An easy Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe that's wholesome! This classic dish is the perfect blend of juicy chicken pieces without breading and a flavorful sweet and sour sauce that is surprisingly easy to make!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Knorr®. The opinions and text are all mine.
If you're looking for the perfect combination of sweet and sour flavors, look no further than this delicious and easy sweet and sour chicken recipe. It is bursting with flavors that tantalize your taste buds! Plus it is a wholesome version with less calories and fat than that served at a restaurant.
Why make this recipe
- Full of robust flavors! These cultural sweet and sour chicken balls are quick, easy, and packed full of comforting flavors and a unique ingredient is in the sauce! In fact, it tops the charts right up there with this Healthy Chana Masala, Indian Coconut Curry Chicken Rice Soup, and Chinese Pot Stickers.
- Easy wholesome dinner for the whole family! Homemade sweet and sour chicken is easy to make in the convenience of your own home! After lots of testing, this recipe is just as tasty, yet simple, low carb, gluten-free, and so much better for you overall! It is an easy sweet and sour chicken dinner the entire family will enjoy! Plus, you will feel a whole lot better (say bye to bloating) after enjoying it😊.
- It's all about the sweet n sour sauce made with wholesome gluten-free ingredients! We always love Panda Express, Chinese, and Asian restaurants that create delicious ethnic meals that are quick and convenient. It tastes so good going down, but afterwards leaves a bloated overstuffed feeling - and it is most likely not gluten-free. But this is the best sweet and sour chicken recipe and it's gluten-free and dairy-free!
We chose simple ingredients that are natural, lower glycemic added sugars, and gluten-free.
- coconut sugar
- apple cider vinegar
- coconut aminos or gluten-free soy sauce
- sesame oil
- Knorr® Selects Bouillon, Chicken flavored powder
- 3 garlic cloves
- organic chicken breast cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 chicken breasts)
- baking powder
- olive oil
- green onion diced for garnish, only the green part
- sesame seeds for garnish
- cooked rice to serve with the sweet and sour chicken
Instructions how to make sweet and sour chicken
As always full details and directions are in the recipe card below.
First make the sweet and sour chicken sauce by adding the sauce ingredients (except cornstarch and water, which thickens the sauce) to a medium sized saucepan. Let it simmer as listed in the instructions. Then whisk together the cornstarch and water. I found if you add the cornstarch directly into the dish it tends to clump. Mixing it with water first helps it to form into a thick liquid that will thicken the sweet sour sauce.
Next, slice 1.25 pounds of chicken into cubes. Place the cubes in a bag with paprika, corn starch and a dash of salt and pepper. Mix it well to coat.
In a nonstick frying pan add olive oil and heat it on medium-high heat. Add the cubed chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes until cooked through, flipping it halfway through cooking time.
Add the sauce over the cooked chicken and toss to coat. Cover and let it heat for about 3-5 minutes. This assures the chicken is cooked and lets the sauce get a bit thicker. The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Serve right away over rice and garnish with fresh green onions and sesame seeds.
What do you serve with sweet and sour chicken? Try these side dishes!
- cooked rice
- cooked quinoa
- roasted vegetables
- tossed in spaghetti squash pasta noodles
- Asian green beans
- over a salad
- stir fry vegetables
- stir fry broccoli and garlic
Cooked chicken lasts in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA). Store any leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat it, simply heat it in a frying pan over low heat until heated through.
This is a super easy recipe for sweet and sour chicken. You can also stir fry or sauté bell peppers, onion, and pineapple on medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil until the onion is tender. Then toss it with the chicken and sauce and serve over rice.
What is sweet n sour chicken
“Sweet and Sour” or “Sweet n Sour” chicken is traditionally a Chinese dish of breaded diced pieces of chicken breast or chicken thighs that are then fried in oil and coated with a tasty sweet and sour sauce.
The flavors are a sticky combination of a tomato base, sugar, sesame oil, soy (or in this case gluten-free coconut aminos), garlic and vinegar- for a bit of kick.
Now here comes the secret ingredient for bold flavor.
The secret triumph lies in adding Knorr® Selects Bouillon, Chicken flavored powder to the sweet and sour chicken sauce. It adds an abundance of flavor in a convenient way.
