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Sweet and sour chicken with pineapple and bell paprika

20 January 2019 (Last Updated: 3 July 2019)

A homemade version of the classic American-Chinese dish. This is my favorite sweet and sour chicken recipe. It’s super easy to prepare at home and tastes so much better than the take out – it’s less fatty and not overly sweet. Pineapple is such a great addition to the sauce, it’s naturally sweet and sour. You’ll have plenty of delicious sauce from this recipe so it’s perfect to serve with rice.

close up shot on a sweet and sour chicken with pineapple and bell paprika with rice on a plate

OTHER SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN RECIPES:

We really love this dish, so I prepare it in various ways. In this recipe, I combined chicken breast with pineapple and bell paprika and served over rice. I also have a recipe for sweet and sour chicken with noodles and vegetables – sort of sweet and sour chicken stir fry. If you’re looking for something new, maybe this sweet and sour chicken with plum sauce could be it.

close up shot on a sweet and sour chicken with pineapple and bell paprika on a pan

HOW TO MAKE CRISPY AND JUICY CHICKEN:

To get the chicken really crispy, like you would get a restaurant, you need to deep-fry it. I’m not a fan of deep-frying at home, so I just tossed the chicken pieces in potato starch and pan-fried it. Some recipes call for coating the chicken in an egg mixture first. It produces a slightly crispier result, but after mixing pan-fried chicken with the sauce it’s no longer that crispy, so I believe that coating in potato starch or cornstarch is enough and I omit this extra step.

If you would like to deep-fry the chicken pieces though, add enough oil (so that the chicken pieces can float freely) to a high-rim pan. Warm up the oil until it reaches 350°F/180°C. Add the chicken pieces, a few at a time and fry until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate, lined with paper towels.

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN WITH PINEAPPLE – step by step:

STEP 1 (photo 2): Start with cutting the chicken breast into 1-inch/ 2-3 cm chunks, mix with chilli flakes, finely chopped ginger and garlic together, season with salt to taste (but not much, the sauce will be salty). You can cook right away or leave to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes or overnight. (If you’re marinating the chicken for 30 minutes, you can leave it on the counter, if longer – cover the bowl and put it in the fridge, then bring to the room temperature before cooking). The ginger and garlic will tenderize the meat and it will be so tender and juicy!

Instead of chicken breast you can use boneless and skinless chicken thighs.

STEP 2 (photo 3+4): Whisk the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl together, set aside.

STEP 3 (photo 1): Cut the bell paprika and pineapple into 1/2-inch/1.5 cm cubes.

STEP 4 (photo 2 + 3): Toss the chicken pieces in potato starch (or cornstarch).

STEP 5 (photo 3): Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the chicken to the pan. Cook over high heat for about 2 minutes on each side, until browned, transfer on a plate.

TIPS on cooking the chicken:

  • If you have a smaller pan it would be better to cook the chicken in batches so it’s not overcrowded and can brown properly.
  • After adding chicken pieces to the pan, don’t stir it! Wait a minute or two and only if they’re nicely browned, stir and turn on the other side.
  • Don’t cook the meat for too long or it will be tough.

STEP 6 (photo 4): Add the bell paprika and pineapple to the pan, cook for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned and tender but still crunchy.

STEP 7 (photo 1+2): Add the chicken back to the pan, add the sauce, stir everything together, bring to a boil. When the sauce thickens remove the pan from the heat. When using cornstarch you may need to cook the sauce a couple of minutes longer as opposed to using the potato starch.

SERVE with rice, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Here are some ideas on how to use the leftover pineapple up:

sweet and sour chicken with pineapple
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5 from 1 vote

Sweet and sour chicken with pineapple and bell paprika

Homemade version of a classic American-chinese dish. Tender chicken breast with juicy pineapple and bell paprika in a well-balanced sweet and sour sauce.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 694kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

chicken:

  • 2 chicken breasts about 12 oz/350g, or boneless and skinless thighs
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes or to taste
  • 1.5 inch piece of ginger 4 cm, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch/cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons frying oil

additionally:

  • 1.5 bell peppers I used 1 orange bell pepper and ½ red
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple

sweet and sour sauce:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce 4 Tbsp
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar 4 Tbsp
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice 4 Tbsp
  • 1/4 cup water 4 Tbsp
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste or ketchup
  • ¾ tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon potato starch / cornstarch

to serve:

  • ½ cup rice + 1 cup boiling water
  • sesame seeds for sprinkling

Instructions

  • Cut the chicken into 1-inch/ 2-3 cm chunks, mix with chilli flakes, finely chopped ginger and garlic together, season with salt to taste (but not much, the sauce will be salty). Cook right away or leave to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes or overnight. (If you’re marinating the chicken for 30 minutes, you can leave it on the counter, if longer – cover the bowl and put it in the fridge, then bring to the room temperature before cooking).
  • Cut the bell paprika and pineapple into 1/2-inch/1.5 cm cubes.
  • Whisk the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl together, set aside.
  • Cook the rice: rinse the rice, add into a small pot, season with salt, pour in boiling water, cover and cook over very low heat for about 15 minutes (starting from the moment when it comes to a boil) or until water is absorbed and the rice is soft.
  • Toss the chicken pieces in potato starch (or cornstarch). Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the chicken to the pan. Cook over high heat for about 2 minutes on each side, until browned, transfer on a plate.
  • Add the bell paprika and pineapple to the pan, cook for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned and tender but still crunchy.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan, add the sauce, stir everything together, bring to a boil. When the sauce thickens remove the pan from the heat. When using cornstarch you may need to cook the sauce a couple of minutes longer as opposed to potato starch.
  • Serve with rice, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • 1 cup is 240-250 ml
  • Calories count = 1 serving = 1/2 recipe.
  • TIPS on cooking the chicken:
-If you have a smaller pan it would be better to cook the chicken in batches so it’s not overcrowded and can brown properly.
-After adding chicken pieces to the pan, don’t stir it! Wait a minute or two and only if they’re nicely browned, stir and turn on the other side.
-Don’t cook the meat for too long or it will be tough.

Nutrition

Calories: 694kcal
Course dinner
Cuisine american-chinese
Keyword sweet and sour chicken, sweet and sour chicken with pineapple, sweet and sour sauce

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a star rating in the comments below! You can also add a photo of your creation!

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Jillian
    24 January 2019 at 21:19


    This recipe is right up my ally! Take out food (fast and easy) that I don’t have to go out to get!

    • Reply
      Aleksandra
      25 January 2019 at 18:16

      Thanks! Make sure to give it a go, it’s really fast and easy 🙂

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