But with food, I typically know what I like, how I like it, when I like it…ask my husband, he will affirm that. Probably with an eye roll.
When I started making my Sweet and Sour sauce, I knew exactly how I wanted it – not too sweet, not too sour, but packs a flavorful punch. I wanted the sauce to compliment to chicken, not overpower it.
We all know how important the sauce is when it comes to this dish. Sure, you need to not overcook the chicken, and the veggies add to the texture, but let’s be real here. We all know the real MVP of this dish. THE SAUCE. It makes or breaks it.
Well, the good news is the sauce is made out of easy-to-find, pantry-friendly ingredients. All you need is tomato ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, sugar, and sesame oil (but this is optional). Just heat them up and you get yourself a solid, delicious sweet and sour sauce. I added affiliate links to some of the ingredients so you can look them up!
Keep in mind, you can even make the sauce ahead of time if you’d like and throw it in once you cook the chicken and veggies. If you make more sauce than you need, you can even use leftovers as dipping sauce for egg rolls, chicken nuggets, veggies, or my Baked Cream Cheese Wontons. Because it is THAT GOOD.
Best way to serve this yum thing is with Jasmine brown or white rice. That sticky sauce coated all over the juicy, slightly crispy chicken, and combined with crunchy veggies.
It hits the spot every. single. time. Seriously LEGIT.
Do you like Chinese takeout? Check out some of these other recipes on the blog!
- Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
- Baked Cream Cheese Wontons
- Kung Pao Chicken
- Steak Fried Rice
- Egg Drop Soup
- Hot and Sour Soup
- Shrimp Stir Fried Noodles
If you make this recipe PLEASE let me know how it goes in the comment box below, and share pictures of your creations on instagram by tagging #joyousapron! And while you are there, don’t forget to follow me!
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Make this classic Chinese takeout at home! Crispy, juicy perfectly seasoned chicken tossed in a sweet, sour and tangy sauce, combine with crunchy veggies. Serve with white or brown rice!
- 1 lbs chicken breast
- 1/3 cup corn starch
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- vegetable oil
- 1 cup sliced onions
- 1 cup sliced bell peppers
- 1 cup pineapple pieces
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil optional
Cut chicken into ~1-inch pieces. Pat dry.
In a flat plate or bowl, combine flour, corn flour and salt. In a bowl, whisk egg.
Add chicken to egg mixture. Mix to coat well. Then coat each piece of chicken with flour mixture.
Heat up large skillet with vegetable oil. Make sure there is a thin layer of oil covering the entire surface of the skillet.
Once oil is heated up, add chicken pieces to skillet. Do not overlap or overcrowd skillet; cook in two (or three) batches if necessary. Cook under medium heat and cover if necessary,
Flip chicken over once one side is cooked. Cover again if necessary. Do not overcook chicken. Chicken is cooked once internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
If skillet has a lot of burned flour pieces from cooking the chicken, use a paper towel to remove/wipe it off before proceeding.
Heat skillet and add more vegetable oil if necessary (we don’t need a lot for this). Once oil is heated, add bell peppers and onions to skillet and stir fry for ~1 minute under medium heat. Do not overcook the vegetables. The goal is to slightly soften the vegetables so it is not completely raw. Remove promptly.
Add sauce ingredients to skillet, stir and let it come to a boil. Lower heat and let it simmer for a minute or so, or until sauce thickens slightly.
Bring cooked chicken, cooked bell peppers, cooked onions, and pineapple pieces back to skillet. Toss chicken and veggies with sauce. Remove from heat promptly.
Serve with rice. Enjoy!
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