Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken

Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken is a vibrant dish that combines juicy chicken pieces with the tropical sweetness of pineapple and the tangy punch of a sweet and sour sauce. This popular dish is a staple in Chinese cuisine but has gained international favor for its delightful contrast of flavors and colorful presentation. It’s typically made by stir-frying chicken and combining it with bell peppers, onions, and pineapple chunks, all tossed in a glossy, sweet and sour sauce.

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Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken

  • Author: recipstep
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken combines crispy chicken pieces with juicy pineapple and colorful bell peppers, all coated in a tangy and sweet sauce. This dish is a delightful blend of flavors and textures, perfect for those who appreciate a sweet and sour kick in their meal.Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken combines crispy chicken pieces with juicy pineapple and colorful bell peppers, all coated in a tangy and sweet sauce. This dish is a delightful blend of flavors and textures, perfect for those who appreciate a sweet and sour kick in their meal.


– Boneless chicken, bite-sized pieces: 300g
– Salt: 1/2 teaspoon
– Pepper powder: 1/2 teaspoon

For the Batter:
– Maida/All-Purpose Flour: 3 tablespoons
– Cornflour: 2 teaspoons
– Baking powder: 1/4 teaspoon
– Salt: 1/4 teaspoon
– Egg white: 1
– Chilled Water: 4 tablespoons

Sweet & Sour Sauce:
– Tomato Ketchup: 4 tablespoons
– Sugar: 3 tablespoons
– White Vinegar: 3 tablespoons
– Dark Soy Sauce: 3/4 teaspoon

Other Ingredients:
– Green bell peppers/capsicum, cubed: 1 cup (around 70g)
– Red bell peppers/capsicum, cubed: 1 cup (around 70g)
– Oil: 1/2 tablespoon for stir-frying + oil for deep-frying the chicken


1. Wash and drain the chicken pieces/fillets. Pat them dry if necessary and cut them into bite-sized pieces. You can use a mix of boneless dark and white meat for moist and juicy chicken pieces.
2. Marinate the chicken with salt and pepper powder and set it aside for 20 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the sweet and sour sauce (tomato ketchup, sugar, white vinegar, and dark soy sauce). Mix well and set it aside.
4. Prepare the batter by combining all the batter ingredients (maida/all-purpose flour, cornflour, baking powder, salt, egg white, and chilled water) in a bowl. Mix until you get a smooth batter.
5. Heat oil for deep frying in a skillet, wok, or kadai.
6. Dip the marinated chicken pieces in the batter and carefully drop them into the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry the chicken on medium heat for 1 minute without turning them, then turn and fry for another 4-5 minutes until they turn golden brown. Remove the fried chicken from the oil and set it aside. Repeat the process with the remaining chicken pieces.
7. In a wok or kadai, heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil over high heat. Add the cubed green and red bell peppers and stir-fry for 1 minute.
8. Add the sweet and sour sauce mixture to the wok and continue to stir-fry on high heat for another minute until the sauce is cooked and thickened.
9. Add the fried chicken pieces to the wok and mix well, coating the chicken pieces evenly with the sauce. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
10. Serve the sweet and sour chicken with noodles or fried rice.


Note: The nutritional information provided is an approximation and may vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients used and any modifications made to the recipe.

  • If using canned pineapple, drain the juice and use it to adjust the sweetness of the sauce if desired.
  • For a spicier version, add a dash of red chili flakes or a small amount of chopped fresh chili.
  • This dish can be garnished with green onions or sesame seeds before serving for added flavor and presentation.
  • Can be adjusted to gluten-free by using gluten-free soy sauce.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stir-frying
  • Cuisine: Chinese


  • Calories: 320
  • Sugar: 25g (includes added sugars)
  • Sodium: 870mg
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 26g
  • Cholesterol: 65mg

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What kind of pineapple works best for Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken?

Fresh pineapple is ideal for its crisp texture and natural sweetness, but canned pineapple in juice (not syrup) is a convenient and tasty alternative that works well in this dish.

Can I make Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the chicken and vegetables in advance and refrigerate them. However, for the best texture and flavor, cook them with the sauce just before serving.

What are the best cuts of chicken to use?

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs are both excellent choices. Thighs are slightly juicier and more flavorful, while breasts are leaner and firmer.

Can I use a different type of meat or make it vegetarian?

Absolutely! For a different twist, you can use pork or shrimp instead of chicken. For a vegetarian version, tofu is a great substitute; just make sure to press it well to remove excess moisture before cooking.

How can I adjust the sweetness or sourness of the sauce?

You can easily adjust the sauce to taste by varying the amounts of sugar and vinegar. Start with less and add more gradually, tasting as you go, until you reach the desired balance.

Ingredients and Preparation

The base ingredients for Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken include boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, which are cut into bite-sized pieces for quick cooking. Fresh pineapple is ideal for its natural sweetness and juicy texture, but canned pineapple can also be used for convenience. Bell peppers and onions add crunch and color to the dish, enhancing its visual appeal. The sweet and sour sauce typically consists of vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce, which create the perfect balance of flavors.

Cooking Techniques

To begin, the chicken pieces are usually dusted with cornstarch and then shallow fried until golden and crispy. This method ensures that the chicken remains tender and moist inside while achieving a light crust on the outside. After frying, the chicken is removed from the pan, and the vegetables are quickly stir-fried in the same pan to maintain the flavors left from cooking the chicken. The pineapple is added last to preserve its texture and sweetness.

Sauce Creation and Integration

The key to an excellent Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken lies in its sauce. The sauce is typically made by combining vinegar, sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, and a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken it. This mixture is then poured over the cooked chicken and vegetables in the pan, where it thickens and coats the ingredients in a glossy, vibrant glaze. The sauce should be balanced, with neither the sweetness nor the sourness overpowering the other.

