Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry


Dinner

Dinner

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry combines veggies, pineapple, ground chicken, and an irresistible sauce. This simple-to-make weeknight dinner will be a hit with everyone!

Try some other easy stir-fry recipes like this Chicken Stir-Fry, Pork Ramen Stir-Fry, and Ground Turkey Stir-Fry.

Overhead image of the Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry

Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry Recipe

My whole family goes crazy for sweet and sour chicken, so this is my easy weeknight take on the meal. Ground meat always makes dinner come together so much quicker–in fact, this stir-fried sweet and sour chicken can be on the table in about 30 minutes or less! 

Even though we aren’t using cubed pieces of chicken that have been fried, we’re still getting the great flavors of sweet and sour chicken. Plus, it’s more nutritious without the frying (Healthy sweet and sour chicken stir fry for the win!).

Process shots-- images of the sauce ingredients being whisked together and the ground chicken being added

How To Make Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry

  1. Prepare the sauce. If you’d like, you can even mix this sauce up a day in advance or make a larger batch to use for a few different recipes throughout the week. Store everything in a jar in the fridge and give it a good stir/shake before using.
  2. Cook the chicken. Brown and crumble the ground chicken and then remove from the skillet. If you end up with some liquid in the pan, drain that off. I like to dump the ground chicken into a strainer set in the sink and let it drain while cooking the veggies. BTW, if you prefer, ground turkey works just as well as ground chicken. Of course, the name will then be Sweet and Sour Turkey Stir-Fry!
  3. Sauté the veggies and add aromatics. To sauté the onion and peppers, we use 1/2 of a green pepper and 1/2 of a red pepper, but if you’d prefer, use just 1 pepper total. (You can use leftover peppers in this Unstuffed Peppers meal or Chicken Fajitas.) Next, add in ginger and garlic — see “short cut” tip below!
  4. Mix everything together and enjoy! Once the sauce is whipped together, and the meat and veggies are cooked, it’s time to combine everything. Toss it all together and cook just until the sauce gets glossy and nicely coats the meat and veggies. Serve with sliced green onions over rice and enjoy. I told you it was quick and easy!

SHORTCUTS

There are two options for quick garlic and ginger in this Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry. We love Dorot® cubes which have crushed garlic and crushed ginger that you can keep handy in the freezer and pop into this (and other) recipes when needed. (Check if your local store carries them; they’re typically found with frozen veggies in the grocery store.) Another option is to use refrigerated garlic paste and refrigerated minced garlic.

Process shots of Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry-- images of the ground chicken being browned and the veggies being cooked

What Is Chinese Sweet and Sour Sauce Made Of?

The sauce is typically made by combining sugar or honey with a sour liquid such as soy sauce or rice vinegar. Aromatics such as ginger and garlic are often added.

Here’s a quick breakdown of our simple Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry Sauce:

  • Cornstarch thickens the sauce and allows it to beautifully coat the chicken and veggies.
  • Rice vinegar delivers the “sour” to the sauce. (If you see rice wine vinegar, it’s the same thing.)
  • Light brown sugar is where we get the “sweet” in the sauce — add slowly and to taste to get the right level of sweetness.
  • Ketchup adds a touch more sweetness and loads of flavor to the sauce.
  • Soy sauce adds a nice overarching umami flavor and seasoning.
  • Oyster sauce gives this Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry sauce a restaurant-quality feel.

Process shots-- images of the sauce being sautéed and the pineapple being added

Stir-Fry Chicken Sweet and Sour Recipe Tips

  • Adjust the sauce. We love this sauce exactly how it is written, but you may prefer a slightly sweeter or slightly more sour sauce — neither is hard to change! For a sweeter sauce, add a bit more sugar. For a more sour sauce, add 1-2 tablespoons of additional vinegar. You can also add 1/4 teaspoon (or more) of red pepper flakes to add some spice.
  • Prepare this Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry with rice. If you haven’t boiled rice before, you are going to be thrilled with the ease and speed. All you’ll need to do is throw some rice in boiling water, boil it for 5-7 minutes, and voila — perfect rice! Want to save even more time (and dishes?) Use ready/microwaveable rice instead!
  • Use a really large skillet or wok. There is a lot of volume in this recipe, so you’ll have a hard time mixing everything together if you’re working in a small skillet. I recommend a 12-inch or larger pan.

Up-close overhead image of the Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry

More Easy Stir-Fry Recipes:

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry combines veggies, pineapple, ground chicken, and an irresistible sauce. This simple-to-make weeknight dinner will be a hit with everyone!

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry combines veggies, pineapple, ground chicken, and an irresistible sauce. This simple-to-make weeknight dinner will be a hit with everyone!

Instructions

  • SAUCE: Add cornstarch to a bowl and slowly drizzle in pineapple juice while whisking with a fork until smooth. Add remaining sauce ingredients and whisk again until smooth. Set aside.

  • CHICKEN: Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and drizzle in oil. Once oil is hot, add ground chicken. Cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until meat is fully cooked through (no pink remains — don’t overcook!). If any liquid has accumulated drain it off (See Note 3). Transfer chicken to a separate bowl or plate, or leave it in strainer until ready to use.

  • VEGGIES: Back to the skillet: Add in onion and peppers and increase heat to high. (Drizzle in a touch more oil if needed.) Cook, stirring frequently, until veggies are crisp tender, about 4-6 minutes (longer if you prefer more tender veggies). Once crisp-tender, reduce heat to medium. Add back the cooked chicken then garlic and ginger. Sauté for 30 seconds then add in pineapple. Give the sauce another quick stir and pour it in.

  • THICKEN: Cook, stirring constantly until sauce thickens and nicely coats everything, about 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat and top with thinly sliced green onions. Serve over white rice and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Sauce: We love this sauce exactly how it is written, but you may prefer a slightly sweeter or slightly more sour sauce — neither is hard to change! For a sweeter sauce, add a bit more sugar. For a more sour sauce, add 1-2 tablespoons of additional vinegar. You can also add 1/4 teaspoon (or more) of red pepper flakes to add some spice.
Note 2: Rice: Here’s the quickest/easiest way to get perfect basmati rice (must use basmati for this to work!)

  • Fill a large pot with water and set it to boil.
  • Once the water is at a rolling boil, salt the water and add in 1 cup rice.
  • Cook without, reducing the heat, for 6 minutes (Taste test to ensure it is tender.) and then drain and fluff with a fork. Easy!

Note 3: Draining chicken: I dump everything from the skillet into a strainer set in the sink and let it stand/drain until ready to use again.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 752mg | Potassium: 847mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 624IU | Vitamin C: 56mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 2mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.