Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken — This sweet and sour chicken recipe takes just 15 minutes to make and tastes way better than takeout. Perfect for a weeknight dinner!
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Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken
I’m all about a 15-minute dinner. Especially when it tastes better than what I’d get in a restaurant, it’s healthier, less expensive, and faster than calling for takeout. Score on all fronts.
It’s a simple sweet and sour sauce that’s packed with the perfect balance of sweet yet sour Asian flavors. Soy, sesame, garlic, and more.
The homemade sweet and sour sauce coats the chicken beautifully and really makes this dish what it is. You’ll likely have extra, which I could eat by the spoonful. It’s great over rice or veggies.
Before cooking the chicken it’s tossed with cornstarch, which helps keep it moist, tender, juicy, and provides a very lightly ‘breaded’ exterior without actually breading it.
The flavor profile reminds me of Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken with Pineapple and Sweet and Sour Asian Noodles. Serve it with rice and you’re set.
What’s in Sweet and Sour Chicken?
For both the chicken and sweet and sour sauce, you’ll need:
- Granulated sugar
- Brown sugar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Low-sodium soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- Chicken breasts
- Olive oil
How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken
You’ll first need to make the sweet and sour chicken sauce, which consists of sugar, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, corn starch, and water. Add everything but the water and cornstarch to a saucepan.
Bring the sauce to a boil, then combine the water and cornstarch in a separate bowl before adding it to the homemade sweet and sour sauce. Let that bubble away for a few minutes until it thickens up.
Once the sauce is done, make the chicken. Add the diced chicken into a baggie with the cornstarch, salt, and pepper and give it a good shake to coat the chicken pieces fully.
Fry the chicken in a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil (no need to deep fry!). Once the chicken is cooked, stir in the sweet and sour sauce and continue cooking until the chicken is coated in sauce and heated through.
I like to serve my homemade sweet and sour chicken with rice and sprinkle chopped scallions and sesame seeds on top. I like the contrasting textures!
Can I Prep This Recipe in Advance?
The chicken will last up to five days in the fridge, but it’s best enjoyed fresh. If desired, you could dice the chicken a day or two ahead of time and you can also whisk together the sweet and sour sauce beforehand.
That way, all you have to do is quickly throw everything in a pan the day you plan on making the recipe.
Tips for the Best Sweet and Sour Chicken
If you want to make this Chinese sweet and sour chicken with veggies, like broccoli or sugar snap peas, add them after you add the sauce to the chicken and let them simmer in the sauce for a few minutes until they’re crisp tender.
This recipe calls for chicken breasts, but you could use thighs as well. You want boneless, skinless thighs though. I don’t recommend using bone-in chicken for this Chinese sweet and sour chicken recipe.
This chicken is best enjoyed right away, but it’ll last up to five days in the fridge. For the best leftovers, reheat the chicken in a skillet with a little oil instead of microwaving it.
More Chinese Chicken Recipes:
ALL OF MY ASIAN RECIPES!
Better-Than-Takeout Cashew Chicken – Juicy chicken, crisp-tender vegetables, and crunchy cashews coated with the best garlicky soy sauce! Skip takeout and make your own restaurant-quality meal that’s easy, ready in 20 minutes, and healthier!
Slow Cooker Orange Chicken – The easiest orange chicken ever because your slow cooker does all the work! Super juicy, tender, and coated with a sweet-yet-tangy orange glaze that’s irresistible!
Easy Better-Than-Takeout Chicken Fried Rice – One-skillet, ready in 20 minutes, and you’ll never want takeout again after tasting how good homemade is! Way more flavor, not greasy, and loads of juicy chicken!
Healthy Sesame Chicken and Broccoli — Skip takeout and make this Asian favorite at home in just minutes!! So EASY and HEALTHIER than what you’d get in a restaurant but tastes just as AWESOME!!
Kung Pao Chicken — An easy, BETTER-THAN-TAKEOUT recipe with juicy chicken and such a flavorful sauce!! Don’t call for takeout when you can make this HEALTHIER version at home in 20 minutes!
Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken — Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this AMAZING sticky chicken at home in 15 minutes!! So EASY with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy with plenty of sticky sauce!!
Healthier Orange Chicken — Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this HEALTHIER orange chicken at home in less than 10 minutes!! EASY, authentic, and so INCREDIBLE that you’ll never miss the fat and calories!!
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