Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry

Sweet and sour chicken is one of my all-time favorite Chinese dishes. The perfect balance of sweet and sour and loaded with veggies! In this recipe, I cut out a lot of sugar from my original recipe without sacrificing flavor. Better than takeout and definitely better for you!

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (21)

I love Chinese food. And I may be a little obsessed with making my favorite Chinese dishes at home. Since we moved out here, we have yet to find a quality Chinese restaurant. We’ve tried a few different places, but neither compare to the restaurant that was around the corner from where we used to live. Which means I now have to make my favorite dishes at home. It all started with this healthy sesame chicken recipe which manifested into many, many more recipes over the years.

I first shared my recipe for homemade sweet and sour chicken back in 2013. Since then, I’ve made quite a few changes, one being that I cut back on a lot of the sugar in my original recipe and even replaced some of it with fresh pineapple juice. This new and improved [and healthier!!] sweet and sour chicken recipe is easy and a million times better than take out.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (24)

Since I can remember sweet and sour chicken has been my favorite thing to order. I would pick around the stray veggies and only eat the saucy chicken and rice. However now that I’m adult, I like lots of veggies in mine (I bet my mom never saw this coming) like carrots, bell pepper, onions, broccoli and if I was making this for myself I would’ve added mushrooms and maybe water chestnuts or bamboo shoots. Pretty much anything else I can get my mitts on because I obviously like a lot of color in my stir-fry.

This homemade sweet and sour chicken is always a hit at our house and I hope it is loved just as much in your home.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (7)Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (1)

To make this sweet and sour chicken recipe, you will need only to gather a few fridge and pantry ingredients. For the chicken you will need thin-cut chicken breast halves [cut into bite-size pieces], cornstarch, white pepper and 1 egg white. For the fresh ingredients, grab 1 to 2 carrots, broccoli, a red bell pepper and fresh pineapple. Really try to find fresh pineapple [usually in the refrigerated produce section at most grocery stores] that has at least 1/4 cup or so in the bottom. Fresh is best, but canned pineapple can be used in a pinch. Just be sure to get the one packed in its own natural juices.

For the sweet and sour sauce, you need dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, honey, reserved fresh pineapple juice, ketchup, tamari (or soy sauce), white vinegar and low-sodium chicken broth.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (2)

In a medium bowl, measure and add 1/4 cup of each dark brown sugar, granulated sugar and honey.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (3)

Then pour in the 1/2 cup of ketchup, 1/4 cup of pineapple juice and 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari (or lo-so soy sauce). In my last recipe, it was a 1/2 cup of each of these sugars! So we are literally cutting the sugar in this recipe in half.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (4) Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (5)

Lastly, pour in 2/3 cup of white vinegar and 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (6)

Whisk until combined and the sugars have dissolved.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (8)Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (9)

In my original recipe, I stir-fry the veggies, which is totally fine if you want to go that route. Nowadays I’m all about roasting them separately from the chicken. To me it seems easier and the caramelized edges add a whole new level of flavor.

To do this, preheat your oven to 500°. Dice the red bell pepper into large bite-sized chunks, peel and slice 1 to 2 carrots on a diagonal, chop a medium onion and cut 1 broccoli crown into florets. Place the veggies on to a rimmed metal baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a few pinches of kosher salt. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender, yet firm with caramelized edges — rotate the pan halfway through.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com 00 Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com 001

In a medium bowl, whisk 1 egg white until frothy. Toss the cut chicken breasts with 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper. Transfer the coated chicken pieces into the egg whites and toss to coat.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (10) Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (11)

Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut or olive oil on medium-high in a large wok or 12-inch chefs pan. Working in batches, cook the chicken for 4 to 5 minutes (or until deeply golden brown) before using tongs to turn the chicken and continue cooking. Transfer the golden nuggets to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Once the chicken is fully cooked, reduce the heat to medium and add it all back to the pan along with 2 cloves of minced fresh garlic. Toss and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (12) Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (13)

Next add in the vegetables and pineapple into the wok and pour in the sauce.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (14)

Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil before pouring in the cornstarch slurry [1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon cold water]. Simmer until the sauce thickens. Taste and season with kosher salt to your personal taste and if you want some heat, add in a teaspoon of chili garlic paste (samba oelek) or sriracha.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (15)

Serve in bowls or family style, with jasmine rice, sliced green onions and cilantro leaves if that’s your jam.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (20)

The perfect balance of sweet and sour and crisp and tender. Who needs take out and all that sodium and MSG when you can make sweet and sour chicken that rivals any restaurant?

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (22)

Enjoy! And if you give this Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (19)

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

Yield: 4 to 6

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-fry

Sweet and sour chicken is one of my all-time favorite Chinese dishes. The perfect balance of sweet and sour and loaded with veggies! In this recipe, I cut out a lot of sugar from my original recipe without sacrificing flavor. Better than takeout and definitely better for you!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • FOR THE SAUCE:
  • 1/4 cup granulated
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh pineapple juice (reserved from pineapple for recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari (or low-sodium soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (homemade or store-bought)
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek or sriracha, for spice (optional)
  • cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 1 tablespoon cold water)
  • FOR THE VEGGIES:
  • 1 to 2 carrots, peeled and sliced on an angle
  • 1 broccoli crown, cut into florets
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into large bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 10 ounces fresh pineapple, cut into cubes (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • FOR THE CHICKEN:
  • 1-1/2 pounds thin-cut boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or extra light olive, plus more as needed
  • SERVE WITH:
  • 3 to 4 cups cooked white, brown or jasmine rice
  • sliced green onions
  • cilantro leaves

Instructions

FOR THE SAUCE: In a medium bowl whisk the sugars, honey, pineapple juice, tamari, ketchup, vinegar and chicken broth.Season the cubed chicken with the pepper to combine and set aside.

