Skip the take out and make this delicious sweet and sour chicken recipe at home! The sauce is absolutely to die for. Serve with sticky rice and fresh vegetables for the perfect dinner!
This recipe is perfect for when we’re craving takeout. I love that we can make it at home and it’s even more delicious. I’ve also recreated a few of my other takeout favorites, like my crockpot beef and broccoli, veggie beef ramen and baked teriyaki chicken. So yummy!
I am so excited to share this sweet and sour chicken recipe that is always a huge hit each time I make it. My whole family is a fan…even the kids! Trust me, this recipe will definitely be going in your “favorites file.”
I have to admit…I’m usually not a huge fan of Chinese food when we go out because I am super picky about meat, but I love making it at home. This yummy recipe came from my friend Alison, however I added in a few of my favorite spices and loved the end result! The homemade sweet and sour sauce is what really takes this recipe over the top. If you’re in a hurry, you could always use store-bought too. But making it homemade makes it extra delicious!
The key to crispy chicken
In order to get the perfectly crispy chicken each time, make sure to follow these tips:
- Cut evenly. It’s important to dice the chicken into similar-sized pieces. You want them to be bite-sized, about an inch or so. This helps them all cook evenly in the pan. If some pieces are larger and some are smaller, you may not get the same crispy result on each piece.
- Breading. The corn starch is what gives the chicken that crispy breading layer. It’s important that all of the meat is well coated in the corn starch. I like to place the meat in a zip top bag, pour the corn starch in and then shake until the chicken is evenly coated.
- Cook in batches. Don’t overcrowd the pan! This is an easy mistake to make, but makes a big difference. When frying the chicken, I like to cook it in two batches so that there’s enough room on the skillet. You don’t want the meat to be touching or else it won’t get as crispy.
- Fry, then bake. There’s two steps to make this recipe. After frying the meat in the corn starch/egg breading, you’ll then bake the chicken in the oven with the sauce poured over top. The oven helps continue cooking the meat all the way through and also keeps the exterior crispy while the sauce caramelizes on top.
Sweet and sour sauce
The sweet and sour sauce on top is heavenly. So good and definitely worth making it homemade. It’s what helps take the recipe to the next level. Plus it’s really easy to make. All you need is sugar, ketchup, garlic salt, rice vinegar and soy sauce. Just whisk the ingredients together…that’s it!
You can use swaps for the sauce, like using honey instead of sugar or apple cider vinegar instead of white. If you like heat, you can also add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes or a dash of sriracha.
Sometimes I double the sauce to have extra for dipping. If you’re a sauce person, I’d recommend doubling it just to make sure you have enough. You can always use any leftover sauce to make sweet and sour meatballs.
Tips + modifications
- Prep the chicken and seasonings ahead of time. Use a zip top bag for easy clean up.
- I prefer boneless, skinless chicken breast, but chicken thighs would also taste delicious.
- Distilled vinegar will work if you don’t have rice vinegar on hand.
- To test if the oil is hot enough, splash a little water on the oil. If it pops, it’s ready.
- The oil can get a little messy, so use a splatter guard if you have one.
- Use tongs and an oven safe mitt when making the recipe.
- Double the sauce if you’d like extra for dipping the chicken in.
- Add in extras like chopped bell peppers, onions, broccoli and diced pineapple.
Favorites to serve with
Our favorite way to serve this dish is with steamed rice and vegetables. If I have green onions on hand, I’ll usually chop them up and add some on top before serving. You could also sprinkle on some sesame seeds for a nice finishing touch!
- White or brown rice (or cauliflower rice for lower carb)
- Fried rice
- Steamed vegetables
- Chow mein noodles
- Homemade egg rolls
- Cream cheese wontons
More takeout inspired dishes:
- General Tso’s chicken
- Instant pot orange chicken
- Cashew chicken lettuce wraps
- Chicken and vegetable stir fry
- Kung pao chicken
Sweet and Sour Chicken
For the Chicken:
- 1 1/4 pounds chicken , cut into bite size pieces
- 3/4 cup corn starch
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 large eggs , whisked
For the Sweet and Sour Sauce:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar , distilled or apple cider vinegar will work too
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce , or coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
For serving: Cooked rice and broccoli and/or carrots, sliced green onions
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
- Place the chicken, corn starch, salt, pepper and garlic salt in a large ziplock bag and shake until the chicken is evenly coated.
- Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture and place in the frying pan with a fork. I did half the batch first. Fry both sides of the chicken for about 2 minutes a piece and place chicken on the pan. Dispose of the burnt oil and then heat up the rest of the oil and finish the chicken.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce. Next, pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for 20 minutes. Pull the chicken out and flip the chicken to evenly coat it with sauce. Then bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.
- Serve with steamed rice and vegetables. Enjoy!
- To test if the oil is hot enough, splash a little water on the oil. If it pops, it's ready.
- Double the sauce if you'd like extra for dipping the chicken in.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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