If you the flavors of Asian-inspired sweet and sour chicken, you’ll love our quick and easy recipe for sweet and sour sauce! It takes minutes to put together and features ingredients that are easy to find! Pair it with some frozen popcorn chicken, tenders nuggets, and serve it over rice for a deliciously easy meal!
The sweet and sour chicken dinner recipe is a great way to jazz up your dinner. This dish is perfect for those days when you’re craving something new but don’t have time to try out a new recipe from scratch. It’s quick, easy, and delicious!
Ketchup, rice vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, and pineapple juice are simmered on the stovetop before a cornstarch slurry is mixed in. Optionally, red food coloring can be added to make the iconic coloring. Serve this thickened sauce over pre-cooked chicken and rice for a quick meal.
Sweet and Sour Sauce Base Ingredients
Before starting this recipe, you’ll want to verify that you have the following ingredients:
- Light Brown Sugar – Adds the “sweet” to this sweet and sour sauce.
- Ketchup – Adds a nice flavors, color, and thickness.
- Pineapple Juice – Adds that iconic sweet flavor.
- Rice Vinegar – Helps to add the sour.
- Soy Sauce – Adds flavor to this sauce.
- Corn starch – If you want your sauce thicker, add a cornstarch slurry.
Optional Ingredients/ Add-ins
- Food coloring – Red dye can be used to get the vibrant red color.
- Chicken – We used frozen popcorn chicken, but you can pretty much use any you prefer.
- Rice – Any brand will work!
- Green Onion – For a pop of color and flavor.
- Toasted Sesame Seeds – A garnish that adds flavor and texture.
Equipment and Supplies Needed
We used the following equipment and supplies to make this recipe. Items that are optional or can be substituted will be noted.
- Sauce pan – To simmer the sweet and sour sauce on the stovetop.
- Stovetop- To simmer the sweet and sour sauce on.
- Whisk – To mix the sauce as it simmers.
- Oven – To cook the chicken.
- Skillet – To mix the chicken and sauce with.
- Knife & cutting board – To cut the green onion.
- Measuring cups & spoons – For measuring out ingredients.
This sauce is so simple to make! Simply prepare it on the stovetop once the chicken starts to bake. It really is as easy as adding all the sauce ingredients above to a saucepan, and whisking until they just start to bubble. Once it starts to gently boil, reduce heat and add the cornstarch slurry which is simply corn starch mixed with water. This will thicken the sauce.
Once the sauce is thickened, remove it from heat. Add the cooked chicken to a large skillet, and over low heat pour the sweet and sour sauce in; stir to combine. Add a serving of rice to each bowl and top with chicken, sesame seeds, and green onion (optional) enjoy right away to maintain the crispiness and texture of the chicken.
If you want to store your Shortcut Sweet & Sour Chicken, just follow these easy steps.
This sauce will last up to 5 days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also freeze this sauce in an airtight, zippered bag. Simply add the cooled sauce to the bag, remove the excess air, and lay the bag flat to freeze flat for easy defrosting and storage.
This chicken will last up to 3 days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I do not recommend freezing it with the sauce on because the chicken will never be able to regain its crispness once sauced.
Follow the recipe below to make Shortcut Sweet and Sour Sauce Chicken! This recipe makes 5 SERVINGS, but you can adjust the recipe card for other serving sizes.
Shortcut Sweet and Sour Sauce Chicken
- Sauce pan
- Knife & cutting board
- Measuring cups & spoons
- ¾ cup Light brown sugar
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ⅓ cup rice vinegar
- 1½ tablespoons corn starch dissolved, and mixed with 2 tablespoons of warm water.
- 2 drops red food coloring (optional)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- 1 tablespoon green onion (optional)
- 30 ounces Popcorn chicken cooked according to package instructions
- Add all ingredients except the cornstarch mixture into a sauce pan. Over medium high heat, bring the mixture to a boil while constantly stirring.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to low, and whisk in the dissolved cornstarch. Whisk for about a minute and remove mixture from heat. Sauce will thicken as it cools.
- Over low heat, add cooked popcorn chicken to a skillet, and pour sweet and sour sauce over it. Mix to combine sauce, and chicken.
- Add rice to serving bowls, and scoop over the sauced chicken. Add sesame seeds and green onion to garnish. Enjoy warm!