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Sweet and Sour Chicken

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).

A bowl of Sweet and Sour Chicken with rice

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.

Coating chicken in flour mixture to make Sweet and Sour Chicken
Pan-fried chicken for Sweet and Sour Chicken

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.

Ingredients for Sweet and Sour Chicken
Veggies/fruits that bring great flavor and texture to compliment Sweet and Sour Chicken – bell peppers, sweet onions, pineapple.
Sweet and Sour Chicken in a skillet
Toss everything (cooked veggies, cooked chicken, sauce) in the wok, and done!

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.

Top down picture of a bowl of Sweet and Sour Chicken with rice

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.

Closeup of a Sweet and Sour Chicken

More Chinese Takeout Copycats

Do you like Chinese takeout? Check out some of these other recipes on the blog!

DID YOU ENJOY THIS RECIPE? Please comment below and give us a 5-star rating! This will help others find this recipe on Google and Pinterest. We very much appreciate your help! 🤍

Sweet and Sour Chicken in a skillet

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!
4.94 from 16 votes
Print Pin
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 3 people
Calories: 534kcal
Author: MinShien


  • 1 lbs chicken breast boneless, skinless
  • 1/3 cup corn starch
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 cup onions sliced
  • 1 cup bell peppers sliced
  • 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.
    Coating chicken in flour mixture to make Sweet and Sour Chicken
  • 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.
    Pan-fried chicken for Sweet and Sour Chicken
  • 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!


Calories: 534kcal | Carbohydrates: 79g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 151mg | Sodium: 1443mg | Potassium: 935mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 1815IU | Vitamin C: 97mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Take a pic and tag me at @joyous.apron, or hashtag #joyousapron on Instagram!

Sweet and Sour Chicken
Sweet and Sour Chicken

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Recipe Rating


    1. Joyous Apron says:

      I’m sure yours will be delicious as well!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Let me know how it goes!

  1. Christina says:

    5 stars
    The Sweet and Sour Chicken was AMAZING!!!!! Your directions were so incredibly helpful. I made this after I made the chicken stir fry (which was also delish), and it helped me keep the peppers nice and crunchy.

    We’ve just finished eating – he’s so impressed that HE’S doing the dishes!!!


    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Haha!! LOVE IT! Thank you so much Christina! I am so glad you all enjoyed it!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. 5 stars
    I made this dish last night for dinner, and my family loved it!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Yay! I am so glad! Thank you for letting me know! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. 5 stars
    Love this recipe..so delicious and easy ๐Ÿ˜‹ the family loved it

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      That’s awesome!! Thank you for sharing!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe is absolutely amazing! I’ve made it a few times the our family love it!
    Do you think this would freeze OK?

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      So glad to hear you’ve been enjoying this recipe! It should freeze fine, but I recommend freezing the chicken and sauce separately! If you want the chicken to be crispy reheat in the oven instead of the microwave before tossing it in the sauce.

  5. 5 stars
    OMG! Absolutely delicious! A new weekly recipe. So much flavour. I have made it a few times now for different people and everyone loves it!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      I’m so glad to hear that everyone is loving it, Liz!

  6. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was a hit! Even the kids loved it. Your directions were easy to follow and read.

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Thank you Kevin! So glad to hear!

  7. Hi,
    When you say pineapple pieces, do you mean the pineapple in juice in a can?

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Yes! Or you can also cut up a fresh pineapple. Hope that helps! Let me know how it goes ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Erlene Johnson says:

    Recipe says 1 cup of pineapple pieces, do you use the juice also?

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      I do not use the juice.