Sweet and Sour Chicken is cubed chicken breasts that are fried to a golden brown and coated in homemade sweet and sour sauce. Make another batch of sweet and sour sauce to dip these homemade cream cheese wontons.

Plate of Sweet & Sour Chicken
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Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and sour chicken has been a popular choice when it comes to Chinese take-out. This is my very American take on it! If you are on the hunt for an authentic Sweet and Sour Chicken, try The Woks of Life.

The main part of the recipe is the sauce. There are many varieties of sweet and sour sauce, but most have a base of vinegar and sugar. I added brown sugar and ketchup to my recipe and thickened up the sauce with a cornstarch slurry. And, of course, covered the fried chicken pieces with it.

Plate of Sweet & Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken Ingredients

Sweet and Sour SauceIt starts with the homemade sauce in this recipe. You can make your own homemade sweet and sour sauce ahead of time. It will last in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You can also buy sweet and sour sauce at your local grocery store or supermarket.

Chicken: I ended up using three chicken breasts in this recipe; that was about 2 pounds of chicken. Cut it up into small pieces to coat and fry.

Cornstarch: The cornstarch and flour mixture, with the eggs and water, will give you a batter that will fry up the cubes of chicken nicely!

Canola Oil: Use canola oil or vegetable oil for frying.

Soaking Chicken for Sweet & Sour Chicken

Where are the Vegetables?

Classic restaurant-style Sweet and Sour Chicken often has pineapple and chunks of red, yellow, and green bell pepper. I opted to not include them because I am frying the chicken, not utilizing a wok, so would need to be cooked separately. You can certainly add those ingredients if you want!

Pouring Sauce on Sweet & Sour Chicken

Non-Wok Method for Sweet & Sour Chicken

As I opted to fry, you’ll start by filling up a deep pan with about 2 inches of oil. Heat up the oil over medium heat until the oil reaches a temperature of 350°F. Use a candy thermometer or deep-fry thermometer to check the temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer, it usually takes 12-15 minutes for the oil to reach a temperature of 350°F. Or, you could put a kernel of popcorn into the pan of oil as soon as you begin heating up the oil. As soon as that kernel pops, the oil is ready!

Work in batches to slowly drop the marinated chicken into the hot oil. Fry the pieces for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Place the chicken on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. After each batch of chicken, be sure to check the temperature of the oil before adding more chicken. The temperature may drop after frying each batch. Add the fried chicken to the sweet and sour sauce, tossing to coat.

Serve hot, garnished with sesame seeds and green onions, and a side of Easy Fried Rice or Air Fryer Fried Rice.

Can This be Made in an Air Fryer?

I don’t recommend this recipe in the air fryer. This is a wet batter that clumps up when placed into the air fryer basket. You can do a dry batter, but it will not have the same texture as traditional sweet & sour chicken.

Chop sticks picking up Sweet & Sour Chicken

How to Store Sweet & Sour Chicken

Place the chicken into an airtight container or sealable plastic storage bag. It should last 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Bite of Sweet & Sour Chicken

More Chicken Recipes

5 from 3 votes

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Marinate 10 minutes
Total Time 34 minutes
Sweet and Sour Chicken is cubed chicken breasts that are fried to a golden brown and coated in homemade sweet and sour sauce.



  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup water
  • canola oil, for frying
  • sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
  • green onions, for garnish (optional)


  • In a large bowl, combine the cubed chicken, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat and set aside.
  • In a second large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, beaten eggs, and water. Whisk together to form a batter.
  • Add the cubed chicken pieces to the batter and toss to coat. Marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature.
  • Add about 2 inches of oil to a large pot. Heat the oil over medium-low heat until the oil reaches 350°F on a candy thermometer or deep-fry thermometer. If you drop a piece of batter into the oil, it should sizzle when it is ready.
  • When ready, working in batches, slowly drop the marinated chicken in oil and fry until golden brown (3-4 minutes). Drain the chicken on a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside. Continue with the rest of the chicken. (Please note: The oil may need to be heated up to 350°F after each batch of chicken.)
  • Add the fried chicken to the sweet and sour sauce and toss to coat. Top with sesame seeds and green onions for garnish (optional).


Sweet & Sour Sauce (clickable link)

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Reader Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is AWESOME! My very picky eater cleared his plate and asked for seconds! He even asked if we can add it to the menu for future meals. He rated last nights dinner a 10/10!

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you so much,this sweet and sour chicken was amazing,so glad it didn’t contain garlic,which ,I am allergic to .Many thanks and keep it cooking.

5 from 3 votes (1 rating without comment)

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