Sweet and Sour Chicken

Looking to make Authentic Sweet and Sour Chicken at home?! Then look no further! This Sweet and Sour Chicken tastes JUST like your favorite restaurant only BETTER! Serve with white rice to soak up all of the delicious sauce!

Need more Take out inspired dishes? Then try my General Tso’s Chicken or Beef Broccoli!

Sweet and Sour Chicken in large skillet with sesame seeds

Sweet and Sour Chicken

We’ve all ordered Sweet and Sour Chicken as a take out dish (it’s my favorite!) but the best way to enjoy these incredible flavors is to make it from scratch at home. It’s super easy to throw together and it tastes so much better than the restaurant version!

I love making take out dishes like garlic fried rice, general tso’s or beef and broccoli at home. They taste so much better than the restaurant version and you know what’s in it. No hidden ingredients, msg or food coloring.

This sweet and sour chicken recipe couldn’t be easier to make! I coated the chicken thighs in cornstarch to help the chicken get golden brown and crispy on the outside. The cornstarch also helps to thicken up the sauce at the end as well. I opted to pan fry my chicken versus deep frying to save on calories. This Chinese sweet and sour chicken is just as satisfying if not more than the restaurant version. You will not miss the fried / greasy flavor!

After the chicken is pan fried I add in the sauce ingredients and slurry mixture (cornstarch and water) and simmer until the sauce coats the chicken. It couldn’t be easier. Serve and enjoy!

I love this Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe because:

  • It’s healthier than takeout: This is one of the main reasons I like cooking at home. I know what I’m putting in my food and can skip excess oils and flavor enhancers. You can also add extra veggies to make this an even more nutritious meal.
  • It tastes amazing: it’s a little tangy, salty and sweet – just like eating at the restaurant!
  • It’s kid-friendly: there’s no spicy heat and it even calls for a little ketchup! This is a great dish to start getting your kids to try other cuisines from around the world.
  • It’s super easy: All you have to do is:
    1. coat & cook the chicken
    2. stir fry the veggies and make the sweet and sour sauce
    3. toss everything together and you have a full meal! SO EASY!
  • It’s quick: Just 15 minutes of prep and 15 minutes of cooking! Dinner is on the table in 30 minutes – AMAZING!
  • It’s great for meal prep: Double the recipe and save half for meals throughout the week, or you could freeze it for later!

close up shot of sweet and sour chicken

How To Make Sweet and Sour Chicken

It couldn’t be more simple – just 3 easy steps:

  • Dice your chicken into bite-sized pieces and then coat the chicken pieces in cornstarch. This gives the outside of the chicken a nice crisp but keep the inside super tender and juicy when they’re cooking. Pan-fry the coated chicken pieces until they are cooked through. This will take about 4-5 minutes.

sautéing floured chicken in large skillet

  • Slice and sauté the red and green bell peppers until they soften and brown slightly. This will take about 3-4 minutes.

sautéing peppers in a large skillet

  • Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup.

sweet and sour sauce in clear measuring cup

  • Add the sauce and the chicken back to the pan and toss to coat.

adding chicken and sauce to the pan

  • Simmer until thickened: In a small bowl whisk together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water. Slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 2-3 minutes.

simmering chicken in sweet and sour sauce

  • Serve immediately with green onions and sesame seeds for garnish, if desired.

spooning sweet and sour chicken in skillet

What goes in a Sweet and Sour Sauce?

Sweet and sour sauce is the perfect blend of sweet and tangy. To achieve the sweetness granulated sugar is added. You can also substitute the sugar with honey. Apple cider vinegar is added to give the sauce a nice tang. Feel free to use rice wine vinegar in place of the apple cider vinegar. The sauce is rounded out with ketchup (for color, sweetness and a hint of tomato), soy sauce, onion powder and garlic powder. Feel free to use fresh onion and garlic in this dish. Just add it in with the peppers!

What to serve with Sweet and Sour Chicken

chicken in skillet with wooden spoon


Can I add other vegetables to this easy chicken recipe?

Sure! Here are some vegetables and fruit that would be perfect in this dish:

  • Baby corn
  • Bell peppers (yellow, orange, red, green)
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Yellow squash
  • Water chestnuts
  • Zucchini
  • Pineapple

Can I make it spicy?

That’s a great idea! Add 1/2 tsp of chili powder (or more/less to your taste), crushed red pepper flakes or dice up a small chili pepper and add it when you sauté the bell peppers.

How do I store this sweet & sour chicken?

Fridge: Store this dish in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.

Freezer: Store in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw completely before reheating in a pot on the stove.

Here are more Chinese Takeout Recipes you can make at home!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

5 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
30 Minute Sweet and Sour Chicken. Tender, juicy chicken smothered in a homemade sweet and sour sauce. So much better than takeout!


  • 1 pound chicken breasts cubed into bite sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons oil divided
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • green onions for garnish if desired
  • sesame seeds for garnish if desired


  • Add chicken and cornstarch to a large ziplock bag. Shake to coat the chicken with the cornstarch.
    Meanwhile heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet.
  • Working in two batches add the chicken and cook over medium high heat until browned, 4-5 minutes.
    Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the same pan.
    Add the peppers and saute until browned and slightly tender, 3-4 minutes.
  • Meanwhile prepare the sauce by whisking together sugar, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, onion and garlic powder in a small bowl.
  • Add the sauce and the chicken back to the pan.
  • In a small bowl whisk together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water.
    Slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve immediately with green onions and sesame seeds for garnish, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Le Creme de la Crumb

Nutrition Facts
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: chicken, Chinese, Easy Recipe, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Take out recipes


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