Sweet and sour chicken! Tender-crisp chicken breasts tossed in the most delicious homemade sweet and sour sauce that is not too sweet and not too sour. Chunks of pineapple give it a nice touch of fruity flavor.
This definitely better than takeout, you guys! I hope you enjoy making and eating this as much as I did.
The BEST sweet and sour sauce
Here’s what you need to make the sauce. Included are two amazing ingredients that add depth of flavor to the sweetness and sourness.
- Vinegar – is basically what makes this dish sour. I often use rice vinegar but can also be substituted with apple cider, red and white wine vinegar, cane vinegar, and coconut vinegar.
- Sugar – is the main source of sweetness in this dish. Brown and white sugar can be used alternatively.
- Pineapple syrup from the canned pineapple chunks. I didn’t want this to go to waste so I used it as one of the ingredients. I reduced the amount of sugar to make way for its sweetness.
- Ketchup – not only adds the “reddish” color but also a bit of tanginess.
- Worcestershire sauce and Oyster Sauce – are the two secret ingredients you shouldn’t miss! These add depth of flavor (a.k.a. UMAMI) that balances the sweet and the sour. You only need a small amount to work their magic!
- Cornstarch slurry thickens the sauce. This helps the sauce stick or cling to the chicken and not go everywhere.
Sweet and Sour Chicken: Tips!
Four time-saving steps that can help you make Sweet and Sour chicken easily and as smoothly as possible:
- Slice the chicken into bite-size pieces. Place in a bowl then season with garlic powder and salt.
- Add egg and stir. Set aside.
- Make the sauce – combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir then do a taste test. Adjust sugar, vinegar as necessary. Set aside.
- Make the cornstarch slurry then set aside. Quickly stir before pouring over the sauce later.
- Slice the onion, garlic, and bell peppers.
How to Make it
Now that everything is ready, let’s get cooking!
- Bread the chicken: Place cornstarch and salt in a zip bag. Shake to combine. Add the seasoned chicken pieces. Seal the bag and shake until each piece is coated. This is the easiest way of breading small pieces of chicken. Trust me!
- Shallow-fry the chicken in hot oil (make sure it’s hot but not too hot) for 2-3 minutes. There’s no need to deep-fry. Because we’re only cooking small pieces of meat, shallow frying is enough to cook and crisp the chicken.
- Crisp and golden brown – using a tong, flip the chicken to the other side and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Remove oil leaving 2 tablespoons oil in the pan. Stir-fry onion, bell pepper, and garlic until fragrant. Add the pineapple chunks and cook a bit more.
- Pour the prepared sweet and sour sauce. Don’t stir. Let it boil for 30 seconds then add the cornstarch slurry. Stir until thickened.
- Add the fried chicken pieces. Stir to coat. Add green onions if using. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving plate. Enjoy with warm rice!
Moist and Tender Chicken
Breading the chicken pieces before frying may seem like a pointless step BUT it is actually the secret to tender and juicy meat. The batter locks in the juices as the chicken cooks in hot oil making it crispy on the outside yet tender on the inside.
I find sweet and sour chicken most enjoyable when it’s freshly cooked–chicken still warm, crisp and unsaturated. So once you’re done cooking, serve it immediately with a bowl of warm rice.
More Filipino chicken recipes for lunch or dinner
- Tinolang Manok
- Easy Chicken and Mushroom Salpicao
- Nilagang Manok sa Patis (Chicken Soup with Fish Sauce)
- Chicken Menudo
- Easy Chicken Sinigang with Gabi
- Chicken Binagoongan Recipe
- Easy Chicken Afritada Recipe
- Juicy Lechon Manok-Filipino Roasted Chicken
Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe Video
More chicken recipes for your weekly menu
- Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs Burger
- Baked Barbecue Hot Chicken Wings
- Buttermilk Chicken Popcorn
- Easy Oven Roasted Chicken
Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple
- 450 g /1 lbs chicken breast (cut into bite-size pieces)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 small onion (diced)
- ½ cup bell peppers (cut into pieces)
- 1 clove garlic (sliced)
- 8 oz canned pineapple chunks (drained, syrup reserved)
- ½ cup cooking oil (I used canola)
- slices of green onions (for garnish, optional)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup cornstarch
- ground black pepper (to taste)
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- In a small bowl, combine all ingredients of the sauce. Stir until sugar has completely dissolved. Taste and adjust sugar/vinegar/salt accordingly. In another bowl, combine all the slurry mixture, stir then set aside.
- Add batter ingredients in a large zip bag. Close then shake to combine the mixture.
- Place chicken in a small bow. Add garlic powder, salt, and egg. Stir until chicken is well coated. Add the pieces of chicken to the zip bag. Seal off the bag then shake.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Remove chicken from the bag and tap off excess flour. Shallow-fry the chicken for 2 to 3 until cooked through, brown and crispy. Do this in batches if needed. Don't overcrowd the pan. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Remove oil leaving 2 tablespoons oil in the pan. Stir-fry onion and bell peppers until fragrant. Add garlic, stir for a few seconds then add pineapple chunks. Cook for 1 minute. Pour sauce mixture. DON'T STIR. Let it boil for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Stir in the cornstarch slurry until the sauce becomes slightly thick. Immediately add the chicken pieces and green onion. Toss each piece is until well coated. Remove from heat. Serve with rice. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes & Tips:
- Other types of vinegar you can use are apple cider, red and white wine vinegar, cane vinegar, and coconut vinegar.
- Brown and white sugar can be used alternatively.
- Before frying, make sure the oil is hot but not too hot. To test, dip the handle of a wooden spoon or a chopstick into the oil. If the oil starts steadily bubbling, then the oil is hot enough. If the oil bubbles very very vigorously, then the oil is too hot and needs to cool off a bit. If no or very few bubbles pop up, then it’s not hot enough.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan when frying to maintain the hot temperature of the oil.