This Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken is made with popcorn chicken, bell peppers, pineapple, and the perfect homemade glaze – all ready in 30 minutes!
AN EASY WEEKNIGHT DINNER RECIPE
This Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe is a delicious and flavorful meal that will tastes just like your favorite take out spot- but better! It takes just a few simple ingredients and is cooked in one large pan for easy clean-up. Plus, it’s ready in just 30 minutes – perfect for busy weeknights. Serve this sweet and sour chicken over fluffy white rice or your favorite veggies for a tasty complete meal.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Sure thing. I know some prefer to dip their sweet and sour chicken instead of having it coated in the sauce. To do this instead, prepare the sauce up until step 6, and then just serve it as a dipping sauce for the chicken instead of covering the chicken with it.
Yup. If you rather have a spicy chicken dish, add more chili flakes, or add some of your favorite hot sauce, like sriracha.
Take your classic sweet and sour chicken up a notch by adding green onion, fried shallots, or sesame seeds as a garnish.
You can make this as easy or as difficult as you like. Season up some bite-sized pieces of chicken with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Add in cornstarch and toss until well coated. Add ½ inch oil to a deep skillet over medium heat and fry the coated chicken until lightly browned. Make sure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Once cooked, use paper towels to drain your chicken on. Fry all chicken and then proceed with the recipe as written.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 hours, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat leftovers, toss the leftovers in a skillet and add a splash of water or chicken stock to help loosen up the sauce as it reheats. You can use the microwave but it may change the texture a bit.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- green and red bell peppers – if you don’t like green bell peppers, you can use all red or yellow bell peppers.
- large sweet onion – I think even if you don’t like onion, it adds great flavor to the dish even if you don’t want to eat the onion itself.
- pineapple chunks with juice – you want to look for the chunks are in 100% juice, not syrup.
- white vinegar – this is the sour part in the sweet and sour sauce. Rice wine vinegar can also be used here.
- granulated sugar – I have never made this with any kind of sugar substitute but I’m sure it would work fine.
- ketchup – I know ketchup sounds weird in a sauce like this but it just works. It brings tomato and seasonings to the glaze. Trust me, it’s so good!
- cornstarch – this is used for thickening up the sauce.
- popcorn chicken – use any brand of frozen popcorn chicken you like. I like to cook mine up in the air fryer since it does it faster than the oven. This recipe works for nuggets as well. Popcorn chicken usually just has more of a crispier coating.
HOW TO MAKE SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN
Cook the popcorn chicken in the oven or air fryer as per the instructions on the package. Once cooked, set it aside. In a large wok or skillet over medium heat, add the oil and let it heat up.
When the oil is hot, add the green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and diced onion. Cook them until they start to get a little charred and soften, which should take about 5-8 minutes. Stir occasionally during this time. To the skillet, add ⅓ cup of water, pineapple juice, vinegar, sugar, ketchup, and salt. Stir well to mix everything, and bring it to a simmer.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of water with the cornstarch. Once the mixture in the skillet starts simmering, slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture while constantly whisking. Keep whisking until the sauce thickens. Immediately add the popcorn chicken to the skillet and toss it in the sauce until the chicken is fully coated and heated through.
Serve it right away.
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 24 ounce bag popcorn chicken (equals 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 green bell pepper, large diced
- 1 red bell pepper, large diced
- 1 cup sweet onion large diced
- ⅓ cup water (+ 1 Tablespoon), divided use
- ⅓ cup pineapple juice
- ⅓ cup white vinegar
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 2 ½ Tablespoons ketchup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup pineapple chunks, drained
- Cook the popcorn chicken in the oven or air fryer as per the instructions on the package. Once cooked, set it aside.
- In a large wok or skillet over medium heat, add the oil and let it heat up.
- When the oil is hot, add the green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and diced onion. Cook them until they start to get a little charred and soften, which should take about 5-8 minutes. Stir occasionally during this time.
- To the skillet, add ⅓ cup of water, pineapple juice, vinegar, sugar, ketchup, and salt. Stir well to mix everything, and bring it to a simmer.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 Tablespoon of water with the cornstarch.
- Once the mixture in the skillet starts simmering, slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture while constantly whisking. Keep whisking until the sauce thickens.
- Immediately add the popcorn chicken to the skillet and toss it in the sauce until the chicken is fully coated and heated through.
- Serve it right away with rice.
- Please refer to my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.