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For most of us that live in a decent-sized city, it’s really easy to find a Chinese restaurant with good Sweet & Sour Chicken. And yet, I never order it.  BUT…I often have it.  I just make my own.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the main reasons that I can think of to make something homemade rather than buying it are:

  1. Cost
  2. Taste
  3. Quality

That’s why I make my own.  It’s fairly inexpensive to make this recipe for my family of 6, where it’d be really pricey to buy it from a restaurant.  And with diet restrictions in our family, eating out isn’t really a good option – it’s hard to know if a meal out is wise.  When I make something at home, I know it’s safe for my whole family.  And taste? That’s usually been my main reason to make something at home — I can make it taste the way that I want to.

“The way that I want to” in this case?  Lots of sauce!  And lots of peppers and onions.  I like the chicken, for sure, but when it comes to peppers and onions?  Well, let’s just say that I’m a BIG fan!

Now traditional Sweet & Sour Chicken usually has breaded chicken, but I don’t.  I leave it unbreaded.  1) It’s easier that way.  2) It’s healthier that way.  3) It makes it easily gluten-free that way (a concern for my family.)  And 4) I like it that way.

And traditionally, it’s made with green and red peppers.  But I use whatever I have.  Green peppers are usually the cheapest of the bell pepper colors, but I often get those 3-packs of colored peppers at Aldi, so I’ll use whatever colors I have.

We pair it with rice for a complete meal. I keep frozen cooked rice ready in the freezer, so this meal comes together quickly! 

This is a big favorite in our house.  We have it often, especially since we’ve gone gluten-free. (Check out my list of 20 simple gluten-free recipes.) This recipe is easily made gluten-free with the right soy sauce and that was a huge help for me as I was learning new recipes to cook.  Love that!  It’s definitely been a comfort to me in the kitchen.

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Homemade Chinese food
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword sweet and sour chicken
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 5
Author Jayme


  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water


Make the Sauce:

  • Add sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion salt, and ketchup to a medium sauce pan. Stir and bring to a boil.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the 1 tablespoon corn starch and cold water until dissolved. 
  • Add to sauce pan and stir until thickened, then reduce to low heat.

Make the Chicken & Veggies:

  • Drizzle a large pan or skillet with oil. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. 
  • Add peppers and onions. Continue until chicken is browned and cooked through.
  • Add sauce to chicken and peppers. Stir. 
  • Serve over cooked rice.

Jayme is a wife to 1 and a mother to four little boys. She tries to coupon, builds a smart stockpile, and always meal plans. While she likes to cook, she’s in the stage of life where simple is usually better – she never knows how many hands she’ll have free at dinner time! You can find her on Instagram.

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Alexandra January 10, 2020, 9:51 pm

    I did your recipe for dinner today and it was a big success! I didn’t have onion powder and added half a can of pineapple to the sauce. Easy and simple. Thank you for sharing it Jayme!

    • Jayme January 11, 2020, 8:42 pm

      Yes! Sounds like the pineapple would be a great addition!


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