Want to try a classic Chinese dish with a delightful twist? This Sweet and Sour Chicken without Pineapple might be the one for you.
Made with succulent chicken pieces, a well-balanced sweet and tangy sauce, and without the commonly added pineapple, it’s an exciting and tasty version of the traditional dish.
This recipe is quick, easy, and perfect for a weeknight meal. The mix of flavors is exceptional, and the presentation is mouthwatering. You’ll surely love every bite!
Sweet and Sour Chicken without Pineapple
For this dish, I’ll be sharing two separate recipes: one for the sweet and sour sauce and another for the chicken.
You can think of it as a two-in-one deal since you can use the sauce for other dishes as well. For now, let’s focus on this delicious chicken recipe.
The chicken is lightly coated in cornstarch, pan-fried to perfection, and then tossed in the scrumptious sweet and sour sauce. It’s a simple yet satisfying dish that requires minimal effort.
For added texture and presentation, we’ll also be garnishing with green onions and sesame seeds, but these are optional.
Here’s a complete list of the ingredients. Make sure to check the measurements in the recipe card below for accuracy.
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- About 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if necessary
- OPTIONAL FOR GARNISHING:
- 2 green onions, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Now, let’s go through the steps to prepare this mouthwatering recipe.
How To Make Sweet and Sour Chicken without Pineapple
This sweet and sour chicken recipe consists of two main parts: making the sauce and cooking the chicken.
- Prepare the sauce. In a saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, low-sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, light brown sugar, and minced garlic. Whisk until well combined.
- Thicken the sauce. Dissolve the cornstarch in cold water, then add it to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened. Set it aside.
- Coat and fry the chicken. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and then coat them in cornstarch. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil. When it’s hot, add the chicken pieces and cook until golden brown and cooked through. Ensure to turn the chicken pieces for even cooking.
- Add the sauce and garnish. Once the chicken is cooked, add the sweet and sour sauce to the skillet. Stir and toss the chicken until it’s well coated. You can also add the optional garnish of sliced green onions and sesame seeds.
- Serve and enjoy! Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and serve immediately. It’s best enjoyed over steamed rice or as a standalone dish.
Note: For the complete list of ingredients and directions, see the recipe card below.
Tips for the Best Sweet and Sour Chicken without Pineapple
Here are a few tips to remember for a perfect dish:
- Adjust the sauce to your preference. If you like more tanginess, add extra apple cider vinegar. For a sweeter flavor, increase the sugar or light brown sugar.
- Keep an eye on the chicken temperature. To ensure the chicken is cooked through, check its internal temperature using a meat thermometer. It should reach 165°F (74°C).
- Maintain the ideal chicken-to-sauce ratio. The quantity of chicken in this recipe is suitable for the sauce; however, if you choose to reduce or increase the chicken amount, adjust the sauce accordingly.
- Don’t overcrowd the skillet. When frying the chicken, make sure it’s in a single layer without crowding the skillet. Cook in batches if needed, using more oil if necessary.
If you’d like a little variety in your sweet and sour chicken dish, here are a few modifications you can make:
- Add vegetables. For a healthier version, stir-fry some colorful bell peppers, onions, or carrots with the chicken. It not only adds nutrition but also enhances the overall flavor.
- Make it spicy. If you prefer a spicy kick, add some red pepper flakes, sriracha, or a dash of your favorite hot sauce to the sauce mixture.
- Try a different protein. This sauce is versatile and goes well with other proteins too. You can substitute the chicken with pork, shrimp, or even tofu.
- Make it gluten-free. Use a gluten-free soy sauce and ensure all other ingredients are gluten-free.
What to Serve with Sweet and Sour Chicken
This delicious chicken dish already has a perfect balance of flavors, but it’s always great to serve it with some complementary sides. Here are a few ideas:
- Steamed rice. Sweet and sour chicken with steamed white rice is a classic combination. The sauce from the chicken adds a delightful flavor to the plain rice.
- Fried rice. Whip up a quick and easy fried rice using leftover rice, some mixed vegetables, and scrambled eggs. It’s a substantial side dish that complements the chicken beautifully.
- Egg rolls. Enjoy some crispy egg rolls as an appetizer or a side dish. They go hand in hand with sweet and sour chicken.
- Stir-fried vegetables. A light and colorful vegetable stir-fry makes a healthy and refreshing side dish. It’s a great way to include more veggies in your meal.
- Cucumber salad. A simple cucumber salad with a tangy dressing can provide a refreshing balance to the sweet and savory chicken.
- Noodles or Lo Mein. If you prefer noodles over rice, a side of plain noodles or a tasty vegetable lo mein is an excellent choice.
Of course, you can always enjoy the sweet and sour chicken on its own as a filling, flavorsome main course.
To properly store your leftover sweet and sour chicken, follow these steps:
- Cool the chicken. Allow the chicken to cool completely at room temperature. Avoid leaving it at room temperature for too long to prevent bacterial growth.
- Refrigerate. Transfer the cooled chicken to an airtight container or a ziplock bag. Seal it tightly and place it in the refrigerator. Consume the chicken within 3 to 4 days for the best taste and quality.
- Freeze (optional). If you want to extend the storage time, you can freeze the sweet and sour chicken. Again, ensure it has cooled completely before freezing. Place it in a freezer-safe container or bag, removing as much air as possible. For the best results, consume the frozen chicken within 2 to 3 months.
- Thaw and reheat (if frozen). When you’re ready to eat the frozen chicken, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, you can reheat it in a microwave-safe dish, covered with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel. Microwave on high in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until the chicken is heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat the chicken in an oven preheated to 350°F (175°C) for about 15 minutes or until it’s hot.
Note: It’s recommended to eat reheated leftovers within 2 hours (if not frozen) or within 2 hours after full reheating (if thawed from frozen). Discard any leftovers that have been left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Be mindful of these safety guidelines to avoid foodborne illnesses.
Sweet and Sour Chicken without Pineapple
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar packed
- 3 cloves garlic pressed or finely minced
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1..25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil plus more if necessary
Optional for Garnishing
- 2 green onions sliced into thin rounds
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- In a saucepan, combine granulated sugar, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, low-sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, light brown sugar, and minced garlic for the sauce. Whisk until well combined.
- Dissolve cornstarch in cold water, then add it to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened. Set it aside.
- Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and coat them in cornstarch.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil. When hot, add the chicken pieces and cook until golden brown and cooked through. Turn the chicken for even cooking.
- Once the chicken is cooked, add the sweet and sour sauce to the skillet. Stir and toss the chicken until well coated.
- Optional: Garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.
- Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and serve immediately. Enjoy!