It’s kind of surprising to me that sweet and sour chicken is way more popular than sweet and sour pork. Maybe because sweet and sour pork is definitely what I grew up with. But, pork or chicken, this sweet and tart sauce is so GOOD with fluffy white rice. Forget takeout or delivery, this is better.

This is a variation on our authentic oven-baked sweet and sour pork, featuring chicken. It’s an easy, healthy, 8 ingredient, no deep fry version of the classic takeout favorite.

Baked sweet and sour chicken

Baking your chicken isn’t quite the same as deep frying, but for the lack of effort it takes, it’s amazing. The chicken ends up juicy with the slightest bit of crispiness thanks to a cornstarch coating. Besides no cleanup, no expensive oil to throw away, and no splatter, this is also way better for you, so you can feel good about eating it every night, and you’re going to want to. It tastes just as good as the deep fried version with none of the guilt.

sweet and sour chicken |

How to make sweet and sour chicken

  1. Preheat your oven to 450ºF and season your chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Coat the chicken. We use cornstarch, it makes for an authentically light and crispy coating. Any other starch such as potato starch is good too.
  3. Bake the chicken. 20 minutes, then flip and bake another 10.
  4. Make the sauce while you wait. Roughly chop up your onions and pineapple too.
  5. Sauce the chicken and lightly cook the onions and pineapples at the same time.
  6. Enjoy!

How to make sweet and sour chicken |

Sweet and sour sauce ingredients

  • Ketchup?! I know you’re thinking, why? But the real reason is ketchup used and beloved in a lot of Chinese kitchens. We used ketchup as a extra flavor booster a lot when we were growing up and the truth is, a lot of restaurants use it too. It’s the secret to getting that unique tangy sweet and sour flavor in sweet and sour dishes.
  • Pineapple or no pineapple? Usually there’s pineapple in sweet and sour dishes but we didn’t have any on hand and I didn’t want to go out and buy a can (or chunk). Feel free to add any vegetables in – any crunchy, juicy vegetable is always a good bet – such as the red onion and yellow peppers in the photos. Pineapple is classic though, and fresh is best!

sweet and sour chicken recipe |

Tips and tricks

  • Don’t forget to lightly oil the wire rack you cook your chicken it, it helps it not stick and also somehow makes the chicken more crunchy on the bottom.
  • If you want even more crunch, blast the heat up at the end of the baking session and get everything deeply browned – just make sure you keep an eye on it.

If you love Chinese food

Serve this up with some:

sweet and sour chicken |

Sweet and sour chicken |

Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

An easy, healthy, 8 ingredient, no deep fry version of that classic take out favorite: Chinese sweet and sour chicken
Serves 4
4.88 from 8 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs cubed
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 bell pepper cubed
  • 1/2 red onion cubed


  • Heat your oven to 450°F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
    How to make sweet and sour chicken |
  • Place the chicken in a ziploc bag along with 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Shake well to coat and then place on an oiled rack on a foil lined baking sheet.
    Oven baked sweet and sour chicken |
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and crispy, flipping halfway.
    Baked sweet and sour chicken |
  • When the chicken is almost done baking, make the sauce by whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1/4 cup water. Whisk in the sugar, ketchup, vinegar, and soy sauce.
    sweet and sour sauce |
  • Add the sauce to a nonstick pan and bring to a boil. Once bubbling, turn the heat to low and add the vegetables. Cook until your desired doneness then remove from the heat (we keep the vegetables almost raw).
  • Add the cooked chicken to the sauce and toss until well coated. Enjoy served with rice!
    sweet and sour chicken |


Serves 2 as a main or 4 with other dishes.

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
Amount Per Serving (4 oz)
Calories 307 Calories from Fat 77
% Daily Value*
Fat 8.5g13%
Saturated Fat 2.3g14%
Cholesterol 101mg34%
Sodium 450mg20%
Potassium 409mg12%
Carbohydrates 22.9g8%
Fiber 0.8g3%
Sugar 17.2g19%
Protein 33.7g67%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  1. Rhianna says:

    How many people does this serve?

    1. Stephanie says:

      it serves 2-4 :)

  2. sillygirl says:

    So glad whatever web problem you had is gone – I miss looking at your blog!

  3. mariana says:

    Wow, just found this blog now! For a student living alone it will be an amazing space :) have you posted any Brazilian food? ?

  4. debbie says:

    I made this tonight. I 4X the recipe, and it still came out perfect. I was lickng the sauce off the spoon. My next attempt would be to actually make it with pork pieces. Any suggestion what cut to use? I know nothing about cooking. Also next recipe is your General Tao, I can’t wait!

    1. Stephanie says:

      yay to 4x this recipe!! meal prep!

  5. debbie says:

    Ooops I just saw your recipe with the pork. OMG there’s too many recipes I want to try lol

    1. Stephanie says:

      yay so happy you found some other ones to try :)

  6. Mel says:

    Hello! My sauce looks nothing like what’s pictured (it’s much more red) so I’m wondering if it needs more soy sauce?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi mel,
      it could be more or less brown based on how brown your soy sauce was. if it wasn’t too salty, you can add more soy :) or you could dial down the ketchup. hope that helps!

  7. Thamks for this delicious recipies.

  8. Smadar says:

    5 stars
    Just made this and it came out SO GOOD. Just FYI you listed soy sauce in the ingredients list but you forgot to include it in the instructions — I just assumed it goes with the sugar+ketchup+vinegar mixture. Thanks for a really great recipe!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi smadar,
      you guessed right! updated the recipe and so happy you liked it :)

  9. Shourya Puri says:

    Looks amazing

  10. jay bee says:

    5 stars
    This was excellent. The sauce was great and baking the chicken is a great idea, much less greasy. So far I’ve also tried your sesame chicken and kung pao chicken, all excellent but this might be the best.

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