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 served on white platter with rice

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.

close up of Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken with rice

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.

Sweet and Sour Chicken ingredients

To make this sweet and sour chicken recipe you will need:

  • thin-cut chicken breast halves [cut into bite-size pieces]
  • cornstarch
  • white pepper
  • an egg white
  • carrots
  • broccoli
  • red bell pepper
  • fresh pineapple
  • sweet and sour sauce

Sweet and Sour sauce ingredients

For making the Sweet and Sour Sauce You Will Need:

  • dark brown sugar
  • granulated sugar
  • honey
  • reserved fresh pineapple juice
  • ketchup
  • tamari (or soy sauce)
  • white vinegar
  • low-sodium chicken broth

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.

pouring honey into bowl of granulated and dark brown sugar

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

adding ketchup, pineapple juice and low-sodium tamari to glass bowl

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.

pouring vinegar into sweet and sour sauce

Lastly, pour in 2/3 cup of white vinegar

pouring low-sodium chicken broth into sweet and sour sauce.

 And 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth.

glass bowl of Sweet and Sour sauce with whisk

Whisk until combined and the sugars have dissolved.

chopped red bell pepper, slice carrots, chopped onions and broccoli florets with olive oil and kosher salt on a rimmed sheet pan

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°.

chopped red bell pepper, slice carrots, chopped onions and broccoli florets roasted

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.

glass bowl of frothy whipped egg whites.

In a medium bowl, whisk 1 egg white until frothy.

White bowl with chopped chicken, corn starch and ground white pepper.

Toss the cut chicken breasts with 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper.

diced chicken tossed and coated with cornstarch and white pepper

Transfer the coated chicken pieces into the egg whites and toss to coat.

wok with oil and browned chicken

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.

minced garlic added to pan of crispy browned 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.

roasted vegetable and fresh pineapple added to pan with chicken.

Next add in the vegetables and pineapple into the pan.

Pouring sweet and sour sauce into the pan with chicken and vegetables.

And pour in the sweet and sour sauce.

increasing heat to high and bringing the sauce up to a boil.

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.

Smells heavenly!

Large platter of Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken served over rice.

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

The perfect balance of sweet and sour and crisp and tender.

close up of Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken on white platter

Because really who needs take out and all that sodium and MSG when you can make sweet and sour chicken that rivals any restaurant?

top down photo of Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken with serving utensils.

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!

Close up of saucy Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-fry
Yield: Serves 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! Serves 6 (or 4 generous) portions.

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
  • extra light olive, plus more as needed
  • SERVE WITH:
  • cooked white, brown or jasmine rice (about 2-3 cups)
  • sliced green onions
  • cilantro leaves

Instructions

TO MAKE THE SAUCE:

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

TO MAKE THE VEGETABLES:

  1. Preheat your oven to 500°.
  2. Place the sliced carrots, broccoli florets, onion and chopped red pepper onto a rimmed metal baking sheet.
  3. 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.

TO PREPARE THE CHICKEN:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Serve the sweet and sour chicken over cooked rice and garnish with sliced green onions, cilantro and more sambal oelek or sriracha if desired.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 770Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 675mgCarbohydrates: 118gFiber: 8gSugar: 70gProtein: 53g

All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on SimplyScratch.com should only be used as a general guideline.

Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken served on rice with sliced green onions and cilantro.