Serving Suggestions

Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken is best served hot, typically over a bed of steamed white rice or noodles to soak up the extra sauce. For a healthier twist, brown rice or quinoa can be used as alternatives. The dish can be garnished with sesame seeds or sliced green onions to add a touch of elegance and extra flavor. It pairs wonderfully with a crisp white wine or a light beer, which complements the tangy profile of the sauce.

Variations and Modern Adaptations

Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken offers numerous possibilities for variations and modern adaptations to suit different dietary needs or flavor preferences. For a healthier version, the chicken can be grilled or baked instead of fried, significantly reducing the amount of oil used. Some cooks might opt to incorporate other fruits such as mango or peaches to introduce new flavors and textures. Alternatively, adding a splash of orange juice to the sauce can enhance the citrus notes, giving the dish a brighter flavor profile. For those who enjoy a bit of heat, a dash of chili flakes or fresh sliced chili can be added to the sauce for a spicy kick.

Dietary Considerations

For those with specific dietary considerations, Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken can easily be adapted. To make the dish gluten-free, simply substitute the soy sauce with a gluten-free version and ensure that all other sauce ingredients are gluten-free. For a lower-sugar version, honey or a sugar substitute can replace the brown sugar, adjusting the quantity to taste. Vegetarians can substitute the chicken with tofu or tempeh, making sure to press the tofu well to ensure it holds up in the stir-frying process.

Cooking Tips for Best Results

Achieving the best results with Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken involves a few key cooking tips. Ensuring that the chicken is dry before coating it with cornstarch helps in achieving a crisper finish when fried. Stir-frying the vegetables just until they are tender-crisp ensures they retain their texture and vibrant color. When adding the sauce to the pan, it’s important to stir continuously as it thickens to prevent clumping and ensure an even coating on the chicken and vegetables. Lastly, adding the pineapple last minimizes its cooking time, preserving its natural juiciness and sweetness.

Cultural Significance and Popularity

Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken has a significant place in Chinese-American cuisine, embodying the fusion of Eastern and Western culinary traditions. Originally derived from traditional Chinese sweet and sour recipes, the addition of pineapple reflects a Western influence that has become immensely popular in Chinese restaurants across the globe. This dish is often a favorite at family gatherings and festive occasions, valued for its appealing taste and familiar comfort.

Ingredients and Their Roles

Each ingredient in Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken plays a pivotal role in shaping the dish’s flavor profile. The chicken serves as the protein base, providing substance and texture. Pineapple brings a natural sweetness and tartness that defines the dish’s character. Bell peppers and onions add crunch, freshness, and a slight sweetness, which balances the acidity of the vinegar and the richness of the sauce. The cornstarch not only thickens the sauce but helps in creating the light, crispy coating on the chicken that is integral to the dish’s texture. Together, these components harmonize to create a delightful culinary experience.

Pairing with Side Dishes

Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken pairs excellently with a variety of side dishes that can enhance the overall meal experience. Steamed jasmine or basmati rice provides a subtle, fragrant backdrop that complements the bold flavors of the dish. For a more textured alternative, fried rice with vegetables adds an additional layer of flavor and makes for a more filling meal. Noodle dishes, such as lo mein or chow mein, are also popular choices that align well with the dish’s Asian roots. Lighter options like steamed broccoli or a crisp green salad dressed in sesame oil and vinegar can balance the sweetness and richness of the main dish.

Storage and Reheating

Proper storage and reheating are key to enjoying leftovers of Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken. The dish should be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated within two hours of cooking. It will keep well for up to three days. When reheating, it’s best to do so gently over medium heat on the stove or in the microwave, stirring occasionally to ensure even heating. Adding a little water or extra sauce can help to rehydrate the chicken and vegetables, restoring some of the dish’s original texture and flavor.

Health Benefits

Despite its delicious taste, Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken can be part of a balanced diet, offering several health benefits. Chicken is a great source of lean protein, essential for muscle growth and repair. Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that may help with digestion and inflammation. Bell peppers are high in vitamins A and C, which are important for skin health and immune function. When prepared with less sugar and minimal oil, this dish can be a healthful addition to any meal plan.

Preparing for Special Occasions

Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken is an ideal dish for special occasions due to its visually appealing and festive nature. It’s colorful and can be garnished elegantly with green onions, sesame seeds, or thin slices of lime to enhance its visual appeal. For larger gatherings, the dish can be scaled up easily, and components like the sauce can be pre-made to save time. It’s a versatile dish that can be adapted to buffet settings or plated service, making it suitable for events ranging from casual family dinners to more formal celebrations.

Experimenting with Flavors

For those who enjoy culinary experimentation, Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken offers ample opportunity to tweak flavors and add personal touches. Incorporating different fruits such as mango or lychee can introduce new flavors and textures to the dish. Experimenting with various types of vinegar, such as rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar, can alter the acidity level and provide a subtle variation in taste. Adding ingredients like ginger or lemongrass can enhance the dish’s aromatic qualities, while a hint of hot sauce or sriracha will introduce a spicy element for those who appreciate a little heat.


Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken is a delightful dish that combines the tender juiciness of chicken with the tropical sweetness of pineapple and the tangy zest of a homemade sauce. Its vibrant colors and bold flavors make it a popular choice for both everyday meals and special occasions. This dish not only pleases the palate but also provides a versatile base for culinary creativity, allowing chefs of all levels to experiment with flavors and ingredients. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply spicing up your weeknight dinner routine, Sweet and Sour Pineapple Chicken is a satisfying dish that brings a touch of festive flair to the dining table.

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