Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

Who doesn’t love Chinese take out? I know that North American restaurant style Chinese food is vastly different from authentic Chinese cuisine (which I also enjoy!), but I have a soft spot for good old restaurant style Chinese food. Sometimes we go out to a Chinese buffet – there is a great chain of restaurants up here in Ontario called Mandarin. Usually though, when I do get the craving, I prefer to order take out. There is something special about getting Chinese food to go. I just love those Chinese take out boxes!

Looking at the menu from a Chinese restaurant can be difficult for me, because there are far too many dishes I want to order. One item that needs to be ordered every time is some form of sweet and sour dish. Whether it is chicken, pork or shrimp, I love a sweet and sour stir fry. I must admit, it is all about the sauce.

A good sweet and sour sauce needs to have a nice tang to it and the perfect sweetness. I love it all over the meat, veggies and maybe even some pineapple chunks too. Sweet and sour chicken on a bed of rice is pretty close to perfection for me!!

Sweet and sour chicken 4x3 hires-2

I have never been successful in replicating a sweet and sour sauce that rivals what I eat at a good Chinese restaurant. I decided it was time to get serious about this and come up with a recipe that worked.

Sweet and sour chicken text

This dish was great and the sauce was perfect. Everyone in the family loved it and they all said it was as good or better than anything from a restaurant. That was all I needed to hear!

Print Pin
5 from 5 votes

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

Chinese sweet and sour chicken stir fry recipe with pineapple, carrots and green peppers. Tastes just like restaurant style sweet and sour chicken or pork.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword chicken, Stir Fry, Sweet and Sour
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Author Steve Cylka


  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 3 chicken breasts , bones and skinless
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp water (optional)
  • 1 can pineapple chunks/tidbits in juice
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice (from the can of pineapple)
  • 5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons corn starch


  • Cut the chicken breasts into 1/2 inch chunks.
  • Peel and slice the carrots.
  • Cut the pepper and onion into 1/2-1 inch pieces.
  • Drain the pineapple from the can reserving 1/4 cup of the pineapple juice.
  • Heat a wok or frypan on medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp oil. Stir in the chicken and cook until no longer pink. Scoop the chicken onto a plate.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and dump in the sliced carrots, pepper and onion. Cover the wok or frypan with a lid. Check every couple minutes and stir to ensure the vegetables do not stick to the bottom of the pan. If needed, add the optional 2 tbsp of water which will help steam the veggies and keep them from burning.
  • Once the carrots are starting to soften, lower the heat and add the pineapple chunks and cooked chicken.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients, ensuring the corn starch is dissolved.
  • Pour the sauce into the frypan and stir it gently through the chicken and veggies. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.
  • Serve on cooked rice.


About Steve Cylka

Steve is the author of The Black Peppercorn. He is a recipe developer and food photographer. His recipes have been featured on websites like Bradley Smoker, Times Picayune, Buzzfeed, and Basil & Salt. He has also authored and co-authored a couple cookbooks.


  1. Yup – you killed it with this one. So delicious!

  2. You are making my mouth water with this dish. YUM!! My kids would love this one for sure. 🙂

  3. Looks delicious! I haven’t made anything sweet and sour in ages. I’m inspired!

  4. Hi Steve, I made this chicken stir fry recipe, it was yummy. I posted it on my blog with a few changes thanks for the recipe!

  5. This is SO delicious! We had it tonight…husband loved it! I doubled the sauce because we like our stir fry fairly juicy. Also added 1 jalapeno pepper (sans seeds) and 4 large baby portabella mushrooms…mmm, so tasty!

  6. just made this today! thank you! it tasted awesome!

  7. I found this recipe just looking for the sweet and sour sauce. I made it glutin free by using agave syrup and did cheat by keeping the ketsup!! And a Tbsp of rice flour to thicken. I also made a triple batch and used pork, yellow and red peppers, shallotts and celery, added a tsp of chilis for a tiny bit of heat and fresh parsley. It was the best sweet and sour anything i ever made. Thanks so much! In the coming months, i will make this again with small homemade turkey meatballs and again with chicken and add cashews. This will definitely become a go-to dinner and as always i double or triple batch and make several freezer dinners!!

  8. I love making stir-fry’s, but I usually need a good “sauce” recipe
    since I prefer homemade over a store bought sauce in a jar.
    I love that this sauce isn’t spicy or requires garlic for flavor.
    My 6 and 3 year old are going to approve this recipe, I can tell already!
    Can’t wait to make this for dinner tonight, Happy New Year~

  9. I love that there’s plenty of sauce to mix into the rice–a must with my family! Looks delicious!

  10. Delicious recipe and so quick to prepare ♥

  11. Simple is the best! Love this!

  12. I haven’t had sweet and sour in ages but this has me tempted!

  13. Man, oh, man! I’m so making this!! Thanks, my Stevie Wonder!!

  14. This does sound like a great recipe! The sauce is my favorite!

  15. I cooked this for dinner tonight and the family absolutely loved it. I didn’t really change the recipe at all, however I used tomato sauce rather than ketchup since in Australia we generally use tomato sauce here. The flavours in the sauce are so well balanced. I actually think this is the best version I have ever tasted, and I grew up on Chinese restaurant/takeaway dishes such as these. So happy to add another gem to my stir-fry recipe keepers. Thank you!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! I am really glad that your family enjoyed it. My family sure does like it as well! Lately I’ve been using this recipe and instead of using chicken have been adding some diced salmon I sautéed with the veggies or salmon that I’ve steamed and then crumble it in big chunks on top of the veggies and sauce on the rice.

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