A deliciously easy peasy version of a Chinese Takeaway favourite! This Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken is not only quick and simple to make, it’s also healthier than a standard takeaway version… and cheaper too! What’s not to like?
Sweet and Sour Chicken Fakeaway
Sweet and Sour Chicken is one of the nation’s favourite takeaways – but it’s super easy to make at home. Better still, this Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken takes just 20 minutes to make (that’s quicker than getting takeaway where I live) and it’s much cheaper than ordering takeaway too!
Super easy to make…
My homemade version of Sweet and Sour Chicken really is very easy to make. All you need to do is mix up the simple sweet and sour sauce (made from ‘normal’ ingredients found in most regular kitchens!) Next, fry the chicken, onions and peppers. Then add the pineapple chunks and homemade sweet and sour sauce. Finally, simmer for a couple minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
(Full recipe card below.)
Healthier than takeaway sweet and sour chicken
Takeaway Sweet and Sour Chicken is not usually very healthy – the chicken is usually deep fried and the sauce is packed full of sugar and additives!
My version of Sweet and Sour Chicken is much healthier – the chicken is stir fried, not deep fried and there’s a lot less sugar than a standard takeaway (or ready meal) version.
Of course, I couldn’t omit the sugar entirely or it wouldn’t be SWEET and sour chicken, but I have considerably reduced it… but don’t worry, it still tastes GOOD!
No ketchup in the sweet and sour sauce!
One of the things that really annoys me about most Sweet and Sour Chicken recipes is the sauce always includes ketchup… Now, I don’t know about you, but if I am going to make a homemade recipe, I don’t want to start adding additive-laden, heavily processed ingredients like ketchup to it! That kind of defeats the object… I might as well use a store-bought sweet and sour sauce!
Well, if that annoys you too, you are going to love this recipe – it uses tomato puree instead of ketchup. The result means the flavour tastes much more natural and – I would argue – MUCH MUCH nicer than ketchup-based sweet and sour sauces (or store-bought sweet and sour sauces for that matter!)
What to serve with sweet and sour chicken
This easy peasy homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken tastes delicious served with plain white rice – that’s my favourite accompaniment. You could also serve it with Homemade Egg Fried Rice, if you prefer.
Alternatively, if you wanted a healthier accompaniment, you could serve this with brown rice or cauliflower rice.
What to drink with sweet and sour chicken
Because of the sweetness in this dish it’s best paired with aromatic whites like Riesling, Pinot Gris, Viognier or Gewurztraminer. Another great option is a fruity rosé.
But arguably the best match is an off-dry aromatic white – such as an off-dry German Riesling. Even if you normally prefer dry whites, you may be pleasantly surprised as, with this dish, the touch of sweetness in the wine compliments the sweetness in the sauce beautifully.
What to do with leftover sweet and sour chicken
Put any leftover sweet and sour chicken in a lidded container and place in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 3 days.
To reheat, simply tip the sweet and sour chicken into a saucepan with a splash of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until piping hot all the way through.
Alternatively reheat the sweet and sour chicken in the microwave until piping hot all the way through.
Can you freeze sweet and sour chicken?
Absolutely! While this dish does taste best made fresh, it also freezes well.
Simply put the cooked and cooled sweet and sour chicken into a lidded container and place it in the freezer, where it will keep for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and reheat as above.
If you like this recipe…
…you might also like:
Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken (Chinese Takeaway Copycat)
- 400 g chicken breast chopped into bite-sized chunks – roughly 2cm / ¾inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons cornflour (US - cornstarch)
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar, or rice wine vinegar)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (I use dark, but light or all purpose works fine too. Use tamari if you need this to be gluten free.)
- 3 cloves garlic grated or crushed
- 1 cm fresh ginger grated
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 425 g tin pineapple chunks in juice (separate the juice and the chunks)
- 1 tablespoon oil (see Note 1)
- 1 large red pepper chopped into bite-sized chunks – roughly 2cm x 2cm / ¾inch x ¾inch
- 1 large green pepper chopped into bite-sized chunks – roughly 2cm x 2cm / ¾inch x ¾inch
- 1 large red onion chopped into 8 wedges and then each wedge chopped in half to get 16 fat chunks
- 3 spring onions finely sliced – for garnish (optional)
- Sesame seeds – for garnish (optional)
- Place the chicken chunks in a large bowl and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the cornflour (US - cornstarch). Use your hands to turn the chicken and get it evenly coated with the cornflour. Set aside until later.
- In a clean jam jar (or similar), place the remaining 1 tablespoon of cornflour and the apple cider vinegar. Stir to combine thoroughly.
- Add the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, tomato puree and brown sugar, and stir to combine thoroughly.
- Add all the juice from the pineapple tin and stir to combine thoroughly. Set aside until later.
- In a wok or large frying pan, heat the oil over a high heat for 1 minute. Add the chicken pieces and fry until light golden brown on all sides, stirring regularly. (Approximately 3 minutes – do not overcook!) Remove the chicken to a plate.
- Put the wok back over a high heat and add the chopped peppers and red onion. Fry for 3 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add the chicken, pineapple chunks and homemade sweet and sour sauce, and then turn the heat down. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring regularly. The sauce should thicken and the chicken will cook through fully. (See Note 2.)
- Turn the heat off immediately to stop the sauce thickening too much.
- Serve immediately with white rice and garnished with sliced spring onions and sesame seeds.
- Use a neutral oil such as rapeseed, vegetable or sunflower. Alternatively, if you prefer cooking with olive oil, use a mild olive oil.
- Cooked as per the above instructions, the chicken should be fully cooked all the way through. However, if you are at all unsure, check the chicken is cooked through by cutting open the largest piece you can find. There should be no pink meat. If you do find pink meat, return the pan to the heat and continue cooking for a further minute, then check again.
- Suitable for freezing.
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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