Sweet and sour chicken made with just 3 basic ingredients is a delicious dinner you can get on the table in less than 30 minutes!
Sweet and sour chicken
Sweet and sour chicken ingredients
- Chicken – I like to make this recipe with thighs, but you could also use breast meat.
- Cornstarch – Not strictly necessary, but helps crisp up the outside of the chicken a little.
- Seasoned salt – I’m partial to Lawry’s seasoned salt.
- Pepper – Fresh ground is best.
- Oil – I like to use olive oil, but any kind of cooking fat is fine.
- Pineapple preserves– Peach is a good substitute if you can’t find pineapple.
- Chili sauce – Use a jar our make some homemade chili sauce.
How do you make sweet and sour chicken? (Step-by-step)
⭐ First, cut chicken into bite sized pieces and pat dry with a clean towel. Whisk together starch, seasoned salt, and pepper. Coat chicken in starch mixture.
⭐ Next, coat skillet with a thin layer of oil and brown chicken over medium heat. Set chicken aside.
⭐ Then, blend together preserves and chili sauce until smooth. Add to skillet and stir until heated through.
⭐ Finally, reintroduce chicken to sauce and stir to coat completely.
Can sweet and sour chicken be made ahead?
You can prepare this as much as a day in advance and store it in the refrigerator, or up to a few weeks ahead and store it in the freezer.
Reheat in a skillet over medium heat, or in the microwave on high power in 60 second increments.
What can I use instead of pineapple preserves?
The pineapple will give you the most authentic flavor, but if you can’t find it or don’t like pineapple, peach or orange preserves, marmalade, jam, or jelly are delicious substitutes.
What can I use instead of chicken?
This is also delicious with pork (prepared in the same manner) or even chicken meatballs or turkey meatballs for something a little different. If you want to keep it vegetarian, try seared tofu.
Is sweet and sour chicken gluten free?
This recipe as written is gluten free. Always make sure to double check all your labels if using a new product.
Leftovers and storage
How long does sweet and sour chicken last?
You can keep the leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3 – 4 days, or in the freezer for several weeks.
Can you freeze sweet and sour chicken?
To freeze the leftovers, allow them to cool completely, then store in a freezer safe, tightly sealed container. Make sure to leave headroom at the top of the container for expansion.
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Tips and tricks
🔥 Make it spicy by stirring in a tablespoon of sriracha sauce.
🍗 Don’t have time to make chicken? Bake a bag of frozen nuggets and toss them in the sauce.
🍶 Rather not make the sauce? Cook your chicken and toss it with a bottle of pre-made sweet and sour sauce.
What to eat with sweet and sour chicken (serving suggestions)
We love to serve this over white rice or cauliflower rice with crispy oven broccoli. We also include this in our make-at-home take out nights along with easy fried rice, homemade vegetable chow mein, and egg roll in a bowl.
More Asian inspired recipes
- Vietnamese summer rolls recipe
- Honey garlic chicken (Instant Pot)
- Vegetable stir fry noodles
- Baked peanut butter chicken
- See all our easy Asian recipes!
Try these chicken recipes next
- Parmesan crusted chicken recipe
- Spatchcock chicken
- Easy baked chicken wings
- Smoked chicken legs
- See all our chicken dinner recipes!
Tools we love
- Cast iron skillet – I love this skillet because it has a smooth surface. Perfect for easy cooking.
- Wooden spatula set – I never worry about ruining my cookware or non-stick surfaces when I use a wooden spatula!
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How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 3 - 4 pounds boneless chicken my preference is thigh meat
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 - 2 tablespoons oil my preference is olive oil
- 18 ounce jar pineapple preserves or 2 cups homemade
- 12 ounce jar chili sauce or 1 ½ cups homemade
- Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and pat dry with a clean towel. In a small bowl, whisk together starch, seasoned salt, and pepper. Coat chicken in starch mixture.
- Coat skillet with a thin layer of oil and brown chicken over medium heat. Make sure chicken is cooked in a single layer in the skillet. If you’re using a smaller skillet this can be done in batches, otherwise too much liquid will end up in the pan and it will not brown. Set chicken aside.
- Blend together preserves and chili sauce until smooth using a stick blender or traditional upright blender. (If you don’t want a smooth sauce, you can skip this step). Add sauce mixture to hot skillet and stir constantly until heated through.
- Reintroduce chicken to skillet and stir to coat completely in sauce.
Sweet and Sour Chicken
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