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Sweet and Sour Chicken

Skip takeout and make this sweet and sour chicken recipe at home! Made with crispy pan-fried chicken coated in a sweet, tangy sauce then baked. This family favorite is the perfect weeknight dinner.

You’ll also love my orange chicken recipe, chicken chow mein or honey sesame chicken recipe!

Sweet and sour chicken and rice in a bowl.
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Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

I am so excited to share this sweet and sour chicken recipe that is always a huge hit each time I make it. This takeout favorite is definitely one for your “recipe file” just like crockpot beef and broccoli and baked teriyaki chicken.

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!

Recipe Ingredients

For your sweet and sour chicken and sauce you will need this list of simple ingredients!

Sweet and sour chicken ingredients on a board.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Chicken: You will need 1 ¼ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite size pieces.
  • Seasonings: Kosher salt, pepper and garlic salt.
  • Cornstarch: To help create a crispy coating.
  • Eggs: Whisked eggs will also help create a crispier texture for the chicken.
  • Canola oil: Vegetable oil or olive oil can also be used.
  • Sweet and sour sauce ingredients: Granulated sugar, rice vinegar, ketchup, soy cause and garlic salt.

Substitutions and Variations

This recipe is perfect for when we’re craving Chinese restaurant takeout. I love that we can make it at home and it’s even more delicious.

  • Type of chicken: I prefer boneless, skinless chicken breast, but chicken thighs would also taste delicious.
  • Vinegar: Distilled vinegar will work if you don’t have rice vinegar on hand.
  • Add-ins: Add in extras like diced pineapple or vegetables like green bell pepper just like you may find at your local restaurant.
  • Sauce swaps: You can use honey instead of sugar or apple cider vinegar instead of white. Love heat? Add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes or sriracha.
  • Garnish: Add chopped green onions on top before serving. You could also sprinkle on some sesame seeds for a nice finishing touch!

How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken

A step by step photo collage of how to make sweet and sour chicken.
  • Coat chicken: Add chicken pieces, corn starch, salt, pepper and garlic salt to the bag and shake until the chicken is evenly coated. This will be your ‘batter’.
  • Pan fry chicken: Heat some of the oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Dip chicken in the egg mixture and place into pan in an even layer. Fry both sides of the chicken. Dispose of the burnt oil and then heat up the rest of the oil to finish the chicken.
  • Make sweet and sour sauce: In a medium size bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce.
  • Bake chicken: Pour the sauce over the chicken or toss to coat and bake for 20 minutes. Flip chicken to evenly coat it with sauce and then bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Expert Tips

In order to get the perfectly crispy chicken each time, follow these tips!

  • Cut evenly. Dice the chicken into similar-sized pieces. You want them to be bite-sized, about an inch or so. This helps them cook evenly in the pan.
  • Hot oil: test if the oil is hot enough, splash a little water on the oil. If it pops, it’s ready. Using a splatter guard can help with hot oil splatter and I advise to use tongs and an oven mitt.
  • Cook in batches. Don’t overcrowd the pan! This is an easy mistake to make, but makes a big difference. When frying the chicken, Icook it in two batches so that there’s enough room on the skillet.
  • Fry, then bake. There’s two steps to make this recipe. After frying the meat in the breading, you’ll then bake the chicken in the oven with the sauce poured over top. The oven helps get the exterior crispy while the sauce is caramelized on top.
  • Double the sauce: Double the sauce to have extra for dipping. You can always use any leftover sauce to make this sweet and sour meatballs recipe.
Sweet and sour chicken and rice.

FAQs

Can I prep this in advance?

Yes! Prep the chicken and seasonings ahead of time. Use a zip top bag for the chicken for easy clean up. You can also make the sauce ahead, store it separately from the other ingredients.

Can I add pineapple chunks?

Yes! One cup of pineapple chunks could be added when you bake the chicken.

Can I add other vegetables?

Yes, you could add chopped bell peppers (red bell pepper, yellow or orange), onions or broccoli.

Serving Suggestions

Our favorite way to serve this dish is with steamed rice and vegetables, although if I have time this pineapple fried rice recipe pairs really well, too!

Sweet and sour chicken and rice with chopsticks.

Storage

  • Store: Store leftovers ian airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. If you have made it with rice, store that separately. Reheat in the microwave until warm.
  • Freeze: You can also freeze leftovers for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator then reheat in microwave or in a covered dish in the oven at 350°F until warmed through.

Craving more Chinese takeout recipes to make at home? Try Kung pao chicken, general Tso’s chicken or this veggie beef ramen!

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Sweet and sour chicken and rice.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

5 from 68 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Skip takeout and make this sweet and sour chicken recipe at home! Made with crispy pan-fried chicken coated in a sweet, tangy sauce then baked, it's the perfect weeknight dinner.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6

Video

Ingredients 

For the Chicken:

  • 1 ¼ pounds chicken , cut into bite size pieces
  • ¾ cup corn starch
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs , whisked

For the Sweet and Sour Sauce:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup rice vinegar , distilled or apple cider vinegar will work too
  • 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

    Instructions

    • 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!

    Notes

    Tips:
    • 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.
    Note: This recipe has been updated. I reduced the amount of sugar from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 332kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 990mg | Potassium: 71mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 148IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Chinese

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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