This homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken is a family favorite, made with a perfectly balanced stir-fry sauce plus tender and juicy white meat chicken. Served with rice or your favorite side dishes, it’s a fun and flavorful dinner option!
A Takeout Classic, Made at Home!
If you love Chinese takeout, you are going to love this easy recipe for crispy chicken breast, breaded and fried, and then coated in a shiny, thick, sweet and sour sauce! It’s just like classic Sweet and Sour chicken from your favorite New York Style restaurant or food court!
While it might seem intimidating to bread and fry the chicken and make your own sauce, never fear! This recipe is simple to put together, just following some easy steps to bread, fry, and add sauce to the chicken pieces. You’re going to love it! 😍
Is Sweet and Sour the Same as Orange Chicken?
They are very similar, but not quite the same. Typically, orange chicken has more of a spicy and tangy flavor, while sweet and sour chicken is more balanced and less spicy. However, in some food courts and restaurants, they are more or less interchangeable!
What Is Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken Made Of?
To make this recipe, you’ll need chicken, flour, eggs, and a few different sauces and condiments. Most of these ingredients may already be in your pantry!
- Soy Sauce: For marinating the chicken. You can also use tamari or coconut aminos.
- Chicken Breast: Cut your boneless skinless chicken breasts into 1-inch chunks.
- Pineapple Juice: You can buy pineapple juice, use the juice from canned pineapple or pineapple fruit cups, or use fresh pineapple juice.
- Ketchup: Regular ketchup or sugar-free is fine.
- Rice Vinegar: This delicate vinegar is wonderful in stir-fries, salad dressings, and more.
- Oyster Sauce: A thick dark sauce with a salty seafood flavor, oyster sauce becomes mild when added to other ingredients and gives this dish that special “takeout” taste. You can find it in most grocery stores on the ethnic foods aisle.
- Sugar: Granulated is fine, or use brown sugar, honey, etc.
- Cornstarch: To make the sauce thick and shiny.
- Sriracha: Omit this if you want a milder dish.
- Oil: You’ll need a high heat oil like canola or vegetable oil for frying.
- Flour: All-purpose, for breading the chicken pieces.
- Salt and Pepper
- Egg Wash: An egg whisked with 2 tablespoons of water is used to help the flour stick to the chicken.
- Garnishes: Optional garnishes include toasted sesame seeds and chopped green onion.
How to Make It
So how do you make this savory chicken dish? It’s actually not difficult at all, although there are a few steps to remember. Here’s the skinny:
- Marinate the Chicken Briefly. First, give the chicken a little flavor by tossing it with the soy sauce in a large bowl. Cover and marinate for 5 – 10 minutes, while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Make the Sweet and Sour Sauce. Next, whisk together the pineapple juice, ketchup, rice vinegar, oyster sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and sriracha. Set this aside.
- Prepare the Breading Ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper. Divide this flour mixture evenly into two bowls, and whisk the egg with the water in a third bowl.
- Bread the Chicken. Remove the chicken from the soy sauce marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. Toss the chicken pieces in one of the flour bowls, completely coating the chicken. Next, dip each piece of chicken into the whisked egg, and then into the second bowl of the flour mixture. Place the breaded chicken pieces on a plate as you go. Repeat until all the chicken pieces are breaded.
- Cook the Chicken. Now, heat your oil over medium heat in a large wok or skillet. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the chicken pieces. Fry the chicken on all sides, tossing and stirring occasionally, for 5 – 7 minutes. The chicken should be crispy and golden brown.
- Add the Sauce. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and pour the sauce over the fried chicken, gently stirring until all of the pieces are coated. Keep stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, another 1 – 2 minutes.
- Enjoy! Remove the wok from the heat, and garnish the dish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions (if using). Enjoy!
Tips and Tricks
Before you start cooking, I hope you’ll take a moment to look over these helpful tips. They’re my top hacks for making amazing sweet and sour chicken, the easy way. Bon appetit!
- Chicken Thighs: This recipe is also fantastic with chicken thighs instead of breasts. The overall dish will be a little bit richer, since dark meat is more fatty and moist.
- Oil Temperature: To test your oil, drop in a few flecks of flour. If the flour sizzles, the oil is ready for cooking the chicken.
- Sauce Substitution: Store-bought sweet and sour sauce can be substituted if you like! After frying the chicken, turn down the heat to low, and add 1 – 1 ½ cups of sauce to your pan or wok. Toss until the chicken pieces are coated and the sauce is heated through.
- Veggies: Adding vegetables to this dish couldn’t be easier! Stir-fry some bell peppers, onions, broccoli, mushrooms, or whatever you like, and stir them right into the finished dish!
Yummy Serving Suggestions
This chicken is perfect served simply over a bed of rice – I love jasmine rice for its special fragrance and perfect texture! You can also add a side dish or two, if you like – such as one of these other takeout classics!
- Soup: If you’re like me, a takeout meal isn’t quite complete without Egg Drop Soup! Luckily, it’s incredibly easy to make your own. You’ve got to try this one!
- Crab Rangoons: These crispy little appetizers are another favorite. Made with wonton wrappers and a rich cream cheese filling, Crab Rangoon Wontons are addictively delicious – you won’t be able to eat just one!
- Spring Rolls: For an extra-special side dish, these Golden Veggie Spring Rolls can’t be beat! The filling is savory, the wrappers are crunchy, and the overall result is irresistible.
How to Store and Reheat Sweet and Sour Chicken
- To store, place the leftover sweet and sour chicken in a food storage bag or container (make sure to let it cool down first). Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- To reheat, place the desired portion in a covered saucepan or skillet over low heat. Allow the chicken to heat slowly until it is piping hot all the way through.
How To Freeze Sweet and Sour Chicken?
- Cool down the chicken and pack it into freezer bags or containers, and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw in the fridge before reheating. Keep in mind that any veggies may be mushy or soft after freezing and thawing, so you may want to freeze the chicken and sauce, only.
Sweet and Sour Chicken
- ¼ cup less sodium soy sauce
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
- ⅓ cup pineapple juice
- 4 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 egg, whisked with 2 tablespoons of water
- 2 to 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- Chopped green onion
- Toss the soy sauce and chicken in a large bowl, and cover. Let marinate for 5 to 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, ketchup, rice vinegar, oyster sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and sriracha. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper. Divide the flour mixture evenly into two bowls.
- Remove the chicken from the soy sauce marinade and lightly pat dry with paper towels. Toss the chicken pieces in one of the flour mixture bowls, completely coating the chicken. This is your chicken’s first coating of flour.
- Next, arrange an assembly line for dredging your chicken. Dip each flour-coated piece of chicken into the whisked egg, then dip it into the second bowl of flour mixture, and place the coated chicken on a plate. Repeat until all the chicken pieces are dredged.
- In a large wok or a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Once the oil is heated and shimmering, add the chicken. Fry the chicken on all sides, tossing and stirring occasionally for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until crispy, golden brown, and cooked through.
- Decrease the heat to medium-low. Add the previously prepared pineapple juice mixture and the chicken pieces to the skillet; stir until the chicken pieces are evenly coated. Stir occasionally until the sauce has thickened, another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions. Serve immediately.