The BEST Sweet and Sour Chicken – takeout OR homemade – I have ever had in my entire life!
This Sweet and Sour Chicken is baked with pineapple, carrots, onions and bell peppers so its a complete meal-in-one with no need to stir fry extra veggies! So if you were looking an easy Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe with the BEST sticky, sweet and sour sauce, you’ve found it!
About Sweet and Sour Chicken
Please trust me when I say this is the best Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken I have ever had in my entire life! Better than any homemade version, better than any take-out version, better than Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods/anything version… even better than any fried version! (I can’t even guess how much healthier this must be than fried/takeout version, but its got to be monumental without sacrificing any taste!)
It is also fabulous for company because after your prep is done, it simply bakes away, no last minute finishing touches or stress!
Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
I was first introduced to a variation of this Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe from my older (and only) sister, Kimberly, who is an incredible cook!
Kimberly is the same sister who gave me a basket busting with 30 of her most favorite things for my 30th birthday (which became my favorite things!) and the same sister who gave me her kidney last October, which is also now one of my favorite things!!! I have always looked up to my sister in every way possible and now feel so honored to always have a piece of her awesomeness with me – literally :)! (You can read more about her in my Easter Soul Food)
Kim is not only responsible for my current well being, she is also almost single handedly responsible for my love of cooking – and for this Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe.
I always liked to cook but when she gifted me a recipe binder at the beginning of my marriage for Christmas comprised of all of her tried and true recipes, it lit a fire within me. After I cooked every recipe in the binder (and because they were all her favorites, they were all delicious and turned out great!), I wanted to cook more, much more. So I started cooking new recipes almost every single night of the week and pretty soon, I started creating my own recipes almost every single night of the week.
Her Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe was always my favorite recipes from her binder. I have played with it over the years, increasing the sauce, simmering the sauce, adding spices as well as pineapple, carrots and bell peppers so it has become a baked sweet and sour “stir fry” all in one baking dish!
Chicken Breading for Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
What Goes in Sweet and Sour Sauce?
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice from 20 oz. pineapple tidbits can listed below
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
As written, the sweet and sour sauce is a perfect balance of sweet and sour. Many people, however, have asked if they can reduce the amount of sugar. If you want to reduce amount of sugar, you will have to proportionately reduce thee amount of red wine vinegar and ketchup because the sugar balances out their tangingess. If you reduce the sugar without reducing the other ingredients, you will be left with more sour sauce.
What Vegetables go in Sweet and Sour Chicken?
- 1 20 oz. can pineapple tidbits in juice: you are welcome to use fresh pineapple or frozen, thawed pineapple as well. Just be aware you will also need to buy pineapple juice then because we use both the pineapple and the pineapple juice in this Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe.
- 1 green and 1 red bell pepper: you’ll want to chop your bell peppers into about 1″ chunks. The bell peppers are important part of balancing the flavor of Sweet and Sour Chicken, so please don’t skip!
- 1 cup sliced carrots: slice your carrots as THINLY as possible because they take the longest amount of time to bake.
- 1 small onion, diced: the onion will simmer in the sweet and sour sauce so you won’t get any raw onion flavor! The onion is important to cut through the sweetness of the sauce, so like the bell peppers, please don’t skip!
How to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Sweet and Sour Sauce: The sweet and sour sauce is first simmered with onions and ginger and pineapple juice, to awaken and meld the flavors. You let it simmer while you prepare your chicken and dice the vegetables.
- Coat Chicken: The chicken is dredged in eggs, then flour then breaded in spiced cornstarch which tenderizes and seasons the chicken as it cooks. I like to use the freezer bag method instead of individual dredging bowls for easy and to prevent ooey gooey gummy fingers. In my method, you add your chicken to a freezer bag of flour, shake, then remove excess flour then add your cornstarch to the bag and shake. Easy peasy!
- Brown Chicken: We first brown our chicken in a hot skillet in order to toast the coating. This helps it stay intact while baking and to gives you the characteristic Chinese Chicken texture.
- Bake Sweet and Sour Chicken: Add the chicken, sweet and sour sauce, pineapple, carrots and bell peppers and bakes for 50 minutes. This might seem like a long time to cook chicken pieces, but in this magical 50 minutes, the sauce permeates the chicken and “stir fry” veggies and pineapple so each pillow of breaded juicy chicken and each and every pineapple, carrot and bell pepper piece seep with sweet and sour goodness – the perfect balance of of sweet and sour goodness, I might add. After what seems like an impossible task of self control, the Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple, Carrots, and Bell Peppers is ready to be devoured when it has soaked up every last drop of the sweet and sour sauce.
Final Thoughts about Sweet and Sour Chicken
When I make this easy Sweet and Sour Chicken, I always think of my sister, Kimberly, and how she is such a generous, courageous, selfless person (did I mention she is also the perfect, patient mother to 5 children?).
When I eat this healthier Sweet and Sour chicken, I hope to become more like her, in more ways than just sharing matching kidneys.
So in honor of my sister Kimberly, I give you Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple, Carrots, and Bell Peppers – so you too can take part of her awesomeness with you.
If you love Chinese fakeout takeout, be sure to check out my , Honey Lemon Chicken, Beef and Broccoli, Mongolian Chicken, Mongolian Beef, Cashew Chicken,, Kung Pao Shrimp, Pineapple Ginger Chicken, Coconut Cashew Chicken, just to name a few!
Want to try this Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe?
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