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Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

  • Author: Maxine Dubois
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe is made with chicken thighs, bell peppers, sugar, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, sesame oil, and maple syrup. 




  • 2 pounds chicken thighs or breasts cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more if necessary
  • 1 bell pepper, diced


  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup (I used barbecue sauce because I didn’t have ketchup and it was great)
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  • 2 tablespoon chopped scallions
  • 1 tablespoon raw sesame seeds or everything but the bagel seasoning


  1. Toss the chicken in the cornstarch. Leave it in the refrigerator for one hour. 
  2. Add sugar, rice vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup, water, cornstarch and garlic in a bowl and stir. This is your sauce!
  3. Bring a large skillet of oil to simmer on medium heat. You may need to use two skillets as there is a lot of chicken!
  4. Add the chicken on medium heat and cook until they’re crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove and set on a plate and in the same skillet, add the diced bell pepper. Cook until the pepper skins start to blister and turn brown in spots. Remove on a plate for a second and pour in the sauce for 30 seconds and then add the pepper and chicken back into the pot. Cook until the sauce starts to caramelize, thicken, and coat the chicken, about 5 minutes. 
  5. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.


  • Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the best flavor and texture. Chicken breasts can become dry and tough when cooked for a long time.
  • Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces that are similar in size to ensure even cooking.
  • Marinate the chicken in soy sauce, rice wine, and cornstarch for at least 30 minutes before cooking to add flavor and tenderize the meat.
  • Use cornstarch instead of flour to coat the chicken. Cornstarch will give the chicken a crispy texture and help it hold its shape when cooked.
  • Fry the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, which can cause the chicken to steam instead of fry.
  • Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the oil when frying the chicken. The ideal temperature is between 350°F and 375°F.
  • Cook the sauce until it thickens and becomes glossy. This will ensure that the sauce coats the chicken evenly and has a nice texture.
  • Add the pineapple and vegetables towards the end of cooking to prevent them from becoming mushy.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed. If it is too sweet, add more vinegar. If it is too sour, add more sugar.
  • Serve the Sweet and Sour Chicken with steamed rice and garnish it with green onions and sesame seeds for added flavor and texture.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Chinese


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 231.1
  • Sugar: 10.9 g
  • Sodium: 738.2 mg
  • Fat: 7.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 36.3 g
  • Fiber: 2.2 g
  • Protein: 6.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 10.3 mg