Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
May 14th, 2009 140 Comments

Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

Sweet and Sour Chicken
Sweet and Sour Chicken pictures (1 of 3)

When it comes to Chinese recipes, there are a few very popular–and basic–cooking methods, and one of it is definitely sweet and sour.

I love sweet and sour flavors and have shared quite a few recipes, such as sweet and sour pork, sweet and sour fish, and sweet and sour fish balls.  Sweet and sour sauce goes extremely well with plain white rice; it also “opens up” your appetite.

Today, I am sharing my sweet and sour chicken recipe with you. Sweet and sour chicken is a simple recipe that is friendly to most people regardless of your national origin and religion. The key to a great sweet and sour chicken is that you don’t want your chicken to soak and swim in the sweet and sour sauce like what most Chinese restaurants do. The sauce should lightly coat the fried chicken cubes so they don’t turn soggy. Another secret is  the use of baking soda in the frying batter, which does a great job in giving the battered fried chicken an extra crunch. Try it and let me know how your sweet and sour chicken turns out!

Click Page 2 for the Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe Recipe
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140 comments... read them below or add one

  1. tigerfish says:

    I love sweet and sour anything too :)

    Saw some of your recipes in liow.

  2. Where are my chopsticks? It’s breakfast time here but your pictures give me appetite! I love sweat and sour flavors. Thank you sharing…

  3. Love sweet and sour chicken, one of my favourite.
    Bookmarking to make them.

  4. Damien says:

    That’s a wonderful recipe! A great alternative to Sweet and Sour Pork, not saying I don’t like, just it’s good to have another meat for a change. Your blog is really excellent !!!

  5. Manggy says:

    Oh, I thought the cornstarch was for the crunch, and the soda for the browning… Well anyway, the dish look fantastic– all that’s missing for me is a steaming bowl of rice and I’m set! :)

    • Manggy – crunch is not exactly the right word to use but I don’t know how else to describe it better. There is a word in my native language to describe it. Anyway, baking soda releases carbon dioxide gas into the batter and thus making the fried chicken cubes extra “crunchy” and “airy.”

  6. Wow this looks so delicious! I’ve always wondered how to make sweet and sour chicken. I’m going to try this over the weekend.

  7. tummythoz says:

    Such wicked dishes make me crave bowls of fluffy rice.

  8. allie says:

    something traditional yet it’s new! :) sweet and sour chicken definitely sounds and looks appetizing!

  9. Rus says:

    The batter recipe for your Sweet and Sour Chicken differs from that listed in your Sweet and Sour Pork and your Orange Chicken recipes (both of which use the same batter). Can you explain why? I’ve made both your Sweet and Sour Pork and Orange Chicken with very good results (my kids love it… thank you!).



    • Rus – yes, it’s slightly different. I opted out the egg, but it works the same way and achieve the same results. Just different measurements, etc. Either recipe is fine.

  10. Looks delicious! Love the idea of less sauce on the chicken.

  11. Perfect with rice. yum yum!

  12. i always use malt extract to make the sauce thick and sticky.
    taught by my dad.

    i guess your alternative here is either the plum sauce or the corn starch?

  13. zzzyun says:

    hey i’d tried making the sweet n sour chicken and the tofu dishes. absolutely amazing! i love them… its so much better to cook oneself when one craves some good ol msian dishes instead of eating out which is expensive overseas and sometimes come out tasting weird!

    thank you for ur great recipes! i will try out more of them with time :)

    • Thanks for trying the recipes. I am glad you enjoyed this sweet and sour chicken and other tofu dishes. Please continue to provide feedback and comments on other dishes you try :)

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  15. Thanks so much for this one! I’ve been wanting to cook this myself for ages and ages but never found anyone who could give me a good recipe for the sauce. I’m going to try this out soon. :)

  16. noobcook says:

    I really love sweet and sour chicken, pork etc. I must really overcome my laziness to deep fry hehe

  17. Tsu Lin says:

    Rasa Malaysia, I tried this last week when I saw it!! It turned out ABSOLUTELY great.. the hubs said it’s the best Swt & Sour pork he’d ever had (he’s being drama!). I plan to do this more eventhough I seldom deep fry stuff, well worth the effort (of cleaning up the smell in my windowless kitchen & small apmt).

    PS : I noticed the earlier recipe does not have lingam chillli sauce. Please tell me you just added it after Fri right? Can’t be my eyes totally missed that after reading the recipe 5 times!

    • Tsu Lin – my original sweet and sour pork recipe doesn’t have Lingham hot sauce because it wasn’t available then. Now that I have Lingham in my neighborhood Asian store, I would use it instead of Sriracha. Seriously, Lingham is so much better than Sriracha.

  18. katpigott says:

    If I don’t want to marinate the chicken in wine, is there something else I could use or should I skip this step altogether?

