Sweet And Sour Chicken With Pineapple

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Sweet and Sour Pineapple chicken is a classic menu item at any Chinese restaurant in America. It’s a dish everyone knows, but few people make it at home. I think this is because the main ingredients – pineapple and tomato ketchup – seem expensive, but if you’ve ever shopped at Costco, you’ll know they’re both pretty cheap.

Pineapple Sweet & Sour Chicken

Ingredients

for 4 servings

  • 1 ½ lb chicken breast(680 g), chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup cornstarch(125 g), plus 1 tbsp, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup white onion(75 g), chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar(60 mL)
  • ¼ cup sugar(50 g)
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • white rice, cooked, for serving
  • scallion, sliced, for garnish
  • sesame seed, for garnish

Nutrition Info

View Info

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken with 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 1 egg. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. Cut the pineapple in half lengthwise and carefully cube the fruit in each half, leaving the outside of the pineapple intact. Scoop out the cubed pineapple and set aside.
  3. Place the remaining cup of cornstarch in a separate large bowl and toss the marinated chicken pieces until liberally coated. Shake off excess.
  4. Fill medium pot halfway with oil and heat until the oil reaches 350˚F (180°C).
  5. Fry the chicken for 4-5 minutes, until the coating is golden brown and the chicken is cooked throughout. Transfer to a wire rack set over paper towels to drain.
  6. To make the sauce, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a medium frying pan over a medium heat. Sauté the bell pepper and onion for 2-3 minutes, until softened.
  7. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook until fragrant.
  8. Add the vinegar, sugar, and ketchup, and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  9. Add the pineapple cubes and warm thorough.
  10. Add the chicken to the frying pan and toss to coat with the sauce.
  11. Scoop the mixture into the hollowed out pineapple along with a scoop of rice.
  12. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.
  13. Enjoy!

SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN WITH PINEAPPLE

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple is a classic take out favorite that everyone loves! This homemade dish is an easy recipe that is ready in less than 35 minutes. 

a white bowl filled with white rice and topped with sweet and sour chicken

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

This homemade recipe tastes even better than takeout. The chicken is pan-fried with bell peppers and pineapple for a fresh, Chinese-inspired dinner. The recipe nails the combination of sweet and sour flavors. It’s tangy and sweet, but also tart and bold. Best of all, it’s easy to make at home! Prep the sauce, cook the chicken, vegetables and pineapple, stir and enjoy.

SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN SAUCE

To make the sauce, combine sugar, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, sesame oil, light brown sugar and garlic in a medium saucepan. Whisk the ingredients together and bring to a boil.

Separately, in a small bowl, whisk together water and cornstarch. Add to the pan with the sauce and reduce heat to low and simmer for about five minutes. The sauce will thicken as it simmers. Remove the sauce from the heat after it thickens.

Instead of deep-frying the chicken for this recipe, the chicken is coated in cornstarch and pan fried. This makes the meal somewhat lighter. The pan-fried chicken goes well with the freshness of the veggies and pineapple.

HOW TO MAKE SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN WITH PINEAPPLE

  • Prepare the chicken: Add the chicken, cornstarch, salt and pepper to a Ziploc bag and shake to coat.
  • Cook the chicken: Heat oil in a large skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook until chicken is cooked through. Add additional olive oil if it sticks to the pan.
  • Cook the vegetables and pineapple: Add the vegetables to the pan and cook for a few minutes until the vegetables are barely tender. Add the pineapple.
  • Stir in the sweet and sour sauce: Pour the sauce and stir to combine. Bring the pan to a boil over medium high heat. Remove from heat once everything is heated through.
sweet and sour sauce pouring over chicken and bell peppers

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

Serve this dish with your favorite grain or even on it’s own.

  • White Rice
  • Cauliflower Rice
  • Instant Pot Brown Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds
chicken with pineapple, bell peppers and sweet and sour sauce in a dark skillet with a wooden spoon

TIPS FOR THE RECIPE

  • Cut your vegetables and chicken evenly: By cutting your veggies and chicken into even chunks you’ll help them cook evenly and ensure that the taste of your meal stays consistent.
  • Thickening your sauce: After you make your sauce you will need to let it simmer in the pan for several minutes to thicken. If you prefer a thick sauce, let your sauce simmer for a coupon minutes more until it reaches the desired thickness.
  • Prevent chicken from sticking to the pan: Make sure the pan and oil are hot before adding the chicken. When you begin to cook your chicken, if it sticks to the pan add a generous tablespoon or more of olive oil. Keep stirring the chicken and scraping up any parts that are sticking.
  • Less sugar version: This recipe is as close to authentic as possible so it uses real granulated sugar. However, if you are concerned about the sugar, you can cut it back or use honey.
White plate filled with white rice and topped with sweet and sour chicken sitting on a table next to chop stix

When we are craving Chinese take out, we make this recipe instead. It’s packed with the same great flavor but lightened up a little with a few modifications. It’s easy to make, is perfect for dinner and tastes great as leftovers.

Try it and let us know what you think!

SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN WITH PINEAPPLE

YIELD: 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME: 10 MINS

COOK TIME: 25 MINS

TOTAL TIME: 35 MINS

This is an easy chicken recipe that is ready in less than 35 minute! Serve it with rice or quinoa for a full meal.