FOR THE VEGETABLES:

Preheat your oven to 500°.

Place the sliced carrots, broccoli florets, onion and chopped red pepper onto a rimmed metal baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a few pinches of kosher salt. Roast for 8-10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through roasting. Remove and set off to the side.

FOR THE CHICKEN:

Meanwhile, toss the chicken breast pieces with cornstarch and white pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy and add in the coated chicken. Toss to coat.

In a wok or large 12-inch chefs pan or skillet, add in 2 tablespoons of extra light olive oil or coconut oil and heat on medium-high to high heat. Once hot, work in batches cooking the chicken 4 to 6 minutes a side or until fully cooked. Add more oil as needed.

Once the chicken is fully cooked, reduce the heat to medium and add all of the chicken back into the pan, along with the minced garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes before adding in the vegetables and pineapple. Pour in the sweet and sour sauce and increase the heat back to high, and bring the sauce to a boil.

Once the sauce is boiling, pour in the cornstarch slurry and simmer until the sauce thickens. Taste and season the sauce with kosher salt, to your preference.

Serve the sweet and sour chicken over cooked rice and garnish with sliced green onions, cilantro and more sambal oelek or sriracha if desired.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

[this post contains affiliate links.]

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken l SimplyScratch.com (17)

    Pin It

25 Responses to “Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry”

  1. #
    1
    Kaitlyn — October 30, 2013 at 7:55 am

    This looks wonderful! Thank you so much for these Chinese recipes! I love Chinese, but it can really hurt the waistline (and the wallet) when eating out at Chinese restaurants all the time. Your recipes are quick and easy and so tasty!

  2. #
    2
    Tieghan Gerard — October 30, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Sweet and sour is the best and I love being able to make it at home! Like you, we have no good Chinese places near us, so it is make my own or no Chinese food! Obviously, I like making my own! This dish is making it on my easy weeknight meals list! Have to give it a try! 🙂

  3. #
    3
    Terry Grieve @ Culinary Collage — October 30, 2013 at 8:55 am

    This sweet and sour chicken looks fantastic….I can’t wait to try it! I make your sesame chicken all the time and it’s always a huge hit.

  4. #
    4
    Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) — October 30, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Yum! I always think homemade Chinese is so much better. I actually neverrrrr go out to Chinese.

  5. #
    5
    Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain — October 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Laurie, I am loving this stir-fry! Gorgeous!!! I could eat an entire plate of this right meow!

  6. #
    6
    Sally @ Sallys Baking Addiction — October 30, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    I 100% support your obsession with making take out meals at home. Sweet and sour chicken is one I have to try next!

  7. #
    7
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — October 30, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Laurie, you come up with the most killer weeknight meals, and I LOVE this one! We’ve loved recreating Asian take-out at home lately and I have got to give this a go. Thanks for sharing!

  8. #
    8
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — October 31, 2013 at 3:28 am

    This is one of my favorite take-out dishes but I’m really loving your homemade version more!

  9. #
    9
    Julia @ hungryandconfused — October 31, 2013 at 4:27 am

    I LOVE sweet and sour anything and your version looks delicious – will definitely give it a try.

  10. #
    10
    Kathy — October 31, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Delicious! I love making my own take-out at home. It’s so fun and tastes so much better!

  11. #
    11
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — October 31, 2013 at 11:30 am

    This looks SO GOOD (and so pretty! love it when my meals are pretty :)).

  12. #
    12
    Christina @ The Beautiful Balance — November 1, 2013 at 1:19 am

    Love making “take-out” dishes at home. So much healthier!!

  13. #
    13
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — November 2, 2013 at 11:16 am

    This sounds amazing!!! I want it right now!

  14. #
    14
    linda — November 12, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Made this dish last night and it was truely phenomenal..the perfect blend of sweet, sour, and heat! Way to go, Laurie…my honey now says that it’s better than our favorite restaurant…wants me to make it from now on.!!!!

    • simplyscratch replied: — November 12th, 2013 @ 11:05 pm

      I’m SO glad you two liked it!! My husband said the same thing 🙂

  15. #
    15
    Teresa K — August 23, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Yumm! Best non deep-fried version ever. I used white pepper and a little bit of ginger tossed in with chicken. Made sauce just like it says. I would prob use less vinegar next time. But it was amazing! I did not see where you used the pineapple juice in the recipe so just added it all to the sauce.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — August 26th, 2014 @ 8:39 am

      Thank you so much Teresa! {and I’ll look into the pineapple juice situation} 🙂

  16. #
    16
    Julie J. — December 11, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Beautiful presentation Laurie! Can’t wait to make this .

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — December 17th, 2017 @ 9:40 am

      Thank you, Julie! ❤️

  17. #
    17
    Diego Lopes — December 12, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    It’s one of my favorites too, tho I never made it at home! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  18. #
    18
    Gezilecek yerler — December 12, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Vavv. it seems very good delicious. me too made to this. Thanks.

  19. #
    19
    Angie — January 26, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    Hi Lauren, this is what’s for dinner tonight! I noticed in the step-by-step instructions (with the pics), you said to whisk one egg yolk…but I think you meant white. It takes VERY little to confuse me, so I’m just checking.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — January 26th, 2018 @ 11:10 pm

      Gah! Yes, Angie! Good eye! My fingers have a mind of their own. EnjoY!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken - MotivaNova - MotivaNova

Leave a Comment