We add a tiny bit to the sweet and sour chicken sauce which brings out tons of flavor without too many additional ingredients. You only need 1 teaspoon of the powder per cup of sauce or with water for soups and stews.
The benefits are that Knorr Selects bouillon is made with natural chicken stock, no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, no artificial preservatives, and no MSG. Compared to traditional bouillon, Knorr Selects has 30% less ingredients, a cleaner label and more premium ingredients.
Here are a few ways to use bouillon powder in recipes:
- Use it in place of broth by mixing it with water.
- Add it to a pot when cooking rice and quinoa.
- Mix it with water and baste a holiday turkey with it or roasted chicken.
- Add it to soups, stews and sauces for a more flavorful dish.
- Add 1 teaspoon mixed with 1 cup of water per cup of broth in holiday stuffing.
- Sprinkle a dash onto sautéed vegetables.
- Flavor mashed potatoes with it.
The best kind of chicken for a healthy meal to use chicken breast without the skin and bone. It contains less fat than chicken thigh, but you can use chicken thigh if you prefer a darker meat. I also always suggest using organic chicken if possible that contains no added hormones or artificial anything😊.
Even though sweet and sour chicken is made of lean chicken pieces, when it cooks deep fry in oil and a heavy sauce made with processed sugars it becomes unhealthy. Restaurant sweet and sour chicken can shoot over 1,000 calories! This wholesome version uses lean chicken, is made without heavy breading, and the sauce uses coconut sugar which is better for you. Each serving is a little under 400 calories.
Sweet and sour chicken is not the same thing as orange chicken. Vinegar is often used in the sauce of sweet and sour chicken where orange chicken uses orange juice or an orange base for flavor. Both are made with chicken that is fried in breading and use a sweet and tangy sauce but the difference boils down to the sauce variations.
More chicken recipes
- Spicy Pineapple Ginger Coconut Lime Chicken
- Easy Chicken Breast Recipe with Delicata Squash Pan Sauce
- Chicken Taco Soup
- Crockpot Chicken
- BBQ Pulled Chicken
- Indian Coconut Curry Chicken Rice Soup
- Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken
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Sweet and Sour Chicken
- ¾ cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup coconut aminos or gluten-free soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon Knorr® Selects Bouillon, Chicken flavored powder
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1.25 pounds organic chicken breast cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 chicken breasts)
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 green onion diced for garnish, only the green part
- sesame seeds for garnish
- cooked rice to serve with
- In a medium saucepan whisk together the coconut sugar, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, aminos (or soy sauce), sesame oil, Knorr® Selects Bouillon, Chicken flavored powder, and garlic. Heat to a boil then turn it down to low to simmer.
- In a small bowl whisk together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and water and add it to the sauce. Whisk together to combine and while the sauce is simmering make the chicken.
- Prepare the chicken by slicing into 1-inch pieces. In a zip-lock bag, add ¼ cup of cornstarch, paprika, baking powder and a dash of salt and pepper. Mix it to combine then add in the chicken. Seal the bag and toss the chicken around in the bag until all of the pieces are coated.
- In a large nonstick skillet, add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat it on medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 7 minutes or until cooked through, flipping the meat after 4 minutes.
- Pour the sauce in and toss to coat the chicken. Cover and cook 3-5 more minutes to thicken the sauce and assure the meat is cooked through. The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Serve with cooked rice, quinoa, a side of roasted vegetables, or a salad. Garnish with onions and sesame seeds.
I made this chicken a couple weeks ago and it has been my favorite quarantine meal thus far. I made some modifications, based on what I had in my pantry. If you like spicy food, I highly recommend modifying the 1/3 cup of ketchup to a little over 1/6 of a cup of ketchup and a little less than 1/6 of a cup of gochujang. I just filled the 1/3 measuring cup a little over half way full with ketchup, then the rest with gochujang. AMAZING!! But spicy, so beware. My mother and father both said it's the best Asian chicken dish they have ever had. THANK YOU for making this recipe!
Danielle Fahrenkrug says
Emily, your comment made my week! I am so glad you have love this and thanks for sharing, how you modified and for rating the recipe! It truly helps others find it:-).