INGREDIENTS 

  • ▢2 chicken breasts, (about 1.25 pounds), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ▢3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ▢salt and pepper, to taste
  • ▢3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ▢1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • ▢1 green bell pepper, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • ▢1/2 white onion, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • ▢1 cup chopped pineapple
  • ▢Green onions, sliced into thin rounds for garnish
  • ▢Sesame seeds, for garnish

For the sauce:

  • ▢1/3 cup sugar
  • ▢1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ▢1/4 cup ketchup
  • ▢2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ▢1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ▢1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • ▢3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ▢2 tablespoons cold water
  • ▢1 tablespoon cornstarch

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a medium saucepan, add all of the ingredients for the sauce except for the water and cornstarch. Whisk together and bring to a boil.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Add to the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Your sauce should thicken as it simmers. Remove it from the heat and set it aside while you make your chicken.
  • Add the chicken, cornstarch and salt and pepper to a Ziploc bag and shake to coat.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add the chicken. Cook over medium-high heat for about 7 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Add additional olive oil if the chicken begins to stick to the pan.
  • Add the chopped bell peppers and onion to the pan and stir to combine. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the veggies are just barely tender.
  • Add the pineapple chunks to the pan.
  • Pour the sauce into the pan. Stir to combine. Bring the pan to a boil over medium high heat and cook until heated through. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

NOTES

  • Less sugar or substitute: You can cut back on the sugar or use honey. Keep in mind that you need some kind of sweetener to create the sweet flavor for the sauce.
  • Prevent chicken from sticking to pan: Heat the oil and pan until it’s hot before adding your chicken to prevent chicken from sticking. 

Nutritional information does not include rice for serving.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

This Sweet and Sour Chicken is an easy, 25-minute Chinese-inspired stir fry recipe with pineapple, bell pepper, and the most delicious sweet and tangy sauce! It’s gluten-free and so much better and cheaper than take-out – serve it with cooked rice, noodles, or on lettuce wraps.

Overhead photo of a white plate with sweet and sour chicken and rice with chopsticks.

Making your favorite Chinese-inspired take-out food from home is so much easier than you’d think! And this easy sweet and sour chicken with pineapple recipe is no exception.

The chicken is seasoned with soy sauce and spices, then coated in cornstarch and pan-fried until crispy. Then, it’s mixed with sautéed peppers, onions, and pineapple, along with the most delicious sweet and sour sauce made with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

You can serve it over rice or noodles, eat it plain, or eat it on cool, refreshing lettuce wraps.

This recipe is inspired by Jessica in the Kitchen’s Vegan Sweet and Sour Tofu. Check out her blog for more vegetarian and vegan recipe inspiration!

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Chicken Breasts – you can use thighs if you prefer, or a mixture.
  • Soy sauce – or liquid aminos, or gluten-free soy sauce if needed.
  • Cornstarch – for coating the chicken to make it crispy. Flour will also work, or arrowroot powder or almond flour for a grain-free version. You can also just omit it and sauté the chicken without it, though it won’t have a crispy coating.
  • Garlic powder – minced fresh garlic will also work.
  • Bell pepper and red onion – I used green bell pepper (because it’s the least sweet and the sauce is already sweet), but you can use any color you want. And yellow, white, or the light and white parts of scallions can be used instead of red onion.
  • Pineapple – fresh or canned, and the juice can also be used (see recipe notes)
  • Canola oil – for frying, or another neutral tasting oil. You can also use olive oil if you prefer, but it may add a different flavor.
  • Brown sugar, honey, ketchup, rice vinegar, and Sriracha – for the sauce. You can sub the brown sugar and/or honey with other sugars or maple syrup, and you can use white or apple cider vinegar instead of rice. Another Asian-style hot sauce, like chili garlic paste, can be used instead of Sriracha, or omitted for a mild version.

How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken

  • First, marinate the chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, black pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes while you prep other ingredients, such as chop the peppers and onions and mix the sauce.
  • Mix the sweet and sour sauce in a small bowl of glass measuring cup- brown sugar, honey, rice vinegar, water (or pineapple juice), Sriracha, ketchup, soy sauce, and garlic powder.
  • Sprinkle cornstarch on the chicken and stir to coat every piece thoroughly.Process collage showing how to prep bell peppers, onions, sweet and sour sauce, and chicken.
  • Cook the chicken until crispy in canola oil in a large skillet or wok. I prefer nonstick. Then, remove it to a plate.
  • Add the peppers, pineapple, and onions to the skillet and cook until they are softened and starting to brown.
  • Pour in the sauce and simmer it until thickened a bit.
  • Finally, add the chicken back into the skillet and stir to coat. Now you’re ready to serve! I like to garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.Process collage showing how to make sweet and sour chicken in a skillet.

Can I reduce the amount of sugar?

Yes, you can! This recipe is absolutely DELICIOUS, but it does have more sugar than most of my recipes.

If you want to reduce the amount of sugar, I recommend 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of honey. The granulated sugar does help thicken the sauce, but 100% honey can also be used if you prefer natural sweeteners.

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