  19. A classic and yummy dish! :)

  20. Marilyn says:

    Thanks for the recipe! It was so easy to follow. Instead of chicken I used vegetarian chunks and I added in pineapple chunks, onion segments and a dash of red wine vinegar to the sauce. BTW it’s bachang (kochung) season. Will you be making any? :-)

  21. katpigott says:

    I made this the other night and it was WONDERFUL! I was trying out different recipes for a large gathering I will be having in a few weeks. So, my family voted for this recipe, but I will have to feed 55 people. Do you have any idea of quantities for that many people? Do you think I will run into trouble if I just multiply the quantities by 20 times or so? I already quadrupled it just for my family of six (I have teenagers, so they eat a lot).

    • Hi Kat – wow, 55 people, that’s a lot of people to feed. Hehe.

      How about you make it into like 6 big portions instead of cooking in one batch. I think it’s fine to multiply everything according to the portions. The more the merrier. Good luck and let me know how it goes. :)

      • katpigott says:

        Well–I made this for 57 people while cooking on camp stoves. I multiplied the recipe by 30 TIMES(!), and it took me and one other person a good, long while to deep fry all that chicken (about an hour and a half), but it was great. We got rave reviews. Thanks for the recipe!

        • Hi Kat – thanks so much for trying my sweet and sour chicken recipe and that the 57 people loved it. Do you have a picture to share? Would love to see it. :)

  22. caroline says:

    I tried this recipe last week and it was a hit!
    thanks for sharing it is fabulous!!!!!!!

  23. Clueless says:

    Hi ~~

    I tried this recipe and the sauce was fantastic~!!!! But … I just wanna ask.. my chicken didnt turn out crispy like yours .. was it because the temperature of the oil is too low? (i am using electrical stove : ( ) and i notice all the flour was struck on the bottom of the pan ….

    Hopefully one day I can make it right : D

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  25. JT says:

    I’ve never had any luck getting a satisfying “crunch” out of batter fried chicken, the only success I’ve had in frying chicken to a crispy crunch is from your chicken karaage (excellent recipe by the way). I’ve never added baking soda to the batter before, is that the key? I normally make my batter with just eggs and cornstarch and usually a little bit of soy sauce. Also, would a batter benefit from 2-stage frying like in the karaage recipe?

    • Hi JT – I think baking soda gives that “airy” crunch to battered fried chicken, the mouth feel is definitely different. I think your batter recipe works, too, but do try it with a wee bit of baking soda and see if you like it. Yes, frying the chicken two times definitely help. :)

  26. Amy says:

    This recipe was perfect. This was the first time I made a sweet and sour recipe and I wanted the best of all!! I made it with shrimp because we love seafood!! It was soo crispy with the batter! It is definitely true to just mix the sauce lightly and serve quickly. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe!! I am going to keep this forever and I am now, I am a keeper of your website!! What is your favorite Curry recipe? With seafood?

    • Hi Amy – Thanks so much and I am glad that you love this sweet and sour chicken recipe and a convert to my website. :)

      For curries, yes, I love seafood curry the best!

  27. aaamanda says:

    I tried your recipe the other night using seitan in place of chicken and it was amazing!! For any vegetarian out there wondering if this would translate well with fake chicken, it does, it does!! I used Morning Star fake chicken strips. Thawed them out before cutting them into cubes and fried them the way you would regular chicken. I also added a little pineapple because I’m big on the sweet portion of sweet and sour. :-)

    Thank you so much for the post!

  28. Adriana says:

    I tried making it just now but I don’t have plum sauce and a few of the recommended ingredients. I used balsamic vinegar and a bit of honey and it seemed to do the trick.

    Thanks for the recipe! :)

    • Adriana says:

      I got disconnected last night when I wanted to say that I really like your blog and that I added a link (of your blog) in my blog. Hope you don’t mind.

      Cheers! :)

  29. Laura says:

    I love your site, and for sure I’m gonna try this recipe…. do you have some recipe for lemon soy sauce, sorry, I’m mexican and I like the soy sauce but, here in mexico and some restaurants in usa use diluted version of the soy sauce….. but I don´t know how can I make it. Thanks!!!!

  30. lynn ann says:

    i’ve been looking for some good disum recipes do you think you can post some soon thanks

  31. Jo says:

    I cooked the sweet & sour chicken recipe last week couldn’t believe how well it turned out as sometimes my dishes don’t look like the pictures… BUT this one did brilliant… cooking it again tonight yum yum !!

  32. Jill says:

    Just made sweet and sour chicken using your batter recipe. Wow! What a simple and satisfying recipe. I already had the sweet and sour sauce (in a jar- I know, I know) and I was looking for an easy batter recipe preferably without eggs. Didn’t really feel like an eggy batter. My chicken was delicious. Nice crunch! I seasoned the chicken slices with garlic and onion powders, a little salt and pepper. Can’t wait to use the batter on shrimp. Reminded me of the crust on Chinese restaurant shrimp but it hadn’t been sitting around for hours! I will bookmark your site and use it for other recipes. Thanks

  33. lorna says:

    hey this dish looks soo tasty! i’m planning on making it this week for my boyfreind and i, and i was just wondering how many people your reciepe feeds, if i need to cut down on the amount, thankyou! :)

  34. Philip Watson says:

    Just super! Made it for my family in Moscow, Russia where it is a challenge to find ingredients for Chinese food sometimes.

