Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

This sweet and sour chicken is sweet and tangy with lots of chunks of chicken, vegetables and pineapple. A great Chinese stir fry and perfect served with a side of rice.

Chicken stir fry with chopsticks.

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. One of my favourite dishes is classic sweet and sour chicken stir fry. This recipe tastes just like take out and it is surprisingly easy to make!

A bowl of chicken stir fry in front of another bowl of rice.

What Makes This Stir Fry So Good?

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!!

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.

Ingredients You Need to Make Sweet and Sour Chicken

  • Chicken breast – boneless and skinless cut into cubes
  • Carrots – peeled and sliced
  • Onions
  • Green peppers
  • Oil
  • Water – just a little bit when cooking the vegetables
  • A can of pineapple chunks – save the juice because we will use that as well!
  • Ketchup
  • Vinegar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Soy Sauce
  • Corn starch

Overhead picture of a stir fry.

Steps For How to Make Stir Fry!

  1. Prep all the ingredients ahead. Cut the chicken into similar sized chunks. Prepare the vegetables by peeling and slicing the carrot and dicing the onion and pepper.
  2. Cook the chicken first. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan and sauté the chicken until no longer pink. Once cooked, spoon it out and place the chicken on a plate. 
  3. Cook the vegetables in the wok/frying pan with a couple tablespoons of water. The water creates a steaming effect during the cooking. Cook with the lid on the pan/wok. Add the pineapple.
  4. Whisk together the ingredients for the sweet and sour sauce in a separate bowl. Pour the sauce in with the veggies.
  5. Add the chicken and cook until the sauce thickens.

A close up picture of a sweet and sour stir fry.

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!

Make it a Meal With These Recipes!

If you are looking for some more dishes that go very well with this sweet and sour chicken stir fry, then check out these ideas!

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

A close up picture of a sweet and sour stir fry.
4.78 out of 5
9 reviews
Instructions for how to make Chinese sweet and sour chicken stir fry recipe with pineapple, carrots and green peppers.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 3 chicken breasts , boneless and skinless
  • 2 carrots , peeled and sliced
  • 1 green pepper , cored and diced
  • 1 onion , peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp water (optional)
  • 1 can pineapple chunks/tidbits in juice , drained with juice reserved

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 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.


Per serving:

Calories: 393kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 21gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 708mgFiber: 4gSugar: 42g

Nutrition Disclaimer

Originally published in January 2013


Chicken stir fry with chopsticks.

Did you try this recipe?

Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @theblackpeppercorn.

4.78 from 9 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  • This dish was fabulous and followed it to a tee. All the flavors blended well and my husband raved over how delicious it was and will certainly make again. Thank you for this recipe.

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Easy and tastes great. I used left over cooked chicken. I also used fresh pineapple, mango juice, and red peppers.

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    This stuff is epic

    • Reply
  • 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!

    • Reply
    • 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.

      • Reply
  • This does sound like a great recipe! The sauce is my favorite!

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Man, oh, man! I’m so making this!! Thanks, my Stevie Wonder!!

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

    • Reply
  • Simple is the best! Love this!

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Delicious recipe and so quick to prepare ♥

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

    • Reply
  • 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~

    • Reply
  • 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!!

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    just made this today! thank you! it tasted awesome!

    • Reply
  • 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!

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    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!

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

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

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

    • Reply

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