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.
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.
Serve this dish with your favorite grain or even on it’s own.
- White Rice
- Cauliflower Rice
- Instant Pot Brown Rice
- Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds
Other Chinese take out dinners
We love making our own Chinese take out meals at home. Homemade meals are fresher, healthier and even more delicious.
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.
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.