    I made a few modifications to the sauce – I didn’t have any plum sauce, so I added a tablespoon of sugar for sweetness. I cut down on the chili sauce to a tablespoon because of the kids (no lingam, so I had to settle for sriracha which was fine). I also greatly increased the amount of vinegar to about 2 tablespoons to make it nice and tangy.

    The only other addition I made was to top it off with lots of fresh cilantro.

    yes, I agree with another reader that shrimp would be awesome in this dish. Just wish shrimp here were not so expensive!

    The other dishes here look great – can’t wait to try them all. I’ve already tried the cashew chicken and will come back for more. I really appreciate that they aren’t the standard goopy glooopy American-style Chinese fare.

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  36. Hallie says:

    I tried cooking this just now, it was soooo good! :D But it turned out very dry, I prefer the ones with more gravy. Any advice? Thanks for the recipe!

  37. Nur says:

    Thanks so much for the recipe! Had a sudden craving for a sweet and sour dish, and being away from home, I had to make it myself. Although I’m a beginner in the kitchen, it turned out fantastic. This recipe is definitely a keeper, my husband loved it! Thanks a lot and looking forward to trying more of your recipes in the future. Cheers from Melbourne!

  38. Katie says:

    I tried the S&S Chicken recipe tonight with mixed success. First, the hot sauce you recommended was not available at my local grocery store, so I used a general red hot chili sauce (Chinese brand, but can’t remember the name). The sauce came out pretty spicy, my mouth was on fire the first few minutes. Is the sauce supposed to be spicy? Second, I guess from reading other comments that my oil was not hot enough as the batter kept sticking to my pan. Is the chicken supposed to be completely submerged in the oil? I only filled the pan about 2 inches and had to turn the chicken to fully cook (which was especially hard with the batter sticking). But other than that, it was quite the tasty dish – I’m glad my first attempt at “from scratch” Asian went this well!

  39. BIG G says:

    Looked at your sweet&sour chicken recipe and I want to make it.
    One big problem for me, my stomach cannot tolerate “hot” as in chili.
    What should I subtitute in place of that? More ketchup? more plum sauce?

    Thanks anybody for some help…

    BIG G

  40. THE GB GUY says:

    this was almost too spicy and overpowered with the chili sauce. other than that it was great, i’ll just use 1/2tsp of chili sauce next time instead of 3 tbls

  41. paleryder2 says:

    I do love your recipes! I try to remain as faithful as I’m able but some ingredients are out of my ability to get…the curse of a rural location. :) With this one I use Tyler Florence’s sesame chicken batter which is a marinade also. I hope you don’t mind. But this sauce is hands down the best I’ve made. To me the sauce is what makes it anyway. It’s good to find something without the pineapple all the time. Thanks so much for your efforts.

  42. Darlene says:

    Made this for partner last night & he loved it! & he’s a meat & 3 vegies man. Tasted way better than some we have had Chinese restaurants we definatly make this again.

    • Darlene says:

      Just a update had to have gallbladder removed a month ago Dr has put me on low fat diet so made this without the batter & was still great.

  43. Caity says:

    I tried this recipe about 4 times and 3 times and it came out perfect. Thanks.I love your recipes ^_^

  44. J says:

    Thanks for the recipe, I just started looking online today and yours seems the best out of the others. They all call for different amounts of cornstarch in the batter, and some don’t use baking soda, or eggs. Yours doesn’t use eggs, does the baking soda replace the eggs? Also, I was wondering if this could be cooked in butter instead of oil or would that just totally ruin the flavor of the batter? please help, I’m not a very good cook :( Thanks again. J

  45. Kate says:

    This chicken is absolutely delicious! I added an onion and red pepper along with the green pepper and it was fantastic. I was skeptical about the amount of cornstarch, especially because I basically quadrupled this recipe, but that is what makes the coating on the chicken crunchy and fluffy. This is definitely a keeper! Better than some chinese restaurants around here! I was so impressed!

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  47. Jen says:

    This is a great recipe, my kids loved it and my 2 year old has asked for it again tonight. Success!

  48. redgems says:

    I came across your recipe earlier today and was a little scared that I may not be able to do justice to your sweet and sour chicken picture! The chicken came out great – crispy and yummy. I didn’t have some of the ingredients for the sauce but improvised (honey and chili flakes) and it still turned out really awesome. Marking it as a favorite dish. Thanks much!

  49. SparklingRachel says:

    Oh my, after trying your delicious sweet and sour tofu recipe I am craving for more! Once again you are right about the baking soda, it does make the chicken more crunchy and crispy. I even doubled the sauce….couldn’t help. It’s too yummy! Thanks for this great recipe!

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