Sweet and Sour Chicken is a classic dish that beautifully balances the tangy zest of vinegar and the delightful sweetness of sugar, creating a harmony of flavors that dance on your palate.

This dish, known for its vibrant, glossy appearance and the perfect blend of sweetness and tartness, is a popular staple in Chinese cuisine and has won hearts globally.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

Sweet and Sour Chicken not only tantalizes your taste buds but also offers a feast for the eyes. Its glossy texture, combined with the colorful peppers and juicy chunks of chicken, makes it a visual treat.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or just starting out in the kitchen, this recipe is designed to guide you through creating this delicious masterpiece with ease.

Skill Level: Intermediate

While the basics of Sweet and Sour Chicken are straightforward, achieving the perfect balance of flavors and textures requires a bit of skill and practice. This recipe is ideal for intermediate cooks who are comfortable with basic cooking techniques and are ready to explore the nuances of flavor balancing.

Health Aspect

This recipe includes lean chicken breast, which is a great source of protein. Not to mention, the use of fresh ingredients and the option to control the amount of sugar and oil makes it a healthier alternative to takeout versions.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

Time and Servings

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Servings: 4


  • Chicken breast (boneless, skinless): 1 pound (16 ounces / 453 grams)
  • Cornstarch: 2 tablespoons (30 grams)
  • Salt: 1/2 teaspoon (3 grams)
  • Pepper: 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram)
  • Olive oil: 2 tablespoons (30 ml)
  • Garlic, minced: 2 cloves (6 grams)
  • Pineapple juice: 1/2 cup (120 ml)
  • Vinegar (white or apple cider): 1/4 cup (60 ml)
  • Brown sugar: 1/4 cup (50 grams)
  • Soy sauce: 2 tablespoons (30 ml)
  • Water: 1/4 cup (60 ml)

Optional ingredients:

  • Red bell pepper, diced: 1 cup (150 grams)
  • Green bell pepper, diced: 1 cup (150 grams)
  • Onion, chopped: 1 medium (110 grams)
  • Pineapple chunks: 1 cup (165 grams)

Add any of your favorite ingredients –  experiment! I encourage you to be creative in the kitchen!


  1. Prep Chicken: Cut chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. In a bowl, mix cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Toss chicken in the mixture to coat evenly.
  2. Cook Chicken: Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add chicken pieces and cook until golden brown and cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside.
  3. Sauté Vegetables: In the same pan, add a bit more oil if needed. Sauté onions, garlic, red and green bell peppers until they start to soften.
  4. Make Sauce: Add pineapple chunks, pineapple juice, vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce to the pan. Stir and bring to a simmer.
  5. Combine: Return chicken to the pan. Add water to adjust the consistency if needed. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, allowing the chicken to soak up the flavors.
  6. Finish: Check seasoning and adjust if necessary. Cook until sauce thickens to your liking.

Best Tips for Perfect Sweet and Sour Chicken

  • For a crispy texture, ensure the chicken is well-coated with cornstarch.
  • Cook the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
  • The sauce’s consistency should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Optional Ingredients

  • Red chili flakes for added heat.
  • A teaspoon of ginger, minced, for a zesty flavor.
  • Substitute brown sugar with honey for a different sweetness profile.

Vegetarian Suggestions

In this situation, replace chicken with tofu or cauliflower for a vegetarian version. If using tofu, make sure it is pressed and dry to absorb flavors better.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with steamed white or brown rice, or over noodles. Garnish with sesame seeds or green onions for an extra touch. How about a traditional cup of tea…?

Tea Pairing with Sweet and Sour Chicken

When pairing tea with a flavorful dish like Sweet and Sour Chicken, you want to choose a tea that complements the rich and tangy flavors without overpowering them. A good choice would be Jasmine tea.

Jasmine tea, a fragrant and subtly sweet tea, can provide a refreshing balance to the sweetness and acidity of the dish. Its light floral notes can cleanse the palate between bites, making each mouthful as enjoyable as the first.

Another option could be Oolong tea. Oolong, with its complex flavor profile that ranges from fruity to earthy, can stand up to the strong flavors of the dish without competing with them. It’s particularly effective in cutting through the richness and helping to digest the meal.

Chinese Tea Cups

Chinese tea cups are traditionally called “chá bēi” (茶杯) in Mandarin. These cups are often part of a tea set that includes a teapot and sometimes a tea tray.

Interesting Facts

  1. Concentration of Flavor: Small cups are ideal for enjoying fine teas whose flavors are meant to be savored in small sips. The small size allows the drinker to appreciate the tea’s aroma and taste more intensely.
  2. Tradition and Ritual: Chinese tea culture is rich in tradition and ceremony. The use of small cups is part of the traditional Gongfu tea ceremony, which focuses on the artful preparation and consumption of tea. The small size allows for a more ritualistic and mindful approach to tea drinking.
  3. Temperature Control: The small size helps ensure that the tea is consumed at the right temperature. Large cups might result in the tea getting cold before it’s finished.
  4. Social Interaction: In Chinese culture, tea is often a communal activity. Smaller cups mean more frequent refilling, which encourages interaction and conversation among participants, as the host frequently refills the cups.

These aspects of Chinese tea culture highlight not only a culinary preference but also a social and philosophical approach to enjoying tea.

The small cups are a key part of a larger tradition that values mindfulness, social interaction, and the fine appreciation of tea.

Nutrient Information (Per Serving)

  • Calories: Approximately 300 kcal
  • Protein: 25 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 40 grams
  • Fat: 10 grams

Storing and Reheating

Provided that you store your leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it will last for up to 3 days. Reheat in a microwave or on the stovetop until thoroughly warm.

Origin and History of Sweet and Sour Chicken

Owing to Sweet and Sour Chicken roots in traditional Chinese cuisine, it has a history that stretches back centuries.

It’s believed to have originated from the Hunan province and was adapted in Western countries to suit local tastes, evolving into the popular dish we know today.

Without a doubt, Sweet and Sour Chicken is a delightful dish that represents a fusion of cultures and flavors.

For a Special Presentation with Sweet and Sour Chicken, May I suggest…